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Making Sense of the Puzzling Green Bay Packers Draft

Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports // Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The immediate reactions of the 2020 NFL Draft selections by the Green Bay Packers were overwhelmingly negative, primarily due to the organization not selecting a single wide receiver with any of their nine draft picks. Historically, Green Bay has always believed in the philosophy of acquiring their franchise players through the NFL Draft and developing them. After taking some time to digest the selections, they may be some upside to some of their selections. Here are some of the pros and cons of some of their more questionable decisions.

Trading up to take Utah State QB Jordan Love

Con: Love threw an alarming 17 interceptions last season after a much more efficient 2018 season in which he threw 32 touchdowns and only six interceptions. Talent aside, taking Love here and not taking a wide receiver at all may not sit well with Aaron Rodgers, who already said that he was “surprised” by the pick. This has probably more to with the packers not addressing wide receiver and defensive needs than taking Love here.

Pros: Most pundits actually compare Love more with former Packer Brett Favre than Rodgers. This may explain his 17 interceptions last year, as Love used his strong arm to try to force more plays than in 2018. Love also has big hands, measuring 10.5 inches at the combine, which certainly helps when you have to play cold-weather games. At 6-foot-3 ¾ and 224 pounds, Love has good size, but he’s also more mobile than one might think, running a 4.74 40 at the combine. There was also the whispers coming from the Packers comparing him to Patrick Mahomes.

Verdict: It will only take time to see how Love develops and how this plays out. But this pick may be worth the gamble but this is just one of the issues that most have with not addressing an immediate need in the draft.

Taking a power RB and a TE in the second and third rounds

Pros: This may signal a shift to a more run-heavy power football attack in Green Bay. Dillon runs through people. He will provide a change of pace and may allow Aaron Jones to be used more in the passing game. Take for example how head coach Matt LaFleur used Derrick Henry during his year as the play-caller in Tennessee. This coupled with the third pick, Josiah Deguara, the tight end from Cincinnati, may signal such a move. Deguara is a tight-end/H back combo that should fit well in this type of offense. This type of offense may also do more to protect the aging Rodgers for the future.

Cons: First it goes back to not addressing an immediate need. If you want to change your offense, this works but despite what the numbers say about the Packers defense, they do have some holes which the 49ers were more than glad to expose. Inside Linebacker is a need and the Packers ranked 29th in the league in interceptions with 7 last year. It may also send a message to both Aaron Jones and Jamal Williams, whose contracts will both expire in 2020, that they may also be out of Green Bay at year’s end.

Verdict: If this truly indicates a shift in offensive philosophy, then these were two solid picks. It will truly take the pressure off of Aaron Rodgers, and a more ball-control offense will help the defense. Plus, Rodgers really does like young wideout Allen Lazard, so wideout may not have been that much of need.

Taking three offensive linemen in the sixth round is more about the future

Cons: After having no pick in the fourth round, and taking a flier on a questionable linebacker in the fifth, the Packers took three offensive linemen with their three sixth-round picks. If these picks, (Jon Runyan Jr., OG, Michigan/ Jake Hanson, C, Oregon/ Simon Stepaniak, OG, Indiana) allows the Packers to save $4 million by releasing Lane Taylor, then one of these players may have to step in and take his place. Easier said than done in a year in which offseason workouts will be limited by the coronavirus pandemic.

Pros: All three of these linemen have the potential to start in the NFL. Runyan is the son of former Eagle lineman Jon Runyan, although not as big as his dad. He is more of a guard in the NFL and seems best fit for a zone-blocking scheme, which the Packers run. Hansen was one of the strongest players at the combine, pumping out 33 reps on the bench press for the fourth-highest total among offensive linemen. Stepniak converted from center to right guard at Indiana, and his 37 reps on the bench press were the second-most among all offensive linemen who lifted at the combine.

Verdict: Nice sixth-round picks……..for the future.

OVERALL: After coming off a 13-3 season and coming within one game of making the Super Bowl, this draft has given everyone the impression that the Packers are looking to the future. However, with the uncertainty of how the NFL and all pro sports will play out this season amid the pandemic concerns, this draft may look better with age.

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