Green Bay Packers

Mark Murphy's Draft Tease Intensifies D.K. Metcalf Smoke

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

“I’ll just say the draft is going to be very interesting.”

Those were the words of Green Bay Packers CEO Mark Murphy less than a couple of weeks ago. Following the Davante Adams trade, the Packers are armed with two picks in each of the first two rounds of this month’s draft. However, the focus remains on what they do not have: a top-31 receiver room.

Cynical Packers fans will tell you that Murphy is hinting at a dramatic move up the board for Kenny Pickett or even Matt Araiza, the once-in-a-generation punter out of San Diego State. While I don’t blame them one bit, I think it’s fair to assume that Murphy, Brian Gutekunst, and Matt LaFleur will do everything possible to prevent a future where Aaron Rodgers is throwing to Jaire Alexander and Jordan Love come Week 1. Even though they’d still likely have little trouble winning the NFC North, there’s no need to inflate Alexander’s value like that ahead of his extension.

In all seriousness, Murphy did basically narrow Green Bay’s plan to two options: a move up the board or a trade for a veteran. “Very interesting” could be as simple as a potential leap into the teens to snag Jameson Williams or Drake London. But if you watched the Packers’ latest playoff collapse, you’d know that a top young receiver was on the to-do list even with Adams on the roster.

The other, more intriguing option is a trade, and D.K. Metcalf continues to be the name that makes the most sense. The two may not even be mutually exclusive, for recouping Davante’s 1,500-plus yards of production is bound to be a group effort, and, as Anthony Molina would say, the people pay to get wet.

Metcalf is one of the most freakish athletes in league history. We’ve seen him go for more than 1,300 yards in 2020, absolutely hawk Budda Baker to save a touchdown, and impress at the U.S. Olympic Trials. If Seattle trades him, he’d be owed a monster extension almost immediately because he fell to the 64th pick in his draft and does not have a fifth-year option attached to his rookie contract.

The Packers passed on him thrice, opting for Rashan Gary, Darnell Savage, and Elgton Jenkins in the early rounds of 2019’s draft. To Gutekunst’s credit, those picks have worked out quite a bit. He’s honestly nailed every part of the job except knowing when the worst possible time to draft a quarterback is. But people will surely make comparisons if Green Bay does part ways with premium picks to land Metcalf this time around.

You might be confused about why “trade for an established veteran” likely means Metcalf. It’s not about his fit with the Packers so much as the infeasibility of most other options. While the exploding wide-receiver market may make many teams more willing to take calls, the Seahawks are the only ones cleaning house.

Deebo Samuel, A.J. Brown, and Terry McLaurin have been brought up as potential trade targets, but their teams are working on fortifying contending rosters. In contrast, Seattle has begun dismantling theirs with the Russell Wilson trade and Bobby Wagner‘s release. After Adams and Tyreek Hill raised the price of an elite No. 1 into the stratosphere, it doesn’t make sense for the Hawks to empty their wallets nearly as much as it makes sense to continue accumulating draft capital.

Packers legend and NFL Hall of Famer LeRoy Butler tweeted that the team’s receiver target could be “someone who you would never guess that was available.” It’s certainly a fun game to play – there are likely universes out there wherein McLaurin, Samuel, Tee Higgins, and potentially even DeAndre Hopkins could be moved. The Packers could even do all their shopping in Seattle, landing both Metcalf and Tyler Lockett in a blockbuster deal that would transform their offense overnight. While Butler is probably in the know to some degree, it’s hard not to treat Metcalf as the runaway favorite if a trade is indeed in the works.

As the Packers gear up to take another crack at what has proven to be an incredibly steep and treacherous hump, LaFleur and Gutekunst’s solution for the wideout quagmire will be revealed once and for all on April 28 – unless they plan on snagging a guard and a nose tackle, that is.

Shamelessly loading up on offensive weapons has brought championships to Kansas City, Tampa Bay, and Los Angeles over the past three seasons. Over the span of two nights, we will be treated to a blitzkrieg-style formation of a respectable, ideally all-in receiving corps from as close to nothing as it gets in the NFL. The hard part is over. This is going to be fun.

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