Where do the draft needs of the Green Bay Packers sit after a relatively quiet free agency so far only signing linebacker Christian Kirksey, right tackle Ricky Wagner, and wide receiver Devin Funchess?
Entering the off season, the Packers sorely needed to find more weapons for Rodgers as he ages. They also need to find a long-term replacement right tackle. One of those needs can be potentially checked off with the signing of Wagner. Bulaga undoubtedly has the better track record, but Wagner came at a far cheaper price.
Kirskey also filled a need at inside linebacker when Blake Martinez left for the New York Giants. While Kirksey can be productive when hes on the field, he has had injury troubles the last few years and hasn’t started 16 games since 2017.
What positions do the Packers need to fill after signing Kirksey and Wagner? Do they continue to add draft capital to the defense and improve on the progress that was made last year, or do they give Rodgers some more firepower while he is still in his prime?
Top Draft Needs
Probably the deepest class in this year’s draft, and one of the deepest in recent draft history, the Packers can’t afford to not draft a receiver this year.
The Packers sit at pick 30 knowing they wont have the luxury of picking any of the top three receivers. Given how deep the class is this year, they will still have plenty of options to choose from.
The Packers have lacked consistent production from the wide receiver position the last few years, with Davante Adams being the only legitimate target for Rodgers. Current options on the team other than Adams have not proven consistent production to be viewed as a number two receiver. They did bring in Devin Funchess to help, but Funchess alone won’t solve the woes at the position.
Receiver will remain a need for the Packers until it is addressed in the draft.
Ideal Targets: Justin Jefferson, Laviska Shenault, Brandon Aiyuk, Tee Higgins
Losing long-time right tackle Bryan Bulaga dealt a big blow to the offensive line that was already thin. With no internal options to replace Bulaga, and Bulaga demanding top money on the market, the Packers had to look elsewhere.
While Wagner can fill the starting position at right tackle, he is just a “band-aid” solution. Signing only a 2-year deal, and being 30, he is not the future answer for the Packers.
Finding someone, whether in the first round or not, can fill that void for the future while Rodgers is around. As Rodgers ages, he will lose his mobility and be forced to stay in the pocket longer, making protecting him that more important.
Ideal fits: Joshua Jones, Austin Jackson, Trey Adams
The Packers lost another veteran starter in linebacker Blake Martinez. Martinez has been the starter since 2017, after being drafted in the 4th round in 2016.
Martinez excelled at tackling, leading the league since 2017. Unfortunately, tackling was one of the few positive aspects of Martinez’s game. He often gets beat in the passing game, struggling to cover backs and tight ends. A one-dimensional linebacker won’t cut it in today’s game, as teams rely on linebackers to excel in multiple areas.
Losing Martinez will hurt, a leader in the middle of the defense is crucial to a strong defense and Martinez provided that.
Bringing in Kirksey will offer a more versatile linebacker who can play all three downs. He also comes with injury question marks and is no guarantee to be on the field all 16 games. Bringing in another young, dynamic linebacker next to Kirksey will offer insurance if Kirksey goes down to injury.
Ideal fits: Kenneth Murray, Zack Baun, Jordan Brooks.