Heading into the draft the Packers had some glaring holes on their roster: an edge rusher, a lock down cornerback, depth at offensive line and also depth at the wide receiver position. A daunting task for any general manager, but a challenge that has to be met by first time GM Brian Gutekunst.
Gutekunst’s first move wasn’t a pick, but a trade. The Packers would trade back 13 spots only trade up nine spots, picking up the Saints’ 2019 first round pick in the process.
Round 1 , Pick 18: Jaire Alexander CB Louisville Although he is on the “short” end of the spectrum what Alexander lacks in height, he more than makes up for in speed. Alexander ran a 4.38 at the combine, which landed him 4th fastest at the CB position and slower than only two of the wideouts at the combine. Packers were able to snatch a top 3 CB in the draft.
Round 2 , Pick 45: Josh Jackson CB Iowa CB? Didn’t they draft a cornerback in the first round? Yes, but when another top three corner falls into your lap in the 2nd round you have to take him. Rather then try to keep pace with WRs like Alexander does, Jackson is the type of physical CB that would rather slow receivers down. Although he measured on the “slow” end of the spectrum, Jackson still has proven to have a nose for turnovers. Last season at Iowa, Jackson led the nation in INTs with eight. I’m not a fan of taking CBs back to back, however both players appear to have a bright future in the NFL.
Round 3 , Pick 88: Oren Burks LB Vanderbilt Awesome! We got our edge rusher! Actually no, Burks is not that type of linebacker. Last season a major issue for the Packers defense was defending the screen and covering RBs running passing routes out of the backfield. Enter: Oren Burks. Small enough to squeeze past linemen, but big enough to be a sure tackler, Burks is a converted safety playing the linebacker position. This was a disappointing pick at first glance, but where we passed on an edge rusher we gained a significant role playing LB.
Round 4 , Pick 133: J’Mon Moore WR Missouri There is sure to be a dog fight this pre season for the WR3 spot on the Packers’ roster and Moore will be firmly in the mix. The biggest issue for Moore, however, is his inconsistent catch rate. He has been known to drop a few balls here and there, BUT you know who else struggled with catching the ball? Davante Adams and look at him now. The Packers are deep enough at WR that they could afford to wait till the 4th round to pick a wideout. If Moore can work on the drops then we landed what could end up being a great WR2.
Round 5 , Pick 138 Cole Madison OL Washington State Luke Falk became the all time leading passer in Pac-12 history this past season. At 6’5″ , 308 lbs Cole Madison is a “big” reason why. Although he comes from an “air raid” style offense, many scouts think he will have little trouble adapting to the NFL.
Round 5 , Pick 172 JK Scott P Alabama EVERYONE STAY CALM! If you think you need to draft a punter, why not grab the best one in the draft. The 5th round is a little early… let’s be honest Gutekunst was probably three bud light limes deep at this point.
Round 5 , Pick 174 Marquez Valdes – Scantling WR USF On the surface this appears to be more WR depth, but when you dig deeper you find a 4.37 gunner and return man for special teams. Couple this gunner’s speed with the hang time of rookie JK Scott’s punts and the Packers may have drafted a deadly combo.
Round 6 , Pick 207 Equanimeous St. Brown WR Notre Dame Originally viewed as a top WR in the draft, St. Brown saw his stock plummet due to character issues. A 6’4″ WR with 4.48 speed, the Packers’ future at the position fell right into their lap.
Round 7 , Pick 232 James Looney DL California A defensive end in college, Looney will most likely be asked to bulk up and play defensive tackle for Green Bay. It will definitely be interesting to see how new DC Mike Pettine decides to use him.
Round 7 , Pick 239 Hunter Bradley LS Mississippi State So not only are the Packers “that team” that drafted a punter, but the are also “that team” that drafted a long snapper. Bradley started his collegiate career as a tight end, but injuries forced him into the long snapper role. This is a “head scratcher” a draft pick.
Round 7 , Pick 248 Kendall Donnerson LB SE Missouri State Finally! Finally an edge rusher! With their last pick the Packers saw fit to draft an edge rusher with 4.4 speed.
In his first draft as GM Brian Gutekunst did well, on paper. Not only did he fill glaring holes on the roster but acquired a first round pick in 2019 in the process. The Packers 2018 draft class gets an “A” from me.