Our staff previews the NFL Draft for the Green Bay Packers, looking at areas of need, our favorite players, and the number of mock drafts we've consumed in preparing for our coverage of the event.
The BIG Roundtable asks our panel of hosts, reporters, producers, and friends about a big subject in sports. With the NFL Draft on tap this week, it was an easy choice!
All Photos: Getty Images
1. What are three things you believe the Packers need to do in this year’s NFL Draft?
Mike Heller, The Mike Heller Show: The Packers likely didn’t do enough in free agency to improve their weaknesses on defense. (1) The first priority in the draft will be to add a high level talent with their 1st-round pick. Don’t be surprised if they move up. (2) The second priority is to add depth and talent at WR and tight end. (3) Third priority is to add strength and depth along the offensive line.
Brian Posick, Milwaukee/Madison Sports Director: The Packers need to get (1) a cornerback that can step in immediately, (2) a pass rusher, and (3) an inside linebacker that can cover more ground.
Pete Knutson, Eau Claire Sports Director: (1) They need to use their first pick on a CB. That is their weakest position in my opinion. They must have a lockdown corner and if he’s there they need to draft him. I’m thinking Derwin James, Denzel Ward, or Minkah Fitzpatrick if they’re available. The secondary has been bad for so long that they have to start there. (2) A pass rushing LB (maybe DE). They have had little to no pass rush for some time. (3) More defense. There are needs on offense, but the defense is so bad that they need to use 65-75% of their picks on defense.
Dave McCann, Badgers Executive Producer: (1) For the first two rounds, they need to go for defense like cornerback and safety. (2) Later rounds pick up linemen, maybe a receiver for the future, and (3) try for a quarterback.
Drew Olson, The Drew Olson Show: The Packers have plenty of needs. I would put the top priorities as (1) outside linebacker/edge rusher (Clay Matthews isn’t going to last forever); (2) cornerback (our Geek Squad tells me this is a deep class); and, (3) I think they need to add offensive line depth, because I don’t think Jason Spriggs is going to develop. Beyond that – they can use another tight end and maybe even a wide receiver or two.
Jimmie Kaska, former Cadott Little League outfielder #15: (1) Kevin King and Josh Jones were essentially replacement bodies for guys they've let go (Casey Hayward and Micah Hyde), and now they've waved goodbye to the first pick of the 2015 draft, another corner (Damarious Randall). You see where I'm going here? Mistakes have compounded in the secondary, and the luck they had with Sam Shields isn't likely to happen again. So any and all impact defensive backs should be the top priority. (2) Nominally you would say edge rusher, but that's going to be everyone's priority. Plus, edge rushers are notoriously difficult to project, and it's easy to bust on someone who may end up a situational-type player. Still, you need something, since Clay Matthews and Nick Perry aren't locks to stay healthy all year. (3) Offensive line. I will laugh when they trade up to take the Notre Dame guard in the top six, naturally. But realistically, they probably need a couple of lineman this draft, and they have a billion picks to do it.
Spenser Williams, The Big 920 Reporter: Address the (1) defensive backs, (2) receivers, and (3) the offensive line would be my three keys.
Mike Sullivan, WBA Hall of Fame Broadcaster: If possible, shore up the defense. I know some people are saying WR and OT, but I feel DE, ILB, and DB are or should be the top priorities.
Joel Finkelman, Lucas in the Morning: (1) I think the Packers need to use some of their extra picks to move up and target guys they really like. It’s time to get a little more aggressive in the draft. Look at Minnesota, who once took three players in the first round. In a three draft span from 2012-2014 they took 7 first-round picks, including Harrison Smith, Sharrif Floyd, Xavier Rhodes, Anthony Barr and Teddy Bridgewater. The worst player they drafted in that span was probably Cordarrelle Patterson and even he had some moments. They got aggressive and fixed a side of the football they desperately needed to improve. Meanwhile, the Packers have sat on their hands, drafted mostly average to below-average defensive players, or traded back for more picks. (2) Don’t be afraid to go offense early if there’s a player they like. Yes, I know I just got done ranting about the defense but the offense isn’t exactly in a great place right now as it is. The receiving core consists of a fantastic Davante Adams and then… well, the next two best targets haven’t been what their capable of for the last two seasons (Cobb, Graham). Beyond those guys things get ugly pretty quick with the up and down Geronimo Allison and the Unabomber Trevor Davis. (3) Don’t be same old same old. Whatever the strategy has been for Packers the last couple season, the draft picks have not worked out very well… fix that.
