With eight picks to go in the 2020 NFL Draft, and the biggest first-round decision made by the Green Bay Packers in this year's event, here's a look at what could happen the rest of the way Friday and Saturday.
On Thursday, the Packers moved their 4th-round pick (#136) and 1st-round pick (#30) to Miami to draft quarterback Jordan Love of Utah State at #26 overall.
In this simulation, which we only ran back five times (we did 20 times in our original mock draft earlier this week, which you can see here), we emphasized long-term gains with a couple of short-term patches to open spots on the roster. As always, if you want to play along, you can use the NFL Draft simulator here.
We made the mistake of not considering a quarterback in our original run. Now, we don't have to worry about it, since the position is now covered with the selection of Love! Our priority positions are offensive line (both tackle and interior), running back, defensive line, linebacker, and wide receiver, with secondary depth and a second offensive skill position player next on our list.
Second Round (#62 Overall): Lucas Niang, Offensive Tackle, TCU: We are adjusting somewhat since the Packers' immediate needs may not be as big of a factor as originally believed. So, we are punting on a wide receiver (for now) to scoop up a talented offensive tackle that can fill in the spot behind the two current starters and eventually start, maybe as soon as this year or sometime next year, given how quickly one injury can change things. Strongly debated grabbing an interior offensive lineman here, such as Robert Hunt of Louisiana or Matt Hennessy of Temple, but the greater need initially is at tackle since in two years, there are none under (guaranteed) contract. Niang is athletic and could play either side of the line, and is a more pro-ready prospect than players like Ezra Cleveland or Prince Tega Wanogho.
First Mock Draft Pick: Raekwon Davis, Defensive Lineman, Alabama
Third Round (#94 Overall): Akeem Davis-Gaither, Linebacker, Appalachian State: As many clamored for wide receivers in this Draft, particularly if the Packers went defense early and often, the pool dries up on top-end talent by this stage, leaving the Packers open to filling other voids on the defense. A linebacker is needed, and if Davis-Gaither makes it this far, could be a great fit as a jack-of-all-trades middle 'backer with three-down potential. Logan Wilson of Wyoming projects to this range as well, and by the time the Packers pick again, most of what's left are one-dimensional types that can't move around the way the Packers would like. If they don't get a linebacker here, they are swinging for the fences later. Davis-Gaither is one of the few remaining top-end playmakers on the board.
First Mock Draft Pick: K.J. Hamler, Wide Receiver, Penn State
Fourth Round (#136 Overall): Traded in deal to select Jordan Love.
First Mock Draft Pick: Charlie Heck, Offensive Tackle, North Carolina
Fifth Round (#176 Overall): Khalil Davis, Defensive Lineman, Nebraska: Going right up the middle with defensive depth, the Packers can add some depth to a position group that doesn't have a lot of flash to it after Kenny Clark. There's no urgency for 2020 here, but down the road, the Packers will need to back up some big-contract guys with more affordable contracts.
First Mock Draft Pick: Justin Herron, Offensive Lineman, Wake Forest
Sixth Round (#193 Overall): Tanner Muse, Safety/Linebacker, Clemson: Versatility and size are buzzwords for Packers draft picks. An immediate contributor on special teams and someone that can help as depth in multiple spots for the Packers. Our original selection here is long gone before the Packers get to him.
First Mock Draft Pick: L'Jarius Sneed, Safety, Louisiana Tech
Sixth Round (#209 Overall and #210 Overall): Charlie Taumoepeau, Tight End, Portland State and DeeJay Dallas, Running Back, Miami (instead of Joshua Kelley, Running Back, UCLA, already picked in all five of our runs): An athletic long-range tight end prospect that vaguely fills a role vacated by Jimmy Graham and a running back with development potential to serve as insurance to either Aaron Jones or Jamaal Williams (or both!) leaving this upcoming offseason. Green Bay is grabbing at least one running back in this Draft.
Seventh Round (#236 Overall and #243 Overall): Jon Runyan, Offensive Lineman, Michigan and Austin Mack, Wide Receiver, Ohio State (instead of Darnell Mooney, Wide Receiver, Tulane, already picked in all five of our runs): There will be receivers who fall given the depth of the position; Mack was appealing as a move-the-sticks possession receiver that the Packers lack on the roster right now. Runyan is a legacy prospect and could add to the line depth the Packers will need when the contracts are up after this season and it's time to look long-term at rebuilding the front lines.
Photo: Getty Images (Davis-Gaither)