The Green Bay Packers don’t have two first-round picks like they did in last year’s draft, but that doesn’t mean this year will be a dull experience.
The Packers are picking at No. 15 this year, which brings plenty of intrigue in itself. Before this year, the franchise had picked in the top-15 just one other time since 2010 and that’s when it took Rashan Gary with the 12th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
There are plenty of directions the Packers could go in at No. 15, but it’s the second round that is bound to provide some action.
The Packers really need a tight end. Like, really bad. This draft class has a lot of good options and it’s very deep, but taking one at 15 still feels a bit much. Now, the second round, however, is where things can get interesting.
Operating under the assumption that the Packers will have at least one extra second-rounder, it’s easy to see the team trading up to take a player like former Georgia Bulldogs tight end, Darnell Washington.
The Houston Texans nabbed Washington with the 33rd overall pick in The Athletic’s most recent mock draft, so there is plenty of logic behind the thought of Washington getting drafted in the very early stages of the second round.
The Packers have already hosted Washington on a top-30 visit, so there is plenty of interest, there. As well there should be.
Green Bay is going to lose Marcedes Lewis to the New York Jets once Aaron Rodgers is traded, so the Packers are going to need an effective blocking tight end to take his place.
And Washington is not only an effective blocker, he’s essentially a sixth offensive lineman. He’s a 6-foot-6, 264-pound monster that doesn’t just move mountains – he can drill right through them using his world-class explosiveness.
He’s a good receiver, too. His 1.77 yards per route run ranked 15th among all tight ends with at least 43 targets last year (62 qualifying players and including the postseason) and he dropped just two of the aforementioned targets.
Both of these stats look even better when considering the fact that Washington’s targets averaged the fourth-highest average depth of target (10.8), as well.
The Packers would essentially be killing two birds with one stone if they drafted Washington: but how much would it cost to move up to 33?
Let’s assume the Packers get the Jets’ 43rd pick in the Rodgers trade. According to Rich Hill’s draft value chart, which is the most up-to-date and accurate chart, The 33rd overall pick is worth 180 points. The 45th overall pick, which is the Packers’ second-rounder, is worth 131 points.
That leaves the Packers with 49 points to make up. The 43rd overall pick is worth 138 points, so Brian Gutekunst would be paying an egregious price to move up to 33. That’s not going to happen, by any means.
The Texans would certainly want the Packers’ third-rounder in this situation, which is worth 59 points. That means the Packers would overspend by 10 points, which honestly isn’t bad, at all, when talking about moving up 12 spots and gaining the second pick of the second round.
The Packers could ask for pick No. 157 to balance things out, but at this point, getting a highly-coveted player and then picking again at 43 is a very ideal situation to be in.
Plus, there’s a chance the Packers receive an extra third-rounder in 2023 via the Rodgers trade. If that happens, then the Packers aren’t missing any action in any round, which is obviously the most ideal situation.
In all, the impending Rodgers trade, Washington’s rapidly rising draft stock, and the Packers’ interest in Washington all points toward the Packers moving up and hopefully locking up a starting position for the next four years, at minimum.
It’s a bold move, but one that should certainly pay both immediate and long-term dividends.
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