With an off-season that has been filled with drama involving Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his relationship and stance with the organization, Green Bay was able to shelf that for a few days during the 2021 NFL Draft. The picks are are in, so now it’s time to review how the Packers did in the draft. Unlike in 2020, the Packers didn’t make really any flashy trades in the draft, resulting in them drafting a total of nine players throughout the seven rounds. In the end, Green Bay selected the following players:
- First round, 29th overall: Eric Stokes, cornerback, Georgia
- Second round, 62nd overall: Josh Myers, center, Ohio State
- Third round, 85th overall: Amari Rodgers, wide receiver, Clemson
- Fourth round, 142nd overall: Royce Newman, guard, Ole Miss
- Fifth round, 173rd overall: Tedarrell Slaton, defensive tackle, Florida
- Fifth round, 178th overall: Shemar Jean-Charles, cornerback, Appalachian State
- Sixth round, 214th overall: Cole Van Lanen, tackle, Wisconsin
- Sixth round, 220th overall: Isaiah McDuffie, linebacker, Boston College
- Seventh round, 256th overall: Kylin Hill, running back, Mississippi State
Green Bay Packers 2021 NFL Draft Grade: 6.5/10
Green Bay Packers 2021 NFL Draft Review
The Best Player: Eric Stokes
Although Green Bay’s current legendary quarterback has long asked the team to add to the offense and surround him with another weapon in the passing game, the Packers came into the draft with a sizable need on the other side of the ball and most notably on the back end of the defense.
That resulted in Green Bay going out and picking cornerback Eric Stokes out of Georgia with the 29th overall pick in the opening round. The selection of Stokes surprised some and perhaps further angered a specific quarterback leading the team, but the defensive back was a solid selection for the green and gold.
Stokes is a player that has an impressive amount of size and speed as he tries to help lock down the pass defense and the back end of the defensive unit in Green Bay. Although some thought Stokes would have dropped into the second round, the Packers took the cornerback at the end of the first round and he is the early favorite for best player taken by Green Bay in the draft.
The Head-Scratcher: Not Really Addressing Offense
Going into the draft, one of the biggest needs for the Packers and specifically in the eyes of Rodgers was the lack of weapons on offense to try and maximize what Rodgers and company are able to do on that side of the ball.
Although this year’s draft wasn’t as surprising as the 2020 draft was when Green Bay traded up to draft Jordon Love as Rodgers’ eventual successor, the Packers still raised some eyebrows with their unwillingness to adding those weapons in the passing game and the offense in general.
Of the nine selections this year, Green Bay used four of those picks on offense, but only one of those came during the first two days of the draft. Many thought the Packers would go out and try and please Rodgers with adding offensive weapons, especially after what took place in the 2020 draft, but they didn’t really end up doing so.
If we thought the relationship between Rodgers and the organization was interesting heading into the draft and throughout this off-season, they may have just gotten even more interesting now with the draft complete.
The Surprise: Eric Stokes
As mentioned above, many thought Green Bay would use either its first-round selection or at least one of its first few picks in the draft on an offensive weapon and specifically a wide receiver to beef up the group on the outside of the field in the passing game.
Instead, the Packers surprised some with the selection of Stokes with the 29th overall pick, although he is a solid prospect that could end up being a key addition to the defense in Green Bay.
Picking Stokes specifically wasn’t that much of a surprise itself, but the fact that the Packers have continued to ignore the ask from players to add to the offense and the receiver position to try and maximize the ability of their legendary quarterback made this selection a bit surprising.
Stokes files a big need on defense for Green Bay and could be a long-term answer at the cornerback position, which is important, but it was still a bit surprising to see the organization go this route in the first round of the draft.
The Steal: Amari Rodgers
A position many thought Green Bay would have and maybe should have addressed earlier in the draft, the Packers ended up taking a wide receiver in the third round when they selected Clemson’s Amari Rodgers with the 85th overall pick in the third round.
Players in the third round can still turn into extremely valuable and successful players in the NFL, and there’s no reason to doubt that Rodgers wouldn’t be able to turn into just that now in the Packers offensive unit.
Rodgers joins the Green Bay receiving group consisting of Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and others. Although quarterback Aaron Rodgers probably would have liked the Packers to look at a receiver earlier in the draft process, this newest addition out Clemson was a solid pick for Green Bay in the third round.
Rodgers is the first wide receiver the Packers have selected in the third round or higher in six years, and yet he was a steal where he was picked and will be an interesting player to watch in Green Bay regardless of who his quarterback ends up being by the time the year begins.
Rodgers is a solid slot receiver, an area on offense he spent over 86 percent of his snaps during his collegiate career at Clemson. He has a remarkable ability to burst off the line of scrimmage and is also a physical presence that can make him a versatile player within Green Bay’s offense.
When it comes to value at a point where a player was selected in the draft, Rodgers was the steal of the draft for Green Bay. Now Packers fans are just hoping for a Rodgers-Rodgers connection often during the year.
Most Likely to Turn Heads During Training Camp: Shemar Jean-Charles
Like Green Bay did, surprisingly, in the first round of the draft, it also added a cornerback in the fifth round with the selection of cornerback Shemar Jean-Charles with the 178th overall pick.
In an attempt to retool the defense and the secondary specifically, Jean-Charles will help the Packers in that effort and adds to the depth at the position. At Appalachian State, Jean-Charles was a lock-down defensive back and is an incredibly athletic player which should make for a nice addition to the defense.
Jean-Charles may not make a huge impact right out of the gate in his rookie season like a player such as Stokes might, but Jean-Charles could certainly turn some heads and surprise some people as a fifth-round pick as his first year as a professional begins.
To round out the rest of the draft, Green Bay addressed both sides of the ball with other selections not mentioned earlier.
On the second day of the draft, the Packers added center Josh Myers out of Ohio State in the second round (62nd overall pick) to go along with third-round pick of Amari Rodgers at wide receiver.
On day three, Green Bay finished its selection process with guard Royce Newman from Ole Miss in the fourth round (142nd overall), defensive tackle Tedarrell Slaton of Florida in the fifth round (173rd overall), tackle Cole Van Lanen out of Wisconsin in the sixth round (214th overall), linebacker Isaiah McDuffie from Boston College in the sixth round (220th overall) and running back Kylin Hill of Mississippi State in the seventh round (256th overall).
The Packers didn’t ultimately please their legendary quarterback once again in this year’s draft, but they did manage to address both sides of the ball with the nine selections during the seven-round draft. But the caliber of talent Green Bay selected leaves some skeptical, making this barely an above-average draft for the Packers.
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