Green Bay Packers 2021 NFL Draft Review

Packers Draft

Something broke out while the Green Bay Packers were dealing with a possible franchise implosion. An NFL draft took place.  It has been a very interesting past three days for general manager Brian Gutekunst and the Packers, to say the least. While it was drama-filled, the Packers did replenish their roster. Today, we take a look at the 2021 Green Bay Packers draft.

Green Bay Packers 2021 NFL Draft Review – New Faces Incoming

When the NFL draft comes to a conclusion, many experts hand out letter grades for each team’s draft. While the articles bring some entertainment, the process of handing out letter grades on drafts immediately is pretty flawed.

It takes at least two years of playing by these prospects to truly evaluate how good the draft picks truly were. However, as we have done in the past, you can decide if a team got good value on where they selected a player.

Today, we take a look if Gutekunst got good value with his picks in the 2021 Green Bay Packers draft. We researched each Packers draft pick to see where they were projected to be selected. Our grading consists of three “grades”, reach, expected slot, and steal.

By no means is does this mean a player won’t turn out. But it does give you a good idea if Brian Gutekunst and his staff got good value for the players that make up the 2021 Packers draft class.

Round One, 29th Overall, Eric Stokes, Cornerback

Leading into this draft, many projected that the Packers would address cornerback with their first pick. That is exactly what the Packers did when they selected Georgia’s Eric Stokes with the 29th overall pick.

The boundary starting cornerback opposite Jaire Alexander has a lot of questions. The Packers re-signed oft-injured cornerback Kevin King this off-season. However, because of his many injuries and at times subpar play, the Packers needed to add depth.

Stokes made a name for himself this off-season when he posted a 4.25 40-yard dash at his pro day. However, speed isn’t the only attribute that Stokes brings to the Packers.

This past season, the junior intercepted four passes for the Bulldogs. Not only does he have speed and decent ball skills, but he has good size, 6’1″194 lbs. He has the ability to line up inside as well as outside. That should be a plus for defensive backs coach/pass game coordinator Jerry Gray. This will allow him to start Stokes in the slot and eventually move him out to the outside when King falls to another injury.

Lance Zierlein of projected Stokes to go in the second round. However, with how the board fell for cornerbacks, selecting Stokes, where the Packers did, it was expected.

LWOPF Grade:  Expected Slot

Round Two, 62nd Overall, Josh Myers, Center

The center position was another position that was expected to be looked at for the Packers draft. They lost All-Pro center Corey Linsley to the Los Angles Chargers as a free agent. The departure left a hole in the middle of Green Bay’s offensive line.

Gutekunst and the Packers are hoping that the selection of Josh Myers will help ease the loss of Linsley. Like with Linsley, Myers played his college ball at the Ohio State University. Myers has great size for a center, 6’5″ 310 lbs. Under head coach Matt LaFleur, the Packers emphasize the run game. Myers is a top-notch run blocker. Along with that, Myers has shown that he is durable and can be relied on.

While Myers has some good upside, it is curious that Gutekunst addressed the center position so early. Last year, he used a sixth-round pick to select center Jake Hanson. Along with that, the Packers did have options on the current roster to replace Linsley. Elgton Jenkins and Lucas Patrick both have experience playing center. Also, at the time Myers was selected, there were other centers available that were rated higher than Myers.

Zierlein projected that Myers would be selected in the third round.

LWOPF Grade:  Reach

Round Three, 85th Overall, Amari Rodgers, Wide Receiver

Yes, the Packers selected a wide receiver!  Many Packers fans have been clamoring for Gutekunst to address the position – although it was a year later than most expected.

Amari Rodgers is a fun player to watch. He was a standout at Clemson and wasn’t afraid to go across the middle. Unlike the current group of Packers wideouts, Rodgers has a different build. At 5’9″ weighing over 200 lbs., Rodgers is built to play out of the slot. The Packers haven’t had a true slot receiver since Randall Cobb manned the position. Rodgers is very comparable to Cobb in regards to skills, although he has a stronger build.

Rodgers could be utilized as a “gadget” type player in LaFleur’s offense. For those Packers fans who think the “jet sweep” is comparable to the old “Packers sweep”, Rodgers has the ability to run that play.

Zierlein projected that Rodgers would be selected in the third round.

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LWOPF Grade:  Expected Slot

Round Four, 142nd Overall, Royce Newman, Offensive Tackle/Offensive Guard

Center wasn’t the only position that was expected to be addressed in the Packers draft this year. Offensive tackle was another position that was in need of depth.

Royce Newman of Ole Miss is the type of player that offensive line coach Adam Stenavich looks for in a lineman. Newman has experience at both guard and tackle. The Packers have a plethora of interior offensive linemen, so it is expected Newman will play tackle for the Packers.

