Without Davante Adams, the Packers roll into the draft with Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb as their best two receivers. Though solid veterans, neither are known for their blazing speed.
With four picks in the Top 100 of this year’s draft, LaFleur can get what he’s looking for my following this mock.
Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur wants speed at wide receiver
It doesn’t take a football genius to diagnose that the Packers all of a sudden have a severe lack of talent at wide receiver now that Adams is with the Las Vegas Raiders.
Lazard is a great possession receiver and Cobb is sneaky in the slot but he’s getting up there in football years. With Marquez Valdes-Scantling also leaving this offseason and signing a deal with the Kansas City Chiefs, the Pack have a need for speed, and LaFleur knows it.
“Certainly, if you look at our roster right now, we definitely need to get some speed in that room,” LaFleur recently said at the NFL owners meetings per ESPN. “We need a legit guy that can take off the top of the coverage. We lost a guy that was pretty good at doing that.”
LaFleur was talking about both Adams and MVS. Adams is known more for his incredible footwork and route-running ability rather than his speed, but he was still one of the better deep-route runners the Packers have had in years — probably since Jordy Nelson.
Packers can address the need for speed by tripling-down
With speed being the main component that LaFleur (and thus general manager Brian Gutekunst) is looking for, here’s who they should select with their first three picks if the draft ends up falling this way
Note: This is a mock draft based on the Pro Football Focus NFL Draft Simulator.
Keep in mind that with the way this draft fell, some of the top speedsters were already off the board. Garrett Wilson out of Ohio State (who ran a 4.38 40-yard-dash at the combine) went No. 8 overall to the Atlanta Falcons, and his teammate, Chris Olave (4.39 40), went a pick ahead of the Packers to the New England Patriots at No. 21.
Pick No. 22: Treylon Burks, Arkansas
Arkansas’ Treylon Burks would be available here at pick No. 22, but the problem for LaFleur is that he’s far from the fastest receiver in this class. He’s more of an all-around possession receiver.
He’s still the best pick for the value, though, and it’s not as if he’s a slow football player. Burks ran a 4.55 at the NFL Combine, and he checks in at 6-foot-2, 225-pounds, so he has the size that Brian Gutekunst covets.
Considering his size and the fact that his football speed is clear on tape though he may not be a blazer in the 40, this is a pick that makes a ton of sense for Green Bay.
He has the all-around talent to be a No. 1 wide receiver for Aaron Rodgers.
Pick No. 28: Jahan Dotson, Penn State
Skyy Moore from Western Michigan would be a really intriguing player here but the two concerns with him are that he’s only 5-foot-10, 195-pounds and he’ll have to translate his size and speed from MAC football to the NFL. It’s been done plenty of times before, but that kind of risk could drop him into the second round where he’d be a great value.
Jahan Dotson from Penn State comes with the same kind of risk at 5-foot-11, 178-pounds, but he’s proven himself in the rough and tumble Big Ten over the years. Though he does have the 4.43 speed to be a deep threat, Dotson also flashes plenty of physicality in his game, courtesy of his time at Penn State.
He has the profile of a slot receiver but he’s physical and tough enough to battle on the edges and be a deep “go” or post threat as well.
Dotson caught 91 passes for 1,182 yards and 12 touchdowns last season for the Nittany Lions, avaraing 13 yards per catch.
He’s a big-time playmaker.
Pick No. 53: Skyy Moore, Western Michigan
Moore was a target at No. 28 so being patient and getting him at No. 53 would really be a steal for the Packers.
He’ll translate best as a slot receiver at the next level, and he’s a bit small at 5-foot-10, 195-pounds, but he ran a 4.41 40 at the NFL combine, and he has all of that and more in terms of football speed that translates onto the field.
Moore can be lethal in open space, and he has enough wiggle to be a yards-after-the-catch machine.
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