2018 NFL Draft Grades: Green Bay Packers attack the Secondary, again
The Green Bay Packers attacked the secondary early in the 2018 NFL Draft. This marks the second consecutive year the Packers have used their first two picks on defensive backs and the third time in four years. New general manager Brian Gutekunst was much more aggressive in moving up and down the draft board than his predecessor Ted Thompson. I think this will pay off for Green Bay in the long run.
Round 1 – Pick 18 Jaire Alexander – CB – Louisville – Jr
The Packers moved down 13 spots in the first round (picking up a ’19 first) and then moved back up nine spots to draft Jaire Alexander. He should be the Green Bay nickel cornerback from day one. Alexander is a tremendous cover man. He is a phenomenal athlete with 4.38 speed. Alexander could also handle the punt return duties. He did miss a few games this past season but he seems to have recovered.
Round 2 – Pick 45 Josh Jackson – CB – Iowa – Jr
The Packers, like myself, were probably shocked that Josh Jackson was available at pick 45. Jackson has the size and length that NFL teams crave. He also had eight interceptions this past season. Jackson probably won’t be the week one starter but it is only a matter of time before he replaces Tramon Williams.
Round 3 – Pick 88 Oren Burks – LB – Vanderbilt – Sr
Oren Burks was a mid-week add to the Senior Bowl roster and he showed quickly he should have been there the whole time. Burks was highly productive for the Commodores. He is a run and chase linebacker with coverage ability. I believe he can supplant Blake Martinez as a starting inside linebacker at some point. Green Bay thought enough of Burks to trade a 4th and a 5th round pick to move up for him.
Round 4 – Pick 133 J’Mon Moore – WR – Missouri – Sr
J’Mon Moore is a better athlete than you would think despite his 4.6 speed. He is a red zone threat. Moore was productive at Missouri but overall there were better receivers on the board.
Round 5 – Pick 138 Cole Madison – OG – Washington State – Sr
I am not going to sugarcoat this. Cole Madison, in my opinion, is bad at football. Every time I looked up during one-on-one drills at the Senior Bowl, Madison was getting whipped. I just do not see him being an NFL player long-term.
Round 5 – Pick 172 J.K. Scott – P – Alabama – Sr
J.K. Scott was the best punter in this draft class. He is an upgrade over what Green Bay had.
Round 5 – Pick 174 Marquez Valdes-Scantling – WR – South Florida – Sr
MVS tore up the Combine. At 6’4” 205, he ran a 4.37 forty with a 6.85 in the three-cone. MVS transferred to South Florida from NC State and was a productive receiver for the Bulls. Hence, he should be able to contribute to the Packers.
Round 6 – Pick 207 Equanimeous St. Brown – WR – Notre Dame – rSO
St. Brown was my #9 overall wide receiver and #66 overall player. He is big and fast, runs solid routes, and catches the ball well. However, his drop appears to be off-field related. Additionally, there is talk about his lack of focus and his father having LaVar Ball syndrome. Regardless, I think he will be a weapon for the Green Bay Packers. I can’t help but feel the selection of three wide receivers does not bode well for DeAngelo Yancey, Geronimo Allison, and Trevor Davis and their standing on the roster.
Round 7 – Pick 232 James Looney – DL – Cal – Sr
James Looney is an athletic player who should benefit from being able to play three-technique in the NFL. Although, like all late round draft picks he has an uphill climb to make the roster. If he does, I would expect him to prove valuable.
Round 7 – Pick 239 Hunter Bradley – LS – Mississippi State – Sr
Bradley was the only long snapper drafted. He played in the Shrine Game. This is all I will have to say about a long snapper.
Round 7 – Pick 248 Kendall Donnerson – LB – SE Missouri State – Sr
Donnerson is a player I never saw play. Nonetheless, I expect the Green Bay Packers liked what they saw from his workout and didn’t want to compete for his services as an undrafted free agent. He is also a longshot.
Ryan Smith, TE, Miami (OH)
I thought Ryan Smith was one of the best blocking tight ends in this draft class. I even noted that I thought if he added weight he could play tackle. If Green Bay is looking for a #3 TE that can block, Smith could be their guy.
The Green Bay Packers added five players who will likely be starting by the 2019 season with a chance for at least one more. In fact, they added players to their weakest need, the secondary. The Pack also procured more weapons for Aaron Rodgers to attack with and that is always a good thing. Thus, this draft should help them close the gap on Minnesota in the NFC North and get them back to the playoffs in 2018.