With only two weeks until the 2017 NFL Draft gets under way, the rumor mill is whipping up some interest chatter about the Green Bay Packers’ possible plans.
The Green Bay Packers’ 2016 campaign was a tale of two halves. The first half of the season, they looked like a team on the decline. The second half, however, looked more like what we expected, with the team finishing the regular season with six straight wins and falling one game short of the Super Bowl.
Now they head into 2017 with several issues to address and similar expectations from fans. We all know what this team is capable of, but they can’t continue to settle for mediocrity at a number of positions. It doesn’t help that they found themselves minimal support during free agency. That means making the most of their eight picks during the 2017 NFL Draft is all the more imperative.
So what can we expect from the Packers when April 27 rolls around? No one outside of the organization knows for sure, but we can certainly speculate with just over two weeks until football’s version of Christmas arrives.
With that in mind, here are the five latest rumors surrounding the Packers’ plans for the 2017 NFL Draft. The rumor mill has been busy giving us tidbits on Green Bay’s current mindset, and this is your opportunity to gain some insight.
The word on the street is there are several teams that could be interested in trading for Richard Sherman now that the Seattle Seahawks have made him available. The All-Pro cornerback appears to have worn out his welcome on the Northwest, but GM John Schneider isn’t going to just give him away.
The latest rumored asking price is a first-round and mid-round pick (via NFL.com). That would be a tough pill to swallow for any team, but they’d be getting one of the game’s best cornerbacks in the process. As it so happens, the Packers appear to be in the mix to acquire Sherman’s services.
According to ESPN’s Sheil Kapadia, Green Bay could be interested in making a trade. They’re coming off a season during which they finished 31st against the pass, and made minimal efforts to fix the issue via free agency. With a move expected right before the draft, the Packers could opt to take the bold approach instead of settling on a rookie.
4. Packers Targeting Jonathan Calvin in Later Rounds?
As you probably know by now, the Packers are hoping to come away from the 2017 NFL Draft with at least one impact edge rusher. It’s one of their biggest areas of need right now, with only Clay Matthews and Nick Perry serving as capable playmakers at outside linebacker.
While I wouldn’t be surprised to see Green Bay address the edge early in the draft, they could also target some late-round/undrafted options as well to help provide some depth. It’s not like just having Jayrone Elliott and Kyler Fackrell as backups is ideal heading into 2017.
One late-round option the Packers appear to have their eyes on is Jonathan Calvin (via Draft Analyst’s Tony Pauline). The former Mississippi State standout isn’t expected to come off the board until Day 3, and may not hear his name called at all. However, considering his college body of work, he could be worth bringing into camp for a team with a need at outside linebacker.
Last year, Calvin lead the Bulldogs with seven sacks. He may not amount to much more than a potential pass-rushing specialist, but it doesn’t hurt to roll the dice with a seventh-round pick if it means potentially upgrading the edge rushing depth.
Right now, the Packers’ running back depth chart looks like this: Ty Montgomery, Christine Michael, Don Jackson, John Crockett. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be too confident in that group getting the job done.
That’s why Green Bay is largely expected to address the position during the draft. Luckily for them, this 2017 class is loaded with legitimate running backs, including several that could immediately push for playing time. If there’s any year to have a need in the ground game, it’s this year.
So who are the Packers looking at? Apparently they’re doing their due diligence with Joe Mixon (via NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo), the Oklahoma product with serious character concerns. While he’s seen as one of the class’ top backs, he has one monstrous red flag strapped around his waste. A video from 2014 of him punching a woman was recently released, subsequently tanking his draft stock.
Still, there’s a belief he could come off the board sooner than expected due to his overflowing talent. If that is the case, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Packers consider him on Day 2–assuming their visit with him went well.
The general assumption is the Packers will add a running back early during the 2017 NFL Draft. With Montgomery and Michael sitting atop the depth chart, it just doesn’t seem ideal to start the season with the ground game in its current state.
If Green Bay doesn’t draft Mixon or another capable starter, though, they could look back towards free agency. More specifically, they could opt to add a running back who has spent the better part of the last decade terrorizing their defense. Yes, I’m talking about Adrian Peterson, formerly of the Minnesota Vikings.
Since hitting the open market, Peterson has received minimal interest. It’s a disappointing development for the future Hall of Famer, but not all that surprising. However, according to ESPN’s Ben Goessling, the Packers could visit with the veteran depending on how the draft shakes out.
Peterson wouldn’t be the worst addition for Green Bay’s offense. He’d provide a quality complement for the speedy, pass-friendly Montgomery. The only real concern is how much it would cost to sign him. However, if he’s still a free agent in May, his asking price likely would have dropped.
I recently mocked Forrest Lamp to the Packers in the first round and fans thought I was being ridiculous. General manager Ted Thompson doesn’t spend early-round picks on guards, right? Well apparently it’s more realistic of an option than some fans would like to believe.
He makes perfect sense for the Green Bay Packers in the late part of Round 1 considering the losses the team sustained on the offensive in free agency, and a source from the franchise told me there is interest.
Pauline is right when he says Lamp makes perfect sense for this franchise. He fits a significant need along the interior of the offensive line, especially after T.J. Lang and J.C. Tretter jumped ship via free agency. He also provides excellent flexibility, with the ability to play just about any position along the front five.
There’s a decent chance Lamp is already off the board when the Packers make their first pick at No. 29. However, if he slides, don’t be surprised if Thompson and Co. take a long, hard look at the former Hilltopper.