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One of the most controversial classes of this year’s NFL draft were the Green Bay Packers, as the team up north chose to focus on their future rather than their current needs following an NFC championship appearance. The Packers were hoping for another strong class to put themselves over the top and possibly jump ahead of the San Francisco 49ers. Instead, the Packers drafted for the future, using their 1st rounder to make sure they had a successor to Aaron Rodgers and a second rounder to make sure and add some depth at the running back position. Green Bay may still have the weapons to make a deep playoff run but this draft was used to make sure they have a strong future.
No. 26 overall pick: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
This is the pick that set the tone for the Pack. I personally liked this pick. Aaron Rodgers has been injured for 2 of the last 3 seasons and the Packers have looked helpless without him under center and even when he’s been unhealthy. Love will be a backup who will allow the Packers to not be so reliant on the health of their star. The worrying aspect of this pick is avoiding the current needs of the team. The only player who I would have liked to see rather than Love in this spot is Tee Higgins, who likely would have been their second receiver for the foreseeable future. It also can’t be overlooked that the team traded up to get Love when he likely wouldn’t have been taken before they picked at 30. However, I think David Bakhtiari summed it up best when he said, “(Aaron) is already great when he’s chillin but I’ve seen him when he gets riled up.” Rodgers now has serious competition for the first time since Brett Farvre was in the building and he will be looking to prove himself all season.
No. 62 overall pick: A.J. Dillon, RB, Boston College
I love this pick. Dillon is an athletic back who adds power to the Packers backfield. Running back is one of the toughest positions in football and if Aaron Jones goes down the Packers offense loses a lot of their explosiveness. Dillon will be an impact player on the goal line and could step into a key role if needed. The Packers loved to throw the ball within 5 yards of the goal line and that cost the team at least one win this season (week four against the Eagles). Dillon will give the Packers that power back that can help fix this and add an extra dimension to their red zone offense. I also don’t see anyone else on the board that would have been an instant impact guy for Green Bay so I think this is the best pick possible.
No. 94 Josiah Deguara, TE, Cincinnati
With the loss of Jimmy Graham the Packers needed to pick up a pass catcher. Deguara doesn’t add much to the pass game coming into the league, but he will likely be a better blocker than Graham which will help as the Packers were much more reliant on the running game this season than in previous years. Deguara isn’t a deep threat but that’s not what the Packers needed. If Deguara can get better at creating space on his short routes against linebackers he can be an impact player this season, if he can’t this pick will likely be a wasted one. I think Dalton Keene would have been a better pick here, but this is likely a sign of intention for the Pack.
No. 175 Kamal Martin, LB, Minnesota
Martin is listed as a LB. I question if he will stay there. Martin has the physical abilities to play in the league but is often a step behind due to poor play recognition. Martin is questionable as a coverage linebacker and doesn’t get moving down hill fast enough. Martin will likely be a special teams player in year one and the Packers will hope he can learn from the veterans in this unit. I would have liked a proven pass rusher like Bradlee Anae at this point.
No. 192 Jon Runyan Jr., OL, Michigan
Runyan is an underrated pick in my opinion. He played tackle in college but is listed as a guard on most draft boards due to his size. Runyan will be a strong pass blocker but will need to improve in the run game if he wants to be a starting lineman this season. I think this was the right pick in this spot. The Packers need to add depth on the O-line and Runyan may be one of the most underrated players in the draft. Runyans big shortcoming is his footwork, which is fixable. His father was a Pro Bowl tackle so the understanding of the game is probably there. The big question now is where does he line up.
No. 208, Jake Hanson, Center, Oregon
Hanson is another pass blocker and will struggle in a run-first scheme. Hanson will need help to get a solid push off the line due to his small frame. The upside is once again that Hanson is a smart player who played with toughness against bigger players and will help the pass blocking scheme but with the pick of Josiah Deguara earlier in this draft this feels like a step away from the running scheme that they wanted based on that pick. Hanson will need to get stronger in order to make an impact. I think with the back-to-back picks the Packers could have added some wide receiver depth like Freddie Swain who would have long term potential to add another dimension to the passing game.
No. 208 John Stepaniak, G, Indiana
Stepaniak is the opposite of Henson, as he is a good run blocker but will likely struggle pass blocking. Stepaniak has the size and speed to play in the NFL but will need to improve in the skill department of blocking. This was a great pick for the future and this late in the draft that’s what you should be looking for.
No. 242, Jonathan Garvin, DE, Miamii
Garvin is a raw player who would have likely gone higher if he had come out last year. A tough 2019 season for Garvin saw his stock drop but if he can get back to his peak level this will be a very high value 7th rounder. Many people had Garvin listed as a day 2 prospect but the Packers will happily take him this late in the draft. Garvin has the potential to be an impact player if he can hit the weight room and add some more moves to his arsenal. Still I really like this pick, especially giving him a strong group to learn from.
Green Bay likely took a step back this draft. Division rivals Minnesota added plenty of talent at needed positions and the Packers seemed content to stick with their current core for the time being. This draft will be one for the future, but the question that is on everyone’s mind is how will this class impact the immediate future of this team. Aaron Rodgers is the key to this question. We will see what these players can do this year, but this is likely a class that will set the teams future.