The 2018 NFL draft is now less than two weeks away. It starts on April 26 and will last through April 28. This year the location is AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Up to this point, the draft process has already taken us through the bowl games, plus the all-star games (the East-West Shrine Game, the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and the Senior Bowl) and finally the NFL Scouting Combine.
The pro days have taken place as well, and currently NFL teams are scheduling personal visits with various prospects.
As I mentioned in my previous mock draft, general manager Brian Gutekunst of the Packers has been a bit busy in the free agency process, both in adding players to the team (Jimmy Graham, Muhammad Wilkerson and Tramon Williams) and in releasing a big name (Jordy Nelson).
And earlier this week, the Packers also re-signed veteran cornerback Davon House.
Before the free agency period began, Gutekunst made a trade with general manager John Dorsey of the Cleveland Browns. In that trade, the Packers moved cornerback Damarious Randall to the Browns for quarterback DeShone Kizer.
In addition to the players being traded, the teams swapped picks in both the fourth and fifth rounds, which means that the Packers will have the first pick in both the fourth and fifth rounds of the upcoming draft.
I’m sure part of the reason Gutekunst and Dorsey made that trade, was the comfort level each has with one another, as both worked together for 13 years in the Green Bay scouting department.
In addition to that, Eliot Wolf, who is now assistant general manager of the Browns, and Alonzo Highsmith, who is now vice president of the Browns, also spent many years together with Gutekunst in the scouting department of the Packers.
In a recent piece about the Packers and Browns possibly doing more business during the draft, I surmised that another trade between the two teams might be forthcoming. And in this mock draft, I am going to use one of the scenarios that mentioned in that article.
In this scenario, I have the Packers trading up to get the first pick of the second round from the Browns, which would be the 33rd pick of the draft. To do that, the Packers would trade their own second round pick (No. 45), plus their first fourth round pick (No. 101), plus would have to also trade their two compensatory picks in the fifth round (No.’s 172 & 174).
The trade will still leave the Packers with nine picks in the draft, including at least one in each round, but now Green Bay would be able to get two of the top 33 players in the 2018 NFL draft.
As per usual, I am using the expertise of NFL scout Chris Landry to help guide me through the draft process, as I will be utilizing his horizontal draft board (best players regardless of position) and his various positional draft boards.
I will do one final mock draft the week of the actual draft. But without further adieu, here is my mock draft 3.0.
Round 1: Outside Linebacker Marcus Davenport (University of Texas-San Antonio)
Weight: 264 pounds
The Packers would have to feel very fortunate if Marcus Davenport of UTSA is still on the board with pick No. 14 of the first round. On his horizontal draft board (best overall players), Landry ranks Davenport at No. 7.
Landry also has Davenport ranked No. 2 on his defensive end draft board, behind only Bradley Chubb of North Carolina State.
In Green Bay, Davenport would be a hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end, similar to the role Julius Peppers had when he was a Packer. The Packers desperately need to invigorate their pass rush, which will undoubtedly help the secondary have more success. Davenport would make a big impact in that regard.
In four years at UTSA, Davenport improved over each of those seasons and had 185 total tackles, 37.5 tackles for a loss, 21.5 sacks, eight passes defended, two fumble recoveries (one for a touchdown) and six forced fumbles.
At the Senior Bowl practices, Davenport struggled at times, but he played well in the game itself, with a sack and a scoop-and-score fumble recovery.
At the combine, Davenport put on quite a show, when he ran a 4.58 40, which is remarkable for a man his size.
This is the scouting report Landry put out on Davenport:
Very raw but an explosive and long pass rusher who can play in a two or three point stance. Love his first step quickness and shows an ability to transfer speed to power. At this point is a first move pass rusher only but will technique development should be a force as a pass rusher in the league. I like his effort and play strength against the run but will need to improve his upper body strength for that to translate as well to the NFL level. He will also have to transition to playing more effectively from a 3-point stance as he loses leverage getting too high. I love his length and body frame. Built like a player I drafted years back in Jevon Kearse but long levered like Jadeveon Clowney. Has the quickness to drop but lacks coverage understanding and instincts. Love his edge and closing speed along with his motor. Best edge speed rusher in this draft with lots of upside.
Round 2: Cornerback Josh Jackson (Iowa)
Weight: 192 pounds
The Packers would be also be absolutely thrilled if Josh Jackson of Iowa is still on the board at pick No. 33. That has a chance to happen because Landry has Jackson rated at No. 30 on his horizontal draft board and the No. 3 CB behind Denzel Ward and Mike Hughes.
In 2017, Jackson had a breakout year with the Hawkeyes, as he had 66 total tackles, eight interceptions (two for touchdowns vs. Wisconsin), 27 passes defensed and one forced fumble.
Because of that performance, Jackson earned first-team AP All-American and first-team All-Big Ten honors.
Jackson did not help himself at the NFL Scouting Combine with his workout (4.56 in the 40, a leap of 38 inches in the vertical jump and 4.03 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle), but he improved each of those numbers at the Iowa pro day.
