The Senior Bowl is kicking off this week in Mobile, Alabama, meaning the 2023 NFL Draft remains just three months away. No team is surrounded by more question marks than the Green Bay Packers. They still need to learn the status of star quarterback Aaron Rodgers as the four-time MVP mulls over his future. With trade rumors beginning to swirl, the 39-year-old quarterback appeared on the Pat Macafee show and opened up about the possibility of ending his career with a different franchise, leading the New York Jets to emerge as a potential suitor.
Choosing to hire former Packers coach Nathaniel Hackett as their offensive coordinator, the one-time Denver Broncos head coach has drawn the praise of Rodgers on several occasions. Back with our team mock draft 2.0, in this case, the 18-year veteran is shipped to New York for multiple draft picks.
Note: I used the NFL Mock Draft Database for this article.
Green Bay Packers: 2023 Team Mock Draft 2.0
Trade: Green Bay receives Picks 13 and 43, New York Jets receives Aaron Rodgers
Round 1, Pick 13: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern
With David Bakhtiari expected to remain with the Packers heading into next season, the 31-year-old excelled after returning from three knee surgeries in week 3. Starting in 11 of the final 15 games, the two-time First-team All-Pro member was one of three offensive tackles not to allow a sack while also finishing fourth in pass-blocking efficiency, according to PFF.
However, with his salary cap hit set to jump from $13.8 million in 2022 to $28.9 million in 2023, the franchise could save $21.5 million against the cap if they choose to part ways with the former fourth-round pick in 2024. A three-year starter with the Northwestern Wildcats, Skorosnki is the most refined offensive lineman in the draft. With the positional versatility to be a high-quality plug-and-play starter early on, the Illinois native could shift inside to guard while kicking outside in the future.
Round 1, Pick 15: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
After landing Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs in last April’s draft, expect Green Bay to be in the market for another wide receiver this offseason. Both Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb are set to hit unrestricted free agency, with the former likely to command more than $11 million on the open market.
A former five-star recruit, Smith-Njigba, burst onto the scene with the Ohio State Buckeyes in 2021. The 20-year-old set the program record for receptions (95) in a season and receiving yards (1,606). He also recorded a Rose Bowl-record 15 catches for 346 yards and three touchdowns against the Utah Utes. The perfect compliment to Watson and Doubs on the inside, the Dallas native is an outstanding route runner who can create space and manipulate opposing defensive backs with exceptional footwork.
Round 2, Pick 43: Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia
Set to undergo significant decisions at the tight-end position, Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis are free agents. Returning in 2022 after suffering a torn ACL during the second half of last season, the former struggled to carve out a consistent role in Green Bay’s passing attack. He hauled in 52 receptions for 470 yards and just two touchdowns.
Possessing substantial size with a 6’7 245 pound frame, Washington is a physically imposing player who can drive opposing defenders off the ball as a blocker. Still needing refinement in the passing game with raw route-running abilities, the one-time Second-team All-SEC member can still run the seams easily while being a hassle to bring down one on one. Furthermore, he is able to find the soft spots to settle into when faced with zone coverage.
Round 2, Pick 45: Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EDGE, Kansas State
First arriving at Kansas State in 2020, Anudike-Uzomah played in five games for the Wildcats as a true freshman. He racked up three tackles and one sack. Nonetheless, the Lees Summit High school alumn quickly became one of the most feared players across college football during his second season. Named as a First-team All-Big 12 member, he set a program record with four sacks in one game against the TCU Horn Frogs.
Green Bay will likely be without Rashan Gary to begin next season as he works his way back from ACL surgery. Struggling mightily in his absence during the second half of the year, the Packers failed to find any consistent pass rush, leading the franchise to record its lowest sack total in over a decade. With Preston Smith unlikely to be with the team past the 2023 season and Kingsley Enagbare more suited for a rotational role, Anudike-Uzomah would be a long-term starter at pick 45 in our team mock draft 2.0.
Round 3, Pick 78: Christopher Smith, Saf, Georgia
The most disappointing positional group on Green Bay’s roster throughout this season, the safety spot could look significantly different next year. After struggling mightily, Adrian Amos is a free agent, leaving both Darnell Savage and Tariq Carpenter as the only two players under contract.
The perfect chess piece for Joe Barry’s soft zone scheme, Smith aligned all over the formation for the Georgia Bulldogs. The former four-star recruit took snaps at free safety, in the box, and at nickel. Possessing a high football IQ, the 2022 Unanimous All-American can play center field with the ball skills to go up and come down with interceptions. In the run game, he can also get downhill in a hurry to fill rushing lanes and deliver hits to opposing ball carriers.
Round 4, Pick 116: Kyu Blu Kelly, CB, Stanford
Choosing to join the Stanford Cardinals as a three-star recruit out of Bishop Gorman high school, Blu Kelly took over the starter’s job for Derek Mason’s defense. Appearing in 12 games to close out the season, he racked up 34 tackles, three pass breakups, and one interception. A pure-man coverage cornerback, the Las Vegas native can play press at the line of scrimmage to disrupt the opposing receiver’s timing while also being able to flip his hips and run downfield.
Home to one of the deepest defensive back groups across the NFL, Jaire Alexander is entering the second year of his contract extension. Meanwhile, after suffering season-ending knee and ankle injuries, the franchise will hope that Eric Stokes can rebound after a down year. However, Rasul Douglas could be a potential cap casualty next off-season after the 27-year-old regressed mightily in 2022. Blu Kelly offers much-needed depth with CB1 upside in the fourth round of our team mock draft 2.0.
Round 5, Pick 151: Henry To’o To’o, LB, Alabama
Over the last two seasons, the Packers have made significant investments in the inside linebacker position. They rewarded De’Vondre Campbell with a five-year $50 million extension after the 2021 minicamp acquisition was named a First-team All-Pro member. Furthermore, the franchise also selected Quay Walker in the first round of last April’s draft.
Nevertheless, with Krys Barnes entering the offseason as a restricted free agent, look for Green Bay to add a day-three developmental player at the spot. A former University of Tennessee commit, To’o To’o transferred to Alabama before the 2021 season. An instinctual player in the middle of the defense, the 22-year-old has the motor and range to make plays from sideline to sideline while also possessing the speed to run with opposing receivers in coverage.
Round 5, Pick 157: Kenny McIntosh, RB, Georgia
Fresh off one the finest seasons of his six-year NFL career, Aaron Jones led the way for Green Bay’s offense. The one-time pro bowler posted career highs in rushing yards (1,211) and receptions. He also averaged 5.3 yards per carry and 6.5 per touch. Set to account for more than $20 million against the cap in 2023, the Packers could save over $10.5 million against the cap if they moved on from the 28-year-old in the offseason.
Finally leading the way in the Bulldogs backfield in 2022, Mcintosh posted 1,334 scrimmage yards while adding 22 touchdowns. With the size and speed to be an explosive player at the NFL level, the senior has the patience to follow his blocks while also maintaining the burst to run away from opposing defenders.
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