With all of the talk of what can happen in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers have a lot of important decisions coming up for them. And with this class being solid in some areas and weaker in others, the brain trust for the green and gold will have a lot on their minds come Thursday.
Starting out with the 29th selection in the first round, this team can go a plethora of ways to help improve, whether this represents a help-now or help-later solution. Here are a few likely outcomes for the entirety of this year’s draft for Green Bay.
Offensive Line help is gathered – again
In last year’s draft, GM Brian Gutekunst decided to use three Day 3 selections on offensive linemen – center Jake Hanson, guard Jon Runyan Jr., and guard Simon Stepaniak. With Runyan looking to be the lone established piece in the OL depth group for many years to come, OL is a pressing need that Gutekunst will address.
Starting as early as in the first round, GB could be getting help in this area – tackles Teven Jenkins, Liam Eichenberg, and Alijah Vera-Tucker, and centers Landon Dickerson and Creed Humphrey could all be potential early selections if GB decides to stay put or even more down.
Later in the draft is where the real guard talent lives, as the likes of Wyatt Davis (Ohio State), Kendrick Green (Illinois), Trey Smith (Tennessee), and Ben Cleveland (Georgia) are all top-100 projected selections, providing GB with a likely route to take a guard in rounds 2 and/or 3.
Green Bay will likely come out of this draft with two-plus OL options, but adding at least three would fit the mantra that Gutekunst has in upgrading positions of need.
Wide Receiver is a need – but may not be address with the expected names
First round picks and wide receivers are not necessarily the kind of common marriage that the Packers enjoy partaking in, and this year should be no different. While the potential for a first-round wideout certainly is there, addressing WR is a lot likelier in later rounds.
Either of the two Moore’s, Elijah or Rondale, LSU’s Terrace Marshall Jr., or UNC’s Dyami Brown are potential second-round options, but addressing this position with less well-known players may be the route that GB takes.
Underrated WR options, like OK State’s Tylan Wallace, Tennessee’s Josh Palmer, South Dakota State’s Cade Johnson, North Texas’ Jaelon Darden, Michigan’s Nico Collins, and Western Michigan’s D’Wayne Eskridge, could be more fitting for Green Bay’s draft picks, especially if they end up moving around the board early on and have less flexibility later in the draft.
Addressing pass rush may be addressed first over cornerback
Outside of Jaire Alexander, the CB group for GB is a big wild card and something they will absolutely address in the draft. But edge rusher is an underrated need for them as well, especially with the likely release of Preston Smith before next season.
A potential addition of Washington’s Joe Tryon at the end of the first round should not be a surprise, even if it does earn a lot of flak from the fan base. Others, like Wake Forrest’s Carlos Basham Jr., Oklahoma’s Ronnie Perkins, Houston’s Payton Turner, and Texas’ Joseph Ossai are also potential 1st/2nd round edge prospects GB could be interested in.
This CB group is a bit top heavy but has a lot of Day 2 & 3 value, like Kevin Joseph (Kentucky), Ifeatu Melifonwu (Syracuse), Eric Stokes (Georgia), Benjamin St-Juste (Minnesota), Paulson Adebo (Stanford), Robert Rochell (Central Arkansas), and Rodarius Williams (OK State). With various reports of interest in this CB group, Green Bay will look to finally find its CB2 alongside Alexander, but probably later in the draft than most are uncomfortable with.뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23