Green Bay Packers

The Packers Need to Trade Up To Avoid Missing Out On First-Round Talent

Photo Credit: Mark Hoffmann via USA TODAY Sports

The 2024 NFL Draft is coming. Scouts have finished grading the film. College pro days have concluded, and prospects are making their last-minute pre-draft visits to teams around the league. Christmas Eve vibes are in the air for NFL franchises and their fans.

The Green Bay Packers have the 25th-overall pick and are in a precarious position. In a typical draft cycle, most NFL teams focus on 15 to 20 players designated with first-round grades. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler only has 20 players with clear first-round grades this year in his draft guide, “The Beast.” That means the Packers could find themselves on the outside looking in if they stay put at pick No. 25 because their top pick is a glorified second-rounder.

If the Packers move up, it’ll be to draft a premier player at a premier position. Felipe Reis did an excellent write-up on the Seattle Seahawks as a trade partner. The connections are there. Seattle GM John Schneider and Brian Gutekunst came up through the ranks together on Green Bay’s staff, and there’s speculation about the pairing trading again in 2024.

According to the Jimmy Johnson trade value chart, Seattle’s No. 16 pick would roughly be worth Green Bay’s No. 25 and No. 58 picks. Ultimately, it comes down to who will be on the board. According to ESPN Analytics, here’s their quick view of the “top” players they will be available at picks 16 and 25.

Depending on how things unfold, the decision will likely come down to the wire. If the Packers trade up to No. 16, they would likely target either a top tackle, like Olu Fashanu, or a top cornerback, like Quinyon Mitchell or Terrion Arnold, if they’re still available. On The Athletic‘s consensus board, Fashanu is their seventh-overall-ranked player, whereas Mitchell and Arnold are 15th and 16th, respectively. All are considerably out of Green Bay’s current range.

So, how likely is this scenario to take place? It’s plausible, but It all comes down to how the teams rank players and what positional runs happen on draft day. Here’s a look at my final predictive first-round mock draft (pending tweaks):

More than most, this year’s draft feels like at least eight of the top-10 players are locks to go in the top-10, with the four QBs, three WRs, and tackle Joe Alt.

Things get interesting after that. I’m a big believer that the offensive linemen will fly off the board in the middle section of the first round. With some people dubbing the 2023 season the “The year of the quarterback injury,” a pending investment in the offensive line will be a premium in GMs’ minds. I believe that the Packers will want to invest heavily in bolstering the offensive line. Jumping up to No. 16 overall would get them in front of several teams with offensive line needs, including the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Another perspective on the draft more closely considers the potential runs of positions and players. For instance, take a look at some first-round prop bet lines here from Circa Sportsbook:

Sportsbooks always try to set lines where 50% of the bets will fall on each side. Therefore, the implication is that around five cornerbacks, nine offensive linemen, four quarterbacks, and six wide receivers will be selected in the first round. For my mock, I considered this and balanced it with team needs, picking the over on offensive linemen for the reason mentioned above, the over on wide receivers with the growing value of that position in the league, and the under on the quarterbacks and cornerbacks.

On a personal note, every year I do a draft donation fundraiser where for every player I correctly select who goes in the first round, and for every player-team match I guess correctly, I donate $10 to a cause important to me. This year, I’m raising money for PAWS Chicago, the midwest’s largest no-kill shelter, where I adopted my German shepherd-chihuahua mix, Penny. I’m also running the 2024 Chicago Marathon for them as a charity runner; if you’d like to support this cause, my donation page is here.

Overall, the draft’s high talent level, especially in terms of offensive players, could necessitate the Packers making a move up to get one of the linemen they may covet in the first round. Ultimately, only time will tell, but I’m excited to see whoever Green Bay picks throughout the draft. Who do you think the Packers will select?

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Photo Credit: Mark Hoffmann via USA TODAY Sports

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