How NFL draft affected Packers’ 2020 opponents

We don’t know when the Green Bay Packers will be playing their opponents in 2020 but we do know how each team added to their rosters via the NFL draft. Here’s a breakdown of each team’s picks and how it might change the outlook and gameplan in their matchups.

(Teams listed in alphabetical order)

 

Atlanta Falcons (home)

With their offensive skill positions largely set – QB Matt Ryan, RB Todd Gurley, WRs Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley and TE Hayden Hurst – Atlanta looked to bolster its defense early in the draft. Both cornerback A.J. Terrell and defensive end Marlon Davidson should get immediate playing time on a team which allowed more points than it scored. Matt Hennessy will be a center-in-waiting behind Alex Mack while the Day 3 picks were likely targeted to special teams, with the final pick a punter who will need to beat out veteran Ryan Allen. Not much impact beyond the first two picks for the Falcons, but they did much of their work in the offseason (see: Gurley and Dante Fowler Jr.).

Picks
Round 1 – CB A.J. Terrell, Clemson
Round 2 – DE Marlon Davidson, Auburn
Round 3 – C Matt Hennessy, Temple
Round 4 – LB Mykal Walker, Fresno State
Round 4 – S Jaylinn Hawkins, Cal
Round 7 – P Sterling Hofrichter, Syracuse

 

Carolina Panthers (home)

The Panthers allowed an NFC-high 470 points last season (only Miami, 494, gave up more), thus new head coach Matt Rhule concentrated on defense in the draft – in fact, Carolina because the first team with at least seven picks to select all defensive players. Needless to say, expect a lot of these guys to view for playing time. Also, needless to say, Carolina is in a bit of a transition period.

Picks
Round 1 – DT Derrick Brown, Auburn
Round 2 – DE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State
Round 2 – S Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois
Round 4 – CB Troy Pride Jr., Notre Dame
Round 5 – S Kenny Robinson, XFL
Round 6 – DT Brandon Roy, Baylor
Round 7 – CB Stantley Thomas-Oliver, FIU

Packers NFL Draft Coverage

Chicago Bears (home & away)

What do you do when you already have a bunch of tight ends on your roster and signed Jimmy Graham in the offseason? If you’re the Bears, you take a tight end with your first pick even though you only have two selections in the first two days of the draft. Cornerback Jalen Johnson slid to the second round likely due to concern over an elbow injury but should find his way into the starting lineup.

Picks
Round 2 – TE Cole Kmet, Notre Dame
Round 2 – CB Jalen Johnson, Utah
Round 5 – CB Kindle Vidor, Georgia Southern
Round 5 – WR Darnell Mooney, Tulane
Round 7 – OT Arlington Hambright, Colorado
Round 7 – DE Travis Gibson, Tulsa

 

Detroit Lions (home & away)

The Lions need a lot of help and could have found a number of players to help them in 2020. Jeff Okudah was considered the top cornerback in the draft and will fit in with a revamped secondary. For the second time in three years Detroit picked up a running back in the second round, although D’Andre Swift was tagged by many pundits as the top available back in the draft. Third-round pick Julian Okwara should slide in as a rotational defensive end and fifth-rounder Quintez Cephus could find his way in as a third or fourth wide receiver. Detroit appears to have improved via the draft, of course how much from 3-12-1 remains to be seen.

Picks
Round 1 – CB Jeff Okudah, Ohio State
Round 2 – RB D’Andre Swift, Georgia
Round 3 – DE Julian Okwara, Notre Dame
Round 4 – G Logan Stenberg, Kentucky
Round 5 – WR Quintez Cephus, Wisconsin
Round 5 – RB Jason Huntley, New Mexico State
Round 6 – DT John Penisini, Utah
Round 7 – DT Jashon Cornell, Ohio State

 

Houston Texans (away)

You might have heard, but the Texans made some interesting moves this offseason. Trades the past couple of years robbed Houston of a number of draft picks – Bill O’Brien was left with just five, and two on the first two days. After reconfiguring the offense (goodbye DeAndre Hopkins and Carlos Hyde, hello David Johnson and Brandn Cooks), the defense was the main focal point in the draft.

