Green Bay Packers

The Packers Must Commit To Taking the Best Player Avaliable At the Draft

Photo Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Teams will always be tempted to take a flashy player at a position of need. The Green Bay Packers’ mock-draft community is running rampant with picks of popular wide receivers and safeties. However, this should not be how the Packers approach the upcoming draft.

The Packers have an opportunity to make their team better holistically this spring. That can look many different ways, not necessarily just by targeting positions of need. Green Bay must enter this draft with that mindset. Best player available, no matter what.

It’s impossible to know how the NFL draft is going to play out. No mock draft expert or analyst will correctly pick the first round, and trades throw another variable into the mix. We don’t fully know which players will be available to the Packers, and we won’t know until Roger Goodell walks across the stage with the Green Bay’s card and reads the 25th selection.

Green Bay’s biggest need is in the secondary. In the past, the Packers have prioritized defense in the first round, often taking a defensive back. Eric Stokes has battled injuries since the Packers drafted him, and injuries have also sapped some of Jaire Alexander’s productivity. Getting Carrington Valentine as a seventh-round rookie was great value, but he’s not ready to match up against the NFL’s best wideouts.

However, the position that aligns with Green Bay’s needs and the best player available (BPA) will be at cornerback. This year’s cornerback class is as good as ever. The Packers also have needs at tackle and safety.

But the Packers won’t find value at tackle and safety positions if the board goes how experts predict. Unless one of the blue-chip tackles falls to the Packers, taking one at 25 won’t help them build out a roster.

Brian Gutenkunst has already shown the willpower to avoid making splashy picks. In last year’s draft, the Packers selected Lukas Van Ness out of Iowa at 13 over Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the much flashier option.

There’s a chance that the Packers could use a BPA strategy and land a receiver. A few wideouts could fall to Green Bay at 25 and might be the best player available to them at that spot.

The most likely scenario is that the Packers find a cornerback who they like that will fall to them at 25. Whether that’s Iowa’s Cooper DeJean, Toledo’s Quinyon Mitchell, or either of the two Alabama cornerbacks — Kool-Aid McKinstry and Terrion Arnold. One of those players will probably be sitting there at 25

But what if the corners are all gone?

The Packers theoretically have the ammunition to move up and grab one, but that’s a discussion for another day. Assuming the Packers sit at 25, what would they do if their corners were gone?

That’s where they should be wise and not reach for a tackle or a safety. The second tier of tackles are not as good and are not worthy of being the 25th-overall pick. Some mock experts may disagree with me. But as it stands, guys like Tyler Guyton, Graham Barton, Patrick Paul, and Jordan Morgan (despite what I said about him) are not as good and would be a bit of a reach at 25.

The same can be said at safety. Whether it’s Minnesota’s Tyler Nubin or Miami’s Kam Kinchens, neither is really suited to be the 25th pick. In that case, the Packers should focus on that position later in the draft.

The Packers can make this the third special draft class in a row. Gutenkunst has done an excellent job evaluating talent and getting good young players to Green Bay with his draft strategy. Now is not the year to sacrifice that.

All stats and data via ESPN and CBS unless otherwise noted.

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