The Packers ideal first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft for many has been Jaxon Smith-Njigba, but to get the WR, it might require a Green Bay trade.
Obviously, there is never going to be a consensus when it comes to mock drafts, but if you’re a Green Bay Packers fan, there’s a good chance that a high number of mocks have seen the franchise using its first-round pick in a surely post-Aaron Rodgers world on Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
It makes sense why that’s the case. The Packers are notoriously thin at wide receiver right now and, if they want to put young Jordan Love in a position to succeed, then targeting one of the draft’s top pass-catchers would make a ton of sense. And Smith-Njigba would be a great fit with Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs.
The problem is that Jaxon Smith-Njigba might not be on the board by the Packers’ 15th overall pick.
Executive Director of the Senior Bowl, Jim Nagy, reported on Monday morning that the league is not as high on the wide receiver class in the 2023 NFL Draft as the media. However, the one exception to that is Smith-Njigba, who has a first-round grade from most teams.
Packers rumors: Drafting Jaxon Smith-Njigba could require Green Bay trading up
It happens every year in the lead-up to the NFL Draft, when the media gets a proverbial hive-mind about a position group or certain players that, when the draft actually begins, we find out that there is less love around the league for that crop of prospects. So with a wide receiver class short on players with the complete package of skills, it would make sense if that were the case.
But if the Packers are indeed in the market for Smith-Njigba and the reporting is true on how the league is valuing the Ohio State star, then Green Bay isn’t going to be able to land him with the 15th pick. Teams such as the Titans, Texans and Patriots all select before them and could all be landing spots for the former Buckeye, especially depending on how the board falls ahead of them.
Would that trade be worth it? Perhaps. It’s a clear need for the Packers and, if the position is indeed considered scarce in this draft class around the league, then it might behoove Green Bay to get aggressive to move into a spot by dealing with a team like the Eagles at No. 10 to ensure they land Smith-Njigba.
At the same time, though, perhaps the better strategy is to follow the franchise’s historical mold of not taking a wide receiver in the first round and, instead, targeting the likes of Dalton Kincaid, Michael Mayer or Darnell Washington to fill a big void at tight end in the first round while still addressing the pass-catcher situation. Then, Green Bay could swing on Day 2 and later at wide receiver in hopes that a dart throw can land in the bullseye.
Should the Packers be dead-set on Jaxon Smith-Njigba, though, the latest intel suggests that staying at No. 15 and picking the Ohio State wideout isn’t an option.