The NFL draft is a couple of months away. It seems like a long way off but it is fast approaching. This is the chance for teams to fill in roster holes and plan for the future. GM Brian Gutekunst had a successful 2022 draft and looks to build off that success. Here is a Packers mock draft for the 2023 NFL draft.
Round 1, Pick 15 overall: Luke Van Ness, Edge, Iowa
I think the Packers go for the edge position in the first round. The main needs are edge, offensive tackle, tight end, and safety. Tight end is the popular pick but in this Packers mock draft, I think the Packers can do better in the later rounds. Van Ness is a very underrated player. He is quick and athletic which Gutekunst loves. He would add another quick edge rusher to a pass rush that needs some juice. While the Packers may like another prospect, I like them to go for the edge position here.
Round 2, Pick 45 overall: Cody Mauch, OT, North Dakota State
The tackle position is one that many have rumored the Packers looking at in the first round but it is prospects like Mauch that make me think they will wait. A highly athletic tackle, Mauch can move laterally to block quick players. His weaknesses are coachable and with the success of Christian Watson, Gutekunst may look toward another North Dakota State player. Also, look at his picture above. If there was a Packers mock draft for players who look like Packers, he would go near the top.
Round 3, Pick 78 overall: Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State
It is here that the Packers address their need at tight end. Everyone has them taking Sam LaPorta here. And while I think that is a fine pick, I prefer Musgrave. Musgrave is huge at 6’6″ making him a great red-zone target. However, he is also a catch-and-run threat over the middle which the Packers’ offense desperately needs. I think that Musgrave simply offers a little more athleticism and upside than some of the other picks in this range. I see the Packers waiting on a tight end and still getting a great prospect.
Round 4, Pick 113 overall: Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan
I have to admit, I am not sure whether Smith will be here in the fourth round but if he is, Gutekunst is not going to be able to resist. Smith is a freak athlete being named “Biggest Freak” by The Athletic. His skills need work but the athleticism is there. He is a player that if he is coached up well, could beome a force inside. With Kenny Clark being the headliner, Smith could learn from him and possibly dominate some one-on-one matchups. The Packers probably should go safety here but Smith is too good of the prospect to pass up.
Round 5, Pick 146 overall: Ronnie Hickman, S, Ohio State
I would not fault the Packers for taking a safety earlier but I also think there is some great value in Hickman in the fifth round. Hickman’s strengths are what the Packers are looking for. He is an athletic safety who is not afraid to come downhill to help in the running game. He needs some work but the Packers have a good secondary already that would cover up some early mistakes. For this Packers mock draft, I like the value of Hickman here.
Round 7, Pick 201 overall: Kenny McIntosh, RB, Georgia
The seventh round is always hard to predict. I do think the Packers take a RB at some point in this draft and I like the fit of McIntosh. He is a quality receiver who is dangerous in the open field. Matt LaFleur’s offense is one that designs plays to get playmakers out in space. McIntosh would be able to get screens, bubble screens or other quick passes to get him in space.
Round 7, Pick 210 overall: Nick Herbig, LB, Wisconsin
It would be a miracle if Herbig fell here but I think it is possible. Herbig is undersized which will mean a lot of teams will shy away. However, I think the Packers could use a quick linebacker who rushes the passer well but also does well in coverage. The hometown hero is always a good story as well. For this Packers mock draft, I have Herbig falling and becoming a Packer.
Round 7, Pick 216 overall: Max Duggan, QB, TCU
Again, the seventh round is really hard to predict but I don’t hate the Packers taking a flyer on a seventh round QB. It sure has worked out for the 49ers and regardless of the QB situation in Green Bay they could use some new blood in the position. Duggan’s ability to get the ball out quickly fits LaFleur’s offense and he could be a project for a year or two. He has some dual-threat ability as well which is popular in today’s NFL.
One note about my Packers mock draft. I don’t have them taking a wide receiver. I think the Packers will address this need via trade or free agency. There are some solid prospects out there but the Packers do not have many picks to work with currently.
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