If the 2023 NFL draft were to take place today, the Green Bay Packers – now with a 3-6 record after nine games – would own the 10th overall pick in the first round.
Let’s assume the Packers stay in that 10-12 pick range. What players could be on the board for general manager Brian Gutekunst?
With the 2023 NFL Draft just 167 days away, let’s try to be like Doctor Strange and look into the future by taking a look at 12 prospects that could be high on Green Bay’s board when they are on the clock in the first round.
Note: Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Jalen Carter, Will Anderson Jr, and Myles Murphy won’t appear on this list.
Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State
The Packers have had a lot of success drafting offensive linemen on day three of the NFL Draft and developing them. David Bakhtiari, Josh Sitton, TJ Lang, Jon Runyan, Corey Linsley, JC Tretter. You get the point. They know what they are doing when it comes to drafting and developing offensive linemen.
Given that success, it’s no wonder the Packers haven’t drafted an offensive lineman in the first round since they selected Derek Sherrod with the 32nd overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
That streak could come to an end if Olu Fashanu is sitting there for the taking when the Packers are on the clock.
The Penn State offensive tackle is young (he’ll be 20 in December), he’s athletic, powerful, and has yet to give up a sack this season.
Think we’re looking at OT1 here. 19-years old 👀 pic.twitter.com/gZZ7HnC5Ex
— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) November 1, 2022
As it stands right now, Fashanu will likely be the first offensive lineman off the board and there’s a strong chance he won’t be on the board when the Packers are on the clock in the 10-12 range. However, if he is on the clock, given his age and skillset, the Packers should sprint to the podium to select the Penn State offensive tackle.
Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
The Packers just scored nine points against the Detroit Lions. The same defense that was giving up 32 points per game. The Packers need to continue to add young playmakers to this offense. Enter Michael Mayer.
The only tight end on Green Bay’s roster under contract for next season is Josiah Deguara. The Packers are going to need immediate help at the position and Mayer could be a plug-and-play starter with his natural pass-catching abilities.
He has outstanding body control and is able to make catches through contact. He’s not an explosive athlete, but he’s a natural route runner and with his size (6-5 and 251 pounds), he’s a mismatch working the middle of the field.
Michael Mayer: 10 catches of 20+ yards
Most among Power 5 TEs😎 pic.twitter.com/4TZGiOFteB
— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 4, 2022
The question is would the Packers use an early first-round pick on a tight end? The last time the Packers drafted a tight end in the first round was 2000 when they selected Bubba Franks with the 14th overall pick. The Packers need weapons and Mayer is pro-ready. He may not provide a Kyle Pitts-like rookie season (1,010 receiving yards), but he could provide a Ken Dilger-like impact as a rookie (635 receiving yards).
Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson
Dean Lowry and Jarran Reed are both set to be free agents following this season. With those two potentially out the door, the Packers are going to need to add to the Kenny Clark, Devonte Wyatt, and Tedarrell Slaton mix.
Bryan Bresee has all the tools to develop into a disruptive force. He’s explosive and plays with a lot of power. He’s got thunder in his hands and is able to jolt offensive linemen.
Yeah, #Clemson DT Bryan Bresee #11 looks healthy.
Stack, shed, finish. Hard dude to slow down. pic.twitter.com/myxrebj9HK
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) September 6, 2022
As a true freshman in 2020, Bresee recorded 6.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. Prior to tearing his ACL in 2021, Bresee recorded three tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in four games. This past season he’s missed time with a kidney infection.
Tyree Wilson, Edge, Texas Tech
The Texas Tech edge rusher passes the eye test with his long arms and size (6-6, 270 pounds). With his size, length, and closing speed, Wilson consistently gets to the quarterback to disrupt passing plays. Wilson is not just a pass-rush specialist, he’d be able to step in from day one and be a starter with his ability to set the edge and create havoc in the backfield against the run.
“Nope. You ain’t going NOWHERE” -Tyree Wilson pic.twitter.com/7LFVQPvteK
— Unnecessary Roughness (@UnnecRoughness) November 5, 2022
The Texas A&M transfer finished last season with 13.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks. Through nine games this season, Wilson has recorded 14 tackles for loss and seven sacks.
The Packers just lost Rashan Gary for the season with a torn ACL and he may not be ready for the start of the 2023 season. Regardless of Gary’s status, the Packers need to add another edge rusher to the mix. Wilson checks all the boxes and down the line, Gary and Wilson would give the Packers a formidable duo of edge rushers.
Paris Johnson, OL, Ohio State
Last season Johnson started 13 games at right guard and this season the Ohio State offensive lineman is protecting the blind side of C.J. Stroud. Johnson has good size and length (6-6, 315 pounds). He has quick feet and lower body flexibility to redirect edge rushers. Through nine games this season, the Ohio State left tackle has yet to give up a sack.
Paris Johnson is a large, strong human. pic.twitter.com/LvJhRV8IWR
— Jordan Strack (@JordanStrack) November 5, 2022
Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
Gutekunst has used three first-round selections on Georgia defensive players in the past two drafts. Why not go over to the other side of the ball in the 2023 NFL Draft?
