The 2018 NFL season officially ended with the Super Bowl — and the 2019 offseason began. And that means, of course, time to start really thinking about the draft.
Yes, the NFL draft (April 25-27) is still a couple of months away, and we have to endure the combine and pro days, but the collegiate all-star games such as the Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine Game are behind us, meaning scouts — and draftniks — have even more info on some of this year’s draft-eligible players.
And before the draft we’ll have free agency, not to mention players being cut to give teams some salary-cap room, so needs will change. But, this feels like a good time to start our recap of mock drafts for the Minnesota Vikings.
Since we want the latest information, for this purpose, we used only mocks which came out in the past few days after the Super Bowl. We’ll continue to provide mock draft roundup updates sporadically leading up to the draft.
There’s no unanimous choice on which direction the Packers might go in the first round (note: some mocks do go beyond one round and compensatory picks have yet to be added by the league), although a 3-4 outside linebacker is a popular choice but hardly the only position predicted for Green Bay, as you’ll see.
A reminder that the Packers have two picks in the first, fourth and sixth rounds this year.
Here’s the first roundup of mock drafts from around the web:
Chad Reuter of NFL.com (3 rounds): Round 1a — Montez Sweat, DE/OLB, Mississippi State; Round 1b — Elijah Holyfield, RB, Georgia; Round 2 — Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama; Round 3 — Ben Powers, OG, Oklahoma.
Dane Brugler of The Athletic ($; 2 rounds): Round 1a — Jachai Polite, DE/OLB, Florida. “When drafting in the top half of round one, the goal is to draft impact players and Polite absolutely has impact potential as a pass rusher. While he needs to develop as a run defender, his ability to burst, bend and threaten the edge will force offenses to account for him on each snap.”; Round 1b — Noah Fant, TE, Iowa. : As a senior in high school, Fant starred for the Omaha South Packers. Three years later, he could be a member of the Green Bay Packers. With his skill set, Fant has the athletic gifts to be a threat at all three levels of the field, while also holding his own as a blocker.”; Round 2 — Devin Bush, LB, Michigan.
Will Brinson of CBSSports.com: Round 1a — T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa. “The Packers already have Jimmy Graham but an additional weapon for Aaron Rodgers who is also an excellent blocker could be a really nice pull here. Also: don’t worry about his college stats. If you’re concerned about that just look at George Kittle’s production in college versus high school.”; Round 1b: Brian Burns, DE/OLB, Florida State.
Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz of USA Today: Round 1a — Jachai Polite, DE/OLB, Florida. “No position in Green Bay sparks more uncertainty than outside linebacker, where Clay Matthews is set to become a free agent and Nick Perry could be a cap casualty after yet another injury-plagued year. Picking up Polite, who combines an explosive burst with an impressive toolkit of moves, could revitalize the edge rush.”; Round 1b — Noah Fant, TE, Iowa. “Jimmy Graham’s expected return shouldn’t preclude Green Bay from investing at tight end. With a proven ability to stretch defenses down the seam and pile up yards after the catch, Fant can create the kind of mismatches Graham was expected to generate.”
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com: Round 1a — Jeffrey Simmons, DT, Mississippi State. “Simmons offers elite physical traits and potential. If he’s still available here, Green Bay could be adding another Ndamukong Suh.”; Round 1b — Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State.
Todd McShay of ESPN Plus ($): Round 1a — Devin White, LB, LSU. “Green Bay would probably want an edge rusher here, but the value is just off the charts for White. I envision him becoming the future leader of the defense as a three-down rangy backer who moves with explosiveness. And with the Saints’ pick on the back end of the round, the Packers can still get their pass-rusher.”; Round 1b — Oshane Ximines, DE/OLB, Old Dominion.
Ryan Wilson of CBSSports.com: Round 1a — T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa. “Hockenson may be the other Iowa tight end but that’s a compliment. He runs like a wide receiver and anytime he’s up against a safety or linebacker it’s a mismatch. He easily creates separation coming out of his breaks and routinely shows the ability to win contested catches. Sounds like someone Aaron Rodgers would love.”; Round 1b — Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama. “Thompson’s the best safety in this class and with depth at pass rusher, Green Bay gets their centerfielder here.”
Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News: Round 1a — Jachai Polite, DE/OLB, Florida. “The Packers, who are keeping their base 3-4 defense with Mike Pettine, desperately need a special edge pass-rusher. Although a little undersized at 6-2, 242 pounds, Polite’s speed and athleticism are off the charts as a sudden pass-rushing freak who channels some of former Gator Jevon Kearse.”; Round 1b — Noah Fant, TE, Iowa.
Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus: Round 1a — Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama; Round 1b — Jerry Tillery, DL, Notre Dame.
Dan Kadar of SB Nation (2 rounds): Round 1a — Brian Burns, DE/OLB, Florida State. “This pick has often been Florida’s Jachai Polite, but he won’t be the only pass rusher the Packers consider with the 12th pick. Burns should be another candidate. He’s a long athlete who really flashed at times last season for a dull Florida State team.”; Round 1b — N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State; Round 2 — Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama.
Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (7 rounds): Round 1a — Brian Burns, DE/OLB, Florida State. “Brian Burns has elite quickness off the edge but will be questioned about a lean 6’5”, 245-pound frame. He will have to bulk up to handle NFL offensive tackles, but he has the tools to win with speed and flexibility. Much like the player the Saints traded with the Packers for last year, Marcus Davenport, Burns is more of a project who does have enough attributes to get on the field immediately.”; Round 1b — N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State; Round 2 — Mack Wilson, LB, Arizona; Round 3 — Connor McGovern, OG, Penn State; Round 4a — Isaac Nauta, TE, Georgia; Round 4b — Jaquan Johnson, S, Miami; Round 5 — Michael Dogbe, DL, Temple; Round 6a — Hamp Cheevers, CB, Boston College; Round 6b — Damarea Crockett, RB, Missouri; Round 7 — Emanuel Hall, WR, Missouri.
Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com: Round 1a — Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama. “The Packers inability to run the ball consistently has held them back as much as any defensive shortcomings. While relegated to backup duties throughout much of his career at Alabama, Jacobs is far and away the top runner in this draft class, which could force a team to draft him earlier than they’d like. With two first round picks due to trades may a year ago, GM Brian Gutenkunst continues his aggressive rebuilding of Green Bay’s roster with the explosive Jacobs, an immediate Rookie of the Year candidate in this offense.”; Round 1b — Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State.
Walter Cherepinsky of WalterFootball.com (5 rounds): Round 1 a — Montez Sweat, DE/OLB, Mississippi State; Round 1b — Zach Allen, DE/OLB, Boston College; Round 2 — Michael Jordan, OG/C, Ohio State; Round 3 — Jace Sternberger, TE, Texas A&M; Round 4a — Oshane Ximines, DE/OLB, Old Dominion; Round 4b — T.J. Edwards, LB, Wisconsin; Round 5 — Will Harris, S, Boston College.
DraftTek (7 rounds): Round 1a — Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama; Round 1b — Jaylon Ferguson, DE/OLB, Louisiana Tech; Round 2 — Kaleb McGary, OT, Washington; Round 3 — Antoine Wesley, WR, Texas Tech; Round 4a — Nate Herbig, OG, Stanford; Round 4b — Zach Gentry, TE, Michigan; Round 5 –Renell Wren, DL, Arizona State; Round 6a — Porter Gustin, OLB, USC; Round 6b — Anthony Johnson, WR, Buffalo; Round 7 — Jonathan Ledbetter, DL, Georgia.
Luke Easterling of The Draft Wire (4 rounds): Round 1a — Jachai Polite, DE/OLB, Florida; Round 1b — Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama; Round 2 — T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa; Round 3 — Jonathan Abram, S, Mississippi State; Round 4a — Andy Isabella, WR, UMass; Round 4b — Dru Samia, OL, Oklahoma.
Chris Trapasso of CBSSports.com: Round 1a — Jachai Polite, DE/OLB, Florida. “I. Can’t. Stop. Mocking. Polite. To. The. Packers. It’s a glorious fit. Polite can be a 30-plays-per-game stud on the outside and pin his ears back as a speedy, bendy pass rusher.”; Round 1b — Noah Fant, TE, Iowa.
Tony Pauline of Draft Analyst (2 rounds): Round 1a — Jachai Polite, DE/OLB, Florida. “I expect the Packers to address their pass rush needs in free agency, but until that happens, Polite is a great fit.”; Round 1b — Noah Fant, TE, Iowa; Round 2 — Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State.
Justin Rogers of the Detroit News: Round 1a — Jachai Polite, DE/OLB, Florida; Round 1b — T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa.
Matt Lombardo of NJ Advance Media: Round 1a — Devin White, LB, LSU ; Round 1b — Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina.
Joe Marino of The Draft Network: Round 1a — T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa; Round 1b — Jachai Polite, DE/OLB, Florida.
Nick Klopsis of Newsday: Round 1a — Jachai Polite, DE/OLB, Florida; Round 1b — Noah Fant, TE, Iowa.
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com: Round 1a — Jachai Polite, DE/OLB, Florida; Round 1b — T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa.
Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com: Round 1a — Clelin Ferrell, DE/OLB; Round 1b — Noah Fant, TE, Iowa.
Jonathan Cook of The Huddle Report: Round 1a –Rashan Gary, DE/OLB, Michigan; Round 1b — T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa.
Eddie Brown of the San Diego Union-Tribune (2 rounds): Round 1a — Deionte Thompson, FS, Alabama; Round 1b — Zach Allen, DE, Boston College; Round 2 — Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College.
Thor Nystrom of Rotoworld: Round 1a — Jachai Polite, DE/OLB, Florida; Round 1b — Noah Fant, TE, Iowa.
John McClain and Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle: Round 1a — McClain: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU; Wilson: Montez Sweat, OLB/DE, Mississippi State; Round 1b — McClain: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa; Wilson: Nadir Adderley, S, Delaware.
Sean Wagner-McGough of CBSSports.com: Round 1a — Deionte Thompson, FS, Alabama; Round 1b — Jachai Polite, DE/OLB, Florida.
Zack Rosenblatt of NJ Advance Media: Round 1a — Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State; Round 1b — Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware (note: he has Green Bay trading up to No. 25 to make this pick.)
Charlie Campbell of WalterFootball.com (3 rounds): Round 1a — Jachai Polite, DE/OLB, Florida; Round 1b — Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State; Round 2 — Chase Winovich, DE/OLB, Michigan; Round 3 — Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama.
Kyle Meinke of mlive.com: Round 1a — Montez Sweat, DE/OLB, Mississippi State; Round 1b — T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa.
Final tally: First first-round pick (No. 12 overall): Four players were mentioned more than one, with Polite leading the way with 11. Sweat was mentioned four times, Hockenson and Thompson three each and Burns twice. Second first-round pick (No. 30 overall): Six players were mentioned more than once with Fant on top with nine predictions. Hockenson had four while Adderley, Harry, Polite and Risner each had two.
Dave Heller is the author of Ken Williams: A Slugger in Ruth’s Shadow (a Larry Ritter Book Award nominee), Facing Ted Williams – Players From the Golden Age of Baseball Recall the Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived and As Good As It Got: The 1944 St. Louis Browns