The Green Bay Packers moved up from the 15th overall pick in the first round of the NFL Draft to the 13th overall pick. Of course, this is the result of the Aaron Rodgers trade to the New York Jets that also netted Green Bay an extra second round pick in this year’s draft, as well as other draft compensation. Now that they have the 13th pick, there are some who believe that this will be the year that the Packers take a wide receiver in the first round, namely Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
On his show “Nine 2 Noon” on 97.3 The Game, Packers Hall of Famer John Kuhn explain why he believes the Packers could/should draft Smith-Njigba, but also gave one good reason why they should not.
John Kuhn Explains the Pros and Cons of the Green Bay Packers Drafting Jaxon Smith-Njigba
As everyone knows, the Packers have not taken a wide receiver in the first round since 2002. When discussing the possibility of drafting one this year, Kuhn honed in on Smith-Njigba as the only wide receiver worth drafting in the first round. When discussing the reasons why, he began by explaining why the 2023 draft is different than last year’s draft:
“Now take this into consideration: that was a spectacular wide receiver class last year. Listen, I was hearing about that wide receiver class two years before. There were scouts telling me, ‘John, wait until the 2022 draft! That’s a wide receiver draft if I’ve ever seen one!’ People are starting to say that about next year’s draft, too. This year’s draft they’re not saying that about.”
Of course, the Packers took three wide receivers in last year’s draft: Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, and Samori Toure. Going into this season, Watson and Toure are poised to be the top two receivers on the Packers’ offense. That being said, there must be additions to Green Bay’s receiver room, and Kuhn pinpoints Smith-Njigba as the guy the Packers could target in the first round:
“That’s why I think JSN at 15 was impossible! But at 13, I’m starting to say ‘Well, you get a spot, maybe you have to move up to 11 to do it.’ I think it’s possible there for JSN.
“Now I hear people keep calling him a slot receiver, but if you look at the measurables: he’s taller, he’s faster, a bigger vertical jump than Chris Olave. He’s got those measurables and he can run every route in the tree. That’s what slot guys do. They can run inside routes, they can run outside routes. He runs every route in the tree.
“He would be perfect for the Packers offense. And I don’t care. You’d have Romeo, JSN, and Christian Watson. And you know what, you’re ready for if one of them catches a hamstring.”
There are certainly a lot of people that agree with Kuhn: JSN would be a perfect fit on the Packers offense. The problem is that his arms are shorter than Green Bay typically likes for wide receivers. Will they overlook that and draft him anyway? Well, Kuhn says there is one reason not to: “They’re going to need an offensive tackle coming up here in a year or two.”
Of course, this refers to the likelihood that David Bakhtiari will become a cap casualty after the season is over. Additionally, Yosh Nijman will be an unrestricted free agent unless he is extended during the season. Perhaps investing in a future left tackle would not be a bad thing either.
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