GREEN BAY, Wis. – The NFL Draft is in nine weeks. The Green Bay Packers have needs at cornerback, receiver, linebacker and on both sides of the line. We addressed all of those needs in our second mock draft, which was powered by The Draft Network's Mock Draft Machine.
First round: Tulsa LB Zaven Collins. A big man with a big skill-set, Collins was a unanimous first-team All-American and runner-up for the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker after recording 53 tackles, 11.5 tackles for losses, four sacks, four interceptions and one forced fumble in 2020. He’s listed at 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds, giving him uncommon size for the position. He can stop the run, he can play zone coverage and he can attack the quarterback. Of course, the Packers have shown no inclination of using premium draft picks at this position.
Second round: Syracuse CB Ifeatu Melifonwu. The Packers need a corner. Everybody knows that. The question is whether general manager Brian Gutekunst wants to get someone with traits that complement Jaire Alexander or if any skilled cornerback would be the early target. Melifonwu is 6-foot-3 with rare athleticism. Kevin King was 6-foot-3 with rare athleticism, too. That didn’t work out but size matters with so many towering receivers in the league. So, let’s get a bigger corner.
Third round: Oklahoma State WR Tylan Wallace. Wallace, who we grabbed in our first mock, caught 198 passes and scored 26 touchdowns during his final three seasons. As a senior, he caught 59 passes for 922 yards and six touchdowns. Wallace is a quality route-runner and sure-handed threat who can win inside and outside. Aaron Rodgers would love his contested-catch ability. He needs to improve his releases. Fortunately, Davante Adams could help.
Fourth round: Stanford OT Walker Little. In 2017, Little became Stanford’s first true freshman to start at left tackle since 2000. In 2018, he was first-team all-Pac-12. However, he missed most of 2019 with a knee injury and opted out of 2020. With that, he could go in the second round or at this point in Day 2.
Fourth round (compensatory): Kentucky C Drake Jackson. This is the second consecutive mock in which we were thrilled to get Jackson. The Packers might need to replace Corey Linsley and Jackson was a four-year starter in the rugged SEC. He is undersized and underpowered but has the athleticism to thrive in Green Bay’s zone scheme. PFF charged him with only one sack the past three seasons.
Fifth round: Texas A&M DT Bobby Brown III. At 6-foot-4 and 325 pounds, Brown is straight out of Central Casting. He had 5.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for losses in 2020. Those flashes show the good sign of Brown. He needs to become more consistent, which is why he might tumble into Day 3. At the very least, he’ll contribute on running downs.
Fifth round (compensatory): Buffalo RB Jaret Patterson. The Packers have AJ Dillon but could lose Aaron Jones and Jamal Williams in free agency. Patterson needed only six games to rush for 1,072 yards and 19 touchdowns, thanks to back-to-back games of 301 yards vs. Bowling Green and 409 yards vs. Kent State. In three seasons, he rushed for 3,884 yards. He’s not big and he’s not fast but he was made for a zone scheme. Can he catch? Patterson had zero catches last year and 20 in three seasons. That was the knock on Dillon at this time last year.
Sixth round: UAB WR Austin Watkins. Given the state of the roster in 2022, the Packers are practically guaranteed to draft a receiver this year and perhaps multiple receivers. In 2019, Watkins caught 57 passes for 1,092 yards and six touchdowns. In seven games in 2020, he caught 34 balls for 468 yards and three scores. At 6-foot-1 1/2, he’s a good route-runner and flashes strong hands.
Sixth round (compensatory): Cal CB Camryn Bynum. Chandon Sullivan had a good season in the slot but, at the very least, the team could use some depth. Bynum is an intriguing fit there because he’s such a solid run defender. He has a lot of experience with six interceptions and 28 passes defensed for his career. Zone is his cup of tea; at this point, who knows what new defensive coordinator Joe Barry wants to play.
Seventh round: North Carolina Central CB Bryan Mills. The Packers need help at corner, with Kevin King headed to free agency and former draft picks Josh Jackson and Ka’dar Hollman not even good enough to be on the active roster for the playoff games. So, let’s take another swing at the bat with a small-school star. When he last played in 2019, the 6-foot-1 Mills was an FCS All-American with a conference-leading five interceptions. He became only the third player in school history selected to the Senior Bowl. He struggled there; was it because of a lack of skill or the long layoff?