Feel Free to Mock Away.Posted:Apr 22nd, 2022 1:11 am
It’s time for my annual mock draft, which we all know is a Gilbert Brown-sized waste of time, because Gutey, armed with 11 picks and four in the first 59 will make deals and move up and down the board as he sees fit. But it’s a fun exercise and it’s too cold and rainy to play golf.
First, I’ve been doing this since 2011 and have nailed exactly two picks in all those drafts: Randall Cobb and Amari Rodgers (though I had the Pack taking him in the second round; whatever, it still counts). So please don’t fall in love with any of these picks.
The big question for me is whether the Pack packages a couple of early picks to move up into the teens to grab a guy they know won’t be there at 22. Potential guys they could have their eye on: WRs Jameson Williams, Chris Olave and Drake London, DL Jordan Davis and S Kyle Hamilton. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Pack offered 22 and 53 to a team like the Ravens to go up and get their guy. I’ll present that alternate universe at the end of this mock draft. So, without further ado…
1 (22): Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas: This is a popular pairing in mock drafts and if the top four guys are off the board (Wilson, Williams, London, Olave), I think the Packers pounce on Burks, knowing that there are a number of WR-needy teams lurking before they pick again at 28. To me, there’s a drop off after him and the Packers can’t pass up his size (6’2” 225) and his big play potential. His 40 time didn’t wow, but one look at his highlight tape and you watch him run away from SEC DBs. He has been compared to AJ Brown and projects into a possible Deebo Samuel role. The Pack gets its #1 wideout.
1 (28): Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE, Penn State: I debated long and hard here between edge and safety, but ultimately decided the Packers can’t pass up the potential of the former Nittany Lion who was born in the same hometown as Joel Embiid in Camaroon. Still scratching the surface of his potential after starting just one year in college, Ebiketie won’t be asked to eat up a ton of snaps as a rookie, but will be an ideal third rusher behind Preston Smith and Rashan Gary with an eye on replacing Smith full time in a couple of years.
2 (53): Darian Kinnard, G, Kentucky: After cutting Billy Turner and watching Lucas Patrick leave via free agency, the Pack must reload up front. With David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins battling back from knee injuries, they need additional bodies. When healthy, Green Bay has three guys that can start at tackle (if you include Yosh Nijman), and while Kinnard started at RT the last three years, he projects as a guard who could kick out if needed. He was a consensus All America and was named the SEC’s top blocker. He’ll give Royce Newman immediate competition. Not a sexy pick, but neither was Jenkins a few years ago in the second round.
2 (59): Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State: The Packers are bringing back their entire tight end group from a year ago, but there are questions everywhere in ’22 and beyond. We have no idea when Robert Tonyan will be able to go, Josiah Deguara and Dominique Daffney are mysteries and Marcedes Lewis is almost my age. McBride won the Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end, and while he doesn’t project to be a Travis Kelce type, he can be a top ten tight end, one who blocks and can run a number of route trees. Two time captain, special teams dynamo, and a unanimous All American. If he’s off the board, the Pack could stay at tight end and turn to UCLA’s Greg Dulcich or Ohio State’s Jeremy Ruckert.
3 (92): Alec Pierce, WR Cincinnati: Every year, I develop a crush on a couple of wide receivers. Last year it was Brandon Aiyuk and Laviska Shenault. Pierce and Boise State’s Khalil Shakir are my guys this year. Pierce may not make it to 92 and the Pack could move up to get him. Matt LaFleur is close friends with Mike Denbrock, who was Pierce’s OC before heading to LSU this offseason and no doubt knows all about what makes him special. Pierce would instantly be a factor on the outside, and his ability as a blocker and to go up and get 50-50 balls will make him a Rodgers favorite.
4 (132): Tycen Anderson, S, Toledo: I would be very happy if the Pack doesn’t wait till day three to find another safety, but that’s how things fell for me. Though Amos and Savage are entrenched as starters, neither are locks to be back in ’23, so the Pack needs to add some depth; not to mention the guys behind the starters are nothing special. Anderson screams Packer: two time captain, team leader, special teams star who can play in the nickel if needed and on all four of Rich Bisaccia’s ST units.
4 (140): Matthew Butler, DL, Tennessee: This is a pick for 2023, when Dean Lowry and Jarran Reed are likely gone and the Pack hopes that TJ Slaton has taken a big step and getting starter snaps. There will be an opportunity for Butler to be in the mix as well. He was a captain and leader of the defense with the Vols, which went through a number of coaches while he was there. Production wasn’t great, but he’s smart, plays hard and might be Lowry 2.0.
5 (171): Max Mitchell, T, Louisiana: If the Pack ends up making ten or eleven picks, I have to think they’ll draft two offensive linemen. Mitchell was a three year starter at right tackle and has the size at 6’6” 307. Needs to get stronger and projects to the back end of the depth chart in ’22, but worth a look at this point in the draft.
7 (228): Romeo Doubs, WR, Nevada: The Pack hits the trifecta with their third WR pick and this time they roll the dice on a guy whose 4.72 40 time hass him dropping down draft boards. He plays much quicker on the field—he was the nation’s sixth ranked punt returner, a spot that is perennially open on the Pack’s depth chart. With Burks, Lazard, Cobb, Rodgers, Pierce and Watkins on board, Doubs will need to show something this summer to earn a spot in the suddenly much deeper wide receiver room.
7 (249): Ja’Quan McMillian, CB, E. Carolina: While they have maybe the best trio of corners in the league, the Pack has significant questions after that and there’s no way they won’t add one in the draft. McMillian is a bit undersized for the Pack at 5’10”, but has amazing ball skills, with 40 passes defended in 33 games and 10 picks in his career. He projects as a nickel guy because of his size, and that is an area the Pack could use some depth, since their top three guys all excel on the borders. He competes, loves to tackle and patterns his game after Jalen Ramsey. I’m in.
7 (258): Darien Butler, LB, Arizona State: If the Pack looks to add an inside linebacker late to provide depth and special teams play, they could also consider Wisconsin’s Jack Sanborn, South Dakota’s Jack Cochrane or Colorado’s Nate Landmann. But I think they’ll go with Butler and look at him exclusively as a special teamer. The Pack will build their roster a bit differently going forward and will seek out core special teamers for Bisaccia. Butler is only 5’10” which is not ideal for an NFL linebacker. But as a four year starter who proved his toughness—he had 18 tackles for loss in ten games last year—he could compete for a role on all four special teams.
I really think there’s a better than 50-50 chance Gutey trades up into the middle of the first round to get the wide receiver he wants: likely London or Olave. I hope they consider Williams too, but his ACL recovery and uncertain timeline might give the Pack pause heading into another potential Last Dance season.
But what if safety Kyle Hamilton or DL Jordan Davis are on the board at 14? Would Gutey grab one of them and counter with a wide receiver like Christian Watson, George Pickens or Jahan Dotson at 28? That’s why it’s so intriguing when you have extra cards in your hand.
If Thursday night comes and goes and the Packers don’t add a wide receiver, here are my thoughts: Twitter will explode, the brains of countless Packer fans will explode, but I won’t be among them. Let’s say they select Purdue edge rusher George Karlaftis and Georgia safety Lewis Cine in the first round. Then let’s say they add WRs George Pickens and Alec Pierce in the second. Will anybody still be upset on Saturday morning? I’d be bouncing off the walls.
Is the draft here yet?