Packers Offseason Report Card: NFL Draft

Is it too soon to grade the Packers’ 2024 draft class? Of course it is. Nonetheless, here is an updated look at the 11-man class following minicamp.
Green Bay Packers safety Javon Bullard (20) runs through drills during offseason practices.
Green Bay Packers safety Javon Bullard (20) runs through drills during offseason practices. / Tork Mason / USA TODAY NETWORK
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers had five picks in the first three rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft and 11 selections overall. Is it too soon to grade the draft class? Duh – just like in April. But let’s do it, anyway, as our series of offseason report cards continues with an updated look at the rookie class.

Sudden Impact With Early Picks

With one pick in the first round, two selections in the second round and two more in the third round, the Packers had a chance to add some sudden impact to their rising roster.

Barring an injury, there should be at least two rookie starters for the Week 1 game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The first of the second-round picks was spent on safety Javon Bullard. He almost certainly will move past second-year player Anthony Johnson and move into the starting lineup alongside free-agent addition Xavier McKinney within the first week or two of training camp.

“I feel like we’re going to complement each other very well,” he said. “At the end of the day, I know he’s going to do his job and he expects me to do the same thing. Just making sure we’re on the same page and making sure we get the job done.”

Bullard is a bit undersized but has plenty of athleticism and a history of physicality while at Georgia.

“I know what type of person he is,” cornerback Eric Stokes, who also played at Georgia, said. “He’s a dog. He’s a savage. He’s going to come and he’s knocking heads off.”

With mixed results, Bullard also got some work in the slot with the No. 1 defense. He figures to be the backup to Keisean Nixon.

The other instant starter should be linebacker Edgerrin Cooper, the second of the second-round picks. The Packers’ No. 1 defense throughout the offseason had Quay Walker at middle linebacker flanked by Isaiah McDuffie and Eric Wilson. Cooper took some of the first-team snaps from Wilson. As is the case with Bullard, it shouldn’t be long before Cooper is a full-fledged starter.

Arguably no player on defense made more plays than Cooper during the offseason. The athleticism that made him an All-American at Texas A&M was on display repeatedly. On a number of occasions, he shot into the backfield for a tackle for loss. His closing speed is real. The range of Walker and Cooper could be game-changers.

But first, Cooper will have to show what he can do when the pads go on and the competition is real.

“Staying on the gas,” Cooper said of his plan leading up to training camp. “I’m trying to come in and perform for my team and doing what’s best for my team. So, really, just staying on the pedal and doing what I got to do. Staying in shape. Getting more in shape. Staying in the playbook and doing everything I need to do.”

The first-round pick, offensive lineman Jordan Morgan, played every position but center during the four weeks of practices. At this point, there appears to be two paths to being a Week 1 starter. Right tackle could be open if Zach Tom’s torn pectoral hasn’t fully healed. If Tom is ready to go, Morgan could challenge Sean Rhyan at right guard.

Running back MarShawn Lloyd was the first of the third-round picks. Like Cooper, Lloyd’s explosiveness is obvious to anyone with a semi-functioning pair of eyes. He’s got questions to answer in the passing game – the one-on-one pass blitz drill and preseason games will be key – but he made a nifty one-handed catch on a wayward screen for a big gain during minicamp.

Linebacker Ty’Ron Hopper was the second of the third-round picks. Coach Matt LaFleur frequently splits the team into two, with the starters and top backups on the north side of the practice field and everyone else on the south side. Hooper has been stuck on the south end.

Six Selections in Day 3

The draft was rounded out by safety Evan Williams in the fourth round, center Jacob Monk and safety Kitan Oladapo on the fifth round, offensive tackle Travis Glover in the sixth round, and quarterback Michael Pratt and cornerback Kalen King in the seventh round.

As you might expect based on draft pedigree, Williams looks like the player most likely to make an immediate impact. He was in the right spot at the right time to blow up receivers on a couple of Jordan Love completions during the minicamp.

Pratt clearly outplayed Sean Clifford during the practices that were open to reporters. He’s a bit robotic in the pocket; it will be interesting to see how he plays when he gets more comfortable with what he’s being asked to do.

Obviously, Monk and Glover will have to wait until things get physical to show whether they belong. Monk has grown-man strength and Glover is a massive individual, making both players intriguing developmental prospects. Oladapo missed the offseason while recuperating from a broken toe suffered during the Combine. He and Williams should be instant contributors on special teams.

King, the former Penn State All-American, was the last cornerback selected. He spent most of the offseason on the south end of the field. It will be interesting to see him face the team’s top receivers during one-on-ones in training camp.

Final Grade: B

Of course, it’s too early to say whether this group will rival the powerful 2022 and 2023 draft classes. However, nobody looked out of place.

If an offensive lineman can’t pass protect during OTAs and minicamp, he’s going to have a hard time doing it when it’s live. Morgan’s athleticism stood out in that regard. Bullard and Cooper are big-time athletes, giving new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley two prospects that must make former coordinator Joe Barry envious. Lloyd’s athleticism – coupled with his powerful build – will make him a player to watch when training camp begins.

The Packers need those four players to be instant contributors, and they appear to be on their way.

If Hopper, Williams and Oladapo can be quality players on special teams while showing long-term upside on defense and if Monk shows some long-term starter potential, the grade could move to A.

More Green Bay Packers News

Latest NFC North odds | Key five weeks for Edgerrin Cooper | Updated report card: Free agency | PFF’s center rankings give Watt/King vibe | Jekyll and Hyde Packers | Christian Watson healthy, hopeful | Top 10 roster | Minicamp ends day early | Preston Smith on scheme, sacks | Four INTs for Sean Clifford


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Bill Huber

BILL HUBER

Bill Huber, who has covered the Green Bay Packers since 2008, is the publisher of Packer Central, a Sports Illustrated channel. E-mail: packwriter2002@yahoo.com History: Huber took over Packer Central in August 2019. Twitter: https://twitter.com/BillHuberNFL Background: Huber graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he played on the football team, in 1995. He worked in newspapers in Reedsburg, Wisconsin Dells and Shawano before working at The Green Bay News-Chronicle and Green Bay Press-Gazette from 1998 through 2008. With The News-Chronicle, he won several awards for his commentaries and page design. In 2008, he took over as editor of Packer Report Magazine, which was founded by Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Nitschke, and PackerReport.com. In 2019, he took over the new Sports Illustrated site Packer Central, which he has grown into one of the largest sites in the Sports Illustrated Media Group.