Green Bay Packers Address Big Needs in 2-Round TDN 2021 NFL Mock Draft

EVANSTON, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 26: Greg Newsome II #2 of the Northwestern Wildcats reacts after a play in the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Ryan Field on October 26, 2019 in Evanston, Illinois. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
EVANSTON, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 26: Greg Newsome II #2 of the Northwestern Wildcats reacts after a play in the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Ryan Field on October 26, 2019 in Evanston, Illinois. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

A lot — and I mean a lot — of mock drafts up to this point have the Green Bay Packers either taking a wide receiver or a linebacker at pick 29.

Now, could they benefit from adding to those positions early on? Of course. But will they spend a first-round pick on either of those positions? History says otherwise.

As Ross Uglem of Packer Report recently mentioned, and as I highlighted in a recent article, the Packers have selected either a linebacker or a receiver in the first round only one time since 2005. With that said, that doesn’t mean they absolutely won’t take one of those positions at pick 29 this year, but odds are they aren’t going to.

When I think of the most important positions that the Green Bay Packers have to address this offseason, it’s not receiver or linebacker that comes to mind, but rather cornerback, offensive tackle, and the interior defensive line.

Well, in a recent two-round mock draft from Trevor Sikkema of The Draft Network, he has Green Bay addressing two of those needs right away—which is nice to see because up to this point, not many mock drafts have.

Related Story. Packers Typically Don't Spend 1st Round Picks on WR or LB. light

At Pick 29, the Green Bay Packers select: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern

"“The Packers do have a big (literally) need along their defensive line, however, their need at corner may be even bigger (metaphorically). Newsome brings the size profile the Packers like with good off coverage instincts. He’s also a willing tackler in the run game. Newsome and Jaire Alexander in the same cornerback room would be a good young core.” — Trevor Sikkema"

Takeaway: I have to say, I’m a big fan of this pick as the Green Bay Packers find themselves in desperate need of a cornerback. With Kevin King likely going elsewhere in free agency, that leaves the Packers with Josh Jackson, Ka’dar Hollman, KeiVarae Russell, and Stanford Samuels as potential on the roster running mates for Jaire Alexander.

Over his three-year career at Northwestern, Newsome’s numbers have improved each season, and it ended with an all-around fantastic performance in 2020. In six games, he was targeted 34 times and allowed only 12 receptions for a completion rate of 35.3 percent. Pass-catchers averaged less than eight yards per catch, and Newsome also came away with an interception, had seven breakups, and a measly passer rating of 31.7 when targeted.

On top of that, his coverage grade from Pro Football Focus ($) ranked ninth out of over 400 eligible cornerbacks last season. While grades are far from the be-all-end-all, in this instance, it helps illustrate just how good Newsome was.

Below is a snippet of what Kyle Crabbs of The Draft Network had to say about Newsome after watching his tape:

"“….Newsome II is instinctual and offers suddenness in split decisions in coverage; frequently driving to the target and attacking the football in the air. He brings the right kind of attitude to perimeter play both in collision routes and in run support and tackling at the line of scrimmage, but his aggressive angles will need a little work to ensure he’s secured tackles at the catch point before attempting to attack the football and undercut throws…”"

If the Green Bay Packers were able to land Newsome, they’d be bringing in a player who can be a Day 1 starter and hopefully provide some added stability to the cornerback position–which at the moment is considered by many the team’s biggest need, despite having Alexander eliminating half the field.

At Pick 62, the Green Bay Packers select: Jay Tufele, IDL, USC

Takeaway: Despite not addressing the interior defensive line position in 2019, the Green Bay Packers did see their run defense improve–although the offense deserves some credit for scoring so many points. But nonetheless, they were better. However, finding Kenny Clark some help inside remains on the to-do list, not to mention that there just isn’t much depth currently on the roster.

We saw Kingsley Keke flash, and he had shown some promise before being injured, but whether he can provide that same impact in a larger role is still a bit of an unknown. Meanwhile, Dean Lowry on the other hand, could benefit from seeing his role reduced. In either case, having another player to add to the mix will not only help alleviate some of the burden on Clark, but it will also help the run game, the edge rushers, and the linebackers.

Unfortunately, given this year’s interior defensive line class, this isn’t exactly the best time to be needing to address the position. In fact, many draft analysts believe that talent-wise it is at the bottom of this year’s class when it comes to position groups. But thanks to Trevor Sikkema, the Green Bay Packers were able to find some help in the second round with Jay Tufele.

The 6’3″ – 305 pound Tufele, opted-out of the 2020 season but was a fixture along the USC defensive front the previous two seasons. He saw his production take a step forward during his second season in 2019, tallying 26 pressures, with five sacks, 37 total tackles, and his 20 run-stops ranked 38th out of 196 eligible defensive linemen, according to PFF.

Drae Harris, also of The Draft Network, had this to say about Tufele in his film evaluation:

"“In the run game, he commands a double team due to his ability to disrupt the protection. However, he has shown instances of losing the football and misidentifying blocking schemes. In the passing game, he has explosive hands and typically defeats single blocks.”"

My favorite part of Harris’ analysis is him mentioning that Tufele “commands a double team.” As I said above, Clark still needs help, and any additional attention not on him is going to benefit this Green Bay Packers’ defensive front, as well as the rest of the defense.

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My big question this offseason when it comes to the interior defensive line and the Packers isn’t whether or not they’ll address it–I fully expect them to (we will see if that statement comes back to bite me). But will it be in free agency with an inexpensive veteran signing, or will they roll the dice a bit and hope they can land a potential impact player early on in a class that just isn’t very deep?