If it is April and you are an NFL football fan, it could mean only one thing. Yep, it is the mock draft season. It’s an exercise that most NFL teams do to prepare for the real thing. But NFL fans have taken it to a whole nother level. Some fans do it just to have fun, making believe they are the general manager of their favorite teams. Today, we do our Green Bay Packers seven-round mock draft projecting players that we believe would make sense for the Packers.
Green Bay Packers Seven-Round Mock Draft
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst has his work cut out for him. When preparing to do this Packers seven-round mock draft, we discovered that Green Bay has a lot of holes to fill. Because Gutekunst did close to nothing in free agency this off-season, it will come down to the draft for improving the Packers roster. He will need to bolster the depth through the draft and by signing undrafted free agents. Sound familiar, Packers fans? It should, it is the same approach former general manager Ted Thompson took.
So, when writing up this Packers seven-round mock draft we took several things into consideration. Of course, what current positions the Packers are in need of help at. The other, which positions down the road, maybe in the next season or two, will they need to address.
Doing our best imitation of Brian Gutekunst, here is our Packers seven-round mock draft for 2021.
First Round, 29th Overall, Alex Leatherwood, Offensive Tackle
Most fans and writers who cover the Packers believe that the Packers will address cornerback with their first pick. However, we believe, and have believed, the offensive tackle should leapfrog cornerback when it comes to importance. By no means are we saying that the re-signing of Kevin King solves the cornerback issue. Not even close. But the Packers offensive tackle position needs help, not just now, but also for the future.
Alex Leatherwood looks to be a perfect fit for the Packers offensive line. The Packers love offensive linemen that can play multiple positions. Leatherwood is able to do just that.
While at Alabama, he played guard and tackle and did well at both positions. He has an 85″ wingspan and has great feet for a man his size. With David Bakhtiari expected to miss part of 2021 while recovering from a 2020 knee injury, right tackle Billy Turner will have to hold down the left tackle position. Who will start on the right side, is anyone’s guess. But it wouldn’t be a stretch if the Packers select Leatherwood, that he could step in on the right side. When Bakhtiari returns, Turner can move back to the right side and Leatherwood would become a valuable backup swing tackle.
Turner has two years left on his contract and there is a good chance the Packers might move on from him, possibly even after next season. Leatherwood could be his heir apparent.
Second Round, 62nd Overall, Elijah Molden, Cornerback
Kevin King isn’t the long-term answer at the cornerback position opposite Jaire Alexander. In fact, he probably isn’t a short-term answer. The selection of Elijah Molden is a good start at fixing the issue.
New defensive coordinator Joe Barry has spoken about the “star” position in his defense. It is a hybrid position, some nickel back, some safety. While Molden isn’t a true boundary cornerback, he does seem like a perfect fit for the star position. Chandon Sullivan currently holds that position, but he struggled in 2020. We believe Molden would be a better option and would be a playmaker in Barry’s defense.
Third Round, 92nd Overall, Osa Odighizuwa, Defensive Line
Kenny Clark needs some help. Clark is one of the better young defensive linemen in the NFL. What he has done so far in his young career is pretty remarkable, especially if you figure in the players he plays alongside in the Packers interior defensive line. The Packers are high on Kinglsey Keke, but behind Clark and Keke, there isn’t a ton of help (that especially is with Dean Lowry in mind).
Osa Odighizuwa seems like a player that would be a good fit for what Barry has in mind for the Packers defense. He has the ability to line up inside and outside and appears to be a solid pass rusher. Also, something to keep in mind. Packers National Scout Sam Seale has a lot of pull in the Packers draft room. He has covered the western part of the United States for the Packers for years. Odighizuwa playing at UCLA is another connection to the Packers and Seale.
Fourth Round, 135th Overall, Paulson Adebo, Cornerback
The selection of Molden, if the Packers make it, shouldn’t be the only one they make at cornerback in this year’s draft. Molden will give the Packers an option as a nickel back, but it doesn’t solve the problem on the boundary.
