Despite a solid final stretch of the season, the Green Bay Packers ended up missing out on the playoffs. This marked the first time since 2018 that the team failed to qualify for the postseason. With an 8-9 record, the Packers were on win way to getting the No. 7 seed in the NFC. However, Green Bay lost 20-16 at home to the already-eliminated Detroit Lions. Because of that, the team has secured the No. 15 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
With many rumors surrounding Aaron Rodgers’ future with the organization, this selection could be the front office’s last chance of convincing the quarterback to stay at least another season. Whoever the Packers select is still uncertain but fans are likely expecting a contributor right away.
Considering the team’s needs combined with Rodgers’ situation, here are three early names the Green Bay Packers should consider with the No. 15 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Packers 2023 NFL Draft Targets
3. Peter Skoronski – Northwestern, OT
One of the areas the Packers certainly need to address is the offensive line. This offseason, the unit could suffer major setbacks. Three-time Pro Bowler tackle David Bakhtiari has been dealing with injuries in recent years and has been in retirement rumors. Yosh Nijman is a restricted free agent and could end up leaving.
Because of all that, Green Bay might go with a safer route and select an offensive tackle with the No. 15 pick. In that case, Peter Skoronski becomes an interesting option.
He played 33 games throughout his career with Northwestern. With him in the trenches this season, the Wildcats allowed fewer than two sacks per game, good for the top 50 in the nation. Due to his performances, Skoronski is a two-time First-Team All-Big Ten and earned a unanimous All-American selection in 2022.
To make things even more intriguing, he is the grandson of Bob Skoronski, who played for the Packers in the 1950s and 1960s and won five NFL championships and two Super Bowls. He is a member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.
By going with the Northwestern product, Green Bay not only addresses a need but also brings some legacy to the roster.
2. Quentin Johnston – TCU, WR
Another route the Packers can go is improving the receiving group. Randall Cobb is a free agent after dealing with injuries in 2022. Allen Lazard is set to test the market after leading the team with 788 yards, and rookie Christian Watson had a slow start but eventually caught up with 41 receptions for 611 yards and seven touchdowns.
All things considered, especially the possibility of Lazard leaving, Green Bay might go with the best wide receiver in the 2023 class in Quentin Johnston from TCU.
In his junior year, he had 60 catches for 1,069 yards and six touchdowns. Johnston significantly improved in each of his collegiate seasons, earning First-Team All-Big 12 in 2021 and 2022. His yard-per-catch average of 22.1 in 2020 was the highest by a true freshman in conference history.
Johnston played a huge role in the surprising season by the Horned Frogs. At 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, he shined with his ability to outrun defenders and use his body to avoid tackles. He is also a downfield threat and effective, which can help the Packers’ red zone offense.
The problem is that some consider Johnston a potential top-10 pick. However, with the Chicago Bears securing the No. 1 pick, there could be a lot of moves in the first half of the draft. This could cause Johnston to fall a bit and allow the Packers to draft a wide receiver in the first round.
1. Michael Mayer – Notre Dame, TE
Perhaps the biggest need in Green Bay for 2023 is the tight end position. Marcedes Lewis is 38 years old and a free agent. Robert Tonyan is also set to hit free agency and will likely be in the market for a big paycheck. With so much potential for turnover at the position, the Packers might address the situation in the draft.
The top tight end in the class is Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer. He was a consensus All-American this past season after earning Third-Team honors in 2021.
In 2022, the Fighting Irish had 67 receptions for 809 yards and nine touchdowns. According to Pro Football Focus, Mayer only had four drops and led the nation with 17 contested catches.
His route-running ability is also worth noting, which could be a game-changer for a tight end. At 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds, Mayer is also an effective blocker. He can not only be a good target but also assist A.J. Dillon and Aaron Jones run the ball as well as protect the quarterback.
With Watson and Romeo Doubs, selecting Mayer would give the Packers three young receiving pieces to build around for the future. Mayer can be a contributor right away and help the team return to the playoffs as soon as possible. With a new young tight end, the Packers might be able to convince Rodgers to stay and give Mayer a future Hall-of-Famer quarterback to learn from.