After Aaron Rodgers suffered a knee injury in Week 1, it appeared the Packers dodged a major bullet when he was back on the field in Week 2. But he never looked quite right, and the Packers found themselves out of the playoff hunt in December and facing a coaching search in the offseason. The good news is there's plenty for general manager Brian Gutekunst to work with in terms of draft assets.
Here's what you need to know about the Green Bay Packers and the 2019 NFL Draft.
2019 draft picks
- Round 1: Green Bay, New Orleans
- Round 2: Green Bay
- Round 3: Green Bay
- Round 4: Green Bay, Washington
- Round 5: Green Bay
- Round 6: Green Bay, Seattle
- Round 7: Green Bay
The Packers have plenty of ammunition to make their roster better in 2019. They landed an extra first-rounder (albeit a low one) by moving down from No. 14 last year. The fourth-rounder comes by virtue of the Ha Ha Clinton-Dix trade, while they managed to pick up a sixth-rounder for Brett Hundley.
Biggest offseason needs
- Edge rusher
- Defensive end
- Wide receiver
The pass rush was incredibly lacking in Green Bay, and with Clay Matthews heading into free agency, the Packers could look for an impact talent to get after the quarterback in the first round. Nick Perry managed just 1.5 sacks in nine games, but they can't really move him and save much cap space without making him a post-June 1 cut. The secondary should expect improvement from its young corners, but quality starters are desperately needed at safety, particularly to replace Ha Ha Clinton-Dix after he was traded for a draft pick. The Muhammad Wilkerson signing ended up being a sunk hole after the star lineman was injured early in the year, and now the team will look for another option next to Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark.
The biggest issue for the Packers on offense is the line, and they should be looking for talent particularly at guard while looking to improve all-around depth. Packers brought in a lot of big bodies at receiver in the last draft but could still be on the lookout for someone to compete to replace Randall Cobb.
Prospects to watch
Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
Polite showed elite pass-rush potential as a rotational player in 2018, and he should step in and bring a presence on the edge from Day 1. The Packers' pass-rush is in flux, and with the depth of elite talent at the position in this draft, they should feel confident at landing a difference-maker in Round 1.
Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
If the Packers veer away from the pass rush in Round 1, they could have a shot at landing the draft's premier safety talent to help replace Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Thompson is the latest playmaking defensive back out of Alabama, and he should be able to step right into the free safety spot for the team that drafts him.
Zach Allen, DE, Boston College
Allen is both strong against the run and a quality pass rusher who could fit at defensive end in the Packers' base scheme but also has the versatility to move around on the defensive line in four-man fronts. The wealth of edge talent in the draft this year could push some quality prospects who don't absolutely blow the doors off the predraft process to the end of the first round, where the Packers own the Saints' pick.