The 2020 NFL Draft is less than two weeks away, which means that The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for every team. Each NFL team will be looked at heading into this year’s draft including what their needs are and who they could be targeting. The Green Bay Packers are the subject of today’s profile.
The Packers returned to form and returned to the playoffs in 2019. Their 13-3 record won them the NFC North, and earned them a first round bye. In fact, if the Seahawks had gained a few more inches on their final play against the 49ers in the last game of the season, Green Bay would have been the number one seed in the NFC.
After dispatching the Seahawks in the Divisional Round, the Packers travelled to San Francisco for the NFC Championship. They were defeated handily by the 49ers rushing attack and missed out on a chance to earn Aaron Rodgers another Super Bowl win.
However, there is plenty of optimism surrounding the team. Aaron Jones proved to be one of the best running backs in the entire NFL, scoring the most touchdowns of any player. Aaron Rodgers was asked to do less, but still succeeded despite the lack of receiving talent. And the defense finally took a step forward, being led by the “Smith Brothers,” Za’Darius and Preston.
In free agency, the Pack lost some big pieces, namely Bryan Bulaga and Blake Martinez. They supplemented those losses by signing OT Rick Wagner and LB Christian Kirksey. Devin Funchess was also signed to help the receiving core. Their other free agent spending came in re-signing in-house talent such as TE Marcedes Lewis and RB Tyler Ervin.
There are holes that need filling if Green Bay wants to return to the NFC Championship Game, let alone the Super Bowl. But the team is not far away as a whole. In short, the Packers picked a good year to need wide receivers, as the 2020 Draft may be the deepest pass-catching draft the NFL has ever seen.
2020 NFL Draft Picks
The Packers have ten picks in the 2020 NFL Draft.
First Round (one pick) – No. 30
Second Round (one pick) – No. 62
Third Round (one pick) – No. 94
Fourth Round (one picks) – No. 136
Fifth Round (one pick) – No. 175
Sixth Round (three picks) – No. 192, No. 208, No. 209
Seventh Round (two picks) – No. 236, No. 242
Wide Receiver – Aside from Davante Adams, there was not a single reliable wide receiver on the roster. Valdez-Scantling, Kumerow, Lazard and St. Brown were simply not getting the job done, and even hurt Aaron Rodgers’ numbers along the way. Jimmy Graham was also lost to free agency, and did not help much when he was there. This is the Packers’ most glaring need.
Linebacker – Losing bona fide tackle machine Blake Martinez is a huge problem for the Packers. He not only played and started in every game since 2017, he racked up over 140 tackles in each of those seasons. Replacing his production through the draft will be nearly impossible, but they have to start somewhere.
Offensive Tackle – The Pack also lost another seminal piece of their team when Bryan Bulaga left in free agency for the Los Angeles Chargers. Bulaga had been a Packer since 2010, and even won Super Bowl XLV with Green Bay. Always reliable when he was healthy, Bulaga’s abilities will need to be supplemented through the draft.
Quarterback – As has been the case since Matt Flynn left town, the Packers still do not have a viable option at backup QB. If Aaron Rodgers goes down, their season could very much sink. Plus, it may be time to think about a succession plan for Rodgers, just in case.
2020 NFL Draft Targets
Pick No. 30: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
Unless something completely unforeseen happens and someone with incredible value drops to this spot, the Packers need to address wide receiver first.
Denzel Mims, however, may be wishful thinking at the 30th pick. Especially considering how many teams above the Packers have to address the receiver position as well. He could very well fall to them, depending on the trading going on above them.
A six-foot-three receiver with almost 30 touchdowns in his four years in college is hard to turn down. Physicality and size is what the Packers need, and Mims is one of the best options for those in 2020. Alternatively, Laviska Shenault, Jr. out of Colorado is another good choice here if Mims is gone, but many teams have their eyes on him as well.
Pick No. 62: Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State
Ezra Cleveland could help supplement the loss of Bryan Bulaga. He is similar in size and skill set and could plug into the line right away, as long as he buys into the system and has synergy with the rest of the offense.
Some mock drafts have Cleveland going as early as the first round, others have him as late as the fourth. Considering the chaos that always surrounds the draft, it is unclear whether or not he will be available at this spot. If there is a run on lineman, the Packers may have to focus on another position in the second round.
But, there is a good chance either Cleveland or an even better prospect will fall to the Packers in the second round. They should not skimp on lineman as Aaron Rodgers gets older and less mobile. Green Bay needs to draft a good one as early as possible.
Pick No. 94: Anfernee Jennings, LB, Alabama
This pick is more about fit and culture than anything. Jennings, out of Alabama, already comes from a winning program. He knows how to be a part of the system, do his job and help win games. After losing a consummate professional like Martinez, that is the best you can hope for in the third round.
In 2019 alone, Jennings racked up a combined 83 tackles and eight sacks. He also had one forced fumble and one interception. If that kind of play can translate, pairing him with the newly-acquired Christian Kirksey may lighten the burden on Za’Darius Smith.
Jennings was an outside linebacker in college, but shifting him should be no problem, considering his size and athleticism. This pick may be a slight reach, but Alabama cranks out many good prospects every year. It cannot hurt to take a chance on a player from a winning program.
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