GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers haven’t drafted a first-round receiver since Javon Walker in 2002. It’s been 20 years. We have to go back another 14 years since their previous first-round receiver, Sterling Sharpe in 1988.
They are two receivers taken in the first round of the last 34 drafts. Could the Packers take two first-round receivers in the space of about 34 minutes on April 28?
In a mock draft for the NFL Draft Bible, Jack Borowsky doubled to overcome Davante Adams’ trade to the Las Vegas Raiders and Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s potential departure via free agency.
With the 22nd overall selection — the No. 1 pick obtained in the trade from Adams — the Packers nabbed a receiver who has often mocked Green Bay.
With the 28th selection overall, Borowsky went with Cincinnati’s Alec Pierce.
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“The Packers have always been against bringing a wide receiver in the first round, but if they want to win a championship, they may have to take two,” Borowsky wrote. “Pierce is a real X, with the athleticism and jumping ability that Aaron Rodgers will love. Pierce has been compared to Jordy Nelson as a prospect.
Pierce has a superior physical skill set. At the Scouting Combine, he was 6 feet 1 3/8 and 211 pounds. He ran his 40 in 4.41 seconds. In addition to a towering height, he has a vertical leap of 40.5 inches.
He lit up Notre Dame for six catches for 144 yards but only had two catches for 17 yards in the playoff game against Alabama.
“It wouldn’t be shocking to see Pierce establish himself as one of the NFL’s hottest contested receivers early in his career,” Draft Bible noted in November, naming him the top senior receiver prospect. “Not only is he able to point the ball high, but Pierce’s body control, length and hands make every ball thrown his way catchable. When Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder looks toward Pierce, he knows that if he throws it into Pierce’s general vicinity, he’s going down with the ball.
Pierce ended his career in style. As a senior, he caught 52 passes for 884 yards (17.0 average) and eight touchdowns.
“I think I developed these [ball] skills all my life,” he recently told The Draft Network. “I played a bunch of different sports growing up. When I think of my ball-tracking abilities and my ability to score in football, I think back to basketball and a ton of volleyball. Volleyball- ball requires a ton of hand-eye coordination as you step up and hit the ball at its highest point. I attribute all of this to my diverse background in the sport. I have developed a competitive spirit over the years. J I grew up in an all-boy family and we played a ton of sports.It’s always been a part of me.