One post-NFL Draft trade the Packers need to make to fill a need
With the 2020 NFL Draft having come and gone and teams having made rookie additions to their squads, the Green Bay Packers seemingly made questionable decision after questionable decision when making their selections. While planning for the future and addressing the desired offensive changes to become more of a run-centric offense, their draft outcomes produced a lot of puzzled reactions, wishing that they had done more.
After having selected quarterback Jordan Love from Utah State in the first round, the Packers went after a running back and a tight end in rounds two and three, and ultimately after they finished out the remainder of the rounds, they still had failed to address what was thought of as the most significant need coming into the draft – wide receiver.
Outside of incumbent star wideout Davante Adams, the Packers were forced to rely on the likes of Geronimo Allison (now in Detroit), Allen Lazard (stepped up big time but is still very inexperienced), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (speedster that has not lived up to his hype), and Jake Kumerow (Division-III in-state star that projects as a no. 4-5 for his career), combined with the season-long injury suffered by Equanimeous St. Brown.
While that cast looks to be quite a bit scary and light on talent outside of Adams, the team did go out and address their receiver corp this offseason in a small way, bringing in former Carolina Panthers flameout Devin Funchess on a one-year agreement. The vertical threat that is Funchess profiles as the projected no. 2 option on this time moving in the 2020 season, and while his experience will be an immediate upgrade to the current unit, the receivers are still lacking a true No. 2 option.
As has been the case for Aaron Rodgers outside of the time that he had the likes of Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Donald Driver, James Jones, and Jermichael Finley to all throw to at the same time, the number of weapons that AR has had to throw to have typically been ranked in the bottom half of the league in terms of production and talent. Not to discount Adams at all, but the ‘20 WR group looks to be fitting into that projection yet again unless some sort of outside additions are made.
CFL star receiver Reggie Beggelton was signed to a futures contract, which will give him a chance to come into training camp and see if his skills project well at the NFL level, which could represent a substantial buy-low option that could turn all of the skeptics into believers with the drop of a hat. And with St. Brown back healthy and looking to jump back into the receiver ranks, where he seemed to earn the trust of AR by making some spectacular catches in 2018, some under-the-radar players could help make wide receiver less of a pressing need, if they can live up to – and exceed – expectations.
However, there are a decent amount of buy-low options available on the trade market that general manager Brian Gutekunst should be interested in taking a look at if nothing else. By sending over a mid-to-late Day 3 draft selection to take a chance on a draft flameout or a lottery ticket, those are the kinds of gambles that can turn playoff-potential squads into ones that represent their divisions and conferences in the Super Bowl.
Receivers like John Ross of the Cincinnati Bengals and Corey Davis of the Tennessee Titans recently had their fifth-year options declined for being first-round selections, and both could help plug some holes in the GB offense if used correctly.
For Ross, his blazing speed could add another element to this offense through the usage of fly routes, field-splitting crossing routes, or even jet sweeps and motion plays that take the defense and throws another element at them. His health has been the biggest issue in his career so far, as the former Washington Huskie will most likely be looking for a new team to join after his contract runs out after the 2020 season – a sixth-round pick should do the trick to acquire him.
Davis has familiarity with head coach Matt LaFleur from his days helping run the offense in Tennessee, so LaFleur could have insights on how to effectively use Davis in Green Bay. Inconsistent quarterback play aside, Davis has never lived up to his early first-round draft selection out of Western Michigan, and he too will most likely be looking for a new home after this upcoming season, so a sixth or seventh-round selection would probably be enough to bring him to Green Bay.
Additions to the tight end ranks could make a lot of sense too, even with the drafting of tight end Josiah Deguara in the third round this year – Deguara is projected to slide to H-back for this team moving forward, which would still leave a hole at tight end next to incumbents Jace Sternberger, Marcedes Lewis, and Robert Tonyan.
A trade for Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end OJ Howard would be a move to look into, with the trade of Gronk to Tampa Bay, making him a movable piece for a high draft pick. Outside of Howard, signing former Titans tight end Delanie Walker could make sense too, especially with the TEN-LaFleur connection.
However, outside of all of those moves, there is one that reigns supreme in making the most sense for Green Bay to make – trade for wide receiver Curtis Samuel.
One of the current top receivers for the Panthers is Samuel, who is rumored to be a movable piece, as they already have DJ Moore, and they signed former Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson this offseason, as well as Seth Roberts, Keith Kirkwood, and Pharoah Cooper. Samuel’s role in the GB offense would immediately help set up more targets for Adams while adding a reliable underneath option in Samuel that would help stretch the field.
For Samuel, the former Ohio State product has been a solid, if not unspectacular, receiving option in Carolina for the past three seasons. His abilities to open up the field through his route running and his abilities in the running game through various packages and plays can add another valued asset to an offense that is looking to transition to a run-centric scheme.
While adding a wide receiver to an offense that is transitioning to running the ball more may not seem like a brilliant move. Still, for Samuel, his abilities to help bring attention with him wherever he is on the field, including in fake motions and sweep plays, is a precious facet for a team like GB to be able to add to their playbook.
Samuel would probably fetch a fourth-round selection or a swap of cornerback Josh Jackson, who has been facing troubles to try and get on the field for Green Bay on defense. For Samuel, his transition to a team that is concerned with winning now would be a welcomed sight, instead of having to play out the final year of his rookie deal on a team that is looking to find the right pieces to try and survive the ongoing rebuild.
With GB looking to maximize the remaining years of Rodgers’ competitive window, an addition to their receiving corp like that of Samuel would go a long way in the ‘Rodgers never has any weapons at his disposal’ conversation.