Jahri Evans (73). Photo: Getty Images
By Jimmie Kaska
On Tuesday, I included the Packers' offensive line as one of two positions that needed someone capable of playing from day one, specifically at the guard spot opposite Lane Taylor.
On Wednesday, the Green Bay Packers filled that need in a big way with the signing of former New Orleans Saints guard Jahri Evans.
Ian Rapoport: Green Bay Packers Sign G Jahri Evans
Luckily for the Packers, in my breakdown of how the draft could unfold, it doesn't affect what will likely happen with the first pick the Packers have, since I had already rated the possibility of Green Bay taking a top lineman on the offensive side of the ball (Forrest Lamp, Ryan Ramczyk, etc.) as being low.
So, how will this affect their draft, outside of essentially removing offensive line from consideration at #29?
First, it doesn't eliminate the Packers from taking a top interior lineman in the draft in the second or third rounds. There are good, versatile players to be had at #61 or #93, and if the Packers feel like shoring up the depth of a line that has lost Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang, and J.C. Tretter in back-to-back offseasons, this would make a little sense. Personally, it takes the top three or four linemen in the draft (Ramczyk, Lamp, Cam Robinson, Zach Sutton) off the table, in my eyes, since the need for a starting guard is diminished with the signing of Evans.
Second, it increases the likelihood that Green Bay will target one of its other positions of immediate need--cornerback and running back... or add a rusher off the edge. All three of those positions are deep, so the Packers will probably get an immediate contributor with at least their first two picks, if not all three of their first three picks. It also allows for them to address the depth on the offensive line in the fourth or fifth rounds, when some of college football's top centers will still probably be around.
Finally, it means that you can put running back, defensive back, and edge rusher/linebacker at the top of your Packers draft board if you're a fan, because all three are positions of immediate need, and it doesn't appear that Green Bay would need to select a different position at #29 if they considered a player from these positions equal to a player from a position that wasn't immediately needed. The only position that is virtually guaranteed to get drafted--and likely early--is running back.
Personally, this kicks open the door for the Packers going defense with two of their first three picks, with no pressure to find a guard or center in the second or third rounds. Whether it's two pass rushers, two defensive backs, or one of each, Green Bay is in a position to add two difference-makers to the defensive side of the ball. I'm also convinced that a running back's name will be called when Green Bay picks in the first three rounds, since there are several productive running backs all graded in the second to fourth round range.
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