They didn’t do in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, but the Green Bay Packers crushed it in getting more weapons for young quarterback Jordan Love.
After one round of the 2023 NFL Draft, the sentiment was probably “same plan as always” with the Green Bay Packers. After heavy speculation towards Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Dalton Kincaid, the Packers stayed true to their strategies, selecting Lukas Van Ness out of Iowa as a long-term play on the edge.
With impatience growing among the fanbase, Green Bay was still in a great position heading into day two of the 2023 NFL Draft. Only Kincaid was selected, and outside a few first-round receivers, there would be value later in the draft.
The Packers made day two a pass-catcher frenzy. It started at pick 42, the pick acquired from the New York Jets in the Rodgers trade.
They selected Oregon State tight end Luke Musgrave, a height/weight/speed threat at the position with incredibly high potential. Musgrave clocked in over 20 miles per hour in the tracking technology at the Senior Bowl, and the film shows a dangerous threat up the seam in the vertical passing game. He has the size to win above the rim and the expanded catch radius to haul in passes that are slightly off the mark. He will be a threat after the catch as well with his long strides and straight line speed. The questions for Musgrave come in the form of potentially working inline and playing through contact. He doesn’t force a lot of missed tackles and often goes down at first contact. He’ll need to play tougher in contested spots. If he unlocks some play strength, his good positioning at the snap shows that inline snaps could happen.
Then, it was receiver, and a bit of a threshold-breaker in Michigan State’s Jayden Reed. Reed is a twitched-up speedster who combines the art of route running and the ability to win vertically. He uses the elite quicks he has to win off the line of scrimmage and at the top of routes. His ability to pressure step on crossers gives him space to work with as well. Reed also plays bigger than his 5’10 7/8″, 187-pound frame, making impressive plays in contested spots.
Another tight end joined the fold in round three for the Green Bay Packers in South Dakota State’s Tucker Kraft. Kraft entered college as a running back, and that part of his game is still evidenced by how elusive he is with the ball in his hands. Another true seam stretcher, Kraft can command targets in the passing game right away. What makes Kraft different from Musgrave is his technique and attitude as an inline player. Kraft has the finishing ability and desire to be a dominant blocker.
Day three was more of the same. For the second draft in a row, the Green Bay Packers took three receivers. Dontayvion Wicks posted a phenomenal line in 2021 (57/1203/9) and was a big-play threat (despite having lackluster speed) with the ability to win the ball in the air and dissect defensive backs with creativity and deception as a route runner. Drops hurt his stat line in 2022, but the hope is he gets back to where he was the year prior.
Grant DuBose is probably the most unknown of the pass catchers out of Charlotte, but even he’s got a great skill set that could challenge for a roster spot.
It was evident what the Green Bay Packers needed to do this offseason to get the best look at Jordan Love, whether or not they pick up the fifth-year option (deadline is Tuesday). They needed help at tight end, and secured two of the consensus top 5-6 players in the draft. Three more receivers join a young room. It’s going to be fun to see how everything develops with these young guys. It may take some time, but the return could be tremendous.