American Football

SB Nation 2024 NFL mock draft: Packers hold steady at No. 25; still fill major need


COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 30 Capital One Orange Bowl - Georgia vs Florida State
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If the board shakes out similarly on draft night, it’ll be a good start for the Packers.

Here at SB Nation, we gather our communities together for a very special mock draft every offseason where each site runner makes their first-round draft pick for their respective team. Trades are part of the process. For the Green Bay Packers, though, I decided to stay put at the 25th overall pick as an exercise to see who could be available on the board if general manager Brian Gutekunst chose to stick it out.

Below were the results by the time I was on the clock:

2024 SB Nation Communities Mock Draft

  1. Chicago Bears: Caleb Williams, QB, USC
  2. Washington Commanders: Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina
  3. New England Patriots: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU
  4. Minnesota Vikings: JJ McCarthy, QB, Michigan (trade)
  5. Arizona Cardinals: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State (trade)
  6. New York Giants: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington
  7. Tennessee Titans: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU
  8. Los Angeles Rams: Joe Alt, OL, Notre Dame (trade)
  9. Las Vegas Raiders: Michael Penix, QB, Washington (trade)
  10. New York Jets: Taliese Fuaga, OL, Oregon State
  11. Los Angeles Chargers: JC Latham, OL, Alabama (trade)
  12. Denver Broncos: Bo Nix, QB, Oregon
  13. Chicago Bears: Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama (trade)
  14. New Orleans Saints: Troy Fautanu, OL, Washington
  15. Indianapolis Colts: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia
  16. Seattle Seahawks: JerZhan Newton, DL, Illinois
  17. Jacksonville Jaguars: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama
  18. Cincinnati Bengals: Byron Murphy, DL, Texas
  19. Atlanta Falcons: Lauatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA (trade)
  20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Olu Fashanu, OL, Penn State
  21. Miami Dolphins: Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State
  22. Philadelphia Eagles: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo
  23. Arizona Cardinals: Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa (trade)
  24. Dallas Cowboys: Jackson Powers-Johnson, OL, Oregon

If bullets were live, I think I would have tried to start trading up beginning with pick No. 18. Byron Murphy is easily the best three-technique defensive tackle in the draft, and he played more than his fair share of nose tackle reps with the Texas Longhorns last season. On the offensive line, it would have been impossible to imagine tackle Olu Fashanu dropping to the 20th overall pick just a few months ago — as he was considered the top offensive line prospect not too long ago. Then you have defensive backs Quinyon Mitchell of Toledo, one of the better pure cornerback prospects in recent memory in my opinion, and Cooper DeJean of Iowa, who can play either cornerback or safety.

But I stuck to my guns and decided to wait for the 25th pick to roll around. With all of those players gone, here was my line of thinking:

This pick basically came down to Duke’s Graham Barton and Georgia Amarius Mims to me. I think that if everything else is equal, the team would turn in a pick for an offensive tackle — especially with how the team is constructed — over a cornerback. That’s why I didn’t go with Kool-Aid McKinstry of Alabama here. Sorry, Kool-Aid, but the fact that the Packers went into the offseason with their top three outside cornerbacks under contract, re-signed three more of their own cornerbacks in free agency and thought their cornerback room was so deep last year that they traded Rasul Douglas for a pick swap makes me think the team is going in a different direction with their first-round pick.

So how did I decide between Barton, who can probably play all five positions in the NFL after starting at both left tackle and center for Duke, and Mims, who was a high-upside right tackle at Georgia? First of all, I considered the words of ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, who reported earlier this week that the Packers consider Zach Tom to be a future Hall of Fame center.

If you’re the Packers, are you in the market for a center — so that you can improve from Josh Myers — or are you in the market for a right tackle — which could help you improve at three positions at once if Tom moves to center and Myers moves to right guard? That moved the needle for me.

So if we’re looking at a right tackle, who is better? Barton or Mims? To me, I think Mims’ upside on the perimeter puts him over the edge, which is why I selected the 6’8”, 340-pound 21-year-old who only started eight games in his college career. Yes, he missed time last year with an ankle injury. I know you hate injuries. Yes, he’s a Georgia Bulldog. I know Bulldogs haven’t really panned out for the Packers lately.

Still, I believe that Mims’ raw athleticism warrants a selection in this range. If not for the question marks, Mims wouldn’t be available here at all. Even in a good tackle class, the only players with as high of an upside as Mims — to me — are Joe Alt (taken eighth in this mock) and JC Latham (taken 11th).

Offensive line (-170) is the odds-on favorite for the Packers’ first-round pick, according to our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook. Cornerback is second at +235.

It’s title window time in Green Bay. It’s time to roll some dice and hope the swings connect.

Just one pick after our selection, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers turned in their pick for Graham, which goes to show you how quickly the top offensive line talent can get swallowed up in this draft, even if six quarterbacks are picked in the first 12 selections.

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