With a team that reached last season’s NFC Championship game, projecting their draft should be an easy task. In most cases, a team that went that far would have a small number of holes to fill. But when looking at the Green Bay Packers roster, that just isn’t the case. Maybe that is telling of how good a job Matt LaFleur did in his first season as the head coach. But for the Packers to make the next step, that being a trip to the Super Bowl, they are going to need to make the right choices in this year’s draft. General manager Brian Gutekunst and his scouting staff have a lot of work in store for them. Today, we will take our shot at forecasting the Green Bay Packers 2020 NFL Draft.
Projecting the Green Bay Packers 2020 NFL Draft
Unlike last off-season, the Packers weren’t major players in free agency this off-season. With so much money spent last off-season, it seems that Russ Ball tightened up the purse strings on Gutekunst. Even with the tight budget, the Packers were able to sign three free agents inside linebacker Christian Kirksey, offensive tackle Ricky Wagner, and wide receiver Devin Funchess. All three have similar stories: they are coming off injury-riddled seasons, have something to prove, and came on very team-friendly deals. They are by no means locks to be major contributors for this coming season.
The following Green Bay Packers 2020 NFL draft projections recognize that, meaning that the positions they play might still need to be addressed through the draft. Heading into the draft, Gutekunst has ten picks at his disposal. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him try to pick up more picks via trades. But for our projections, we will play it out that Gutekunst will stand pat. With all that in mind, here are the players believed to be a part of the Packers 2020 NFL draft.
First Round, 30th overall, Laviska Shenault Jr., Wide Receiver, Colorado
Excluding Davante Adams, the Packers wide receivers need some major influx of talent. In our estimation, the signing of Funchess doesn’t do much to increase the overall athleticism of the group. That is why adding a wide receiver, maybe two, in the Packers 2020 NFL draft is a must. That also means adding a talented wide receiver in the first round.
Laviska Shenault Jr. seems like that type of player. While playing at Colorado, Shenault was the Buffaloes all everything offensive weapon. Not only did he do it at wide receiver, but he also did it by lining up in the backfield as a “wildcat” quarterback. For those Packers fans who are obsessed with running the “jet sweep”, he is very capable of doing that as well.
Gutekunst might have his eyes set on either LSU’s Justin Jefferson or Baylor’s Denzel Mims. But with the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings, both teams in need of wide receiver help, drafting before the Packers, it is doubtful either will be available. Still, Shenault would be a solid consolation prize.
Some have questioned his speed – he ran a 4.58 forty yard dash at the NFL combine – but he seems to play a lot faster. Shenault is a playmaker, something the Packers are in dire need of.
Second Round, 62nd overall, Prince Tego Wanogho, Offensive Tackle, Auburn
The addition of Wagner doesn’t mean the Packers draft won’t include spending a high pick on an offensive tackle. In fact, this selection seems to be almost guaranteed. Wagner seems like a nice pick-up, but he is only considered a stopgap fill-in. The Packers need to address the future of that position.
Prince Tego Wanogho fits into the second tier of offensive tackle prospects in this year’s draft. While he might not be in that first tier, he has the upside to eventually overtake some of the first tier prospects. Growing up in Nigeria, he spent his early childhood swimming as well as playing soccer and basketball. He is still fairly new to the sport, but those other sports might have helped him with his overall athleticism.
In his last season at Auburn, he started 12 games at left tackle. While the Packers are set with David Bakhtiari on the left side, Tego Wanogho should be able to adapt the right side. With Wagner playing in front of him, he will be allowed to come along slowly.
Third Round, 94th overall, Chase Claypool, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame
Notre Dame’s Chase Claypool fits right into that category. Claypool’s has a 9.98 RAS score, sitting on top of this year’s wide receiver prospects. For Gutekunst, it is a win-win proposition, if Claypool is still available. With adding him to the Packers draft, he is filling a hole and getting a player who is high in a category he looks at when drafting.
At 6’4″, 238 lbs. and running a 4.42 second 40-yard dash, Claypool would upgrade the Packers wide receivers overall athleticism. There is a chance that, because of his size, he might be able to make the move to tight end. This projection, however, has him as a wide receiver.
Don’t think Claypool is just a workout warrior. In his last season at Notre Dame, he hauled in 66 catches for 1,037 yards with 13 touchdown receptions. Because of his stats, and his workout numbers, there is a possibility he might be gone by then. But if he is still there, the Packers will jump in selecting him.
Fourth Round, 136th overall, Logan Wilson, Inside Linebacker, Wyoming
Most people that write about the draft will usually fall in love with one prospect. For us, that prospect is Logan Wilson.
