Green Bay Packers

Time To Tackle My Packers 7-Round Mock Draft

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, I realize this was a colossal waste of time. Projecting any NFL team’s seven-round draft is like predicting whether Anders Carlson’s next field goal attempt will go through the uprights.

But it’s always a fun exercise, even though you know and I know that Brian Gutekunst, armed with five picks between 25 and 91, is likely to move up and down, depending on how the draft board is falling.

For the purpose of this mock draft, there will be no trades. I could see a scenario where he moves up in the first round if one of the top two cornerbacks, Quinyon Mitchell or Terrion Arnold, drops into the mid-teens.

The Seattle Seahawks at 16 could be a dance partner because they lack a second-round pick. Packaging 25 and 58 could do the trick. The Denver Broncos at 12 could also be in play; another team without a No. 2 that might feel better about drafting Bo Nix at 25 rather than 12. A top-three tackle could also be a target if the Pack decides to move up.

The Packers could also trade back if an intriguing WR is on the board for a playoff team like the Buffalo Bills or Kansas City Chiefs, or if someone like the Denver Broncos wants to jump back in for Nix.

Adding another Day 2 pick would give Gutey even more flexibility on Friday night. Or maybe he adds draft capital next year, when the Packers host the draft. But if they stay at 25, here’s how I have the draft unfolding:

1 (25) Amarius Mims, OT Georgia

We know that the Packers have struck gold on the offensive line on Day 3 of the draft in recent years, and they rarely use a Day 1 pick there. But this year is different: They’re about to back up the Brink’s truck for Jordan Love and have some serious long-term question marks up front. This is such a deep tackle draft that there are probably seven or eight guys who would have a top-15 grade in a typical draft.

This pick came down to Mims or Oklahoma’s Tyler Guyton, with Mims’ tantalizing upside tipping the scale in his favor. With just eight starts under his belt, there’s a lot of projection needed here. He’s nearly 6’8”, 340 lbs., but Mims moves like a much smaller guy. The Packers are positioned well enough that he doesn’t need to start Week 1, but they believe Mims can eventually be a 10-year starter on either side of the line with All-Pro upside.

2 (41) TJ Tampa, CB Iowa State

The Packers figure to load up for new DC Jeff Hafley on Friday. While safety is a more immediate need, the Pack can’t pass up a chance to add talent to a corner group that has many question marks beyond Jaire Alexander.

Eric Stokes can’t stay on the field. Last year’s seventh-round pick Carrington Valentine broke out, but I’m guessing the Pack would be more comfortable with him as the fourth or fifth corner at this point in his career.

Tampa is tough, athletic, and durable. He has only allowed one TD in his last 934 snaps with the Cyclones. Tampa is scheme flexible and comfortable playing press man or in space. He will compete immediately for the other starting perimeter cornerback spot and will immediately impact special teams.

2 (58) Jaden Hicks, S Washington State

Safety is the one obvious starting spot that the Packers still need to fill, and Gutey has made it clear he’d prefer to add a young player to pair with free-agent prize Xavier McKinney.

Hicks is another guy who doesn’t get hurt and has the skillset to complement McKinney. Scouts believe he’s best employed in the box; Hicks is built like a linebacker and plays like one. He’s very physical and can handle a lot of different assignments.

He’s gotten better each year and should find himself on the field in Sao Paolo with the defensive starters in Week 1.

3 (88) Dominick Puni, G Kansas

At 24, Puni is a bit long in the tooth for a rookie, but he could easily be another Week 1 starter at right guard. At the very least, he’s a humongous upgrade over Royce Newman. If he can’t beat out Sean Rhyan immediately, he provides comforting depth on the inside of the line.

Puni played at the FCS level for four years before playing the last two at KU, where he never allowed a sack at left tackle. His future is on the inside, and he could also compete at center if the Pack keeps Zach Tom at right tackle.

3 (91) Jaylen Wright, RB Tennessee

The final pick on Friday night came down to an off-ball linebacker or a running back. We think we can find a LB early on Saturday and couldn’t pass up the juice Wright will bring to the backfield.

Wright averaged more than seven yards per carry in the SEC and took three to the house from his own side of the field. He’s strong, averaging more than four yards per carry after contact, and is a stud in pass protection. He could make A.J. Dillon a cut candidate if he impresses this summer.

4 (126) Cedric Gray, LB North Carolina

Gray provides immediate competition for assumed starter Isaiah McDuffie alongside Quay Walker and steps into the roster spot De’Vondre Campbell vacated.

Draft experts regard Gray as a strong tackler and ball hawk, something this defense sorely needs. He forced 11 turnovers over the last three seasons, and the only game he missed was when he opted out of a bowl game at the end of the season. Here’s another guy who will make special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia happy.

5 (169) Kitan Oladapo, S Oregon State

The Pack uses its first compensatory pick to add depth to the previously barren safety room. Oladapo is a fast riser who received no scholarships coming out of high school, walked on at Oregon State as a cornerback, and became a team captain.

Like Hicks, he’s bigger-bodied and projects as a strong safety doing much of his work near the line of scrimmage and would be another young athletic player on special teams. He was one of the 30 guys the Packers brought in for a pre-draft visit.

(6) 202 Mo Kamara, EDGE Colorado State

The top three are set with Rashan Gary, Preston Smith, and Lukas Van Ness. But there are questions after that, thanks to Kingsley Enagbare’s ACL injury. Maybe Brenton Cox will step into the No. 4 role, but Kamara provides some good competition.

Seen as kind of a Tasmanian Devil – a whirling ball of energy – Kamara was a team captain and intense competitor for the Rams. He’s undersized and doesn’t project as a three-down player, but he could be an ideal rotational guy who would be a welcome addition to the depth chart.

(6) 219 Jordan Travis, QB Florida State

Gutey has been vocal about getting back to drafting quarterbacks every year, and if he keeps all 11 picks, he has the luxury of adding some competition for Sean Clifford on Saturday. After a long six-year journey that started at Louisville, Travis has improved every year and was electric in ’23 before getting injured.

He doesn’t have the ideal size or the strongest arm. But he’s a winner (he’s won his last 17 games), athletic, and shows a nice touch with throws downfield. He could become a nice backup who can become a dangerous two-way player if he needs to start a game or two down the road.

(7) 245 Jowon Briggs, DT Cincinnati

The Packers take a swing on the D-line after hitting with two Day 3 picks there last year. Briggs was the No. 2 prospect from Ohio and spurned Bama and OSU for Virginia before transferring to his hometown Bearcats after the pandemic. He’s a strong tackler, but his short arms occasionally give him trouble shedding blocks.

(7) 255 Giovanni Manu, OT British Columbia

The Packers brought the former basketball player in for a pre-draft visit to see what the buzz is all about. He’s 6’7”, 352 lbs. and is a freak athletically, with an 83” wingspan and an impressive 40-yard-dash time and vertical jump.

Despite 36 collegiate starts, he’s pretty much a lump of clay that needs to work on technique, but his potential is dazzling. Like WR a year ago, Gutey adds three bodies to the offensive line in this draft to replace the depth that evaporated this offseason.

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Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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