Packers: 7 Needs to Try & Address in 2021 NFL Draft

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: A video board displays the text 'THE PICK IS IN' for the Green Bay Packers during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: A video board displays the text 'THE PICK IS IN' for the Green Bay Packers during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT /
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The Green Bay Packers, like every other team, will enter the NFL Draft with several items on their to-do list that they’ll need to check off. Due to cap constraints, as well as the fact that this was a talented roster in 2020, Green Bay is essentially running it back for the 2021 season.

With their only outside addition this offseason being a long-snapper, the Packers will largely have the same group of players this year as they did last. Sure, bringing back players like Kevin King, Will Redmond, and Tyler Lancaster help bolster the depth at their respective positions, and they are players who have seen meaningful playing time, but for the most part, these needs that have to be addressed are still unaccounted for.

The draft is where the biggest infusion of new talent to this Green Bay Packers roster is going to come from—obviously not free agency.

However, while we all want those early-round picks to contribute immediately, the draft is really about planning for the future.

For the Green Bay Packers, it will be about striking that balance between addressing immediate needs but also keeping future seasons in mind. The wildcard in all of this is how the board is going to fall, so realistically, Brian Gutekunst may not be able to check all of these boxes—but hopefully, he will hit most of them, and of course, there are others.

Restock at Wide Receiver

The Green Bay Packers had the NFL’s top-scoring offense in 2020, and they also ranked first by DVOA. They’ll be bringing back their top-3 receivers and also be adding Devin Funchess to the mix. While it’s always a good idea to try to add another weapon for Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur, when looking at 2021 specifically, it’s not as if the Packers have to either.

But what the Packers do need to do is plan ahead. Currently, there are no receivers under contract beyond the 2021 season. I fully expect Davante Adams to be back, while Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are two players who could be re-signed, but right now, we just don’t know.

Fortunately, this is a very deep class at the receiver position with 17 players in the consensus top-100. During his short tenure as GM, Gutey has thrown us some curveballs in the draft, but he does plan ahead for the coming years. So while most were upset that the Green Bay Packers didn’t address the need in 2020, I expect them to draft at least two receivers this year.

Adding to Edge

With The Smiths and Gary, edge isn’t exactly a need for the 2021 season. But as we look ahead to 2022, chances are that Preston Smith will be a cap casualty given his massive cap hit next season and while my gut says that Za’Darius Smith receives an extension, we don’t know what his future holds either as he also has a massive cap hit next year.

On top of that, there is no such thing as too many pass rushers. The Packers have Jonathan Garvin and Tipa Galeai as intriguing on the roster options, but putting your faith in a seventh round pick and a UDFA comes with obvious risks.

An ideal early round target for Green Bay could be Wake Forest’s Carlos “Boogie” Basham, who not only can line up at edge but is a prime candidate to line up in 4-tech within Joe Barry’s defense. So not only is a Basham — or a player of that ilk — providing depth in the coming years, but they could provide the interior a boost as well, which as we all know is a big need. If an edge defender with this kind of versatility is on the board, the Packers may have a hard time passing.