Top-30 Visits May Shed Light on Positions Packers Plan to Address

The names brought in on top-30 visits are noteworthy, but perhaps we can glean more from which position groups the Packers are focused on instead.

As part of the pre-draft process, every NFL team is allowed 30 official visits where prospects are able to come to the facility. These prospects don't only have to be early-round picks either; in fact, many are going to be Day 3 selections or even UDFAs. However, it gives the Packers the opportunity to ask questions and to get to know the player a bit better.

In terms of who the specific players are that take these visits, it's noteworthy, but more often than not, those players are going to end up on other teams. 

Peter Bukowski of The Leap recently tweeted out which top-30 picks over the last few years ended up either being drafted by Green Bay or signing with them as a UDFA--and as you can imagine, it's a fairly shortlist. 

In 2021, no top-30 visits became Packers. In 2020, both Jordan Love and Josiah Deguara were early-round picks. The previous year, in 2019, Jace Sternberger, Ka'dar Hollman, and Curtis Bolton ended up Packers. While in 2018, Tim Boyle, Oren Burks, Kendell Donnerson, J'Mon Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Gerhard de Beer all became members of the Packers.

Again, the names that are reportedly in Green Bay for visits should be taken with a grain of salt, but instead, what we can try to glean from that info is what positions the Packers may be looking to address.

Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently reported 28 of the 30 prospects to visit Green Bay. The three most represented position groups were receiver with seven visits, another seven prospects were offensive tackles, and five were interior defensive linemen. The other positions represented were cornerback, safety, inside linebacker, guard, and tight end.

Receiver obviously isn't going to come as much of a surprise as it is considered by just about everyone the biggest need on this Green Bay Packers team. But while the depth certainly needs to be improved, when it comes to specific needs, the Packers need a go-to, high-volume target on the boundary, someone who can add some YAC ability to this offense, and a vertical threat.

The offensive tackle depth is also very thin at the moment, with David Bakhtiari, Yosh Nijman, and maybe Cole Van Lanen as the only healthy options currently. In addition to bolstering the depth, finding some competition for Nijman, who hasn't played right tackle since college and who only has just over 600 career NFL snaps, per PFF, wouldn't be a bad idea either. The depth will improve when Jenkins returns, but at the moment, the Packers are one injury away from being in some serious trouble at the position.

Along the interior defensive line, the Packers have only five players under contract in 2022 -- they'll need more -- and as we look ahead to 2023, there are only two players under contract at that time. On top of that, this is a unit that can be improved, particularly against the run where Green Bay ranked 30th in yards per carry allowed last season.

Not that Green Bay can't upgrade safety, tight end, and linebacker for the 2022 season, but the issues at these positions are more evident in 2023--although the Packers do need to find a reliable third safety for this season. As of now, Vernon Scott, Josiah Deguara, De'Vondre Campbell, and Isaiah McDuffie are the only players under contract in 2023 at those respective positions.

The interior offensive line, like tackle, is a thin position as well, with Van Lanen, Jake Hanson, and Michal Menet the only on the roster options behind Royce Newman, Jon Runyan, and Josh Myers. We all saw a year ago how important offensive line depth can be, and right now, the Packers are lacking in that area.

Lastly, the Packers may be very well positioned at cornerback, but it's also one of those positions where you can never have too much depth--not to mention that any Day 3 selection has the potential to become a core special teams player. 

However, if Green Bay is looking to fill a specific need, having another reliable option in the slot could do wonders for this secondary. Although Jaire Alexander may end the season with the most slot snaps, he is going to be moving around, following the opponent's top receiver, so when that happens, who is going to take those slot snaps? There is very little experience at that position on the roster.

Some of the players who came to Green Bay on a top-30 visit may end up Packers, but there's the very real possibility that none of them do either. More importantly, we can look at which positions have been brought in because that may provide us with some insight into which positions Green Bay is really doing their homework on. And based on what was reported, the positions brought in align with what some of the Packers' biggest needs are.

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Born and raised in Green Bay, WI and I still call it home. After my family, watching the Packers, sharing my opinions on the team through my writing and interacting with other fans is my greatest passion. You can find me on Twitter at @Paul_Bretl. 
 

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Comments (42)

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

April 25, 2022 at 11:09 am

I have quite a number of favorite posters of mine here at CCTV, however I do not believe one of them have been posting recently. Maybe Swish is just sitting back waiting out all of us 'draft crazies' until all the smoke clears. If you read this, I would be interested Swish on your pre-draft thoughts!

