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Green Bay Packers Draft Picks 2023 – Post Rodgers era begins with drafting Lukas Van Ness

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The new era for the Green Bay Packers is officially here after the team traded Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets earlier this week. Rodgers has been the face of the franchise for the past 18 years and there is no better way to build a new identity than having a total of 11 picks at the 2023 NFL Draft.

Packers Draft Picks 2023

The Packers had one pick in the opening round and had plenty of options when their turn came. The remaining days of the draft would be more dynamic for Matt LeFleur’s team and the decisions made can have a big impact on the upcoming season.

First-round pick (13th): Lukas Van Ness, DE, Iowa

The Packers’ general manager Brian Gutekunst made a big splash by dealing Aaron Rodgers to the Jets in return for draft picks. When it comes to the first-round draft pick, he stuck to the tradition and selected a defensive player going with Lukas Van Ness from Iowa. Not many GMs would have gone with the same choice as players such as Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Georgia OT Broderick Jones were still available at that point.

The Packers went with Van Ness given his versatility and the huge potential that the 21-year-old has. He is a 6-foot-5, 272 pounds beast that may get significant playing time in Green Bay before you know it. Rashan Gary tore the ACL in November and it is a big question if he is going to be ready for the next season. Van Ness is a long-term project for the Packers who will need a couple of seasons to develop with Jordan Love being the new starting quarterback.

Many are wondering if Van Ness is ready to start in the big league since he didn’t have any starts at Iowa. The Hawkwyes prefer to play the seniors and Van Ness played behind two fifth-year seniors, John Waggoner and Joe Evans, last season. However, Van Ness had more defensive snaps than either of them and led Iowa in tackles for loss and sacks. Van Ness had 14 tackles in two seasons with the Hawkeyes and 20.5 tackles for loss over that span, which ranked him fourth the Big Ten.

Second-round pick (42nd from Cleveland via NY Jets): Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State

Musgrave is the nephew of the former NFL quarterback Bill Musgrave who also had a couple of coaching jobs in the league. He has a NFL-ready body standing at 6-foot-6 and 253 pounds. He had many ups and downs in his college career at Oregon State as he missed some time with the Covid virus and missed most of the last season with a knee injury. However, he proved that he is a NFL prospect recording 22 receptions for 304 yards and a touchdown in 2021.

Second-round pick (50th from Tampa Bay): Jayden Reed, WR, Michigan State

Reed was seen by many as a potential first round pick. Maybe he fell in the second but at least was drafted by a team that will give him a chance. He is still not ready to be a regular in the Eagles lineup, but he has a reputation of reliable player and will develop in the Eagles system. Reed had a solid season at Michigan State starting in 11 games last season and earning second-team all-conference honors at receiver (55-636-11.6, five TDs receiving; 4-11-2.8 rushing). In 2021, he was a finalist for the Paul Hornung Award as the most versatile player in the nation as well as a third-team All-Big Ten Conference pick as a receiver.

Third-round pick: (78th) Tucker Kraft, TE, South Dakota State

Kraft was one of the most talented high school players in the country as he had more than 50 touchdowns and 3,000 yards in South Dakota. He stayed home to play with the Jackrabbits and even though he wasn’t that dominant on that level, still made it to the NFL. He had very solid measurements at the NFL Draft combine which have a lot to do with the Eagles selecting him in the third round.

Fourth-round pick: (116th) Colby Wooden, Edge, Auburn

With his 6-foot-4, 284 pounds body and versatility, Wooden can become a valuable asset for the Packers in near future. Playing an edge is not his desired position but Wooden was able to do what it takes to help the Tigers and that has brought him to the NFL.

Fifth-round pick: (149th) Sean Clifford, QB, Penn State

Clifford wasn’t expected to be drafted any sooner. However, he is coming from a great program and has proven vision of the court that made him a starter with Penn State.

Fifth-round pick: (159th from Detroit, via Jacksonville and Atlanta) Dontayvion Wicks, WR, Virginia

Despite ending up as a fifth-round pick, Wicks is one of the best wide receivers in the class and if given a chance, he can have a long NFL career.

Sixth-round pick: (179th from Houston via Tampa Bay) Karl Brooks, DR, Bowling Green

Brooks was the team captain for Bowling Green and played all the games in his senior season. He was a honorable mention for PFN’s All-Americans and both an AP and PFN 2022 first-team All-MAC selection and was also invited to the 2023 Senior Bowl as well.

Sixth-round pick: (207th from New York Jets) Anders Carlson, K, Auburn

Calrson is a legit kicker and was the Tiger’s kickoff specialist most of his career, kicking 183 touchbacks on 314 attempts (58.3%). He was also a three-time Academic All-American and selected to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

Seventh-round pick: (232nd) Carrington Valentine, CB, Kentucky

Valentine’s explosiveness is among the best in the class and he possesses the speed to recover, close gaps, and limit vertical separation.

Seventh-round pick: (235th via Detroit and LA Rams) Lew Nichols III, RB, Central Michigan

Nichols III is a great prospect given his selection. He has a tremendous work ethic and he can make an impact if given a chance.

Seventh-round pick: (242nd from Jacksonville) Anthony Johnson Jr., S, Iowa State

In his fifth year at Iowa State, Johnson Jr. recorded 60 total tackles, one sack, two interceptions, and four passes defended.

Seventh-round pick: (256th) Grant DuBose, WR, Charlotte

DuBose has come from a zero-star recruit to 64 balls for 792 yards and nine scores in his senior year at Charlotte to a NFL draftee.

Packers Draft Grade: B

It is a fact that the Packers started a rebuilding process, and Van Ness is a great project long term. Being a young and versatile big man, Van Ness will further develop within the Packers program and have the potential to become a Pro Bowl regular. Many Packers fans would love to see Gutekunst drafting an offensive player who would play with Love and many would say that the team didn’t need two tight ends being drafted on Day 2 but Gutekunst definitely knows what he does.

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