Sunday, April 30, 2023

Green Bay Packers 2023 NFL Draft Grades Roundup

The 2023 NFL Draft is now in the rearview mirror, and we have compiled a consensus ranking using NFL draft grades from a variety of sites.

What draft grades have the media given to the Green Bay Packers? What are they saying about the Packers' 2023 draft haul?

MORE: 2023 NFL Strength of Schedule - Grade: A-

I love the potential in Van Ness as a strong edge defender who can play 5 technique. Musgrave (gained with the pick acquired from the Jets in exchange for Aaron Rodgers), Reed (picked slightly earlier than expected) and Kraft (picked slightly later) give new quarterback Jordan Love three young targets with whom he can get familiar this offseason.

Wooden and Brooks will greatly aid a lean defensive-line depth chart. Clifford has third-day intangibles and some physical traits to be a solid backup, though his accuracy was inconsistent throughout his career. Wicks, DuBose (my favorite pick of the group) and Nichols continue the team's efforts to build talent on offense. Carlson possesses good leg strength but missed 12 field-goal attempts over the past two seasons. Valentine and Johnson were clutch picks for a secondary in need of help.

ESPN - Grade: B+

The Jordan Love era in Green Bay starts with ... an edge rusher. Aaron Rodgers knows that feeling; the Packers have now drafted a defensive player with 12 of their past 13 first-round picks, according to ESPN Stats & Info research. As part of the trade with the Jets for Rodgers, Green Bay general manager Brian Gutekunst received pick Nos. 13, 42 and 207 and a conditional second-rounder in 2024, while giving up a disgruntled quarterback and pick Nos. 15 and 170. That's a decent haul. The Packers had three picks on Day 2 to try to improve things around Love, and that's exactly what they did, which redeems the slight reach of Lukas Van Ness (13) on Thursday. As I wrote, I had higher-ranked pass-rushers available.

Gutekunst took my fifth- and sixth-ranked tight ends in Luke Musgrave (42) and Tucker Kraft (78), and he added wideout Jayden Reed (50) to try to alleviate some of the pressure off Love. I wrote more Friday night about these picks, but in short, I like them. Musgrave and Kraft both have pass-catching potential, and Green Bay needs it. Last season, it ranked 25th in receiving yards by tight ends (670). Reed is only 5-foot-11, but he plays bigger on tape. This is how to support an inexperienced passer.

Of Saturday's picks, I like defensive backs Carrington Valentine (232) and Anthony Johnson Jr. (242) the most. I had undrafted grades on quarterback Sean Clifford (149) and 6-foot-5 kicker Anders Carlson (207). Colby Wooden (116) is a tweener defensive lineman who is a little too undersized right now to play as a 3-technique as a rookie.

This Green Bay offseason is going to be remembered for all of the theatrics around Rodgers, but I thought the Packers did well in this draft, especially if Van Ness turns into an All-Pro. We're going to find out a lot more about Love and his future in a few months. Plus, if Rodgers plays a bunch for the Jets, New York will owe the Packers its 2024 first-rounder.

SI - Grade: B+

The Packers went with the versatile Van Ness instead of adding an offensive lineman for first-year starting quarterback Jordan Love. Van Ness has high upside and will form a strong pass-rushing trio with Preston Smith and Rashan Gary. Love later got plenty of help with Musgrave, a polished pass catcher, and Kraft, a solid blocker. Reed has the potential to develop into a standout downfield threat because of his speed and reliable hands.

PFF - Grade: B+

Day 1: Many thought this was the spot for a playmaker for quarterback Jordan Love, but the Packers instead opt for an edge defender in Van Ness. A power rusher, he can push through opposing offensive linemen and likely comes with the versatility of being able to kick inside at times.

Day 2: The Packers address their receiving corps on Day 2 after (once again) passing on several receiving options in the first round. Musgrave adds a different element to their tight end room with the size and speed to challenge defenses down the seam. He looked to be on his way to a very strong 2022 season for Oregon State before a knee injury cut his campaign short after just two games, making this a projection play for Green Bay.

Reed was a "late-riser" after a strong Senior Bowl showing, where he displayed an extensive package of releases at the line and sharp route running, but was No. 86 on the consensus big board and comes off at No. 50 here. Reed struggled a bit with drops, doing so on 8.3% of catchable targets in 2022, and is just an OK athlete with his vertical jump, broad jump and short shuttle all ranking inside the 50th percentile or lower.

Day 3: Wooden should offer some inside-outside for the Packers after playing primarily on the interior for Auburn at 273 pounds. He has active hands and earned a 60th-percentile run-defense grade across three college seasons as a starter.

