Packers Trade Pitch Nets Top-15 Selection from AFC Squad for Price of 2 Picks

Brian Gutekunst, Packers

Getty General manager Brian Gutekunst of the Green Bay Packers.

The Green Bay Packers have a freedom approaching the 2024 NFL draft that most teams should envy, if they don’t already.

Bill Barnwell of ESPN on Thursday, April 18, explained why before pitching a trade with the Indianapolis Colts that would see the Packers jump up 10 spots in the first round — surrendering the No. 58 overall pick in the second round in the process — and take a big swing at either offensive tackle or cornerback.

It must be fun to be GM Brian Gutekunst. In addition to fielding the league’s youngest team last season, the Packers have two second-round picks and two third-round picks to go with this selection, leaving them with plenty of flexibility as they approach the draft. There’s no obvious weakness they need to address, which leaves them the ability to take the best available player five times in the top 100 picks if so inclined.

I’ve already talked about the idea of Green Bay moving up for a tackle. Bouncing up to No. 15 would get them ahead of the [Jacksonville] Jaguars and a handful of other teams in that conversation. The Packers could also hit cornerback with both Jaire Alexander and Eric Stokes battling injuries over the past couple of seasons, which is another position the Jags might consider addressing at No. 17. Gutekunst would still manage to hold onto the second-rounder the Packers received for Aaron Rodgers at No. 41, while the Colts would land another second-round pick for their collection.

Green Bay Can Find Quality Offensive Tackle Without Trading Up in First Round of NFL Draft

The Dallas Cowboys are projected to take Georgia OL Amarius Mims

GettyGeorgia offensive tackle Amarius Mims.

Despite Barnwell’s contention that there is no clear weak spot on the roster, it is fair to say at least that offensive tackle and cornerback could use more depth.

As such, an April 10 mock draft by Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN as well as a mock from Peter Schrager of NFL Network on April 16 both projected Green Bay to select Georgia offensive lineman Amarius Mims at No. 25.

“While it’s possible Rasheed Walker, a seventh-rounder in 2022, could be the long-term replacement for David Bakhtiari at left tackle in Green Bay, I’d take a tackle with upside here. Again, this is the draft in which teams should pursue a first-round tackle,” Kiper wrote. “The 6-8, 340-pound Mims started just eight games in college, but he was excellent when he was on the field. Once he locks into edge rushers, they get swallowed up in his massive wingspan. He didn’t allow any sacks in his career. The Packers have an extremely young offense, and Mims would be another pillar to build around.”

There may not be any players that Green Bay likes enough at the OT spot to pay the premium of a late second-round pick to grab, particularly when such prominent draft insiders believe Mims will probably be there for the taking at No. 25. However, if the Packers have their eyes on a specific player — such as JC Latham of Alabama or Troy Fautanu of Washington, who Schrager has coming off the board at Nos. 15 and 16, respectively — then a deal might make sense given all the draft capital Green Bay has at its disposal.

Packers May Also Consider Trading Up for CB in First Round of NFL Draft

Terrion Arnold

GettyAlabama cornerback Terrion Arnold.

The other position for which the Packers might feasibly trade up is cornerback, and the Colts’ selection at No. 15 would be an ideal spot to reload the secondary.

A joint mock draft filed by Kiper and his ESPN colleague Field Yates on April 15 has the Las Vegas Raiders selecting the first cornerback off the board in Quinyon Mitchell of Toledo at No. 13, then the Colts selecting the second CB two spots later in Terrion Arnold of Alabama.

Kiper wrote that DB is Indy’s greatest need in the draft, though stockpiling an extra second-rounder to move down 10 spots and still select a top-three or top-four cornerback in the 2024 class could make sense for the Colts. Kiper and Yates have Green Bay selecting Cooper DeJean of Iowa at No. 25 in their joint mock, as well as the Arizona Cardinals taking Nate Wiggins of Clemson at No. 27 via the Houston Texans.

Much like offensive tackle, cornerback is a deep position in the first round of this year’s draft. Because of that, trading up only makes sense for the Packers if they really desire a specific player at either position they don’t believe will drop to the mid-20s.

Gutekunst hasn’t been in the business of behaving cavalierly with assets like second-round picks, but if there was ever a time to get a little loose with a selection, it’s one year after an unexpected Divisional Round Playoff run with five picks in the top-100 at his disposal and thoughts of a Super Bowl dancing in the back of his mind.

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