There Jackson ran a 4.52 in the 40, had a 40 inch vertical jump and ran the 20-yard shuttle in 3.95 seconds.
The Packers added some veteran depth at CB this offseason by bringing back Williams and also be re-signing House. The Packers love the upside of second-year corner Kevin King, who flashed last year as a rookie before a shoulder injury ended his season. After that, there are a lot of questions about the other young CBs on the Packers.
That is why it is imperative to draft at least two cornerbacks in this draft, including one who can be a starter on Day 1. Jackson is that type of player.
This is the scouting report Landry gives on Jackson:
Versatile cover guy with good size. Experienced playing lots of coverages. Like his movement skills turning out of press and excels in zone coverage. Quick seeing routes and has outstanding ball skills. Gets low in pedal, can play up or off and good in run support. He will need to get stronger and I worry about his deep speed but I see him as an early starter.
Round 3: Wide Receiver Dante Pettis (Washington)
Weight: 192 pounds
The Packers would love to see a talent like Dante Pettis of Washington available in the third round when it is their time to pick. Landry has Pettis rated No. 46 on his horizontal draft board and No. 4 on his wide receiver draft boards. Other scouts do not have Pettis rated this high.
Pettis is a multi-talented player, who is not only an excellent receiver, but also a very good punt returner.
In four years as a Husky, Pettis had 163 receptions for 2,256 yards and 24 touchdowns. In addition to that, Pettis returned 90 punts for 1,274 yards and had a whopping nine touchdowns.
During a pro day-style workout, Pettis ran a 4.45 in the 40, had a 36-inch vertical jump, had a 127-inch broad jump and did a 6.72-second run through the three-cone drill.
Pettis comes from a very athletic family, as his father is Gary Pettis, a five-time Gold Glove-winning center fielder, when he played major league baseball.
The Packers need to add another threat at wide receiver after losing Nelson, plus they would be able to add a very dangerous put returner as well.
I only have the Packers selecting one WR in this draft, as I envision that the Packers are going to utilize Ty Montgomery primarily at that position in 2018 and beyond. We shall see.
Here is Landry’s scouting report on Pettis:
Shows explosive acceleration to separate from zone or man. Smooth releasing off line of scrimmage and possesses outstanding run after catch skills. Has elite return skills that will get him on the field early while he learns the nuances of route tree. His hands and catching radius are good, quickness exceptional and plays with good instincts. Lean frame that needs to add bulk and will need to improve his fight for ball in traffic.
Round 4: Cornerback Tony Brown (Alabama)
Weight: 198 pounds
Landry has Tony Brown rated at No. 9 on his cornerback draft board and No. 94 on his horizontal draft board, which is essentially a late third-round grade. Other scouts have Brown rated in the same approximate area, while others have Brown rated lower.
When you look at the statistics, Brown of doesn’t stick out to you. One reason was because he was part of a very talented defensive backfield. Plus, he was a part-time starter and who also filled the role of the nickelback.
In his career with the Crimson Tide, Brown had 86 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss, 0.5 sacks, three interceptions (including one in the 2018 CFP National Championship Game), five passes defended and one forced fumble.
But there is a lot more to like about Brown. For one, he is very fast. Brown ran a 4.35 at the combine, plus he earned first team All-America honors in track and field in the spring of 2015 in the 4×400 meter relay .
Brown is also a stalwart on special teams and is a very good tackler in run support.
Bad tackling and a lack of speed have become issues in the Green Bay secondary, plus it’s always a plus to improve special teams, which is why Brown would be a great value here.
This is what Landry said about Brown at the scouting combine:
Alabama CB Tony Brown’s official forty time at the NFL Combine was 4.35. Brown ran one of the fastest 40 times among all defensive backs. This isn’t surprising as Brown was a high-school 100-meter state champion. A really good tackler, Brown will make an immediate impact on special teams.
Round 5: Tight End Troy Fumagalli (Wisconsin)
Weight: 248 pounds
Landry has Troy Fumagalli of Wisconsin rated at No. 154 on his horizontal draft board (late fourth round) and No. 6 on his tight end draft board.
In four years as a Badger, Fumagalli had 135 receptions for 1,627 yards and seven touchdowns. After the 2017 season, in which he had 38 receptions for 478 yards and four touchdowns, No. 81 was named first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches and second-team All-Big Ten by the media. In addition to that, Fumagalli won the Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year award in the Big Ten.
In 2016, Fumagalli was named second-team All-Big Ten, plus was named Cotton Bowl Offensive MVP, as he caught six throws for 83 yards and a touchdown in the 24-16 victory over Western Michigan.
It’s important to note that Fumagalli has only nine fingers, as he lost the index finger on his left hand at birth. Still, Fumagalli estimated that he dropped only one pass per season as a Badger.
