Packers' Team Needs to Fill in 2021 NFL Draft

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 31, 2021

Packers' Team Needs to Fill in 2021 NFL Draft

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    The Green Bay Packers' most-recent NFL draft history does not inspire confidence that they will fill all of their roster needs in the next month. 

    The NFC North squad opted to take a quarterback, running back and tight end with its first three selections in the 2020 draft.

    Green Bay did not use Jordan Love, A.J. Dillon and Josiah Deguara much in 2020, so the early reviews on that class are not great. 

    The Packers can make up for those questionable calls by thriving with the 2021 draft class. They have 10 total picks, including seven on the final day. 

    Nailing the 29th overall pick is important for the Packers since they used their first selection on Love in 2020, but if they can find a starter there and discover depth elsewhere, they could be in much better shape coming out of the draft than 12 months ago. 

Wide Receiver

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    Green Bay's quest to land a wide receiver to complement Davante Adams has been well documented at this point. 

    The Packers tried to acquire Will Fuller before the 2020 trade deadline, and they opted not to land a top-tier wideout in free agency because of their salary-cap constraints. 

    The cheapest way to land a No. 2 to Adams now is to pick a wide receiver somewhere in the first few rounds of the draft.

    Once Ja'Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith go off the board, there could be a run on the second-tier wide receivers in the middle of the first round that takes Rashod Bateman and a few others away from Green Bay at No. 29.

    The second or third round may be the best spot to land a wideout, especially if the Packers are not willing to use draft capital to trade up to secure Bateman or Rondale Moore. 

    USC's Amon-Ra St. Brown, the brother of current Packers wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, is an intriguing Friday selection because of his skill set and the familiarity the franchise already has with the family of wideouts. 

    Ole Miss' Elijah Moore and Oklahoma State's Tylan Wallace were top playmakers at the collegiate level and could be perfect support pieces to Adams if they are around at No. 62. 

    Since 2015, the Packers have not used a first- or second-round pick on a wide receiver. They discovered Marquez Valdes-Scantling in the 2018 fifth round, but that is the most success they had. 

    To land a better wide out from the draft, the Packers should look to use No. 29 or No. 62 on a receiver to make sure it keeps pace with the offensive weapons that other NFC contenders possess. 

Edge Rusher

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    The Packers have had much more success on the defensive side of the ball in the draft over the last five years. 

    Kenny Clark, the cornerstone of the defensive line, was the first-round selection in 2016. Kevin King, Jaire Alexander and Rashan Gary followed in the first round in three years after that choice. 

    Green Bay's history of selecting defensive players in the first round and the botched Love selection in 2020 may lead it back to that side of the ball at No. 29. 

    The Packers need more help on the edge to support Clark, and there are some fringe first-round picks who could be waiting to hear their names called at No. 29.

    Tulsa's Zaven Collins is the most intriguing option of the bunch since he won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy awarded to the nation's top defensive player. Chase Young, Bradley Chubb, Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh are among the previous winners of the honor.

    Georgia's Azeez Ojulari and Miami's Jaelen Phillips may also be under consideration at No. 29 depending on how the first round plays out. 

    Green Bay may also be willing to use some of its seven Saturday selections to move up to land someone like Collins. 

    In 2020, nine of the picks from No. 18-No. 32 were traded, including the No. 26 pick that was acquired to land Love.

Defensive Back

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    Green Bay's secondary concerns flared up during the NFC Championship Game in which Tom Brady picked apart its defensive backs. 

    The Packers have shown a propensity to take defensive backs in the first round dating back to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in 2014. Since then, the Packers landed Damarious Randall, King and Alexander with first-round picks.

    At No. 29, the Packers sit in an intriguing position to land a new defensive back. Once Patrick Surtain II, Caleb Farley and Jaycee Horn are off the board, there could be a hold on the position. 

    Northwestern's Greg Newsome, Florida State's Asante Samuel Jr. and Georgia's Eric Stokes could be the best available corners at No. 29. 

    Green Bay could trigger the second run on cornerbacks, or it could use some of its late-round picks to move up a few spots to secure the services of Newsome, Samuel or Stokes. 

    If the Packers wait until No. 62 to land a defensive back, they could find Ohio State's Shaun Wade or Stanford's Paulson Adebo there. 

    Adebo may end up as a steal in the second or third round because he has first-round talent, but he dropped on draft boards since returned to Stanford in 2020 and then opted out of the season. 

    If Green Bay looks elsewhere in the first round, Adebo may be an ideal second-day target to bolster a unit that needs to be better in the most important games.