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LambeauPlain's picture

April 25, 2022 at 11:24 am

Well, that was enlightening, Paul. Of all 120 pre draft visits over the last 4 years, only 11 were drafted...and only two remain (Love and Deguara). MVS did well and rang the bell in free agency. Boyle...average/below average back up and not a starter...as his time with the Lions is showing. The remaining 7 players didn't do much.

For Gutey, just how valuable are the visits...maybe more useful in removing a player from your board?

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beerandbrats's picture

April 25, 2022 at 12:40 pm

Good comment LP! I could see it being used either way for fringe players, players you're not entirely sold on. Bring them in and let them convince the Packers why they should consider drafting them, or not!

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Bitternotsour's picture

April 25, 2022 at 12:55 pm

Subterfuge. Masking intent. Lotta corporate espionage this time of the year. You're scouting players, covering your tracks, studying the opposition. Whole lot of intrigue and misdirection.

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PatrickGB's picture

April 25, 2022 at 02:50 pm

LP, that’s exactly what I was thinking. And when you get to the lower rounds maybe a player drops and the draft team screams in Guties ear to nab a player he had not considered. I think that I read that once about a player we drafted late.

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LLCHESTY's picture

April 25, 2022 at 03:26 pm

I could see them bringing in two guys they have graded really close and just want to get a feel for who they are as a person. Or if the have a guy they really want to check out and bringing in a couple others at that position to cover who you really wanted to look at.

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Coldworld's picture

April 25, 2022 at 04:23 pm

I believe a lot of teams use them for extended medical evaluation if there are questions. I think it’s also a chance to see how fast the prospect picks up information and to assess football interest and understanding. I suspect the longer format is very helpful gaining insights into the person too. At least one former GM has, from memory, talked about getting insight into players that they think a rival will draft too.

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YouAskedForThis's picture

April 25, 2022 at 12:05 pm

Interesting article Paul. It has indeed been notable how few of visiting prospects become Packers.

Looking at it from a positional stand point instead of individual- we should expect (with high probability) that multiple picks are used on OL, IDL, and WR. Obviously fits the Packers areas of biggest need ....but this is just more evidence that Gutekunst is heavily focusing on these areas !! Can't wait !!!

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murf7777's picture

April 25, 2022 at 02:04 pm

"Looking at it from a positional stand point instead of individual- we should expect (with high probability) that multiple picks are used on OL, IDL, and WR"

What would be interesting to find out is whether there is a correlation in past years to which position did they bring in multiple players compared to what positions they drafted. So, if they bring in 3 or more players in a certain position do they always draft that position. And, do they draft multiple players at that position. That would tell us quite a bit more about how they draft.

I'm also curious if they bring in a player(s) they really are not interested in just to smoke screen other teams into thinking they are interested in said player(s). Especially ones that are expected to be drafted in the first two rounds.

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SpikeHyzer's picture

April 25, 2022 at 05:21 pm

Thank you for lucidly mentioning which positions were focused upon.
That is, more than the individuals, what is important.
I was not aware of who visited--Wilde said the Pack used 28 of their 30 allotted so far--but I trust your comment that those 3 positions were among the most.
How many were EDGEs?
I consider that to be right behind the 3 positions you mentioned (maybe ranking it ahead of OL).

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ImaPayne's picture

April 25, 2022 at 12:26 pm

Some are smoke and mirrors too. I mean they see most of these guys at the combine and it they arent at the combine and dont do pro days then you got nothing. A meet and greet does zippo for you.
No my take on the draft for the Pack is that they will come in considering three options: (one probably decided pre draft)
1. If we move up higher, the more costly wage wise and giving up picks comes into play.
2. If we pick for current need there is a lot of talent through all the early rounds cant hardly go wrong if weve done out homework.
3. If we pick to fill spots based on who we expect the lose next year due to lack of money, we face passing on top talent just sitting there.
How this draft unfolds will determine which of the above they chose to do.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 25, 2022 at 12:28 pm

I agree that the offensive line is one pulled hammy away from being a problem, and I'd like to get two in the Top 100.

I agree we should get a TE and a WR in the Top 100.

The biggest help on defense would come from a third edge guy to rotate with Gary and Smith. After that, a safety. Interior defensive line.....the math doesn't add up. We only play 2.5 defensive linemen per snap. You want Clark out there, you play Slaton on first down and short yardage, and you rotate Lowry and Reed, so anybody we drafted is going to take snaps away from....who? I'm not seeing a DL before Day 3.

Burks/Ruckert as WR/TE
Petit-Frere and Waletzko on the Oline.
Boye Mafe as Edge.

That's my 5 picks in the first 92.

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albert999's picture

April 25, 2022 at 03:07 pm

Love your picks!!

