After giving my rookie season predictions for the Packers 2023 NFL Draft class, I wanted to follow it up with a ranking of their potential. Not every player is drafted for the same reason. Some are brought on to help a position of need. Others are added due to their ability to contribute right away. Even more hear their name called due to their potential.
Below I analyze the Packers 2023 NFL Draft class and rank them based on their overall potential as players.
No. 13: Lew Nichols III (RB)
You can never go wrong taking a shot on a running back in the later rounds. The Packers have found great value at the position later in drafts along with it being an inexpensive way to add depth to a position with a lot of turnover. Lew Nichols III is a player that produced at a high level in college and tested better athletically than expected. With that said, he likely isn’t more than an RB2 at best in the NFL. He is built to pound the rock (5’10”, 220 pounds) but doesn’t have the burst or wiggle to be a starter.
Bottom line: Reliable and versatile enough to get NFL reps but doesn’t have the physical traits to make a major impact.
No. 12: Sean Clifford (QB)
Some may be shocked that he isn’t lowest on this list ranking the Packers 2023 NFL Draft class, but his position gives him a slight bump. Sean Clifford tested extremely well with a RAS (raw athletic score) over 9. His accuracy and decision making issues are red flags but can all be improved with NFL coaching. He doesn’t have the arm to be a franchise quarterback but has the brains, experience and athleticism to be a reliable back up.
Bottom line: Being a backup quarterback is an extremely important job and he has the traits that should allow him to do it well.
No. 11: Karl Brooks (DL)
The consensus on this pick is that the Packers got great value, and I 100% agree. Karl Brooks produced at an elite level for Bowling Green and by all reports is a tactician with his array of pass rushing moves. With that said, he seems like a high floor, low ceiling pick. That is by no means a bad thing as he should be able to contribute early on in his career which is incredible value for a sixth-round pick. With that said, he doesn’t have the physical traits to develop into a game breaking player, which is by no means a bad thing.
Bottom line: I expect him to contribute very early on in his career, but think his ceiling is a rotational defensive lineman, albeit a productive one.
No. 10: Anders Carlson (K)
This ranking has less to do with his ability to develop and more to do with his limited ceiling. Although Anders Carlson was one of the top kickers in the class, he isn’t known for having a huge leg. he was extremely consistent on extra points but struggled with field goals between 30-49 yards. I believe he’ll iron out his mechanics enough to be serviceable, but I don’t know if he has the leg strength to be a weapon.
Bottom line: He may very well end up being a serviceable NFL kicker, but he likely won’t become a game-changing specialist.
No. 9: Colby Wooden (DL)
Colby Wooden finds himself in the nine slot mainly because I don’t expect the athletic numbers that resulted in a 9.24 RAS score to be the same once he bulks up to play his more natural position. He had an extremely impressive 2021 season before moving to defensive end in 2022. Although he wasn’t bad, he’s more productive from the interior. I think he’ll be a productive player but the added bulk likely limits his explosion a bit.
Bottom line: Much like the players above him on this Packers 2023 NFL Draft class list, Wooden is unlikely to become a major impact player but has the skill set to see a lot of snaps and help the defense.
No. 8: Carrington Valentine (CB)
Carrington Valentine has the physical tools to be an impactful corner in the NFL. He doesn’t have the size of a typical lock down corner, but neither did Jaire Alexander. Although he isn’t known for his play strength of technique, has has the athleticism and frame to be a nickel corner. That’s an important player to have as offenses continue to try and spread defenses out.
Bottom line: He has the athleticism to make an impact in the secondary but needs to improve on technique for him to reach his ceiling.
No. 7: Grant DuBose (WR)
Grant DuBose has ideal size for a receiver as he checks in at 6’2″ and a shade over 200 pounds. He was productive in college and a lot of that had to do with his body control. Although that’s a great attribute to have, his close to 4.6 speed may limit his ceiling. He could very well improve to the point where he’s a serviceable receiver that makes contested catches. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if he’s fast or quick enough to consistently create space against NFL corners.
Bottom line: Dubose’s catch radius and body control give him an opportunity to gets reps, his speed limits his ceiling.
No. 6: Anthony Johnson Jr. (S)
Anthony Johnson Jr. checks in at six mainly because of the position he plays. He scored well athletically leading up to the Draft but not enough to fly up teams draft boards. He’ll have to rely on his game sense and physicality to earn playing time. I fully expect that to happen but see him more as an above average safety then a game-changing player in the secondary.
Bottom line: I am expecting Johnson Jr. to be a consistent member of the secondary early on but not sure he has the athleticism or ball skills to be a Pro Bowl caliber safety.
No. 5: Dontayvion Wicks (WR)
I don’t expect Dontayvion Wicks to have much of an impact this season but he could be a threat down the road once he improves his route running and catch consistency. He is a threat in the open field although I think his limited top end speed lowers his ceiling a bit. He has great size and could develop into a great first down threat in the future.
Bottom line: His overall speed keeps him from being higher on this list but I can see him developing into a useful receiver with good short area quickness in the future.
No. 4: Tucker Kraft (TE)
The Packers doubled up on tight ends in their 2023 NFL Draft class and both have a lot of potential. Although I think Kraft can become a very good NFL tight end, I don’t think he has quite the difference making speed from the position that his rookie counterpart does. Kraft is able to make people miss in open space and has a lot of athleticism himself, but the competition will be much different then his days at South Dakota State.
Bottom line: Kraft has a ton of upside and I wouldn’t be shocked if he ended up the better of the two, but his potential isn’t quite as high as Luke Musgrave.
No. 3: Jayden Reed (WR)
Jayden Reed could very well end up being the most productive player in this Packers 2023 NFL Draft class. As high as I am on him, the fact he’s better suited as a slot receiver limits his potential a bit. That offensive role has become more and more important in recent years but the impact isn’t quite as big as a big play outside receiver.
Bottom line: I love the potential of Reed in this offense and think he performs very well right away. As useful as I see him being, I don’t think he’ll be one of the top weapons in the NFL.
No. 2: Lukas Van Ness (DL)
Lukas Van Ness has all the athletic traits to be an elite pass rusher in the NFL. He won matchups mainly with raw speed and strength in college but tested off the charts athletically before the draft. He is raw in terms of his pass rushing arsenal however however, much like Rashan Gary was coming out of Michigan. If Van Ness can win matchups with technique and his physical tools, he’ll be a very good NFL pass rusher.
Bottom line: The only thing standing in the way of Van Ness is himself. If he can learn from those around him and add nuance to his game, he has incredible potential.
No. 1: Luke Musgrave (TE)
Musgrave takes the top spot due to his speed and the position he plays. There aren’t many tight ends that run a 4.6 and even fewer that has his explosive ability to separate from defenders. He hasn’t played a ton of college snaps but looked great in the games he did play. If he can learn how to use his speed and size effectively, everything is there for him to be the next great NFL tight end.
Bottom line: Musgrave is the biggest boom/bust players in the Packers 2023 NFL Draft class in my eyes,which is why he earned this spot. He has the physical traits to be great, just needs to gain the confidence and learns the nuances of getting open as a big, fast tight end.
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