The Green Bay Packers have lost several starters in free agency they did not replace in March. General manager Brian Gutekunst needed to land several starters for this season from the Packers draft class last week. Gutekunst, surprisingly, drafted Lukas Van Ness, an Edge, with the Packer first-round pick at 13th overall. One NFL writer predicts they will be one of the busts in the class.
The Green Bay Packers took a risk in round one
Van Ness was an odd choice for Gutekunst. The Packers needed pass catchers, either at wide receiver or tight end, who could start immediately. Instead, they chose Van Ness, a player who never started in college. According to projections for next season, Vann Ness won’t be a starter for the Packers this season. Lance Zierlein’s profile of Van Ness suggests the former Iowa standout can be a starter within a couple of years. But there are questions that he will be able to develop in the NFL.
Gilberto Manzano with Sports Illustrated wrote about five first-round picks from the NFC that are the most likely to be busts in the 2023 draft class. Manzano named Van Ness as one of the most likely prospects to bust due to his lack of technique:
“This one has the highest odds of being highlighted on the Freezing Cold Takes Twitter account in a few years, because Van Ness is a powerful defensive lineman who can play in a variety of schemes and fronts. He does, however, rely heavily on his strength, and he needs to add more pass-rushing moves to get by the league’s best tackles.
Van Ness is a raw prospect who played only two seasons at Iowa, and he now might get buried on the Packers’ depth chart playing behind Preston Smith and Rashan Gary. Perhaps Green Bay will find snaps for Van Ness as an interior pass rusher, as he has the size and strength to flourish in that role. Nonetheless, the team will need to find the right developmental plan for their intriguing first-round pick.”
Lukas Van Ness can develop
There was always some risk in taking Van Ness. He has the frame and athleticism to be the top pass rusher in the class. What placed him being Will Anderson Jr. and Tyree Wilson on mock draft boards were Van Ness’ raw skills coming into the NFL. It’s critical that Joe Barry’s staff can develop Van Ness this season. Van Ness will be able to learn the position behind Preston Smith and Rashan Gary.
It might be a slow process, but Van Ness should be able to find his ground in Green Bay within a few seasons. If not, this draft could go down as one of Gutekunst’s worst, just because of what the Packers gave up, dynamic wide receiver options like Jaxon Smith-Njigba, to fix their pass rush.
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Hey whenever you get tired of that Van Ness send to the steelers we’ll build them up I’m an Iowa fan you don’t know what the h*** you’re talking about. At Iowa no matter how good you have to earn the spot. He did in short time