This is Landry’s scouting report on Fumagalli:
Productive player. Like his release and route running skills. Good hands. Adjusts well to ball and will compete in crowd. Works to block and decent RAC skills. Frame needs development. Narrow based as blocker. One speed runner lacking burst and vertical speed. Nifty H back type who needs to develop strength to play effectively as Y. Like his ability in short passing game and as receiver but not an explosive flex player.
Round 6: Center/Guard Sean Welsh (Iowa)
Weight: 300 pounds
Landry has Sean Welsh of Iowa rated No. 107 on his horizontal draft board and No. 7 on his offensive guard draft board. Some scouts have Welsh rated in a similar area, while others have him rated much lower.
The Packers need someone who can help out at guard and also as a backup center. Welsh can do both and perhaps more, as he proved at Iowa.
Welsh was a four-year starter at Iowa, as he started 48 games in his collegiate career. He started 23 games at right guard, six at right tackle and 19 at left guard. Welsh also worked out a center for the Hawkeyes.
As a senior, Welsh was named second-team All-Big Ten, while he was named third-team All-Big Ten as a junior and Honorable mention All-Big Ten as a sophomore.
This is the scouting report Landry gave on Welsh:
He is heavy-legged and lacks the brute power to overwhelm defenders, but he can mask some of those deficiencies with his savvy blocking style and toughness. Overall, Welsh is best in a phone booth where he can tie up rushers and his positional flexibility boosts his NFL grade, projecting as a back-up guard or center.
Round 6 (compensatory): Linebacker Leon Jacobs (Wisconsin)
Weight: 230 pounds
Landry has linebacker Leon Jacobs of Wisconsin rated No. 26 on his linebacker draft board, which means fifth to sixth round value.
Jacobs had a strong 2017 season for the Badgers, as he played outside linebacker after the departure of both T.J. Watt and Vince Biegel in the 2017 NFL draft. Jacobs also played some inside linebacker in both the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
In 2017, Jacobs had 60 total tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, two interceptions, three passes defensed, two fumble recoveries (one for a TD) and one forced fumble.
Jacobs was given Honorable Mention designation by both the coaches and the media for his performance in 2017.
At the combine, Jacobs turned a lot of heads, as he ran a 4.48 in the 40.
Here is Landry’s scouting report of Jacobs:
A one-year starter at Wisconsin, Jacobs blossomed as a senior outside linebacker in Wisconsin’s 3-4 base scheme, standing up and rushing off the edge. After bouncing between positions at inside linebacker and fullback as an underclassman, he found a home at outside linebacker in 2017, taking over for the departed T.J. Watt. With his hoops background, Jacobs is a balanced athlete on his feet and competes with a physical edge, relying on leverage, reach and motor as the main recipe for his pass rush. He doesn’t have poor awareness, but he is mentally undeveloped and needs more reps as a rusher, run defender and cover man. Overall, Jacobs is still in the development phase and there are “fit” concerns, but he is an ascending player with the effort and physical attitude to grow into a starting outside pass rush role in a 3-4 or SAM linebacker in a 4-3.
Round 7: Offensive Tackle David Bright (Stanford)
Weight: 307 pounds
Landry has David Bright of Stanford rated No. 21 on his offensive tackle draft board and gives him a seventh round or priority free agent value.
In 2016, Bright started 10 of 12 games played, four at left guard and six at right tackle. Then in 2017, Bright started started 14 games (two games at left tackle, one at right guard and 11 at left guard). His performance last season allowed Bright to get second-team All-American honors from The Sporting News and second-team All-Pac-12 notice from league coaches.
The Packers absolutely love versatility with any offensive lineman that they draft or sign as a free agent. Bright certainly adds that component to the offensive line.
This is what Landry has said about Bright:
Stanford T David Bright is smart, tough, hard worker who plays hurt. The 6-foot-5, 307-pounder also presents great positional versatility, increasing his draft value to be taken late.
Round 7 (compensatory): Running Back Phillip Lindsay (Colorado)
Weight: 190 pounds
Landry has Phillip Lindsay of Colorado rated No. 24 on his running back draft board and gave him a seventh round or a priority free agent value.
In four years in Boulder, Lindsay rushed for 3,775 yards and 36 touchdowns, plus caught 117 passes for 1,084 yards and three more scores. Lindsay also returned kickoffs at times at Colorado.
I was very intrigued at the East-Shrine Game here in nearby St. Petersburg because of four Wisconsin Badgers playing in the game, but one of the other players who really stood out for me in the practices and the game was Lindsay.
At his pro day, Lindsay ran a very impressive 4.39 in the 40, which would have placed him second at the combine among RBs.
The Packers were very happy with the results that they received from two of their rookie running backs (Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones) last season, but one can never have enough talent in the backfield, especially one who can both run and catch the football like Lindsay can.
This is the scouting report Landry gives Lindsay:
A small guy who plays bigger and with good toughness. He will stick his nose in as a pass blocker despite lacking size to be an effective blocker. He is quick to the hole and has good run instincts. As a receiver he can separate and catch ball out of frame. Will need to be an effective returner and receiver in the passing game. I see him as a rotational 3rd down player.