Even with the signing of Kirksey, the Packers still need to address the inside linebacker position. There is a chance that if Oklahoma’s inside linebacker Kenneth Murray were to slide, the Packers could look at him in the first round. However, as explained above, it is a must that Gutekunst first addresses the wide receiver position.
Grabbing Wilson in the fourth would be a major steal for the Packers. He was a very productive linebacker at Wyoming during his career. At 6’2″ and 250 lbs., he has the size to stand up to the run. At the NFL combine, he also surprised scouts with this speed by running a 4.63 second 40-yard dash.
Although some have questioned his ability in coverage, close analysis shows he can cover as well. In his career at Wyoming, he registered ten interceptions, running two of them back for touchdowns. Along with his ability at inside linebacker, he should also contribute on the Packers special teams.
Fifth Round, 175th overall, Jared Pinkney, Tight End, Vanderbilt
This off-season, the Packers said good-bye to Jimmy Graham. They did re-sign veteran Marcedes Lewis, but his days as a pass catcher are long gone and he will be used primarily as a blocker. This season will probably be the Jace Sternberger, but adding a tight end to the Packers draft seems very likely.
Heading into college football last season, Jared Pinkney was the top-ranked tight end. But Pinkney didn’t produce like a top tight end should have. He struggled, some of that having to do with the talent, or lack thereof around him in Vanderbilt’s offense. Even with his struggles, he has talent, especially in the passing game. The talent he does have should be enough for LaFleur to find a place for him in the Packers passing offense.
Pinkney is well worth a flyer in the fifth round.
Sixth Round, 192nd overall, L’Jarius Sneed, Cornerback, Louisiana Tech
A cornerback from Louisiana Tech, this selection should sound familiar to Packers fans. It wasn’t too long ago that the Packers picked up former Louisiana Tech cornerback Tramon Williams from the Houston Texans practice squad.
The Packers are hoping they can be as lucky when they add L’Jarius Sneed to their draft class. Sneed had a very productive college career, playing in 42 games while registering 126 solo tackles and eight interceptions. He helped out his draft status by running a 4.37 second 40-yard dash at this year’s NFL combine.
Gutekunst loves players with high RAS scores and Sneed has an impressive one at 9.45.
Sixth Round, 208th overall, Josiah Coatney, Defensive Line, Ole Miss
Kenny Clark it one of the best interior defensive lineman in the NFL, making it a surprise that Gutekunst hasn’t locked him up to a new deal yet. That deal should be coming soon and Dean Lowry joins Clark on the defensive line. Lowry had a down season in 2019, but the Packers are still high on him. Clark and Lowry are solid pieces on the defensive line, but depth is still needed.
Josiah Coatney was a four-star recruit coming out of high school. He played three years at Ole Miss and was a major piece to their defensive front. He has the ability to play the nose and defensive tackle positions. So if he shows he can make the jump in the NFL, that could occasionally allow Clark to move from nose to defensive tackle.
Sixth Round, 209th overall, Alex Taylor, Offensive Tackle South Carolina State
Bryan Bulaga is gone, Jared Veldheer wasn’t re-signed (yet) and Wagner has been penciled in as the most likely starting right tackle. Adding an offensive tackle in the second round is a start, but why not double down.
While Alex Taylor is about as raw as they come, his upside is through the roof. He has the size to be an NFL offensive tackle, 6’8″ 308 lbs, and is a very good athlete. How good of an athlete is he? He played two seasons for South Carolina State’s basketball team. He has good feet and he can really move. Two attributes that can help him develop into a starting NFL tackle.
Seventh Round, 236th overall, Derrek Tuszka, EDGE, North Dakota State
Forecasting seventh-round selections is an area of the draft that should be exciting for Gutekunst and his scouts. Projecting players who are under the radar that can develop into contributors is a favorite activity for scouts and writers, such as us.
Derrek Tuszka is a winner. Sure, FCS is a lower level, but he has been a part of a very winning program at North Dakota State. He wasn’t just a player, he was a star on their defense. He was voted first-team All American and was the defensive player of the year for the Missouri Valley football conference. In his last season, he registered 13 1/2 sacks, which helped propel him to his All American status.
Seventh Round, 242nd overall, Bronson Rechsteiner, Fullback, Kennesaw State
Fullback Danny Vitale departed as a free agent this off-season. The fullback position isn’t used a lot in the Packers offense, but there is a place for one.
Bronson Rechsteiner has the look of a fullback. He is chiseled and isn’t afraid to mix it up. But he is also a pretty solid runner and from some of his game tape, appears to be able to catch the ball out of the backfield. Last season, he rushed for over 900 yards, an impressive number from a fullback.
He also has pretty solid bloodlines as well. His Dad, Rick, better known as Rick Steiner, and his Uncle Scott Steiner are both former professional wrestlers who wrestled at the University of Michigan.