Newman is solid in the run game. He will need to improve in his pass protection but has good feet so he does have the capability of getting better. Newman posted a high RAS score, which is something Gutekunst puts an emphasis on.

Zierlein projected Newman to go in the fifth round.

LWOPF Grade:  Reach

Round Five, 173rd Overall, Tedarrell Slaton, Defensive Tackle

Defensive tackle was another position that most expected the Packers to address in the draft. However, many believed that it would be done earlier in the fifth round.

Tedarrell Slaton of Florida checks many of the boxes that Gutekunst and his staff look for out of a prospect. Slaton has a decent RAS score and was a high school All-American. Both intangibles that Gutekunst has looked for in a prospect.

However, Slaton’s ability really never matched his output while at Florida. From what we have seen, Slaton reminds us a lot of former Packer Montravius Adams, which isn’t a good thing. Both are good athletes, and both underachieved in college.

Zierlein projected Slaton as a sixth or seventh-round draft choice.

LWOPF Grade:  Reach

Round Five, 178th Overall, Shemar Jean-Charles, Cornerback

It came as a delight to see that Gutekunst made cornerback a priority in this year’s Packers draft. Shemar Jean-Charles was the second cornerback to be selected.

Shemar had a solid career at Appalachian State. He isn’t the biggest corner, 5’10”, something that hindered him from being drafted higher.  Another knock on him was the lack of interceptions. However, he showed a lot of aggressiveness while covering bigger wide receivers.

He has a lot of learning to do. One of the knocks on him is that he had issues with grabbing receivers in college. That is a big no-no and a habit that will need to be broken when playing in the NFL. Still, Jean-Charles has a lot to work with and Jerry Gray is the type of defensive backs to get the most out of him.

Zierlein projected Jean-Charles to go in the fifth round.

LWOPF Grade:  Expected Slot

Round Six, 214th Overall, Cole Van Lanen, Offensive Tackle

For many college players, it is just a dream to be selected in the NFL draft. But for those lucky enough to be selected by their home state team, it makes it even sweeter.

Cole Van Lanen is one of the lucky ones. The Green Bay native was selected by the Packers in the sixth round.

The University of Wisconsin product played both guard and tackle for the Badgers. The ability to play multiple positions was one of the things that drew the Packers to Van Lanen. Wisconsin is known for churning out NFL offensive linemen. Van Lanen is another name to be added to that list.

He played a lot of tackle at Wisconsin, but it appears that he will be a guard at the next level. Van Lanen doesn’t appear to have the footwork to play tackle in the NFL. The Packers have a lot of interior linemen, which will make it a long shot of Van Lanen making the Packers roster. Still, he might be a target for the practice squad.

Zierlein projected Van Lanen as a seventh-round/undrafted free agent.

LWOPF Grade:  Reach

Round Six, 22oth Overall, Isaiah McDuffie, Inside Linebacker

It still stuns us that Gutekunst and the Packers organization still don’t put any stock in the inside linebacker position. The Packers defense has struggled in recent history. One of the common traits has been the lack of playmakers at inside linebacker. It appears that next season the top two inside linebackers will be Krys Barnes and Kamal Martin. Barnes was an undrafted free agent last season while Martin was a fifth-round draft choice. Don’t expect much change in the position.

The Packers waited until the sixth round to address inside linebacker in this year’s draft. They selected Isaiah McDuffie with the 220th overall pick. While McDuffie was a sixth-round selection, he does have some tools to work with.

He was a big piece to Boston College’s defense. As an undersized linebacker, McDuffie did more with less. He was a standout wide receiver in high school and that athletic ability was on display at Boston College as a linebacker. He should be a good special teams player for the Packers.

LWOPF projected McDuffie as a fifth-round draft choice.

LWOPF Grade:  Steal

Round Seven, 256th Overall, Kylin Hill, Running Back

The Packers are set at their number one and number two running backs. Aaron Jones was re-signed this off-season, guaranteeing the Packers returned their best playmaker out of the backfield. Last season, the Packers spent a second-round pick on AJ Dillon. Dillon’s size and power make him a great complement to Jones.

However, the Packers are in search of a third running back. Dexter Williams, a former sixth-round choice by Gutekunst, has been a disappointment. The only other possible candidate on the Packers roster is Patrick Taylor. Taylor, an undrafted free agent, spent all of last season on the injured reserve.

With Williams and Taylor having so many questions, the Packers selected Kylin Hill with their last choice. Hill is a one-cut runner, which makes him a good fit in the Packers zone running scheme. He also possesses good power.

Zierlein projected Hill as a sixth or seventh-round draft choice.

LWOPF Grade:  Expected Slot

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