The 2023 NFL Draft will be here in about a week. As of now, the Green Bay Packers have the 15th overall pick in the first round and the 45th overall pick in the second round of the draft. More early round picks could be added if the trade of Aaron Rodgers is completed before or during the draft.
This is the next in a series of articles looking at players the Packers may be interested in selecting in the early rounds of this year’s draft. The only players listed here are realistic possibilities for the Packers to pick in the first or second round of the draft or who fill specific needs for the team right now.
The Packers have offensive tackle covered in the short-term. David Bakhtiari will be the starter at left tackle and has continued to play at a high level when healthy. The right tackle spot is likely to be a battle between Yosh Nijman, who recently signed his RFA tender offer, and second-year man Zach Tom.
Depth exists at the position with second-year man Rasheed Walker and big Caleb Jones on the roster. Elgton Jenkins and Royce Newman are also capable of filling in at tackle with Jenkins having played well at left tackle in 2021 but struggling after his injury last season.
Long-term, the needs here are bigger. This is likely Bakhtiari’s last season with the Packers because of his age and salary cap hit in 2024. Nijman is also on a one-year deal and may not be back. Walker and Jones have potential but are completely unproven and we don’t know what Tom will become or even if he’ll ultimately play tackle or another position along the line.
Tackle is a premium position and protecting Jordan Love and opening holes for the running game will be critical for the Packers going forward.
GM Brian Gutekunst has added three offensive linemen in each of the last three drafts and will certainly add more players at this position again this year. The question is when will they do it?
So here is a list of possible offensive tackles the Packers may take early in the 2023 draft. They are not listed in any particular order:
Paris Johnson, Ohio State
Johnson may be the best fit for the Packers. He is still a little raw and needs to add some bulk, but the tools are there for Johnson to be long term Pro Bowl player if he develops properly.
Johnson has quick feet and good balance and amazing size at 6’7” and 310 pounds. He played guard earlier in his college career and versatility is something the Packers always look for along the offensive line. When Johnson faced top competition, he held up well and that bodes well at the next level. He can run block as well as pass block but needs to refine his technique a bit as well.
The Packers would love to grab Johnson if he’s available, but will he still be on the board at 15? It’s probably 50-50 at best.
Broderick Jones, Georgia
Jones was a dominant run blocker in college and has the tools to develop into a good pass protector as well. He is very mobile and stands 6’4” and 315 pounds which is a little small for an ideal offensive tackle according to NFL scouts. One question about Jones is that he only started one year at Georgia and so he remains unproven in the eyes of some scouts.
Jones is strong and can maul opponents but at overdid it in college at times and was out of position as a result.
Scouts love Jones’ potential but he needs a little more refinement before excelling at the NFL level. He also may not be available at 15 when the Packers are currently scheduled to pick in the first round.
Peter Skoronski, Northwestern
Skoronski is a legacy as his grandfather Bob played for Lombardi’s Packers and won five championships as the starting left tackle.
Peter is smart and versatile. He played several positions in college and is quick and does a good job of mirroring pass rushers.
One concern about Skoronski is his arm length, it’s short by NFL standards and that may hamper him against bulkier edge rushers. He stands 6’4” and weighs 310. Skoronski may be moved inside at the NFL level. His athleticism may make up for his lack of arm length according to some scouts.
Skoronski would be a sentimental choice for the Packers but may be a better value if he slips to round two. He would be a solid addition to the Green Bay offensive line.
Matthew Bergeron, Syracuse
Bergeron is a day two selection and has the strength and burst off the line to excel as a run blocker. Scouts like his size at 6’5” and 325 and he is athletic for the position.
The Canadian-born player is still raw and needs to get his pads a little lower and coordinate his hands and feet better in pass protection. The Packers wouldn’t need him to start right away and that may be good way for him to learn one year before being asked to take over as a starter in year two.
Bergeron may also be moved to guard as a pro. The Packers tend to love versatile offensive linemen so Bergeron would be a good fit in that regard.
Darnell Wright, Tennessee
At 6’5” and 345, Wright is very big and strong. He played right tackle in college and is probably better suited there than at left tackle. His run blocking is outstanding and when he gets his hands on a defender, he can take control of the defender and move him out of the way. Wright has a mean streak which helps him in run blocking.
Wright improved as a pass protector last season and can continue to get better with the right coaching. His size makes him vulnerable to agile pass rushers who can change direction and he needs to get better at maintaining position when that happens.
Wright is not the most mobile offensive lineman and may not fit the classic “type” the Packers usually prefer. He should be a quality starting right tackle who is expected to go off the board late in the first or early in day two of the draft.
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