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LLCHESTY's picture

April 25, 2022 at 03:30 pm

Except they have nobody on the D line with the "quick twitch" Montgomery is looking for. The more guys you can rotate in there the better the D looks in the 4th quarter. Anybody that can replace Lowry at 3T on passing situations is fine with me.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 25, 2022 at 03:59 pm

We dress 4 DL, sometimes 5. Clark, Lowry, Reed Slaton. 66 snaps in a game x 2.5 DL/snap is going to = 165 DL snaps. You want Clark for 50 or more. Slaton is going to line up on first downs and short yardage. That's about 25 snaps. So that's about half the snaps for DL. Lowry and Reed will split the rest. The #5 guy's snaps will come at the expense of Lowry and Reed.

This unfairly maligned D-line of Clark, Lowry, Lancaster, Keke, etc. has played well enough to win just about every game in the last three years. I mean, we're 39-10, and of those 10 losses,, I'd only say one of those had a primary problem with our defensive line. We've added Slaton last year and Reed this year.and lost nobody of any importance. These are the four dogs who are going to play this season, unless they're hurt, but they've all got a pretty good history of availability.

Yes, I'd love a good Dlineman. I don't think it's going to take priority over Safety, Edge, WR, or OL

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greengold's picture

April 25, 2022 at 04:33 pm

Oh, c’mon. “Unfairly maligned…” Listing Kenny Clark next to 3 jags…

Slaton is the best thing that ever happened to Clark, and it’s WAY past time to add more help there.

Successful about 35% of the time on 3rd & short? The Packers MUST ADD some difference makers up front who can rush the passer & run stop.

Let’s be - fair - on this… DL is a need EQUAL to OL, WR, EDGE, and S. Jarran Reed certainly helps on his one year deal. Could stand to add at least 1 more, and two would be preferable. Quality rotations, with no drop off in good play.

Aren’t you afraid of wearing out Kenny Clark? Last year was his first taking less than 70% of the D snaps, thanks to Slaton.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 25, 2022 at 04:36 pm

I think the facts speak for themselves
In the last three years, Clark and Lowry have been the main dogs on the defensive line that has played well enough for us to be 39-10, and it's played well enough to win in those 10 losses except for the home loss to Minnesota in 2020.

IOW, we constantly get good play out of that group. Yes, we all stipulate that Clark is a monster, but Lowry has played a helluva lot of snaps over the three years, too. We've had contributions from Lancaster, Keke, and now Slaton, but always in limited supporting roles.

You can point to a stat about 35% success on 3rd and short, but in the big picture, this defensive line plays well enough for us to win. In all likelihood, the addition of Reed and the year's maturation of Slaton will make our defensive line better than the one we had last year, which didn't give up a single TD in the playoffs.

IMO, this unit , and especially Lowry, is unfairly maligned.

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greengold's picture

April 25, 2022 at 06:09 pm

So good, in fact, our DL ranked 27th in pass rush win rate in 2021, 18th in run stop win rate…

26th altogether for our DL in DVOA 2021

24th in 2020

31st in 2019

27th in 2018

But, really… it’s been years of jags playing with Kenny Clark. Fail to invest in quality DL, and, you can see the results are clear. I check these stats all the time throughout a season. Every week, LH. For years. It’s awful play.

I would have booted Lowry and Lancaster outta here before 2020. I said as much then.

Sorry, my friend, but these numbers don’t lie.

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LambeauPlain's picture

April 25, 2022 at 06:24 pm

The overall pass D was very good last year, and the DL was a huge part. The run D is still not a top 10 group, far from it. And they need better run defenders in the front. Drafting run stopping LB and DL talent early will force teams to pass more, into the Packers' strength.

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greengold's picture

April 26, 2022 at 06:20 am

Gutekunst has FAILED the Packers at DL.

As long as he keeps ignoring the DL, we will continue to go nowhere. Our defensive numbers last year overall were in spite of poor personnel work and poor play at the position. That’s how well our LBs and DBs played.

The importance of having top DL players on their team was not lost on his predecessors, Ted Thompson & Ron Wolf:

TT: Ryan Pickett. BJ Raji. Cullen Jenkins. Howard Green.

RW: Reggie White. Gilbert Brown. Santana Dotson. Sean Jones.

BG: Kenny Clark … … ….

Gutekunst, WHEN do you answer THIS BELL? DL?

While I do like both the TJ Slaton pick from R5 last year, and the Jarran Reed signing on a 1 year deal, we must add better talent here. Slaton could become a real gem, and prove himself the steal I felt he was, but it’s too early to know for sure. I see the Reed signing more like Ted’s Howard Green signing.