Paulson Adebo would give them an option on the boundary. Adebo sat out last season but did play for Stanford in 2018 and 2019. His play was better in 2018, but he does have the size and the potential to be a capable boundary cornerback in the NFL.
As stated earlier, King isn’t a long-term answer. With Gutekunst not upgrading the position in free agency, the Packers need to find a player who will be capable for the long term but also be able to play when King goes down with an injury in 2021, which is expected to happen.
Fourth Round, 142nd Overall, Dylan Moses, Inside Linebacker
Inside linebacker is a position the Packers should look at upgrading early in the draft. However, the Packers organization has shown they don’t put much emphasis on the position. Still, the Packers need to find depth at the position.
Dylan Moses was a five-star recruit coming out of high school. Gutekunst has shown that he likes players that were big-time recruits, a category that Moses fits into. Moses had an up and down career at Alabama but had a strong 2020 season.
Moses played in a pro-style of defense under Nick Saban at Alabama. His selection would provide depth for the Packers and could turn into a starter down the road.
Fifth Round, 173rd Overall, Sage Surratt, Wide Receiver
Gutekunst finally grabs a wide receiver! He passed on the position last year, but this year, he finally gets one. Many fans won’t be happy that he waits until the fifth round to do so, but they won’t be disappointed in the selection of Sage Surratt.
Surratt sat out last season, but he did have a productive 2019 for Wake Forest. In nine starts, he hauled in 66 passes for 1,001 yards and had 11 touchdowns. He also returned some punts while at Wake Forest. Something that should make new special teams coordinator Maurice Drayton very happy.
Surratt isn’t blessed with blazing speed. But when we saw him play in 2019, he reminded us a lot of former Packers standout wide receiver Jordy Nelson. Even without explosive speed, he always found a way to get open.
Fifth Round, 178th Overall, Chris Rumph II, Outside Linebacker
The return of Preston Smith caught many by surprise. After a disappointing 2020, many expected that he would be a salary cap casualty this off-season. However, Gutekunst decided to keep the veteran pass rusher, for at least one more season.
Za’Darius Smith and Rashan Gary are expected to be the starters this season. But the Packers need to prepare for when they part ways with Preston Smith. Chris Rumph II has the tools to develop into a solid piece for the Packers outside linebacker rotation.
Sixth Round, 214th Overall, Christian Uphoff, Safety
The Packers parted ways with safety Raven Greene this off-season. Greene was able to fill in at safety as well as nickel linebacker. With him now departed, the Packers will look to find a replacement.
Christian Uphoff was a standout at Illinois State. He is an upper-level athlete, something that will help him in the NFL. He was a standout on special teams in college and showed good versatility. He could be a long-term answer in filling the nickel linebacker position once held by Greene.
Sixth Round, 220th Overall, D’Ante Smith, Offensive Tackle
With the selection of D’Ante Smith, the Packers are showing that they are looking to provide depth at the offensive tackle.
Smith, like first pick Alex Leatherwood, is the type of offensive linemen the Packers are looking for. Smith is a former high school state wrestling champion. That shows that he understands leverage and is a fighter.
Smith played guard and tackle at East Carolina, a trait that the Packers are looking for in an offensive lineman. Smith has the tools to develop into a possible swing tackle.
Seventh Round, 256th Overall, JD Spielman, Wide Receive
This Packers mock draft wraps up with a pretty interesting selection.
JD Spielman played three seasons at the University of Nebraska. During those three years, Spielman was very productive and provided a lot of big plays for the Cornhuskers. He totaled 170 receptions for 2,546 yards with 15 touchdown receptions. He also was an explosive returner for Nebraska. He spent his last season with TCU. However, he had his 2020 season cut short due to an injury.
Spielman is small, 5’9″ 180 lbs. However, he showed toughness and was a solid receiver out of the slot. He is also a very capable returner, something they are in dire need of. The Packers haven’t had a quality slot receiver/returner since Randall Cobb played for them.
Along with that, Spielman is the son of current Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman.
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