Picks
Round 2 – DT Ross Blacklock, TCU
Round 3 – DE Jonathan Greenard, Florida
Round 4 – OT Charlie Heck, North Carolina
Round 4 – CB John Reid, Penn State
Round 5 – WR Isaiah Coulter, Rhode Island

 

Indianapolis Colts (away)

Despite having no first-round picks, the Colts got two players who should provide the offense an immediate boost in the second round – wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. and running back Jonathan Taylor, both of whom were considered first-round picks by some experts. Indianapolis made a couple of splash moves in the offseason – signing QB Philip Rivers and trading for DT DeForest Buckner – so getting Pittman and Taylor (who they traded up to grab) is icing on the cake.

Picks
Round 2 – WR Michael Pittman Jr., USC
Round 2 – RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
Round 3 – S Julian Blackmon, Utah
Round 4 – QB Jacob Eason, Washington
Round 5 – G Danny Pinter, Ball State
Round 6 – DT Robert Windsor, Penn State
Round 6 – CB Isaiah Rodgers, UMass
Round 6 – WR Dezmon Patmon, Washington State
Round 6 – LB Jordan Glasgow, Michigan

 

Jacksonville Jaguars (home)

We’ll be honest: we’re not exactly sure what’s going on with this franchise, which seems like it is one big mess. But the Jaguars swung for the fences in with their draft picks. Cornerback C.J. Henderson and linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson were both highly regarded, but considered by some to be boom or bust players. Second-round pick Laviska Shenault comes with high upside but a big risk factor due to past injuries. Fourth-round pick Ben Bartch has the tools but is trying to make the leap from Division III. This draft could pay huge dividends. But this being Jacksonville, nothing is ever certain.

Picks
Round 1 – CB C.J. Henderson, Florida
Round 1 – LB K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU
Round 2 – WR Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado
Round 3 – DT DaVon Hamilton, Ohio State
Round 4 – G Ben Bartch, St. John’s (Minn)
Round 4 – CB Josiah Scott, Michigan State
Round 4 – LB Shaquille Quarterman, Miami
Round 5 – S Daniel Thomas, Auburn
Round 5 – WR Collin Johnson, Texas
Round 6 – QB Jake Luton, Oregon State
Round 6 – TE Tyler Davis, Georgia Tech
Round 7 – CB Chris Claybrooks, Memphis

Minnesota Vikings (home & away)

Minnesota had 15 picks – 15!! – and clearly all won’t help the team in 2020 or even be on the roster. But the Vikings have some who should make an immediate impact. Wide receiver Justin Jefferson fell into their laps in the first round, where they also grabbed highly regarded cornerback Jeff Gladney. Both were positions of need for Minnesota. The Vikings potentially could have found two other Day 1 starters in offensive tackle Ezra Cleveland and third-round corner Cameron Dantzler. The Vikings received high grades on their draft haul from pundits, for whatever that’s worth. Of the 11 Day 3 picks, keep an eye on Baylor defensive tackle James Lynch as someone who could step in quickly and help Minnesota’s defense.

Picks
Round 1 – WR Justin Jefferson, LSU
Round 1 – CB Jeff Gladney, TCU
Round 2 – OT Ezra Cleveland, Boise State
Round 3 – CB Cameron Dantzler, Mississippi State
Round 4 – DE D.J. Wonnum, South Carolina
Round 4 – DT James Lynch, Baylor
Round 4 – LB Troy Dye, Oregon
Round 5 – CB Harrison Hand, Temple
Round 5 – WR K.J. Osborn, Miami
Round 6 – OT Blake Brandel, Oregon State
Round 6 – S Josh Metellus, Michigan
Round 7 – DE Kenny Willekes, Michigan State
Round 7 – QB Nate Stanley, Iowa
Round 7 – S Brian Cole II, Mississippi State
Round 7 – G Kyle Hinton, Washburn

 

New Orleans Saints (away)

Drew Brees returning to the Saints clearly was the biggest news for them in the offseason, which is good because New Orleans ended up with just four draft picks. They got Brees a new center in Michigan’s Cesar Ruiz and someone else to throw to in tight end Adam Trautman (is there any doubt he’ll find a way to have at least 30 receptions?). New Orleans traded up to grab Wisconsin’s Zack Baun in the third round but will be moving him to an off-ball linebacker. That transition might take some time.

