Underrated Prospects Packers Must Prioritize in 2021 NFL Draft

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistApril 7, 2021

Underrated Prospects Packers Must Prioritize in 2021 NFL Draft

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    The Green Bay Packers will not take a quarterback in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft.

    At least that much is settled, and that should be a welcome sight for Packers fans who went through the questionable calls last April.

    By selecting a quarterback and running back with its first two picks in 2020, Green Bay prevented itself from landing a top talent at a position of need. Jordan Love and AJ Dillon will go into their second seasons as clear No. 2s on the depth chart.

    Starting with the No. 29 pick, the Packers have 10 opportunities to improve their roster through the 2021 draft.

    Of course, everyone will point to an upgrade at wide receiver, but with the top wideouts gone by the end of the first round, the Packers may have to wait until Day 2 or 3 to land one.

    Green Bay’s initial focus should be on defense on the line and in the secondary. Even if the Packers select a player at those positions first, they could still double up in the later rounds to add more depth.

D'Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan

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    Al Goldis/Associated Press

    D'Wayne Eskridge will not come into the draft with as much hype as the top wide receiver prospects out of the SEC, but he could be as dynamic in the NFL as them.

    Eskridge tortured MAC secondaries in his senior season. He recorded career bests of 784 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. He hit the 100-yard mark and found the end zone in five of his six games in the MAC's shortened season.

    The Western Michigan senior would be the perfect Day 2 pick for a Packers offense that needs to add another dynamic wide out beneath Davante Adams.

    One could argue that Eskridge's size and speed is too similar to Marquez Valdes-Scantling or Allen Lazard, but the Packers simply need as many playmakers as possible on the field.

    Eskridge brings that big-play potential to the field, and he could be someone Aaron Rodgers falls in love with when the season begins.

Quincy Roche, Edge, Miami

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    Rusty Costanza/Associated Press

    Green Bay needs to add support around Kenny Clark in its pass-rush.

    If it waits until Day 2 to do so, Miami's Quincy Roche could be the perfect target.

    The four-year player in the ACC totaled 30.5 sacks in his career. His single-season best was 13 as a junior in 2019.

    Roche also forced multiple fumbles in three of his four seasons in the ACC. That could be another valuable statistic for the Packers when working through the draft's top edge-rushers.

    If his pass-rushing ability translates to the NFL, Roche could be one of the biggest steals of Day 2, and if the Packers land him, he may be a crucial part of their pass-rushing rotation.

Trey Smith, OL, Tennessee

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    Wade Payne/Associated Press

    Green Bay has a crowded offensive line room filled with young players looking to earn starting spots.

    Corey Linsley's free-agent departure opened the door for Elgton Jenkins to be the starting center in 2021.

    Green Bay also has Jon Runyan Jr. ready to slide into an interior position, but it should also look to the draft pool for an offensive line addition.

    Tennessee's Trey Smith, a top prospect coming out of high school in 2017, has experience at left tackle and guard.

    Versatility is something the Packers valued in previous drafts, as Jenkins and Runyan are able to line up anywhere on the line.

    Adding another versatile lineman who could neutralize defensive tackles has to be intriguing to the Packers, especially with how much they might rely on Aaron Jones and Dillon to carry the ball in 2021.


    Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

    Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.


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