By MARQUES EVERSOLL
Finally … We made it. Welcome to Draft Day 2020.
The Green Bay Packers hold 10 picks in this year’s draft; however, if general manager Brian Gutekunst’s first two drafts are any indication, expect some wheeling and dealing this weekend.
Before we get to my picks, I’d like to offer my one (run-on) sentence summary of the Packers’ To-Do List in this year’s draft: they need weapons and will take one in the first two rounds, but they also need to weigh their needs on both lines of scrimmage, and at linebacker although they haven’t put serious resources into that position in a long time, and you can’t overlook running back and cornerback, which may not seem like immediate needs, but they could be gaping holes a year from now. (Exhale)
Of course, you can’t pour high picks into every single need. You do what you can.
(NOTE: For the projected trades, I used the Rich Hill trade value chart from DraftTek. The number in parentheses is the “point value” for the picks.)
ROUND 2 — #36 — WR Brandon Aiyuk (Arizona State)
PROJECTED TRADE: GB trades #30 (196) to NYG for #36 & #110 (194)
I’ve said over-and-over: the Packers need a “point guard.” There are three receivers in this draft that stand out to me as perfect fits for the Packers: Aiyuk, Jalen Reagor and Laviska Shenault. If the Packers are going to pick at No. 30, I think it means that someone they absolutely love — and didn’t expect to be there — fell into their lap. If that’s the case, great. If not, I think they’ll be able to move back into the early second round and still get a player they considered at 30. Why not pick up another pick in the process? (OTHER POSSIBLE PICKS: OT Austin Jackson, DT Ross Blacklock, WR Denzel Mims, QB Jordan Love)
ROUND 2 — #52 — DT Justin Madubuike (Texas A&M)
PROJECTED TRADE: GB trades #62 & #110 (112) to LAR for #52 (109)
Ross Blacklock has been a common projected pick for the Packers in the first round throughout “Mock Draft SZN.” While I think the Packers could absolutely use another force next to Kenny Clark on the defensive line, I’m not sure how much better Blacklock is than Madubuike. Both have a lot of upside, and both would crack the D-Line rotation the moment they stepped in the door. (OTHER POSSIBLE PICKS: LB Jordyn Brooks, DT Marlon Davidson, RB J.K. Dobbins, WR Laviska Shenault if they didn’t pick a WR already)
ROUND 3 — #94 — LB Logan Wilson (Wyoming)
Logan Wilson is, without question, one of my favorite “value picks” in this year’s draft. Coincidentally, he also falls under the category of “feels like a Packer.” You won’t find a more productive linebacker in this draft than this four-year starter with more than 400 tackles and 10 interceptions. (OTHER POSSIBLE PICKS: OT Matt Peart, OT Ben Bartch, RB if someone falls, WR Donovan Peoples-Jones if they wait on WR)
ROUND 4 — #120 — OT Jack Driscoll (Auburn)
PROJECTED TRADE: GB trades #136, #208 & #209 (22) to NYJ for #120 (22)
This is the part of the draft that the Packers have struck gold on the offensive line. Jack Driscoll isn’t a “sexy” pick by any means, but he’s athletic and versatile enough to play guard or line up at right tackle. I’d be shocked if the Packers don’t draft multiple offensive linemen. (OTHER POSSIBLE PICKS: WR Devin Duvernay, CB Reggie Robinson II, LB Evan Weaver, RB Darrynton Evans)
ROUND 5 — #175 — WR John Hightower (Boise State)
The classic example of, “We have no choice but to take him.” Honestly, I think Hightower could go as early as the third round because of his upside. However, I’ve done countless mock drafts, and he remains available into Day 3 of the draft. If you’re on the clock and Hightower is there, you’re not going to say, “HE SHOULDN’T BE HERE.” You take him.
ROUND 6 — #192 — OL Jon Runyan Jr. (Michigan)
He’s steady. He’s versatile. His dad played in the NFL. There are no guarantees in the NFL — ever — but Runyan is as rock solid a late-round pick as you’ll ever find.
ROUND 7 — #236 — CB Madre Harper (Southern Illinois)
Under the category of “Ka’dar Hollman,” the Packers clearly prefer top-notch athletic profiles at cornerback. Madre Harper is rawer than raw, but he’s 6-foot-2 190 pounds, ran a 4.41 in the 40-yard dash, and posted a 40-inch vertical. These picks are “dart throws,” and this is a really athletic “dart.”
ROUND 7 — #242 — FB/RB Sewo Olonilua (TCU)
The presence of the fullback returned when Matt LaFleur brought his offense to Green Bay. However, the Packers lost their fullback when Danny Vitale signed with the Patriots. Fullback is an underrated, sneaky hole for the Packers, and it wouldn’t be surprising for them to add another athletic player at the position.