Armen Saryan, The Drew Olson Show: (1) Find a great player no matter what the position. I would rather get the best player you can even if you already seem okay at that position rather than an average one just because it fills a need. ...That being said, (2) there are positions of need for the Packers. Obviously everywhere on defense, but they need to find a great edge rusher and start to rebuild the tight end position in this draft. (3) Don't pick Tony Mandarich... seriously... the worst thing you can do is spend a high pick on someone who never helps you. It sets you back.
2. On a scale of 1-10, 1 being this draft is to add some depth and 10 being this draft will make or break the next Super Bowl run, how important is this year’s NFL Draft for the Packers?
Brian Posick, Milwaukee/Madison Sports Director: 8 or 9. We know the Packers will score, but it's time the defensive talent matches or comes close to matching the offensive talent.
Joel Finkelman, Lucas in the Morning: 8. Yes, this draft is important in terms of personnel for a mostly depleted team but it’s also pivotal in another aspect. The fact that it is Gutekunst’s first draft means more than anything. Look at how Ted Thompson started his GM career, Gutey will never be able to top that in year one, but it is extremely important that he comes out of the gate strong and that the team is able to start reloading. This is likely as high of a pick as he’s going to have for years, so don’t waste this opportunity.
Mike Heller, The Mike Heller Show: 7.5. This is the most important draft in recent memory for the Packers. There can be 2-3 players selected over the next 3-days that could make the difference.
Spenser Williams, The Big 920 Reporter: 7. Definitely want to find a couple of playmakers that can contribute right away.
Armen Saryan, The Drew Olson Show: 7. Especially this being Brian Gutekunst's first draft. It's important to get some hits.
Dave McCann, Badgers Executive Producer: 7. Draft for this year, but the future is hanging in the balance.
Drew Olson, The Drew Olson Show: 6. The Packers have a talented core coming back and they have a Platinum QB. But, they need a couple of draftees to step in and be performing like starters by midseason.
Jimmie Kaska, former Cadott Little League outfielder #15: 5. Green Bay is going to do something crazy in this NFL Draft, you can sense it. I feel like the impact in this draft is going to be later on, where the Packers build some depth. If they hit the home run early, they can relax and fill roster holes later on.
Mike Sullivan, WBA Hall of Fame Broadcaster: 3.
Pete Knutson, Eau Claire Sports Director: 3. I don’t think the Packers can fix their problems in the draft. They should have made more free agent moves on the defensive side of the ball and didn’t.
3. If the Packers drafted a quarterback by the end of day 2, how would you feel?
Mike Heller, The Mike Heller Show: I don’t think Green Bay takes a QB in the first three rounds. I do think the Packers will draft a QB—just not in the first three rounds. IF Green Bay does select a quarterback, I would be very disappointed.
Mike Sullivan, WBA Hall of Fame Broadcaster: Disappointed… they should focus on needs this year, not ‘best athlete available’ and should also try to take advantage of whatever is left of the “Aaron Rodgers” window.
Joel Finkelman, Lucas in the Morning: If the Packers select a quarterback in the first four rounds, it would be a tremendous waste of time. Everything the Packers have in terms of infrastructure is built on one solid foundation: Aaron Rodgers. If he goes down with a prolonged injury, it simply doesn’t matter. That season automatically becomes a wash. The roster in its current form is currently weak at corner, ILB, WR, TE (even with Graham) and is thin at OLB and safety to boot. Therefore, even if we had a top-tier backup, what the hell would it matter? If the roster was more shored up than by all means go ahead and spend a luxury pick on a QB you can groom. But because of how things are now? It would be a waste of time. Starters and reliable guys can be found throughout the fourth round. I would be massively disappointed if the Packers drafted a QB on either of the first two days.
Drew Olson, The Drew Olson Show: Somewhat surprised. I don’t see it as a huge need, but if they see someone that they love…
Pete Knutson, Eau Claire Sports Director: I’d feel bad because I’m a Vikings fan and I think that’s a smart move because I don’t think Rodgers is going to be a Packer after his contract expires. I’d rather the Packers forget to get a QB of the future and putter around for a few years aimlessly after Rodgers leaves.
