The Green Bay Packers are preparing to trade quarterback Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets. It makes projecting a seven-round Packers mock especially fun. In this iteration, I have the Packers trading Rodgers to the Jets for two 2023 second-rounders, No. 43 and 44 overall.
Landing such draft capital will help Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst appropriately begin the post-Rodgers era. Gutekunst has needs to fill across his defensive line and at wide receiver, tight end, and safety, too. Gutekunst’s focus will center on building a more complete defense, and a better supporting cast around starting signal-caller Jordan Love.
With the first wave of free agency delivering some clarity regarding the Packers’ remaining needs, here’s what a seven-round draft for the Packers might look like if it happened following a Rodgers trade (compensation noted with *).
Round 1 (No. 15 overall): Bryan Bresee DT, Clemson
I believe the Packers will prioritize the defensive line in the first round for the second consecutive draft. Bresee would effortlessly slot inside next to Kenny Clark. Bresee possesses every trait necessary to develop into a dominant interior defender.
Green Bay’s defensive line depth has thinned out following the departures of Jarran Reed and Dean Lowry. Bresee is an energizer bunny that crashes through gaps with consistency while creating chaos in offensive backfields. Bresee checks a lot of boxes for the Packers.
Round 2 (No. 43 overall*): Cedric Tillman WR, Tennessee
The Packers lost Allen Lazard in free agency and haven’t been players in the veteran market. That indicates Gutekunst plans to address the position via the draft. More ascending talent is required behind Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs.
Tillman may be the draft’s most underrated playmaker. Tillman enjoyed a 1,000-yard receiving campaign when fully healthy in 2021. Tillman could immediately threaten for playing time opposite Watson on the boundary.
Round 2 (No. 44 overall*): Darnell Washington TE, Georgia
Washington recently visited the Green Bay Packers, according to reports. Green Bay’s need at tight end was further magnified by Robert Tonyan’s exit. Washington is the draft’s premier dual-threat tight end. Washington is an excellent blocker that could help spring Aaron Jones in the open field. As a pass-catcher, the towering Washington is a nightmare assignment in the red zone.
Round 2 (No. 46 overall): Sydney Brown SAF, Illinois
Finding an immediate starter at safety is a must for the Packers. Adrian Amos is visiting the Baltimore Ravens. Darnell Savage suffered through a declining campaign in 2022. Green Bay’s safety play was abysmal. Brown is an ascending prospect who leaped a 40.5-inch vertical and 10-foot-10 broad jump in Indianapolis.
Round 3 (No. 79 overall): Jaren Hall QB, BYU
Rodgers’ departure will leave the Packers without an appropriate signal-caller to serve as Jordan Love’s No. 2. Drafting an exciting project like Hall is worthwhile given Green Bay’s changing-of-the-guards at quarterback. Hall possesses plus-level NFL traits.
Round 4 (No. 117 overall): Jordan McFadden OT, Clemson
McFadden projects as a swing lineman that can play four positions. The Packers have questions at both left and right tackle with David Bakhtiari and Yosh Nijman. McFadden is a tone setter up front.
Round 5 (No. 151 overall): Isaiah McGuire EDGE, Missouri
The Packers need more pass-rushing depth on the edges behind Preston Smith and Rashan Gary. I loved watching McGuire on tape. He’s a better quarterback hunter and athlete than his NFL Scouting Combine performance indicates.
Round 5 (No. 172 overall): Ronnie Bell WR, Michigan
The Packers’ lack of depth at receiver warrants a double-down. Bell is an excellent, technically advanced route-runner. He adds additional value via special teams, where he’s experienced in all four phases, particularly as a return specialist.
Round 7 (No. 234 overall): Jerrod Clark NT, Coastal Carolina
The Packers allowed a 26th-ranked 139.5 rushing yards per contest in 2022. Gutekunst should draft a nose tackle that could improve their toughness and productivity up the middle. Clark is an ideal fit for a run-stuffing nose tackle.
Round 7 (No. 237 overall): Chris Rodriguez Jr. RB, Kentucky
A.J. Dillon is entering a contract season and could look for a bigger opportunity elsewhere in next year’s free agency period. Gutekunst should start preparing for Dillon’s potential departure. Rodriguez Jr. runs with a ton of power and could be viewed as a change-of-pace option behind Aaron Jones.
Round 7 (No. 244 overall): Mark Evans II IOL, Arkansas Pine-Bluff
Evans II is one of the top-ranked HBCU prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft. Evans II played offensive tackle at Arkansas Pine-Bluff, but he’s projected to kick inside at the next level. Evans II would provide depth behind guard starters Jon Runyan and Elgton Jenkins.
Round 7 (No. 258 overall): Mekhi Garner CB, LSU
The Packers are loaded with cornerback depth, but Gutekunst takes advantage of having four seven-round selections. Garner is a big-bodied boundary corner with terrific instincts. Garner also loves to come downhill and tackle in the running game.
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