The Green Bay Packers are at a crossroads, likely seeing the end of a Hall of Fame tenure for Aaron Rodgers with the team that was amazingly productive albeit somewhat disappointing if we’re counting rings and Super Bowl appearances. The roster and coaching staff are still very sturdy, so what the Packers have in front of them shouldn’t be labeled as a “rebuild,” but it’s likely they trade Rodgers this offseason and hand the offense to a different quarterback — Jordan Love — for the first time since Rodgers assumed the gig from Brett Favre in 2008. In terms of 2022 draft picks in a swap including Rodgers, Green Bay is almost assuredly going to get *at least* one first-round pick and a second-round selection. Let’s map out what a perfect draft would look like for Matt LaFleur’s club. Extra Round 1 pick (in Rodgers trade): Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio StateThe best, quickest way for Love to settle into his starting gig — and play well — is to provide him with quality receiving targets. No way the Packers allow Davante Adams to hit the free-agent market, but as evidenced by the divisional-round loss, Green Bay needs dynamic reliable targets.
That can be Wilson, the springiest top wideout in this class. He’d be an instant star with the Packers, especially considering all the attention Adams garners. The Ohio State star is electric after the catch and plays larger than his size due to his bounce and ball skills. No. 28 overall: Lewis Cine, S, GeorgiaCine is a somewhat lanky safety who plays with a linebacker mentality whenever he sees an opportunity to deliver a hit. What I love about his game — the Georgia star doesn’t play recklessly and allow his hard-hitting demeanor hinder his coverage ability. He had eight pass breakups and 73 tackles in 2021. The Packers starting safeties — Darnell Savage and Adrian Amos — are free agents after next season, and Cine getting a year as a rotational third safety is the perfect way to allow him time to acclimate to the NFL before taking over a starting gig in 2023.
Extra Round 2 (in Rodgers trade): Mario Goodrich, CB, ClemsonGoodrich is a super twitch cornerback with experience on the outside who’s quick enough to kick inside to the slot. Finally in a key, starting role as a senior at Clemson, Goodrich rocked out with nine pass breakups and two interceptions. The traits are there for him to start in the place of nickel corner Chandon Sullivan who’s set to hit free agency in March. He can play on the perimeter too. Remember, Kevin King is also a free agent. The Packers clearly like to prioritize secondary early in the draft and Goodrich would be a smart investment. Round 2: Trey McBride, TE, Colorado StateThe tight end position has largely been ignored by the Packers of late, and former undrafted free-agent turned double-digit touchdown scorer Robert Tonyan is a free agent.
McBride is an H-back type with the power to separate and generate yards after the catch. He had 90 grabs and over 1,110 yards in 2020. McBride be perfect as a short-to-intermediate option in Green Bay who can create big plays for Love on higher-percentage throws. Round 3: Sean Rhyan, OL, UCLARhyan is a college left tackle who improved in each of his seasons at UCLA and might have a future at guard in the NFL. Yes, the Packers have made it a point to build the offensive line on Day 2 and Day 3 of the draft recently — five selections there in the past two drafts — but with a new quarterback in the shotgun, offensive line investment is never a bad idea. Rhyan is a bowling ball blocker with a low center of gravity, deceptive power and impressive balance. He feels like an NFL-ready, Packers type.
Round 4: Darrian Beavers, LB, CincinnatiBeavers is a large, chiseled off-ball linebacker with some pass-rush ability as a blitzer or on the outside. The Packers are enamored with hybrid defensive players. De’Vondre Campbell has to be re-signing priority, but Beavers would give Green Bay more athleticism at the linebacker position. Round 5: Zakhari Franklin, WR, UTSAFranklin is a sudden, big-play-waiting to happen at all three levels and he runs crisp routes, making him a useful separator at the intermediate level too. And there’s a good chance he’ll be undervalued in the draft because of his small-school status. Given the state of the Packers receiver room, Green Bay has to restock the shelves at wideout and double up at the position in this class. Round 7: Tariq Castro-Fields, CB, Penn StateCastro-Fields has been on the draft radar for a while because of his longtime standing as a contributor in Penn State’s secondary. He had seven pass breakups all the way back in 2018 for the Nittany Lions and has spent much of his career on the perimeter. Double up on receiver, double up on cornerback for the Packers.
Round 7: Micah McFadden, LB, IndianaAnother double up — this time at linebacker. McFadden loaded the stat sheet at Indiana and even if he doesn’t test like a high-caliber athlete in Indianapolis, he has the instincts to be a quality depth piece at the linebacker position. Actually, in Green Bay, behind what should still be a quality defensive front, McFadden can be a high-volume tackler next to Campbell.