Welcome to Packer Purgatory Friday.
Packer fans will endure a day of purgatory before Gutey and his staff are back on the clock at around 7:00 pm tonight. Once again, the front office had an opportunity to add an offensive playmaker in the first round and once again they passed.
Like many of you, I found myself chanting ‘J-S-N, J-S-N’ when the Packers were on the clock. We never learn. Of course the Pack went with a freakishly athletic pass rusher. Defense always seems to rule the day with this front office, unless they find themselves infatuated with a tackle or they want to piss off their HOF QB and snag a young quarterback.
I have no quarrel with the selection of Lukas Van Ness. Despite never starting a game at Iowa, he showed that he has a chance to be a difference-maker at the pro level, with great size and speed and a very high ceiling. I mean, four years ago the kid considered himself a hockey player. Had he stayed for his junior year, he’d likely be a top ten pick in next year’s draft.
And with Rashan Gary likely to be sidelined for the first half of the season, he’ll be called on to step right in and join the rotation opposite Preston Smith, a guy with virtually the same measurables, who’s on the wrong side of 30. Gary and Van Ness could be sweet bookend pass rushers for the next 6 to 8 seasons.
The Pack could have waited to address the OLB spot until today, but they likely considered the talent drop off a lot steeper at that spot than at TE and WR, two positions they figure to pay attention to on Friday night.
That’s where the purgatory part comes in. We all desperately want the team to give Jordan Love some help. I expect we’ll feel a lot differently about this year’s draft class when we hit the pillow tonight. With just one tight end off the board in the first round, the Packers figure to have several enticing options at their disposal. Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer would be a slam dunk, but he may get scooped up before Green Bay gets a shot at him.
The next tier should all be available, meaning Gutey and his staff can choose between Darnell Washington, Luke Musgrave and Sam LaPorta. The other second round pick is more of a wild card. If safety Brian Branch is on the board (unlikely), the Packers shouldn’t even think twice. And the Pack might be infatuated with tackle Cody Mauch from NDSU or Ohio State’s Dawand Jones.
But there will be some big time wide receivers available as well: UNC’s Josh Downs, Mississippi’s Jonathan Mingo, Tennessee’s Jalin Hyatt and Cedric Tillman and SMU’s Rashee Rice are all potential targets in the second round. If they wait till the third, they’ll consider guys like Cincinnati’s Tyler Scott, Oklahoma’s Marvin Mims or Houston’s Tank Dell or Michigan State’s Jayden Reed.
So let’s say, the Packers pluck a top tier tight end tonight, along with a WR and a safety or tackle. I don’t know about you, but I’ll sleep like a baby.