GREEN BAY, Wis. – The NFL Draft is here! To celebrate, here are two mock drafts using simulators. In both cases, I ignored trades. What’s more random than a computer simulation of a draft? Computer-simulated trades in a draft. Let me know which you liked better.
First round – Kentucky LB Jamin Davis. Talking with a personnel director this week, he mentioned Davis as a possibility at No. 29. The Packers literally have never had a linebacker like Davis. And, don’t forget, new defensive coordinator Joe Barry is a linebackers coach by trade.
Second round – BYU OT Brady Christensen. This is a great draft for offensive tackles. In this simulation, the class was practically picked clean. In my offensive tackle rankings, which reflect the athleticism the Packers have long desired at the position, Christensen was the last man standing before a major dropoff. Oklahoma C Creed Humphrey was available, too. He’d be an instant starter but the Packers lost the NFC Championship Game because of injuries at tackle.
Third round – South Dakota State WR Cade Johnson. Here’s the slot receiver and instant-impact kick returner the Packers have lacked. You know all those jet-sweep motions? Defenses ignored those after Tyler Ervin was injured. I didn’t consider anyone else at this spot, either.
Fourth round – Minnesota CB Benjamin St-Juste. You can’t line up with a bunch of 5-foot-10 or 5-foot-11 cornerbacks and expect to play winning pass defense. There’s just too many 6-foot-4 receivers in the NFL. That’s why the Packers like Kevin King and that’s why I wanted to get a big guy like St-Juste. He had zero interceptions in his career, which is obviously troubling.
Fourth round – Arkansas DT Jonathan Marshall. Marshall has size (310 pounds), athleticism (4.81) and strength (36 reps on the 225-pound bench press. With that, I’ve knocked out the big needs, which of course isn’t how general managers think but was the goal here.
Fifth round – Stanford C Drew Dalman. Dalman has the athleticism and experience to be a fit in Green Bay’s zone scheme. His dad, Chris, played in the NFL and learned under zone-scheme guru Alex Gibbs. I almost took Dalman in the fourth so was thrilled to get him here.
Fifth round – Texas Tech DB Zech McPhearson. McPhearson showed tremendous ball skills in his two seasons at Texas Tech. You can never have enough nickels, Barry said. Here’s your nickel to join Chandon Sullivan. As was the case with Dalman, I almost took him in the fourth.
Sixth round – Pittsburgh edge Patrick Jones II. Jones spent most of his childhood in Japan, got his start playing football there and climbed Mount Fuji. He’s also a proven pass rusher. I also considered Florida State edge Janarius Robinson and the man I picked next.
Sixth round – Western Michigan OT Jaylon Moore. The Packers have three tackles on the roster with David Bakhtiari, Billy Turner and Yosh Nijman. So, I thought it was important to grab a couple guys. Moore was the best of my Day 3 guys so, in my mind, this is great value.
Seventh round – Georgia TE Tre’ McKitty. This is a forward-thinking pick. Can the Packers afford Robert Tonyan in 2022? And how long will Marcedes Lewis keep playing?
First round – Oklahoma State OT Teven Jenkins. Northwestern CB Greg Newsome, TCU S Trevon Moehrig and Tulsa LB Zaven Collins were on the board. Talking to two high-ranking scouts the past couple days, they didn’t think Collins would get past 20 so I ignored him.
Second round – Florida State CB Asante Samuel Jr. I didn’t think too hard about this pick. Samuel might “only” be a slot but that’s an 80 percent playing time position. With his athleticism and ball skills, he is a superb fit for Green Bay’s zone defenses. Missouri LB Nick Bolton, UCF CB Aaron Robinson, Oregon S Jevon Holland and Whitewater C Quinn Meinerz were available.
Third round – Oklahoma State WR Tylan Wallace. I sure hope the Packers draft Wallace because I have in almost every mock. This time, I chose him ahead of Michigan’s Nico Collins (big and athletic) and Western Michigan’s D’Wayne Eskridge (until the Packers draft a shorter receiver, I will assume they won’t.)
Fourth round – Vanderbilt DL Dayo Odeyingbo. He blew out his Achilles in January and might not play this year but he’s an easy Day 2 talent otherwise. He could play on the edge or inside. Arkansas’ DL Jonathan Marshall was considered but I went with the upside.
Fourth round – Washington CB Keith Taylor. Having taken Samuel, I wanted to take a bigger cornerback because of Kevin King’s injury history and contract (one-year deal). Taylor is 6-foot-2 1/4 and solid in coverage but had zero career interceptions. TCU LB Garret Wallow went one pick before Taylor. I considered Minnesota’s Benjamin St-Juste who, like Taylor, is super-tall with no interceptions.
Fifth round – Arkansas State WR Jonathan Adams. As is the case with Wallace, I hope the Packers take Adams because I’ve done it a lot. He’s the king of the contested catch. Having taken Wallace as a potential slot, Adams is the big, physical receiver. Remember, Green Bay has zero receivers under contract for 2022 with more than five career catches.
Fifth round – Texas DT Ta’Quon Graham. The Packers need a defensive lineman who can potentially play from the jump. That’s Graham. I considered Wisconsin T/G Cole Van Lanen here.
Sixth round: Duke edge Chris Rumph II. Outside linebacker is a low-key need. Rumph, the son of a coach, was a tremendous rusher in college.
Sixth round: Michigan RB Chris Evans. Evans barely touched the ball his final two years at Michigan but is an athletic shot in the dark.
Seventh round: Iowa LB Nick Niemann. Niemann, the son of a coach, was a one-year starter who tested well.