Green Bay Packers: 14 Quick Thoughts on 2021 NFL Draft

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
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 /

We are almost there; the NFL Draft is only a few days away. Along the way and throughout this process, there has been a lot of homework, studying, and writing about prospects, needs that the Green Bay Packers have, and their draft process under Brian Gutekunst.

So in what ended up being a big brain dump of ideas that I’ve compiled throughout this process, here are 14 quick thoughts on the 2021 NFL Draft and the Green Bay Packers.

Caleb Farley at pick 29 is best case scenario

Yes, I know there are the injury concerns, and for this to work, the Green Bay Packers’ medical staff would have to sign off on this selection. But assuming that’s in good order, there is no way that I could pass on Caleb Farley at pick 29. He has excellent size, terrific athleticism, is scheme versatile, and would be CB2 in Green Bay immediately.

Prior to his recent back surgery, he was considered by many a top-10 pick and the best corner in this class. That value is just too rich for me to ignore. He and Jaire Alexander could quickly form the best cornerback tandem in football.

Round 1 WR and LB

These have been two popular selections for the Green Bay Packers in many mock drafts this offseason–and I get why. But since 2005, the Packers have spent just one combined first-round pick on either of these positions. At this point, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Green Bay spends their first-round draft capital on premium positions such as quarterback, offensive tackle, defensive tackle, cornerback, and edge rusher. Not receiver, linebacker, tight end, or interior offensive lineman. As I said, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Don’t take any IDL not named Barmore in Round 1

If landing Caleb Farley at pick 29 is the best-case scenario, taking any interior defensive lineman not named Christian Barmore at pick 29 is the worst-case scenario. I know this is a huge need on this Packers’ team, but this is a very weak interior defensive line class, and the value at this stage of the draft just isn’t there.

Brace yourself for a Day 3 IDL addition

Piggy-backing off the last thought, fans shouldn’t be surprised if the Green Bay Packers don’t address the interior defensive line position until Day 3. Again, this class is very weak overall, and even in Rounds 2 and 3, the value just might not be there, and we don’t know how the board is going to fall either. With fewer options, teams may get desperate and reach for the best interior player available–and if that happens, let’s hope the Packers aren’t one of those teams.

If the Packers are moving, I expect them to trade up, not down

If you believe the Packers should trade down from pick 29, I’m with you–I think it makes a lot of sense given the depth of this year’s class at positions of need. However, I still think Brian Gutekunst moves up, just as he has done in his previous three drafts.

With 10 draft picks and teams not as familiar with mid to late-round prospects this year because of so many opt-outs and the COVID restrictions, I believe GMs will be more willing to part with picks than they would normally be. On top of that, on Monday, Gutey told reporters he is “always” tempted to trade up for a “game-changing type player.” And for a Packers team that is so close to the Super Bowl, that’ll be an itch that Gutekunst has to scratch.

Stray away from those WR thresholds

The Green Bay Packers love their big-bodied receivers and have typically stuck to the 6’0″ – 200 pounds thresholds. But if there’s a year to stray away, it has to be this one. This class is loaded with slot/gadget players who don’t meet those height/weight requirements but would add a missing element to this offense that wasn’t present in 2020.

In the Matt LaFleur system, these types of players thrive from the slot, as the motion men, and on designed touches. With that said, as we saw last season, having that type of player isn’t a requirement for success, and if you listed to Gutey’s press conference, my hopes aren’t exactly high that they’ll go against the grain and take someone below those marks.

Loaded draft class at positions of need

I know I’ve dumped on the interior defensive line position already, but at Green Bay’s three other biggest perceived needs, this is a very deep draft class. Of the consensus top-100 players, 17 of them are wide receivers — which is the most among any position group — cornerback is second with 16, and offensive tackle is third with 11. The Green Bay Packers should absolutely have the opportunity to land some difference-makers at these positions of need.

Watch for the double or triple dip

Since the 2017 draft, the Green Bay Packers have taken three players of the same position on three occasions. With Jaire Alexander being the only cornerback that we know will be on the roster in 2022 and with no receivers under contract beyond the 2021 season, both positions are prime candidates for Gutekunst to triple-dip at. But at a minimum, I’d expect at least two from either and potentially both.

Trevon Moehrig

Where Moehrig will go in the first round, I’m not sure, but he’s someone who hasn’t been talked about often when discussing the Green Bay Packers. Even with Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage, Moehrig would see the field immediately. He has ample slot experience can play deep as well as in the box — something that Joe Barry is going to ask of his safeties — and he makes plays at the line of scrimmage. If you want an immediate impact player who will upgrade this defense, then look no further.

Edge or Safety early on

These are the two under-the-radar needs that haven’t drawn much attention, but I won’t be surprised at all if the Green Bay Packers spend a top-100 pick on either position. The edge rusher position becomes a much bigger need in 2022, and as we’ve seen, Gutey takes a more long-term approach when it comes to the draft.

Meanwhile, at safety, it wouldn’t hurt to bolster that room with a versatile third option–especially if that player is Trevon Moehrig. In a small sample size, we saw some flashes from Vernon Scott and Henry Black, but as a seventh-rounder and UDFA with little playing time, there is some risk involved in relying heavily on them.

Starting OT can answer a lot of questions on OL

At this moment, with David Bakhtiari out, the Packers lack some serious depth at the tackle position with Yosh Nijman being their only backup, and they’ll have to rely on either Ben Braden or Simon Stepaniak at one of the guard spots. Who knows, maybe those three are ready for those much larger roles, but my guess is they’re not.

But as we look to the draft, an immediate starter at tackle will alleviate those concerns. The rookie would allow Elgton Jenkins to move back inside to guard, and if an injury occurred, Nijman wouldn’t have to be the next man up—this would give Green Bay added flexibility and options, and that’s always a good thing.

Is TE an option?

Talk about an under-the-radar option in the draft—the Green Bay Packers tight end room for 2021 looks as good as it has in years. But next year, it could possibly look quite different.

With limited cap space again next offseason, there is no guarantee that the Packers bring back Robert Tonyan, who will be a free agent. What if Jace Sternberger doesn’t take a step forward? Marcedes Lewis could retire. And we still don’t know what the Packers truly have in Dominique Dafney.

As I’ve already mentioned, Gutekunst likes to plan ahead, and that may be necessary at the tight end position. With that said, if they don’t address the position, that’s fine too–this is far from a must. But if they do, it wouldn’t hurt to try to find Lewis’ replacement as the all-important Y-tight end in this offense, and it’s also a pick that, if it does happen, won’t take place until Day 3 when teams are looking for value.

Late Day 3 QB

Without Tim Boyle, Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love are the only quarterbacks on the roster. And perhaps this season, the Packers carry just two on the 53-man. However, teams need more than two quarterbacks to get through training camp, and oftentimes one is carried on the practice squad as well. So whether it’s a late Day 3 pick or a UDFA signing, Green Bay will add another quarterback to the roster.

Pay attention to RAS

The Relative Athletic Score (RAS) was created by Kent Lee Platte as a way to compare the athleticism of athletes within their respective position groups on a 0 to 10 scale and based on their measurements and athletic testing from either the Combine or their Pro Days. In Gutey’s first three drafts, 25 of his 28 draft picks have been RAS eligible, and 22 of them have scored 8.0 or higher, with 13 of those 22 players posting a score of at least 9.0.

Final Mock Draft Roundup & Takeaways. dark. Next

Now, I doubt Gutekunst is flipping through RAS scores, but when 84 percent of his picks fall into a certain category, we can’t ignore that either. So if there is a prospect you want the Packers to take, check their RAS, and if it’s below 8.0, I’d be wary.