Green Bay Packers: 7 Realistic Predictions for 2021 NFL Draft

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces a pick by the Green Bay Packers during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces a pick by the Green Bay Packers during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT /
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Green Bay Packers
ARLINGTON, TX – APRIL 26: The Green Bay Packers logo is seen on a video board during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT /

The Green Bay Packers will take an Edge Rusher or Safety on Days 1 or 2

Of course, it’s not a Green Bay Packers’ draft without Brian Gutekunst throwing us a curveball. From a need standpoint, I feel that both of these positions have flown a bit under the radar–and understandably so, the Packers have The Smiths and Rashan Gary at edge, along with Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage at safety.

But looking ahead to 2022, I would say chances are that Preston Smith is let go because of his monstrous cap hit, and who knows, we don’t know what the future holds for Za’Darius Smith either, who also has a huge cap hit in 2022 of about $28 million–although my guy says that he signs an extension.

Yet even if Za’Darius is back with Gary next season, in today’s NFL, you need three reliable edge rushers. Perhaps Jonathan Garvin or Tipa Galeai become that player, but as a former seventh-rounder and UDFA, we can’t bank on that either — which is where the potential need lies — not to mention that there is no such thing as too many pass rushers. As we’ve seen in each of his first three drafts, Gutey will plan ahead — as he should — and that’s what this selection would be doing.

At safety, this position is really taxed in the Joe Barry defense. As a predominantly two-high system, they, of course, have to be well versed in coverage, but the Joe Barry safeties also play a key role in stopping the run, as they are often lined up close to the line of scrimmage. This position requires a versatile player who can be a reliable tackler.

Similarly to edge, the Packers have some young options in Vernon Scott and Henry Black, but again, can they be relied upon? We will see. On top of that, we may also see more of Darnell Savage in the slot this season, which creates a hole to fill at safety.

Both of these positions haven’t been talked about much, but given Gutey’s track record and the need, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Green Bay takes one of them early on.

No IDL until Day 3 of the Draft

I know this is a huge need that many have at the top of their to-do list and want to see the Green Bay Packers cross off–and hey, I’m with you. This interior group is extremely thin when it comes to experienced depth, and on top of that, they could certainly use another reliable player in the rotation, so Green Bay doesn’t have to lean on Tyler Lancaster and Dean Lowry as much.

Unfortunately, this is not a deep interior defensive line class. And just because it is a big need doesn’t mean the Green Bay Packers want to take a position just so you can say, “hey, we took that position!” That leads to reaching and, more times than not, busts.

Next. Packers Get Immediate Help in 3-Round ESPN Mock Draft. dark

So because of that, I just don’t see the value being there early on for Green Bay. On top of that, as we’ve already discussed, this class is loaded at other positions of need, which is where their attention early on should lie. While an interior defender is certainly on the Packers’ radar, sometimes the board just doesn’t fall correctly, or the value just isn’t there. My guess is that’s the case on Thursday and Friday of the draft at this position.