Packers GM Brian Gutekunst will be judged by the first two rounds of his 2020 NFL Draft
Updated: May 2, 2020
The Packers have two glaring weaknesses that are holding them back from taking it to the next level and winning a Superbowl. A wide receiver that can contribute behind Davante Adams and a middle linebacker that can stop the run and bring a leadership type of energy to the defense. Gutenkunst has little choice but to address these two areas of need with the Packers' first two picks, which come at 30th and 62nd overall in the draft. The real dilemma is which area is addressed at 30 and which can wait until 62nd.
It all depends on how the draft goes, but assuming no Laremy Tunsil style surprises happen, here is who I would be targeting at ILB and WR at both 30 and 62:
If the Packers were to go Linebacker at 30 they should be targeting either of these two guys:
Kenneth Murray from Oklahoma is the top-ranked inside linebacker in the draft class and would bring the athleticism and ability to tackle big, fast ball carriers that the GB defense needs. Murray will probably be taken before the Packers are on the clock.
Patrick Queen from LSU is another freakish athlete who plays with a swagger at the middle linebacker position. He could be available at 30 because multiple inside linebackers being drafted in the first round is rare, but if a team has a need for a tough, athletic middle linebacker he could definitely be gone in the first 29.
Based on the depth at each position, if either Murray or Queen is on the board I think the Packers have to go with a linebacker at 30 and find a receiver later in the draft.
On that note, there are a ton of draftable wide receivers in this draft and here is who I would be targeting at 62:
Van Jefferson from Florida is a talented receiver that multiple cornerbacks in the SEC who will be taken ahead of him called their "toughest cover of the season." One of his biggest red flags is that he'll be 24 years old at the start of the season. To the Packers, that should almost be viewed as a plus as their window with Rodgers right now is too short to wait for a project to develop.
Michael Pittman Jr. from USC is the son of Matthew Pittman psyche it's the son of Michael Pittman of course since he's Michael Pittman Jr. Like his father, he is jacked and at 6'4" 220 he boxes cornerbacks out and wins jump balls with ease. His athleticism makes him a playmaker as a receiver and a blocker and he could potentially transition to a Y-receiver or hybrid tight end role.
Other names to consider if they are available in the 3rd round or later are Chase Claypool from Notre Dame who scored the highest of any wide receiver on the Relative Athletic Score, Donovan Peoples-Jones from Michigan who had a successful career being Michigan's only offensive weapon as both a receiver and return man, KJ Hamler from Penn State who is a short and speedy potential slot receiver which is turning into the most valuable position in the NFL thanks to Tyreek Hill.
If they go by this positional draft strategy, a combination of Murray or Queen and Van Jefferson would be a big win.
If the Packers go with a wideout at 30, they should look at:
Justin Jefferson from LSU. Was Jefferson the beneficiary of Joe Burrow's incredible record-setting season, or was it the other way around? Jefferson has some nasty highlights including a 227 yard 4 touchdown first half against Oklahoma in the 2019 Peach Bowl. Those video game numbers have me believing he will succeed in the NFL.
That's the only receiver I really think is worth taking at 30 assuming Jeudy, Lamb and Ruggs are taken, which they will be. Hopefully Jeudy, Lamb, Ruggs and Jefferson aren't all taken. If Murray, Queen and Jefferson are all gone, it will suck and I'd look to trade the pick or take best available at wideout or offensive line.
Not addressing LB at 30 means that it still needs to be addressed. At 62, here is who Green Bay should target:
Malik Harrison from Ohio State is a big middle linebacker who likes to meet running backs at and behind the line of scrimmage. He is the type of middle linebacker this defense needs to be a threat to opposing offensive coordinators that any running back he sends into an open hole will be met by a 245 lb linebacker and punished with CTE.
Troy Dye from Oregon is a standup middle linebacker that has great coverage skills but needs to add to his 225 lb frame to be the contributor in the run game the Packers need. He reminds me of Blake Martinez because he's an impact linebacker from the Pac-12. The Packers lost their leading tackler for the last 3 years this offseason and replacing that with a younger version of Martinez is a win.
If the Packers go with this positional draft strategy, a combination of Justin Jefferson and Malik Harrison would be very ideal.
If the Packers don't get a legitimate middle linebacker then it's six more weeks of winter. If they don't find a number two receiving outlet then it will be Lazard's spot behind Adams to ultimately lose to MVS and then back to Lazard and around and around it goes.
Or of course... Rootin' Tootin' Goot n' Koontz could package the picks to trade up and get CeeDee Lamb... which would be awesome.