Green Bay Packers Draft Grade
Now that Aaron Rodgers is out of town, this was the draft to surround Jordan Love with loads of weapons. That is precisely what they did! Take a look at how DraftDive thinks the Packers did in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Round 1: No. 13 (via NYJ) – Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa Hawkeyes
I know this isn’t the pick that most Packers fans wanted, but you still got a gem with this pick. To give you more detail, I had Van Ness as my favorite EDGE rusher in the draft. He is a powerful rusher who has a very high ceiling and will be deadly opposite of Rashan Gary.
Round 2: No. 42 (via NYJ) – Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State Beavers
With the biggest hole in the Packers’ roster being TE, they filled it with a steal of a pick here. Musgrave is a receiving tight end that will line up as a Y and in the slot. He has incredible hands and can make plays outside of his frame. Then he uses his speed and balance to effortlessly rack up yards after the catch.
Round 2: No. 50 (via TB) – Jayden Reed, WR, Michigan State Spartans
Although it took longer than expected, the slot receiver position is filled. Reed is a solid frame for a slot receiver and can make plays all over the field. After the snap, he displays his foot quickness by leaving defenders behind during his route stem. He will go great with Doubs and Watson because all three players are effective at all three levels of the field. The only reason why I don’t have this graded higher is because I think they reached a bit.
Round 3: No. 78 – Tucker Kraft, TE, South Dakota State Jackrabbits
I was not expecting for the Packers to take another tight end, especially this early. But this pick makes a lot of sense. Unlike Musgrave, Kraft is a gifted blocker and will be able to help open up run lanes for Jones and Dillon. He also plays with a high motor that allows him to win blocks and catch passes all over the field. Jordan Love has to be very happy with this pick because he got another offensive lineman and receiver all in one pick.
Round 4: No. 116 – Colby Wooden, DE, Auburn Tigers
Another pick, another stud for Green Bay here. Wooden is 6’4″ and weighs 273 lbs. and is very light on his feet. This allows him to beat blockers on the outside or force them to over-commit. Then he can stop on a dime and cut back to the inside to apply pressure on the QB. But the one aspect of his game that stands out to me the most is his work ethic. Regardless of what happened during a play, he never gives up.
Round 5: No. 149 – Sean Clifford, QB, Penn St. Nittany Lions
This was the only pick that the Packers made that had me scratching my head. I was not against the idea of adding another QB or even Sean Clifford, I just think they reached to get him. Clifford is an experienced QB who had a very successful career up to this point. But there are many concerns that I have. To start, his footwork is sloppy especially when he is under pressure in the pocket. Also, he has a tendency to give away where he is throwing the ball. So, although this pick was a reach, he will be a valuable backup to Love.
Round 5: No. 159 (via DET) – Dontayvion Wicks, WR, Virginia Cavaliers
After a questionable last pick, the Packers came right back and delivered. Wicks will likely be the number 4 receiver behind Reed and above Samori Toure. He is exactly what you want from a deep threat. He is a shifty route runner who can shake defenders at the top of his route stem. Then he can use his speed to leave them in the dust and make a play for a big gain. Honestly, when it comes to their deep ball presence, he is similar to teammate Christian Watson.
Round 6: No. 179 (via TB) – Karl Brooks, DL, Bowling Green Falcons
Although the Packers don’t need him to, Brooks could step in as a day-one starter. Given his size, he has an explosive first step that allows him to engage in contact first. Then, he uses his power to knock back defenders and force them off-balance. He can also get around blockers by using his wide range of pass-rushing moves. Since he is on the line of being a DE or DT, he will provide great depth in both positions. Also, I had a 4th round grade for him, so getting him in round 6 is a steal in my eyes.
Round 6: No. 207 (via NYJ) – Anders Carlson, K, Auburn Tigers
In Anders’ five-year career at Auburn, he made 79 of his 110 field goal attempts. Additionally, he only missed 3 extra points in his entire career. Given Mason Crosby’s lackluster performance over the last few years, I will take that.
Round 7: No. 232 – Carrington Valentine, CB, Kentucky Wildcats
There is not too much to say with this pick because he will likely have a very specific role in the upcoming seasons. Valentine will sit behind Alexander and the other Packers’ corners and work on developing his game. However, I strongly believe that we will see him featured on special teams. His frame is perfect for the NFL and has the ball skills needed to punish QBs all over the league. However, he has a long way to go before he consistently sees the field. The only reason why my grade is so low is because he wasn’t very productive at Kentucky.
Round 7: Pick 235 (via LA) – Lew Nichols III, RB, Central Michigan Chippewas
Although Nichols’ production went down drastically this last season, he was one of the best in 2021. In that season, he ran the ball 341 times for 1,848 yards. He is a powerful back that lacks the necessary elusiveness needed to be an every-down back. However, he is quick for his size of 222 lbs., running a 4.82 in high school and I can only believe he has gotten quicker. He will be a solid feature back behind Jones and Dillon.
Round 7: No. 242 (via JAX) – Anthony Johnson Jr., S, Iowa State Cyclones
Prior to the Packers making this pick, I forgot that Johnson Jr. was still available. So, it is obvious that I am a fan of this pick. He is an experienced player who has started 54 games in his career where he played both corner and safety. But, I project that he will have a role as a zone coverage safety in the NFL. He is naturally light on his feet and can stop on a dime anywhere on the field. When lined up in man coverage, he does a good job of mirroring his target and staying with them after they break in their route. If the Packers can develop him right, they have a gem here in the 7th round.
Round 7: No. 256 – Grant DuBose, WR, Charlotte 49ers
Yet another weapon for Jordan Love. Although DuBose is a developmental talent, he has traits that give him a high ceiling. To start, he is good at making contested catches all over the field. Also, he has incredible body control which allows him to make plays on inaccurate throws. But, before he consistently sees the field at Lambeau, he will need to develop his speed and ability to fight through press coverage.
Final Thoughts on Green Bay Packers Draft
Overall, I think this has the potential to be the Packers’ best draft in years. Not only did they address their biggest needs, but they also added potential stars at said positions. On the defensive side of the ball, they got an elite EDGE rusher who has Pro Bowl potential. Additionally, they added solid depth with Colby Wooden and Karl Brooks. In the secondary, they drafted Anthony Johnson Jr. who will likely be a starter in the next few seasons. Don’t let the fact that he fell to round seven fool you, he has a very high ceiling. They also added Carrington Valentine who will be a developmental piece and feature on special teams.
On the offensive side, they used 6 picks in this draft to give Jordan Love weapons while also giving him a backup in Sean Clifford. Finally, they added a kicker who can hopefully close out some tough games at Lambeau Field.
Overall Draft Grade: A-
Packers 2023 Draft Grade Analyst – Matthew Lewis