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Reflections on Day 1 of the 2018 NFL Draft and Possibilities on Day 2


Bob Fox:
Reflections on Day 1 of the 2018 NFL Draft and Possibilities on Day 2

By Bob Fox

For the second year in a row, the Green Bay Packers selected a very good cornerback with nice upside with their first selection in the NFL draft.

Last year, the Packers traded out of Round 1 (pick No. 29) and picked cornerback Kevin King with pick No. 33.

Last night the Packers once again traded down and then up, this time with new general manager Brian Gutekunst running the show for the very first time. Green Bay had pick No. 14 and had a number of excellent prospects to select from, which included safety Derwin James of Florida State, linebacker Tremaine Edmunds of Virginia Tech and edge rusher Marcus Davenport of UTSA.

The Packers opted to trade back with the New Orleans Saints, which put the Packers at pick No. 27. The trade also garnered the Packers a fifth round selection in this draft (pick No. 147), plus a first-round pick from the Saints in the 2019 NFL draft.

Gutekunst showed his aggressiveness by trading back up, as he utilized his long association and friendship with John Schneider of the Seattle Seahawks. The Hawks were desperate to get a pick in either the second or third round, as they did not have one in either of those rounds. So the Packers traded their first round pick (pick No. 27), a third round pick (pick No. 76) and a sixth round pick (pick No. 186) to move up to pick No. 18 in the first round, plus got a seventh round pick (pick No. 248) from the Seahawks as well.

With that pick, the Packers selected cornerback Jaire Alexander of Louisville, who ran a 4.38 in the 40 at the NFL Scouting Combine. Speaking of scouts, NFL scout Chris Landry had Alexander ranked fourth on his cornerback draft board and gave him the same 6.4 grade that he gave Josh Jackson of Iowa. That 6.4 classification means potential starter and early second round value. Landry had Alexander ranked No. 37 on his horizontal draft board (best players regardless of position).

Here is the scouting report Landry put out on Alexander prior to the draft:

Tough, instinctive long corner with very good overall athletic ability. Quick burst, fluid hips. changes directions easily and can effectively play off or in press. Can mirror, anticipate and has good hands and and ball skills. He needs to improve his run strength. Not a very good wrap tackler and slow to shed blocks. Fast, fluid productive corner who with improved strength, technique and discipline can be an effective corner on the next level. Has played mostly on outside but has the fluidity and quickness to slide down over the slot. His return skills will add to his value.

Watching the draft unfold last night brought me back to last year’s draft. Then I had predicted that the Packers would select outside linebacker T.J. Watt in the first round in my final mock draft. Watt was there for the taking at pick No. 29 for the Packers, but Green Bay traded away that pick to Cleveland and on the very next pick (pick No. 30), the Pittsburgh Steelers picked Watt.

Watt ended up being named to the NFL All-Rookie team as he had seven sacks, seven passes defensed, a pick and a forced fumble.

Last night was a case of deja vu for me. I had predicted that the Packers would select Davenport in the first round in my final mock draft this year. Once again, Davenport was there for the taking. But alas, the Packers traded the pick to the Saints and Davenport was the player who New Orleans selected.

Time will tell if Davenport can have the same impact for the Saints this year as Watt had for the Steelers in 2017.

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Thanks Bob.

Bob Fox:
Always my pleasure, Larry!  8)


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