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Righting The Packers Wrongs: Recent Draft Mistakes

What would the Packers change about some of their recent drafts? We’re taking a look at the team’s most recent draft mistakes and how they could have been different for Green Bay.

Throughout the past decade, the Packers have drafted many players in the NFL Draft. From the late general manager Ted Thompson to now Brian Gutekunst, it’s a good time to look back at some of the biggest mistakes and redraft some of the Packer’s biggest misses. In general, the draft is hit or miss and sometimes you get elite stars like Jaire Alexander in 2018, but also you get underachievers like Kevin King in 2017, only a year apart. Let’s start back in 2012. 

The Packers Miss Out On A Future Hall Of Fame Linebacker

The 2012 draft is remembered best as heavily defensive with the Packers taking linebacker Nick Perry with the 28th pick in the first round. Also in the draft, Thompson selected Pro Bowl cornerback Casey Heyward and defensive end, Mike Daniels. Although the latter became a fan favorite and Heyward found a lot of success after his tenure in Green Bay, one thing fans would change about this draft was in that first round.  

Linebacker Nick Perry suited up six years in the green and gold, but never turned into the star the Packers thought he could be. He didn’t have more than four sacks until 2016 when he broke out for 11 sacks and his first career interception. After declining from there, he was released in 2019 and has not played since.  

Green Bay would have loved having All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner instead. Taken in the second round at pick 47, Wagner has been dominant in the league since his rookie season. He was a crucial part of Seattle’s Super Bowl victory and an elite player at linebacker, a position Green Bay has tried finding success at for years now. Wagner is now on a loaded Rams defense chasing after his second ring while Nick Perry is not in the league anymore. 

Packers Miss A Future All-Pro Wideout In The 2016 NFL Draft

Skipping by the historically bad 2015 draft class, where there could be a hundred better picks, 2016 saw the Packers find a really good nose tackle in Kenny Clark. However, looking in the fifth round, the Packers were looking for speed and thought they found their guy in wide receiver Trevor Davis. Instead, Davis wasn’t able to stay healthy while he was in Green Bay and only played 31 games in four seasons. He didn’t even have more than 100 yards in a season and mustered just one touchdown reception.  

One of the biggest misses in franchise history, Aaron Rodgers would have thrived with Tyreek Hill at receiver, who was taken two picks later. The reason Green Bay held back was due to his domestic violence issues, which didn’t affect him too much in the NFL.  

Hill has had 1,000-yard seasons in four of his six seasons in Kansas City along with 56 touchdown receptions. His speed has been utilized in the run game as well with 719 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Hill will now be catching passes from Tua Tagovailoa in Miami while Trevor Davis remains a free agent. 

An NFL Defensive Player Of The Year Heads Home To The Packers

In the 2017 NFL Draft, the Packers were heavily linked to linebacker TJ Watt, the brother of the elite JJ Watt, and a Wisconsin native. Surprisingly, Green Bay traded down with Cleveland and ended up selecting cornerback Kevin King with the first pick in the second round. Pittsburgh ended up taking Watt with their next pick.  

    Most notoriously known for allowing a last-minute touchdown on the final play of the first half in the 2020 NFC Championship Game vs Tampa Bay, King showed flashes when healthy, but injuries were his biggest problem. His best season was 2019 when he caught five interceptions and helped the Packers make the playoffs for the first time in his career. Green Bay has not resigned him, and he has remained a free agent.  

Meanwhile, TJ Watt has been absolutely dominant since entering the league. He is coming off his best season where he had 22.5 sacks and took home the Defensive Player of the Year award. He is the leader of the Steelers’ defense and one of the most feared players in the entire NFL.  

The Packers Finally Listen To The Fans And Draft A First-Round Receiver

The 2020 NFL Draft caused a lot of drama in the Packers’ organization after they were not willing to commit to keeping Aaron Rodgers. This came after they drafted quarterback Jordan Love in the first round instead of an offensive weapon for Rodgers. Although he was coming off a season in which he only threw 26 touchdowns, he still had more left to offer. Some might say the pick even motivated him more. Rodgers won back-to-back MVPs in 2020 and 2021 while leading the Packers to the top seed in the NFC in both years.  

Both years, Green Bay has fallen short of the Super Bowl and receiver problems are at least partially to blame. Instead of picking Jordan Love, the Packers take receiver Tee Higgins, who was drafted early second round by Cincinnati. In just two seasons, Higgins has just shy of 2,000 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. He has also played well in the postseason as well as he had the most receiving yards during Super Bowl LVI. 

Love was a good prospect out of college but hasn’t really gotten a chance to do much. In his first career start, filling in for Rodgers when he had COVID-19, Love threw for 190 yards, a touchdown, and an interception but his offense only scored seven points in the 7-13 loss to Kansas City. In Week 18, Love started the second half, while the team rested starters, where Love threw a touchdown and two interceptions.  

Although it is still early to tell how good Love will be, whether as a backup or a starter somewhere else, Green Bay would have been better off taking Higgins and giving the Packers a really good number two option behind Davante Adams. It is too early to talk about the 2021 NFL Draft, but it looks like the Packers got a good cornerback in Eric Stokes. It will be interesting to see how the second-year players do this season and who will take the biggest leap.  

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