After the first day of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers selected one player. While it came with mixed reviews, the Packers selected defensive end Lukas Van Ness out of Iowa.
We will be handing out Packers draft grades for the entire 2023 Green Bay Packers draft class here on Let’s Go Wisconsin. Let’s jump into our Packers draft grades and analysis for Van Ness.
2023 Green Bay Packers Draft Class
|1,13||Lukas Van Ness, DE||Iowa|
|2, 42||Luke Musgrave, TE||Oregon State|
|2, 50||Jayden Reed, WR||Michigan State|
|3, 78||Tucker Kraft, TE||South Dakota State|
|4, 116||Colby Wooden, DL||Auburn|
|5, 149||Sean Clifford, QB||Penn State|
|5, 159||Dontayvion Wicks, WR||Virginia|
|6, 179||Karl Brooks, DL||Bowling Green|
|6, 207||Anders Carlson, K||Auburn|
|7, 232||Carrington Valentine, CB||Kentucky|
|7, 235||Lew Nichols III, RB||Central Michigan|
|7, 242||Anthony Johnson Jr., DB||Iowa State|
|7, 256||Grant DuBose, WR||Charlotte|
Lukas Van Ness Highlights
Green Bay Packer Draft Grades
Round 1, Pick 13 – Lukas Van Ness, DE, Iowa
The draft board fell nearly perfectly for the Packers, with top wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba. That is why fans were upset that Gutekunst went with Lukas Van Ness.
Obviously, I have talked about Van Ness here quite often, and I like him as a prospect. However, there are a few things that are frustrating here. First, the Packers moved up in the first round in order to take Van Ness, who certainly is not a top-13 value. He would have likely lasted until around 20 or later.
Additionally, Smith-Njigba is a better talent at a position that has much less depth in this draft class. There were many great edge rushers and defensive linemen available in the third round, while Smith-Njigba is in a WR tier of his own.
I won’t punish Lukas Van Ness’ Packers draft grade for this, but the final issue is that Gutekunst continually called him an edge rusher. While he can play on the edge, he may do his best work slid inside. Given the Packers’ history, I’m worried Van Ness will exclusively be used as an edge rusher, which won’t maximize his skill set.
In the end, the Packers drafted a solid player who can contribute right away. It wasn’t the best value for the player and the better decision would have been to draft a receiver or offensive tackle given the positional depth, but it is what it is.