Jimmie Kaska, former Cadott Little League outfielder #15: Wouldn't it be something if the Packers found Aaron Rodgers' heir apparent and traded up to get him. I literally would have the easiest job in the world because I'd be posting Packers takes on the quarterback situation from now until Rodgers leaves. Favre-Rodgers 2.0. So, naturally, I'd be fine with that.
Brian Posick, Milwaukee/Madison Sports Director: I'm fine with that. I think we all learned that Brett Hundley is not the answer if Rodgers goes down again.
Dave McCann, Badgers Executive Producer: I think they need a better backup quarterback... if they get the QB in the first two rounds, I'd be questioning Aaron Rodgers' future.
Armen Saryan, The Drew Olson Show: I'd feel fine. Not having a good backup has been a flaw for the Packers recently and they need to work to improve that.
Spenser Williams, The Big 920 Reporter: If he’s the best player on the board, go for it. Otherwise, I’d wait.
4. How many mock drafts have you consumed this year?
Pete Knutson, Eau Claire Sports Director: I’ve been trying to watch my figure. I’m on a strict no-mock draft diet.
Drew Olson, The Drew Olson Show: Zero. The only thing more worthless is the day-after-the-draft letter grades.
Armen Saryan, The Drew Olson Show: Not too many, at a certain point it's just useless time filler.
Spenser Williams, The Big 920 Reporter: Not as many as in years past; plus, mock drafts usually get blown up once the draft starts.
Brian Posick, Milwaukee/Madison Sports Director: 1 or 2. Not that interested in what the other teams do, unless they draft a former Badger.
Dave McCann, Badgers Executive Producer: Only 2.
Mike Sullivan, WBA Hall of Fame Broadcaster: 1,736 1/3… no, actually more like 3-4.
Mike Heller, The Mike Heller Show: I’m probably in the minority—but I’ve consumed less than 10 mock drafts. Is that a lot, or a little?
Joel Finkelman, Lucas in the Morning: ALL THE MOCK DRAFTS!
Jimmie Kaska, former Cadott Little League outfielder #15: Too many, but mostly to post stuff to this website.
5. With the 14th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers select...
Mike Heller, The Mike Heller Show: Green Bay trades up and selects Derwin James, safety, FSU. Or… with the 14th pick of the NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers select Tremaine Edmunds, linebacker, Virginia Tech.
Pete Knutson, Eau Claire Sports Director: Growing up in Michigan during all those awful Lions seasons, my Lions fan friends always would say the Lions, “should draft a horse…and then shoot the horse.” I don’t think it’s that bad for the Packers and I think they’ll get good value for their 1st round pick. I’m banking on Denzel Ward.
Dave McCann, Badgers Executive Producer: Hearing rumors the Packers are talking about moving up in the first round. If they do, they're probably looking for a quality defensive player...if they move up, I say they pick Ohio State's Denzel Ward. If Ward is still there for 14 then they still take him.
Armen Saryan, The Drew Olson Show: No one at 14. I have a feeling they will trade to move up. Gutekunst wants to make his first impression good and he will try and get a great player. The name I will predict is Denzel Ward.
Brian Posick, Milwaukee/Madison Sports Director: CB Josh Jackson, Iowa.
Joel Finkelman, Lucas in the Morning: I keep flip-flopping on this. But seeing as how there isn’t a first round DB the Packers haven’t loved in the last 5 years, let’s go with Josh Jackson.
Jimmie Kaska, former Cadott Little League outfielder #15: I'll be surprised if it's anyone but a defensive back. Josh Jackson of Iowa makes so much sense. But, if they trade into the top, say, six in the Draft, they could have their pick of the best non-QB, non-Saquon Barkley player in the entire field. That's Bradley Chubb territory, right? (I don't see them trading down... they already have NINE day-three picks).
Drew Olson, The Drew Olson Show: An outside linebacker or defensive back from Alabama.
Spenser Williams, The Big 920 Reporter: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama!
Mike Sullivan, WBA Hall of Fame Broadcaster: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama (if he falls to them or they trade up) or Marcus Davenport, UTSA.