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Green Bay Packers mock draft 2023: Building a new core around Jordan Love

The Green Bay Packers are turning the page to a new era of football, moving on from quarterback Aaron Rodgers and turning the team over to Jordan Love. As the franchise launches a new era, the 2023 NFL Draft will be crucial to creating a long-term core to become a perennial contender again.

Green Bay enters the 2023 draft with a lot of needs on both sides of the ball. Making win-now moves for years came at a cost, depleting the Packers of cap space through 2024 to make notable moves that would improve the roster. Already not a hot spot in free agency, strong draft classes are essentially a requirement moving forward in Green Bay with Rodgers gone.

Before diving into our Green Bay Packers mock draft 2023, here’s a rundown of everything you need to know before draft weekend.

Green Bay Packers draft picks 2023

Here are the Green Bay Packers draft picks in the 2023 NFL Draft.

  • Round 1: 13th overall
  • Round 2: 42nd overall
  • Round 2: 45th overall
  • Round 3: 78th overall
  • Round 4: 116th overall
  • Round 5: 149th overall
  • Round 7, 232nd overall
  • Round 7, 235th overall (via DET)
  • Round 7, 242nd overall (via JAX)
  • Round 7, 256th overall

Related: 2023 NFL Draft order

2023 Green Bay Packers draft needs

Syndication: Florida Times-Union
Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY NETWORK

Here are the Green Bay Packers’ draft needs in 2023.

  • S
  • EDGE
  • WR
  • OT
  • TE
  • DL

Related: Green Bay Packers holding pre-draft visit with top QB prospect

Green Bay Packers mock draft: Creating a well-rounded team

First round, 13th overall: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch
Joshua A. Bickel/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

The last time the Packers spent a first-round pick on a wide receiver was 2002 (Javon Walker, 20th overall). Everyone would recognize the irony of Green Bay snapping that streak in the same offseason they trade Rodgers. However, it’s within reason to think general manager Brian Gutekunst could go in an unusual direction this year.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba is the best wide receiver in the 2022 NFL Draft. Even if you only project him to be a slot receiver, he was one of the best offensive weapons in college football across the 2021 season. If not for his injury-riddled 2022 campaign, Green Bay likely doesn’t even have a shot at drafting him without trading up.

Pairing Smith-Njigba with Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs could eventually provide the Packers with one of the best receiving corps in the NFL. Watson represents the vertical threat, who Matt LaFleur also schemes up touches for in the open space. Meanwhile, Doubs operates on the outside as a big-bodied receiver who can make contested catches and move the chains.

Related: Green Bay Packers set to make a long-term commitment to Jordan Love

Smith-Njigba complements them both. Operating from the slot, he will have all the room to operate underneath and in the intermediate areas of the field. The NFL comparisons to Julian Edelman are becoming increasingly popular and that’s a piece Love would benefit from having.

Related: 2023 NFL defense rankings

Second round, 42nd overall: Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia

Syndication: Online Athens

Darnell Washington is like a younger and more athletic Marcedes Lewis. Green Bay relied on the veteran 6-foot-6 tight end quite often over the last five seasons, in large part thanks to his blocking. Washington isn’t just effective as a blocker, there are some who believe he could function as a sixth offensive tackle if necessary.

Washington is certainly a lot more than just a blocker. Standing at 6-foot-6, he posted a stellar 9.88 Relative Athletic Score at the NFL Combine. He is also a very capable receiver, one who has shown the ability to make one-handed catches, bounce off defenders and dominate inside the red zone. Young quarterbacks like pass-catchers with a huge catch radius and they feel more comfortable with good blockers around them, Washington checks off both boxes.

Related: Winners, losers from blockbuster Aaron Rodgers trade between New York Jets, Green Bay Packers

Second round, 45th overall: Keeanu Benton, DL, Wisconsin

Syndication: Journal Sentinel
Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Wisconsin Badgers defensive lineman Keeanu Benton is one of the fastest-rising prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft. Initially viewed as a late Day 2 talent, the 6-foot-4 defensive tackle is now projected as a top-50 pick. He also stands out as an attractive option for Green Bay.

Related: Green Bay Packers’ Eric Stokes could miss start of 2023 season

  • Keeanu Benton RAS: 8.86 out of 10

Benton didn’t provide eye-popping production (10 TFL, 4.5 sacks) in his senior season at Wisconsin. However, NFL teams care about what he can do at the next level. This is a defensive tackle with prototypical size, burst and strength. He mixes all of that with positional versatility and hands that move quickly and strike with violent force, allowing him to win battles in the trenches.

It will take good coaching to turn all of these traits into an above-average starter. With that said, he could be mentored by Kenny Clark and even provided the Packers with some much-needed depth on the interior defensive line.

Third round, 78th overall: Jordan Battle, S, Alabama

NFL: Combine
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Closing out the highlighted selections in our Packers mock draft 2023, Green Bay snags a starter at the thinnest position on its roster. Adrian Amos isn’t returning and Darnell Savage was benched last season, proving just how little faith the coaching staff has in the former top pick.

Related: Green Bay Packers coach sets lower expectations for Jordan Love in 2023

Battle is a plug-and-play starter in the Packers’ secondary. The 6-foot-1 safety provided leadership, versatility, instincts and consistency throughout his time at Alabama. Nick Saban has raved about Battle in the past, praising the veteran defensive back’s well-rounded skills and his ability to help his teammates on the field.

Naturally, there are limitations to Battle’s game. He lacks the elite athleticism to hold his own as a deep safety, but Green Bay is comfortable using split safeties. As long as everything is in front of him, Battle can make stops and put his awareness and intelligence on display. The Packers simply need stability at the position and Battle provides that.

Green Bay Packers 7-round mock draft 2023

Here is our full seven-round Packers mock draft.

  • 1st round, 13th overall: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
  • 2nd round, 42nd overall: Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia
  • 2nd round, 45th overall: Keeanu Benton, DL, Wisconsin
  • 3rd round, 78th overall: Jordan Battle, S, Alabama
  • 4th round, 116th overall: Karl Brooks, EDGE, Bowling Green
  • 5th round, 149th overall: Anthony Johnson Jr, S, Iowa State
  • 7th round, 232nd overall: Stetson Bennett, QB, Georgia
  • 7th round, 235th overall: Jordan McFadden, OT, Clemson
  • 7th round, 242nd overall: Mohamed Ibrahim, RB, Minnesota
  • 7th round, 256th overall: Lonnie Phelps, EDGE, Kansas
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