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Joseph's Gems: Prospecting in the Top-10

A quick sift through the top talent that might await the Packers in 2023. 

Welcome to November ladies and gentlemen; we're deep into the football season where every game, every play, and every yard takes on that much more significance. Players around the league are fighting hard to stay healthy, stay productive, stay relevant, and above all else stay winning as they pursue eternal glory on the gridiron. Nonetheless, there will be 259 selections in the upcoming spring who have been training for the better part of 4 years to take the current crop of player's jobs. Who will be the next face of an NFL franchise? Who will eclipse records that were once thought as unbreakable? Who will redefine how the pro game is played? NFL scouts and front offices across the country are hard at work trying to find out; and I'll be clamoring to bring you the inside scoop on the hottest prospects in the country. I bring to you the 2022 Edition of Joseph's Gems.

It’s Week 10 of the 2022 Season and it’s safe to say that for the Green Bay Packers, the season has been less than ideal. Mired by a lack of offensive identity, questionable defensive schemes, and the good old fashioned injury bug, I’m sure there’s plenty of people inside of 1265 who’d love to push the reset button. Unfortunately for them this isn’t a game of Madden so the Packers are just going to have to play out the stretch and see where they end up. Based on the Packers current record in the standings, they are trending towards a Top-10 Pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

It’s been a LONG time since the Packers picked in the Top-10 of the Draft, 2009 to be exact; when then General Manager Ted Thompson selected DT B.J. Raji out of Boston College with 9th Overall. Coincidentally, if the season ended today the Packers would have the 9th Overall Pick yet again.

Top-10 Picks can hold a lot of promise for an NFL Franchise, and the Packers would be no different, as they became Super Bowl Champs just one year later during the 2010 Season (To be fair, the Packers had an additional 1st Round Pick in 2009, drafting OLB Clay Matthews out of USC at 26th Overall). For GM Brian Gutekunst, he can certainly redeem himself in the eyes of the fans given the lack of playmakers and competitiveness from the team overall. The 2023 Draft could prove to be the highest pick he’s inherited in his 6 years at the helm, never picking higher than 12th Overall and his only 3rd time picking inside the Top-20. To his credit, he’s shown he knows what to do with high draft picks, selecting CB Jaire Alexander 18th Overall in 2018 and OLB Rashan Gary at 12th Overall in 2019. To get the Packers back on track for 2023, he’s going to need to strike gold again for the third straight time.

For a Top-10 Pick, Gutekunst should invoke one strategy and one strategy alone, Best Player Available Based on Need. This is a “win now” league, and typically the fans and team leadership don’t like it when a highly-touted draft pick is riding the bench. Given the Packers woes on both sides of the ball, they can’t afford to have a player that’s set to earn over $20M across 4 years just sitting on the sidelines not contributing. This team doesn’t have a ton of holes, but it definitely has some needs at some key positions. Unlike when Rashan Gary was selected at 12th Overall and had the luxury of growing into his role as an outside linebacker, the selection needs to be a plug and play starter that absolutely wipes away any concerns at that position and thus makes the whole unit better because he’s in there.

It’s still VERY early in what I like to call the “Draft Season” for 2023, there’s a whole lot of football to be played which means a lot of tape to evaluate. We’ve got marquee games of some of the top teams in the nation facing off, Bowl Season, and the College Football Playoff before you can call the 2022 college season a wrap. And we haven’t even considered the All-Star Games and the Combine yet, but based on some early tape, I like a couple players to the Packers for a Top-10 Selection.

Quentin Johnston, WR – TCU

I know, I know….the Packers don’t select WRs in the 1 st Round. HOWEVER, this is a Top-10 Pick, and with possibly 3, maybe 4 Quarterbacks going in the Top-10 it’s not very often where the Packers get a chance at signing the best WR in the Draft. Johnston has the build that Gutekunst looks for at 6’4, and he creates plays at every single level of the field. What I love about Johnston is he is a terror in the open-field, it’s so hard to get a hand on him, with 40 forced missed tackles. If the Packers want to prevent their Super Bowl window from being completely shut, it begins with keeping Aaron Rodgers around for the next 2 years; and they can do that by providing him a playmaker on the outside who will demand his attention on every snap now, not after a few years development. From a roster perspective I don’t see the Packers bringing Sammy Watkins back, and our beloved Randall Cobb may not live to see 2023 in a Packers uniform.

Michael Mayer, TE – Notre Dame

The only pick that I might get excited about more than the aforementioned Johnston is Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer, because I believe the Packers can move down 2-3 spots to get him and score an extra quality player on the back end. Mayer is for the most part the #1 weapon in Notre Dame’s passing game. He is a smooth route runner but more than anything, he’s CLUTCH when you need him to be. He’s not a burner, but possesses the requisite athleticism to make linebackers nervous and excels at the catch point against smaller defensive backs. What will boost Mayer’s draft stock even further is he’s a more than adequate run blocker, so teams won’t have the advantage of thinking he’s only in there to catch passes, which will provide the Packers more flexibility on and off the field after the eventual retirement of Marcedes Lewis. Matt LaFleur has been employing more big sets as of late, but they haven’t really had a big playmaker opposite Robert Tonyan to really get those formations going like they should. Mayer provides them a Day 1 option that presents a matchup problem for the opposing front seven.

