Doesn’t it feel like the Green Bay Packers use their top draft pick on a defensive back every year?
Over the past nine draft classes, the Packers’ first selection has been used on a cornerback or safety five times.
But they may need to add another first-round defensive back this spring.
At cornerback, the Packers have an All-Pro in Jaire Alexander, while Rasul Douglas is a solid starter and Eric Stokes was a first-round pick in 2021.
There is some uncertainty at the slot position and at safety.
The Packers had Douglas line up in the slot this season, and it didn’t work out too well. They eventually moved back outside following Stokes’ injury.
Safety is a bigger concern. Adrian Amos is a free agent and Darnell Savage wasn’t at his best for most of 2022.
Adding a versatile defensive back early in the draft could make a ton of sense. In his first mock draft of the offseason, NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks has the Packers selecting Alabama cornerback/safety Brian Branch with the 15th overall pick.
“Adding a high-IQ defensive back with position flexibility upgrades the athleticism and playmaking ability in the secondary,” writes Brooks.
And it makes perfect sense.
Branch can be a Day 1 starter in the NFL and would immediately contribute for the Packers.
They can line up at safety and in the slot, checking two boxes. Green Bay needs more help in both areas.
Branch makes a ton of tackles, is strong against the run, and could be the ideal replacement for Adrian Amos in the secondary.
He is also one of the best defensive players in the class, so Landing him at 15th overall would give the Packers tremendous value in the first round.
Branch would fix a need, and he’s also one of the best players entering the 2023 NFL Draft.