The NFL Draft is fast approaching, and Green Bay Packers fans are eager to know who the team my select with their first-round pick. As of right now, the Packers have the 30th pick in the first round although GM Brian Gutekunst has traded either up or down in each of his previous two drafts.
This is the next in a series of articles looking at players the Packers may be interested in selecting at this year’s draft. The only players listed here are realistic possibilities for the Packers to pick at 30 or if they trade up or down slightly from that spot.
Today we will examine wide receivers since the Packers clearly have a need at this position. Outside of Davante Adams, the team presently has more questions than answers at receiver. Gutekunst signed Devin Funchess in free agency to add experience and depth. Other returning players include Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown, Jake Kumerow and CFL free agent Reggie Begelton.
The Packers are looking to upgrade this position and may add two wide receivers in this draft, one on the first or second day of the draft (the first three rounds) and one on day three (rounds 4-7).
So here is a list of possible wide receivers the Packers may take in the first round:
1. Laviska Shenault Colorado
Shenault has good acceleration and has excellent moves in the open field. At 6’2” and 225 pounds, he has good size, something the Packers always look for in receivers, but isn’t as tall as MVS, EQ, Kumerow or Lazard.
Shenault was used in a variety of ways at Colorado and it may take him a little more time to adjust to one role in the NFL and refine his route running. His versatility may also help him play a few different roles initially whether it be lining up as a split end or in the slot.
Although Shenault may need time to reach his potential, he has all the makings of a future number one receiver and could be ready to be a number two sometime in his rookie season.
2. Brandon Aiyuk Arizona State
Aiyuk is shorter than the Packers typically prefer their wide receivers to be. At 5’11”, 190 pounds, he is fast and makes excellent cuts and changes of direction. He has good leaping ability which does somewhat make up for his lack of height.
In addition to receiving, Aiyuk can help a team immediately as a return specialist.
Aiyuk showed signs of maturing as a senior but he still may need some time to get comfortable running the entire NFL route tree.
One of Aiyuk’s best tools is his ability to run after the catch. That makes him a potentially very dangerous weapon in Matt LaFleur’s offense.
3. Tee Higgins Clemson
Higgins is probably the player that fits the Packers criteria for a wide receiver the best. The big question may be whether he’s still on the board at 30 when Green Bay is scheduled to make their first-round pick.
Higgins is a very dangerous receiver with a lot of natural gifts including size and athleticism. He has long arms which help him make contested catches.
He is a dangerous red zone weapon, having caught 25 touchdown passes over the last two seasons at Clemson. The back-shoulder catch is one of his specialties and that is something Aaron Rodgers would surely appreciate.
Some scouts question Higgins’ consistency running routes in the middle of the field and that’s something he’ll need to work as he adjusts to life in the NFL.
4. Justin Jefferson LSU
Jefferson is a polished route runner who can be effective on both sideline routes and over the middle. He is also good at winning contested balls because he uses his body well to gain an advantage over defenders. He also reads zones well.
The big question about Jefferson is his average speed. He ran a 4.53 in the 40-yard dash which is more than good enough for the NFL, but not the kind of speed that strikes fear in opposing defenses.
Jefferson worked very well with Joe Burrow at LSU and runs crisp routes. His reliability is something Rodgers always requires of his targets.
At 6’3” and 190 pounds, Jefferson has the size that the Packers look for in their receivers and would be a solid addition to the Green Bay offense if the Pack selects him.
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