The Green Bay Packers are going to do everything they can to win games this season as long as they remain mathematically alive for a spot in the playoffs.
But, with a record of 5-8, their slim hopes, which is under 10 percent as they head into their Week 14 bye, could be dashed before they even take the field again.
The Packers entered the season with Super Bowl aspirations, but are going to fall well short of accomplishing that. The coaching staff is preparing to continue to try and win games, but eventually, the attention will turn to next year.
We could see Jordan Love start some games at quarterback once they are mathematically eliminated, something Aaron Rodgers has hinted at recently.
Rodgers will start as long as something is remaining on the line, but this is ultimately going to be a lost season for Green Bay.
The one positive takeaway from losing so much is that you will get a high pick in the next draft. Right now, the Packers are slated to pick 10th in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Who could they look into picking with that selection? Here are three early targets for the first round of the NFL Draft for Green Bay.
3. DI Bryan Bresee, Clemson
The interior of the Packers’ defensive line isn’t necessarily a weakness. They have Pro Bowler Kenny Clark there and used a first-round pick on Davonte Wyatt out of Georgia in the 2022 NFL Draft.
However, there is a chance that their depth is depleted in free agency, making a player such as Byran Bresee a potential target.
Veterans Dean Lowry and Jarran Reed are both set to hit free agency. Clark hasn’t played up to his regular level of performance either, so there is a chance Green Bay could look to add another young, high-upside player to the mix alongside Wyatt.
Bresee is a terror on the interior, possessing the kind of skill set that he could play defensive end if the need arose. That kind of versatility is what makes him intriguing for the Packers, as they could deploy him elsewhere until a full-time spot opens up at defensive tackle.
There are some injury concerns as he tore his ACL in 2021 and has dealt with a kidney infection this season. But, when he has been on the field, he has been great for the Tigers. In nine games he has 4.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks to go along with two passes defended.
2. EDGE Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech
The Packers’ defense suffered a major loss when their best pass rusher, Rashan Gary, went down with a torn ACL.
There are some doubts pertaining to his availability for the start of the 2023 season, but even if he were healthy and on the field in Week 1, Green Bay still needs some help in the pass-rushing department.
Tyree Wilson has all of the tools that coaches look for when evaluating pass rushers. He is long, standing 6’6” with a wingspan that clears 7 feet. Wilson took a chance returning to school but it is a decision that looks like it will pay off handsomely as he has a chance to be selected near the top 10.
He has been excellent for the Red Raiders this season, racking up 14 tackles for loss and 7.0 sacks in 10 games to go along with 47 pressures. Wilson can really get after the quarterback but is more than just a pass rusher as he sets the edge in the running game well, too.
1. TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame
Regardless of who is playing center for the Packers next season, the front office has to add some weapons to this offense.
They started that process during the 2022 NFL Draft, selecting wide receivers Christian Watson and Romeo Dobbs in the second and fourth rounds.
More work is needed and if the opportunity presents itself, tight end Michael Mayer of Notre Dame would be an excellent selection. Selecting Mayer would fill a need on the depth chart as well as Josiah Deguara being the only player currently under contract for the 2023 season at the position.
Mayer doesn’t have the athletic profile of someone like Kyle Pitts, who was selected No. 4 overall last year. But, the Notre Dame product is NFL-ready and is a mismatch working the middle of the field. In 12 games this season, Mayer has caught 67 passes for 809 yards and nine touchdowns, leading the Fighting Irish in all three categories by a wide margin, more than doubling the next closest player in each.