Aaron Rodgers Trade
The inevitable trade, that transpired over months, finally occurred on April 24th. For tonight’s purpose, the Packers swapped first round picks with the New York Jets, moving up from 15th to 13th. While it’s only a difference of 2 spots, the perspective is a ton of leverage against others. The Packers added the 13th, 42nd, and 207th picks in this year’s draft, while giving up the 170th – if you’re keeping score at home for this weekend’s draft.
What NOT to Draft in the 1st Round
There are “professional” mock drafters everywhere, showing the Packers taking either a Tight End, Wide Receiver, and even God forbid a Running Back. The enticement of the shiny object is far too much temptation for the average fan to endure. Many of those fans parade around with Twitter accounts and even their own web channels, and they claim to know who will be good and help this team. There are catastrophic flaws in all of that – not saying I’m immune to this, but my approach is far different – the main issue is that Rookies are never the difference-maker to winning a Super Bowl. The best rookies are typically highly drafted, thus ending up on an awful team that’s rebuilding. Also, rookies take quite a bit of time to truly contribute.
The other factor is value. Positions, like any team sport, range in values. We all know that QB is the most important position in the NFL. Based on pay scales the “most important” positions are QB, WR, Edge Rusher, OL, DT, CB, S, TE, RB, and LB. With wide receiver being slated 2nd, it’s considered important, yet it’s just not the case. Reasons being, every team carries 6+, meaning there are almost 200 wide receivers on active rosters each week. This means there are a ton of WRs in each draft, and needing a superstar is not necessary to win a title.
I chose an arbitrary year (2010), and of all of the wide receivers taken in the 1st round (50 of them) there were only 2 selected that eventually won the Super Bowl with the team that picked them. Those two?
- Demaryius Thomas, drafted in 2010, won the Super Bowl in 2015.
- Mike Evans, drafted in 2014, won the Super Bowl in 2020.
There’s a common theme with those two gentlemen…each was drafted then their team acquired an all-time great QB. Thomas was drafted by Denver and they signed Peyton Manning in 2012, similar to the Buccaneers drafting Mike Evans in 2014 and signing Tom Brady in 2020.
The point being, the Packers haven’t drafted a wide receiver in the 1st round since 2002, Javon Walker. Also, the missed opportunities of winning Super Bowls never came down to not having a wide receiver (yes, it was almost always QB play).
How About a Tight End?
Like Wide Receivers, Tight Ends can be found a-plenty in later rounds. There’s much ado about the Packers “need(ing) to surround Jordan Love with weapons to make him successful.” While weapons and massive talent doesn’t hurt, teams are built on the line of scrimmage. Skill players are plentiful and the weak ones still get massive playing time while bad Offensive or Defensive linemen get exposed, early and often. Just off the top my head, Rob Gronkowski was drafted in the 2nd round. Travis Kelce was drafted in the 3rd round, George Kittle? A 5th round draft pick. How about the Packers’ previous starter, “Bobby T”??? Oh, he was an undrafted free agent.
Teams that pick WR and/or TE are your typical bad teams. There’s a reason. Skill guys are fun to watch, but you can’t have a great defense without a solid D line and pass rush. If you have a great QB, protecting him with a solid O line allowing him to read the defense matters far more than some sweet skill players.
Who Will the Packers Draft?
There are a slew of players I’d love Green Bay to draft. They’re in the trenches. That list looks like this, in no particular order:
- Peter Skoronski, OT – Northwestern
- Paris Johnson, Jr., OT – Ohio St.
- Lukas Van Ness, DL – Iowa
- Joey Porter, Jr., CB – Penn St.
While it looks like a Big Ten love fest, there are a few others that I’d love to see Green Bay take, however, my guess is they’ll be off the board. Also, I’m terrible at guessing who Gutekunst will take, although I correctly selected Devonte Wyatt last year – Quay Walker was not on my radar, so we’ll see.