Georgia OT Broderick Jones 🥞pic.twitter.com/mueNd0dnuE
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) November 3, 2022
At 6-4, 315 pounds, Jones looks the part. Jones is an excellent athlete and can get out in space and move people. The first-year starter at left tackle has the quick feet to protect corner in pass protection.
Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
The Packers haven’t selected a wide receiver in the first round since 2002 when they drafted Javon Walker with the 20th overall pick.
With his size, athleticism, and big-play ability, Johnston would be hard to pass up for a team desperate for playmakers.
#TCU WR Quentin Johnston consistently made the first man miss on today’s Kansas tape.
His play strength and elusiveness is such a unique combination for a 6-4, 215 lbs. athlete. pic.twitter.com/rsNIXjvEpv
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) October 9, 2022
With his size (6-4, 215 pounds) and speed (4.4), Johnston challenges cornerbacks vertically and is able to chew up grass with his long strides. According to Pro Football Focus, Johnston has forced 41 missed tackles on 97 career receptions. His trump card is his ability to create explosive plays.
After a slow start to the season, Johnston has recorded 30 receptions for 536 yards and four touchdowns.
Antonio Johnson, DB, Texas A&M
The 10-12 range may be “too early” for Johnson, but drafting the Texas A&M defensive back would help fill a giant need in Green Bay’s secondary.
Texas A&M Antonio Johnson is a massive yet fluid 6'3 200lb long limbed nickelback with a quick trigger, physicality, range, ball skills, man matchup ability…
This is the new nickel profile for the NFL. I am blown away with his film
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) July 10, 2022
Johnson checks all the boxes, with his size (6-3, 195 pounds), versatility, and athleticism. Johnson can line up in the slot and on the boundary. He covers a lot of real estate with his fluid athleticism. The versatile defensive back is a physical, downhill run defender that’s a reliable open-field tackler.
Brian Branch, DB, Alabama
Like Johnson, the 10-12 range may be considered a “reach” for Branch. The Alabama product is as versatile as they come. He plays the Star position for Nick Saban and can be viewed as a versatile chess piece for defensive coordinators. He has the ability to play nickel, on the boundary or safety.
Brian Branch is as versatile as they come. Plays the star position for Alabama. Movable chess piece.
Was No. 62 on @BruceFeldmanCFB Freak's list.
The Packers could be in the market for a S and the versatile DB could be high on Brian Gutekunst's list. pic.twitter.com/UCj5NdmAk7
— Brennen Rupp (@Brennen_Rupp) August 14, 2022
Branch has the footwork and fluid athleticism to man the nickel position at the next level. On top of his ability in coverage, Branch is an excellent open-field tackler and is fearless coming downhill.
Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern
Would the Packers draft an offensive tackle with short arms in the top half of the first round? Never say never. Skoronski may get dinged by teams due to his arm length, but arm length hasn’t stopped Rashawn Slater (when healthy) from being a quality offensive tackle in the NFL.
Skoronski plays with good bend and quick feet in pass protection. He has a high football IQ and is quick to react, playing with the savviness of a 10-year pro.
Northwestern's Peter Skoronski this season
💪 383 pass blocking snaps
💪 5 pressures allowed pic.twitter.com/LJV2UhVOz9
— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 6, 2022
Bryan Bulaga didn’t have the longest of arms and the Packers selected him in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Skornoski may have shorter arms than the former Iowa Hawkeye and he may wind up not being on Green Bay’s board, but if he lands with the Packers he could be a plug-and-play starter at right tackle, with the potential to kick inside to guard.
Jordan Addison, WR, USC
The USC wide receiver won’t meet Green Bay’s weight threshold. The 2021 Biletnikoff award winner weighs 180 pounds. However, I can’t see Gutekunst having the dynamic wide receiver off the board because of his weight.
Addison is a bonafide playmaker and could provide an immediate impact in Green Bay’s aerial attack.
Jordan Addison running a clean whip route flashing some loose hips and solid short area quickness
A consistent separator on all levels ✅pic.twitter.com/sf4QEw8Vj6
— Joe O’Leary (@TheHQNerd) November 9, 2022
Addison is a sudden athlete and a crisp route runner. The Pittsburgh Panther transfer does a good job of changing up his route speed to keep defensive backs off balance and create separation.
Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
It’s hard to imagine Gutekunst spending another first-round pick on a cornerback when they already have Jaire Alexander, Eric Stokes, and Rasul Douglas in-house. However, Stokes and Douglas have both regressed this season and a team can never have enough quality cornerbacks on the roster.
Gonzalez has an exciting blend of size (6-2) and athleticism. He’s so smooth in coverage. He has the footwork, loose hips, length, and athleticism to be a lockdown corner at the next level.
DB Teach Tape from Christian Gonzalez 🔥 pic.twitter.com/MSECThdJnV
— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) November 5, 2022
The Packers may not have a need for a cornerback, but an opportunity to add a player with a skillset like Gonzalez may be too hard to pass up.