Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers were hoping to make a miraculous run to the playoffs after the star quarterback returned to the field against the Carolina Panthers. Things didn’t go the way they were hoping and the Packers ended up losing the game by a final score of 31-24, as ESPN noted. Atlanta officially eliminated them from playoff contention soon after and Rodgers went back to IR.
Mike McCarthy and the Packers simply couldn’t overcome the Rodgers’ injury. It showed quite a few flaws in their roster and many fans believe that the coaching staff needs to go as well.
That being said, the Packers will end up with the No. 14 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. While it is never a good thing to miss the playoffs, the Packers could end up benefiting from a higher pick. They can plug one of the holes on their roster with a pick in the middle of the first round.
Green Bay could choose to go in many different directions with their first-round pick this year. They will have quite a few big decisions to make this offseason.
All of that being said, which five players look like they could be early targets for the Packers in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft?
Rashaan Evans, Linebacker, Alabama
Green Bay could use some help at the linebacker position and Rashaan Evans looks like an ideal fit. Evans would bring a lot of speed to the field for the Packers and has proven himself to be a playmaking threat. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Packers strongly consider taking the Crimson Tide linebacker in the first round.
Josh Jackson, Cornerback, Iowa
Another major flaw for the Packers’ defense this season was at the cornerback position. Injuries played a big factor for the Packers, but they could use another young cornerback like Josh Jackson. He racked up seven interceptions and 18 defended passes in 2017 for the Hawkeyes and would be a nice addition for the Green Bay secondary.
Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
It was obvious that the Packers’ defense needed help when it comes to their pass rush this season. Clay Matthews and Nick Perry have had their moments, but Clelin Ferrell would add a nice dynamic for Green Bay. He recorded 8.5 sacks to go along with 17 tackles for a loss and would be an impact player early on for the Packers.
Connor Williams, Offensive Line, Texas
Keeping Rodgers upright should be a top priority for the Packers as well. He took a beating this season and his second career broken collarbone should make Green Bay look for more protection. Connor Williams has the potential to be a future star on the offensive line and would be a solid pick for the Packers.
Derwin James, Safety, Florida State
Depending on how the Packers end the season, Derwin James may not be available when they are on the clock. That being said, James alongside Ha Ha Clinton-Dix would be an ideal fit for the Packers. James put together a big season at Florida State with 84 total tackles, two interceptions, a defensive touchdown, and 11 defended passes, which would look nice in the Green Bay secondary.
There are quite a few more options that the Packers could consider targeting, but these five prospects would all fit a need. Green Bay cannot expect Rodgers to power them to another Super Bowl and must add more talent around him in order to compete for another championship.