USA TODAY Sports shares final first-round Lukas Van Ness projection
The wait is over! The 2023 NFL draft’s first round is here tonight from Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri.
There’s been all sorts of speculation over the past several months about where former Iowa Hawkeyes star Lukas Van Ness will wind up. After a strong NFL combine showing, it’s finally time for the Barrington, Illinois, native to learn where his immediate football future will unfold.
With all sorts of mock draft predictions out there, including our own mock here at Hawkeyes Wire, it’s time to sort it out Thursday night.
Here’s USA TODAY Sports’ final draft projection from Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz. His prediction has been a popular landing spot for Van Ness.
He has the Green Bay Packers selecting Van Ness with the No. 13 overall pick in tonight’s first round of the 2023 NFL draft.
While an offensive lineman or tight end would be sensible for Green Bay as it begins a new era with Jordan Love at the helm, no one should be surprised if GM Brian Gutekunst sticks to his ways and bolsters the defense. Nicknamed “Hercules,” Van Ness is the very picture of the powerhouse pass rusher that Green Bay covets – and Rashan Gary’s recovery from a torn ACL along with Preston Smith’s age (31 in November) could urge such a move. – Middlehurst-Schwartz, USA TODAY Sports.
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For a franchise that’s moving on from Aaron Rodgers and turning the keys over to Jordan Love, some might think the Packers would first look to add an offensive weapon. There’s an argument to be made that Green Bay will initially look to be more defensive-minded with the transition from Rodgers to Love.
With that in mind, getting arguably the draft’s best edge rusher at No. 13 would be a fantastic way to kick off this next era of Green Bay football.
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