Brooks may need to move inside with limited athleticism, but he makes the absolute most out of his skill set, as his 93.0 overall grade was the top mark in college football. The grade comes from savvy play against lesser competition and should not be taken as an indication he's going to dominate at the NFL level, but his 23.8% pass-rush win rate is due to good hand usage and a sound pass-rush plan.

The Packers will be looking for the 2021 version of Nichols, who ran for over 1,800 yards and 16 touchdowns with an 86.1 PFF rushing grade that year. He's a compact back at 5-foot-11 and 222 pounds.

Ranked 90th on PFF's big board, Johnson was a fast riser who converted from cornerback to safety in his senior season. He is versatile and performed well enough to possibly project him as a starter at the position with the proper development.

DuBose produced a 72.8 PFF receiving grade but just 62.2 against man coverage. He averaged 1.87 yards per route run this past season.

Fox Sports - Grade: B

It wasn't the petty draft I would have hoped for, but the Packers took Lukas Van Ness out of Iowa at No. 13 overall with the intention of playing him inside rather than on the edge. That alone makes me feel better about them not selecting a pass catcher in the first round, though it means Green Bay will field eight first-round picks on the defensive side of the ball alone this coming season. The defense is out of excuses.

Clearly, taking a receiver at No. 13 was too rich this year — Jaxon Smith-Njigba didn't come off the board until No. 20. But Green Bay did address pass catchers on Day 2, taking two tight ends and a wide receiver. Jayden Reed out of Michigan State may actually be my favorite of the picks for the way he can complement the Packers' other young wideouts.

USA Today - Grade: B

Can't argue they got better by dealing Rodgers, but it was time — especially given the need to start evaluating 2020 first-rounder Jordan Love. And GM Brian Gutekunst got busy helping his new QB1 on Friday by snatching WR Jayden Reed (Round 2) and TEs Luke Musgrave (Round 2) and Tucker Kraft (Round 3). First-rounder Van Ness nicely strengthens the edge, while it appears sixth-rounder Anders Carlson, brother of the Raiders' Daniel Carslon, will replace K Mason Crosby.

The Ringer - Grade: B

The Packers did what the Packers always do in the first round, picking yet another defensive player in Iowa's Lukas Van Ness. The former Hawkeyes' standout is a pass-rusher in the mold of Rashan Gary and Preston Smith, and should factor into the team's rotation early on. On day two, the team finally answered their fans' pleas, bolstering their skill-player group in support of Jordan Love by grabbing a pair of versatile tight ends in Luke Musgrave (Oregon State) and Tucker Kraft (South Dakota State), along with a twitchy, playmaking receiver in Jayden Reed (Michigan State). GM Brian Gutekunst added another receiver in Virginia Tech's Dontayvion Wicks in the fifth round—a draft haul that should be a boon for the team's new signal caller. Green Bay added former Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford in the fifth round, too—a huge surprise that early in the draft, and perhaps a result of the success of last year's Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy. Clifford is, hilariously, three months older than Love, who was drafted in 2020.

Sporting News - Grade: C-

Brian Gutekunst first Packers draft without Aaron Rodgers was interesting given the loading up on receiving help from Musgrave, Reed, Kraft and Wicks, but it was a little too heavy on skill positions, missing some needed selections for the offensive line. Clifford was a terrible wasted pick as a far undraftable QB behind Jordan Love. Van Ness and Wooden need a lot of work to help the defense. Brooks and Johnson were their clear best picks, value or otherwise

Touchdown Wire - Grade: C

Maybe it was the number of picks the Packers had, or maybe they felt freed from the shackles of whatever mystery spell Aaron Rodgers had put on them, but the Packers' draft was… odd. Let's start with the picks I liked. Clearly, head coach Matt Lafleur is going to call a bunch of 12 personnel packages with the addition of Musgrave and Kraft, and they're two of the most explosive tight ends in a loaded class. Jayden Reed is a competitive receiver who will add to the room, I love Karl Brooks as a legitimate 300-pound edge defender (you don't see that every day), and getting Anthony Johnson Jr. in the seventh round is absolute larceny.

And now… time to avert your eyes, Cheeseheads. I had Lukas Van Ness as my eighth-ranked edge-rusher, Sean Clifford has an undraftable grade from a lot of people (I do not disagree), and there's more reaches than steals here. Even Reed, who I like, seems more like a third-day guy. Maybe it all works out, but starting with the Van Ness pick, this is hard to endorse.

Sorry, Packers fans. Here's some Karl Brooks tape to make you feel better.

More: 2023 NFL Draft Grade Roundups

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