Gutekunst remains 1-2 top talents short here.

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MarkinMadison's picture

April 25, 2022 at 05:42 pm

If Pickens is out due to injury or attitude, then I think Burks is a safe way to go. I agree with you about getting a TE first over a 2nd WR in the top 100. I don't have a strong opinion about which one.

I love Waletzko. I don't have a strong opinion about a second option at T.

For Edge I think it is best available Edge. There will be a run on two out of the following three in the first round: Edge, T and WR. The Packers have to figure out the value.

For DL I like P. Mathis.

There are so many great potential safeties in this draft, and so many other needs, that I would hate to see a safety taken in the first two rounds. But the board will dictate.

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greengold's picture

April 25, 2022 at 07:29 pm

What I think we really need to do is add a big, high quality run stuffing NT, and a 3-Tech like Devonte Wyatt or Phidarian Mathis. This will allow Clark to work where he’s most effective, in a good 3-Tech rotation, while Slaton and a rookie take over the NT rotation.

There are good run stuffers in this draft at NT too. Not many of them, but, some. I like Neil Ferrell a lot from LSU late Day 2 or early Day 3, if we could get him. His run stop was the best in Power 5 play last year. Imagine adding Wyatt and Ferrell in this draft… Trevor Jones and Mathis… THAT would help this defense immensely, having guys up front doing great work to keep our LBs free to clean up.

All 4 of those guys are plug & play. Wouldn’t that be nice? Our D piling up 3 & outs???

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mnbadger's picture

April 25, 2022 at 12:36 pm

LH, whether your comment turns into reality or not, it's among the sanest of the comments/picks I've seen and makes sense at all levels. Thank you, now bring it on so we get goofy season behind us. GPG! In Gutey I trust!

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Leatherhead's picture

April 25, 2022 at 04:45 pm

Thank you. All the people in the psych ward said I was sane, too. Maybe I'm sane.

I always assume these guys are smarter and more knowledgable than I am, and that anything I can think of they probably already have. But I have a lot of experiences at putting teams together with lots of different pieces involved, and the Packer Braintrust has to see what I see.

The Touchstone Fact is that it makes little sense to bring Rodgers back this year and trade away his #1 target unless you are planning on adding targets/weapons. Explosive guys at WR and TE. Blockers to push people around and give him time. Maybe a RB. They see this, I know they do.

If you put a couple of weapons out on the field with Rodgers, behind good blocking, you're going to be in every game.

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Zapato's picture

April 25, 2022 at 02:33 pm

I believe the Packers had two edge rushers in for visits as well. Sam Williams from Ole Miss and Drake Jackson from USC. Maybe not an immediate need, but I think the Packers are going to look for someone to build up that position at least somewhere in the draft. After all, you draft for the future, right?

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Leatherhead's picture

April 25, 2022 at 04:55 pm

Statistically, there's only around a 10% chance that either of these guys will be drafted by the Packers, based on the percentage of players they've had in for visits in the past and then didn't draft.

Head fakes. Don't fall for the head fakes. You know that Gutekunst likes to have a three stud rotation at OLB. Look at the ones they didn't bring in who are similar.

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PatrickGB's picture

April 25, 2022 at 02:45 pm

Not factored in is maybe after the visit, the team did not actually like them all that much for their slot in the draft order. And maybe they got drafted before GB’s pick opportunity. It’s also possible that some team unexpectedly jumped in front of them or another player became available instead.

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cheesehead1's picture

April 25, 2022 at 03:27 pm

I believe most fans want around the league prefer WR,QB, RB, TE etc but IMO it starts up front, offense and defensive lines. Would really like to see Gute solidify our D into a top 5 unit. Should be a very interesting and unpredictable draft. GPG.

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LLCHESTY's picture

April 25, 2022 at 03:32 pm

There's definitely some skill position panic amongst Packer fans right now. I'm guessing it gets worse(Thursday) before it gets better(Friday).

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Bure9620's picture

April 25, 2022 at 05:10 pm

If we are able to get Jordan Davis, I will wet myself

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Bure9620's picture

April 25, 2022 at 04:33 pm

My fun draft. Only one mock for me this year. This was the best value for me, moved around quite a bit. Missed on Treylon Burks. I also consider Safety and RB sneaky needs. Hence Kyren Williams in the 3rd.