Paris Johnson Jr, OT – Ohio State

Some of you will probably be shocked to see a tackle called in the Top-10 considering the Packers haul on offensive linemen in the last 2 years, but this position group is in trouble. David Bakhtiari has been a “part-time” player this season, Elgton Jenkins still isn’t back to full form from his own injuries, Royce Newman hasn’t worked out the way the Packers hoped, and Yosh Nijman could be in line for a decent payday from another team. Once again, with the Packers possibly picking in the Top-10 they have an opportunity to possibly select the best OT in the class. Johnson doesn’t have many holes in his game, having not given up a sack all season for the Buckeyes. He is a superb athlete that can excel in the outside zone scheme that the Packers employ, creating ideal downfield rushing lanes on a developing play. He is plug and play starter at tackle with a whole season starting at right guard to boot, which should allow the coaching staff to hopefully have an easier time finding the winning combination up front. Whether it’s Aaron Rodgers or Jordan Love, there’s got to be a line that can give the quarterback  time to find one of these young playmakers downfield.

Myles Murphy, EDGE – Clemson

I know so many of you would be dejected to see another defensive player in the 1 st Round, but when I see Myles Murphy, I see a bigger and faster Rashan Gary who’s a beast against the run. Murphy is a freakish athlete, an absolute stud when it comes to rushing the passer; with an acrobatic spin move that’s become his calling card in the ACC. He can collapse inside to the 4i and bull rush as well; and then drop back into the flat and take away the screen and short passing game too. He’s got all the tools necessary to throw a wrench in an offense’s gameplan. I didn’t like how the departure of Za’Darius Smith went down, and in my opinion the element to his game is the only thing this defense is missing in the front seven, a true edge player that can cause disruption in the pocket and the run game from either a 2 or 3-point alignment. Going further, it would also be an indictment on DC Joe Barry, because he would be completely out of excuses as to why this defense is underperforming.

There’s still a long way to go, and a lot of football to be played. Maybe the Packers play their way into a 7th seed in the playoffs, or maybe they find themselves with a Top-5 pick….it’s anyone’s guess right now. These prospects might be highly touted now, but they could be completely off the radar 3 months from now. But if there’s one thing you can be sure of Packers fans: for you, I’ll keep on digging for those gems.

#GPG

Joseph has been an avid fan of the Green Bay Packers since 1997, citing an affinity for dairy products during his childhood and his favorite color, green. Born in Jacksonville, FL, Joseph currently is an Active Duty servicemember in the U.S. Armed Forces. Joseph considers himself a lifelong fan of the game of football, competing since his youth well into adulthood. When it comes to the Pack, Joseph is particularly impassioned about the NFL Draft and collegiate scouting process, and will contribute regularly on CHTV.com leading to that year's upcoming Draft. You can follow him on Twitter at @joeyreyallday.

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Comments (8)

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T7Steve's picture

November 09, 2022 at 10:58 am

There's really no point in doing these. Gute will make a ""mockery"" of anything we think he'd do.

The OT suggestion (which is good) brought back memories of Tony Mandarich all those years ago. What hope we had.....

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croatpackfan's picture

November 09, 2022 at 11:30 am

I like your enthusiasm, Joseph. It is nice review.

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BirdDogUni's picture

November 09, 2022 at 12:01 pm

*The Packers current management doesn't pick WRs in the 1st round...

If we were a normal organization, he would not be doing the drafting this Spring.

We still have 9 weeks and 8 games left in the season. I am hopeful we see a new management team in place before the draft, but I doubt it happens, even though it definitely should.

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MooPack's picture

November 09, 2022 at 12:04 pm

Thanks Joseph. Same guys I've been looking at for the Packers. Lot will happen by then. I'm hoping we get some more draft capital by then as well. Maybe they can snag a couple of them. Another prospect I'm following is Northwestern's OT Peter Skoronski. And his name screams Packers. Ghost of Packers HOF Bob Skoronski?

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stockholder's picture

November 09, 2022 at 04:00 pm

Myles Murphy is a great Target. Never have enough pass rushers.

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Tundraboy's picture

November 09, 2022 at 07:51 pm

I'm thinking QB. Crazy? Not really
A lot of things would have to fall in place but that would get the jump start rebuild going sooner rather than later.

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Tundraboy's picture

November 09, 2022 at 07:51 pm

I'm thinking QB. Crazy? Not really
A lot of things would have to fall in place but that would get the jump start rebuild going sooner rather than later.

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Leatherhead's picture

November 09, 2022 at 08:57 pm

This is premature.

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