Green Bay Packers

2024 Could Be The Year Of The 7th-Rounders In Green Bay

Photo Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers are leaning on a group of former seventh-round picks to play vital roles on both sides of the ball. Several former seventh-round picks already fill key roles, such as Rasheed Walker at left tackle, Anthony Johnson Jr., Carrington Valentine, and Kalen King in the secondary, and Michael Pratt in the quarterback room.

While people may dismiss these players because they are seventh-rounders, they have an essential role on this Packers team. Green Bay has done a tremendous job of maximizing the value of these picks and players.

If we start in the trenches, Walker was a steal for Green Bay in the seventh round. Walker already has played well in relief of David Bakhtiari, where he performed well and will most likely start at left tackle in Week 1.

When the Packers took Walker in the seventh, they got a player who NFL scouts projected to go in the third round. They compared him to Buffalo Bills star offensive lineman Dion Dawkins. That’s a heck of a player to get in the final round of the draft. Walker fell to the Packers and now is playing an important role along the offensive line.

However, Walker is not the only pick the Packers have made in the final round that was considered a steal relative to the consensus big board.

The defensive backs were also steals Green Bay will count on to play critical roles. Johnson was the safety slated to start next to Xavier McKinney at the start of the year, and the Packers have high hopes and expectations for him.

At corner, Valentine filled in when Eric Stokes and Jaire Alexander missed time last season and played well for a rookie. Green Bay will call on Valentine first if Alexander or Stokes goes down.

King is not a lock to make the roster. However, due to Green Bay’s depth at corner and King’s traits, he looks like he has an inside path to making the team out of training camp.

Pratt will compete with second-year quarterback Sean Clifford, who is Pratt’s inverse regarding draft value. Experts saw Clifford as a reach in the fifth round, whereas people saw Pratt as a great value pick. The NFL tabbed Pratt as a prospect with a fourth-round draft projection.

The Packers may choose to keep all three quarterbacks. However, if Pratt shows what he’s got in the preseason and can beat out Clifford for the backup job, there may only be two quarterbacks on the roster. In that case, Pratt will back up Jordan Love.

All of these players are in roles where they can make an impact. In the past, we’ve seen how often young players have stepped up in place of injured teammates.

Jeff Janis is an example of a seventh-rounder who shined with more playing time. Janis did not have a lengthy tenure, playing only four years in Green Bay, but made some spectacular plays in the playoffs.

These players are seventh-rounders. However, late picks have played crucial roles for the Packers before. Think about how you would view Walker if he were a third-round pick. There probably wouldn’t be as many doubts about his ability to play left tackle.

What if Valentine and Johnson were fifth-rounders? Would there be more confidence in their ability to play crucial roles?

The Packers have a habit of identifying players falling in the draft and making the most of their talents on the field. From the offensive line to the defensive secondary, Green Bay is counting on seventh-round picks to be impact players on the team this season.

All stats and data via Football Reference and NFL unless otherwise noted.

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