Round 1 Pick 22: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia (A)
Round 2 Pick 8 (SEA): Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan (A)
Round 2 Pick 22: Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State (A-)
Round 3 Pick 3 (NYG): George Pickens, WR, Georgia (A-)
Round 3 Pick 15 (LAC): Nik Bonitto, DE/OLB, Oklahoma (A+)
Round 3 Pick 28: Kyren Williams, RB, Notre Dame (A+)
Round 4 Pick 4 (SEA): Storm Duck, CB, North Carolina (A+)
Round 4 Pick 18 (LAC): Henry To'o To'o, ILB/OLB, Alabama (A+)
Round 5 Pick 17 (LAC): Cole Strange, OG, Chattanooga (A+)
Round 5 Pick 21 (L.V.): Cade Mays, OG, Tennessee (A+)
Round 5 Pick 28: Junior Fehoko, DE/OLB, San Jose State (A+)
Round 5 Pick 29 (S.F.): Nick Cross, FS/SS, Maryland (A+)
Round 6 Pick 39 (LAR): Jake Ferguson, TE, Wisconsin (A+)
Round 7 Pick 28: Joey Blount, FS/SS, Virginia (A+)
Round 7 Pick 37 (COMP): Jalen Nailor, WR, Michigan State (A+)

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stockholder's picture

April 25, 2022 at 04:50 pm

I say if Gutey takes a OL. Bahk won't be here next year.

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LLCHESTY's picture

April 25, 2022 at 06:09 pm

They just redid his contract, can't afford to get rid of him until 2024.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 25, 2022 at 04:50 pm

AT this time of the year, nothing sheds light on anything. All is darkness and you have to figure it out for yourselves. These are guys who will deliberately try to screw around the opposition by misleading them, so every single thing you read or hear is almost certainly misinformation.

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HarryHodag's picture

April 25, 2022 at 04:56 pm

I doubt the Packers would take the expense to fly all the prospects to Green Bay unless they had some interest in them. But getting the person you want is a bit like hitting the lottery---there are a lot of options that arise as the picks are made draft day.

This process is closer to 'covering your bases'. A positive impression, like any job interview, would boost a player on the Packers board. I think it also weighs a college kid's maturity level.

What is interesting is to see the players come to Green Bay who aren't on the national media radar but obviously are on the Packers radar.

One thing to remember about the draft: finding new prospects is exciting but it's the veterans who ultimately carry the team during the season. The Packers had a couple of rookies, Stokes and Newman, play key roles but that is the exception. That is why I suspect the Packers will sign another veteran FA receiver even if they draft a couple.

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SpikeHyzer's picture

April 25, 2022 at 05:24 pm

Indeed. I just read Wilde today and the rules are very weird. Pack has had 28 of 30 allowed in so far.
However, if the player pays for travel, you can have an unlimited number in your home territory (so the Pack can and has had a bunch in from IL that don't count against that limit of 30).
They aren't wasting them to try to trick other GMs.

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golfpacker1's picture

April 25, 2022 at 06:12 pm

Of course you are drafting players with an eye on the future. Think of the money you could save replacing Baktiari-15 million (Abraham Lucas orBernhard Raimon), Crosby 5 million(cade york 7 th round), D Campbell-15 million(Damone Clark),P Smith-10 million (Sam Williams), Amos-6 million( J T Woods),Aaron Jones-12 million(Pierre Strong),Dean Lowry-6 million (Logan Hall) even Jaiere Alexander-20 million new contract(Zyon McCollum ) These changes could fix the salary cap easily next year and they are almost always available on my mock drafts. Cant wait for Thursday!! Treylon Burks @ 22, trade 28 for early 2nd round plus extra 3rd and 5th
would be my ideal start to the draft. Then we make hay in middle rounds. 7th round picks-Cade York LSU best kicker in college this year, Cole Kelly QB SE Louisiana (5000 yds passing),Tariq Carpenter-Georgia Tech-Saftey/LB.
Go Packers-Make some noise!

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Lphill's picture

April 25, 2022 at 06:14 pm

Possible trade with the Raiders TE Waller for one of the Packers firsts , very interesting .

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LambeauPlain's picture

April 25, 2022 at 06:36 pm

Hard pass. A 30 year old TE with a checkered pass? For a first? Drafting McBride in the first make more sense...but that won't happen either.

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Lphill's picture

April 25, 2022 at 06:59 pm

Looks like a second round pick might get it done now.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 25, 2022 at 07:37 pm

No more than a third.

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mrtundra's picture

April 26, 2022 at 08:31 am

We need Edge, Safety, IDL, OT, and WR, early in the draft, or the top tier players will be gone. I'd go no higher than a 3rd Rounder for Waller, if Gute is set on getting him. Heads are already exploding due to the ramifications of the Waller issue and how it affects our draft picks. Giving up one of our top 4 picks in this draft, changes everything, and not for the better!

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