Picks
Round 1 – C Cesar Ruiz, Michigan
Round 3 – LB Zack Baun, Wisconsin
Round 3 – TE Adam Trautman, Dayton
Round 7 – QB Tommy Stevens, Mississippi State

 

Philadelphia Eagles (home)

Philadelphia’s draft can be summed up in one word: speed. The Eagles concentrated heavily on that factor (just look at the 40 times of their non-offensive lineman picks). The wide receivers have the best chance of seeing early playing time for Philly, none more than first-rounder Jalen Reagor, while the defensive players are considered more projects, other than safety K’Von Wallace, taken in the fourth round. All that being said, the Eagles’ draft might be best known for their second-round pick, quarterback Jalen Hurts, which caused a lot of heads to be scratched in Philadelphia and around the country. We’re curious to see how they get him involved.

Picks
Round 1 – WR Jalen Reagor, TCU
Round 2 – QB Jalen Hurts,  Oklahoma
Round 3 – LB Davion Taylor, Colorado
Round 4 – S K’Von Wallace, Clemson
Round 4 – G Jack Driscoll, Auburn
Round 5 – WR John Hightower, Boise State
Round 6 – LB Shaun Bradley, Temple
Round 6 – WR Quez Watkins, Southern Miss
Round 6 – OT Prince Tega Wanogho, Auburn
Round 7 – DE Casey Toohill, Stanford

 

San Francisco 49ers (away)

The 49ers made the Super Bowl then added the player largely considered the top defensive tackle available and a speedy offensive weapon in wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk. The 49ers only had five picks, three coming in the fifth round or later, but still found a way to get better in 2020 on both sides of the ball.

Picks
Round 1 – DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
Round 1 – WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
Round 5 – OT Colton McKivitz, West Virginia
Round 6 – TE Charlie Woerner, Georgia
Round 7 – WR Jauan Jennings, Tennessee

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (away)

We heard the Bucs may have made some moves in the offseason to add a new quarterback and tight end. Three of Tampa Bay’s first four picks were designed to help the offense and Tom Brady – giving him a little protection with offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs, who some had mocked going No. 4 overall, running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn and a solid possession receiver in Tyler Johnson. The Buccaneers totally revolve around Brady now. Think about having said that a year (or more) ago.

Picks
Round 1 – OT Tristan Wirfs
Round 2 – S Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota
Round 3 – RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Illinois
Round 5 – WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota
Round 6 – DT Khalil Davis, Nebraska
Round 7 – LB Chapelle Russell, Temple
Round 7 – RB Raymond Calais, Louisiana

 

 

Tennessee Titans (home)

Tennessee did its best to fill some holes in the draft on the first two days. Lose Jack Conklin to free agency? Draft right tackle Isaiah Wilson in the first round. Say goodbye to running back Dion Lewis? Take Darrynton Evans in the third round. Don’t bring back cornerback Logan Ryan? Select LSU’s Kristian Fulton in the second round. The Titans aren’t going to change too much from 2019 – it’ll be Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry plus a solid defense – and they did a good job of keeping the status quo in the draft.

Picks
Round 1 – OT Isaiah Wilson, Georgia
Round 2 – CB Kristian Fulton, LSU
Round 3 – RB Darrynton Evans, Appalachian State
Round 5 – DT Larrell Murchison, North Carolina State
Round 7 – QB Cole McDonald, Hawaii
Round 7 – S Chris Jackson, Marshall