What should the Packers do in the draft?

April 23, 2021

As we close in on the NFL Draft, I wanted to focus on a couple of teams that the Quad Cities generally root for in the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers.

Today we’ll venture to the frozen tundra and explore what Green Bay could possibly do in the first round.

The format is pretty straightforward. We will go through the scenarios if the Bears and Packers trade up, trade down, or stay put. We’ll define giving up a first for a player as trading down. Chicago selects at 20, while Green Bay makes it pick at 29.

The draft is the one time of year where NFL teams tell the truth. If they don’t trust their quarterback, they’ll select one. Who they select and when can be very telling.

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Doug’s annual reminder that NFL teams lie this time of year.

Needs

  • CB: Kevin King and Josh Jackson are only under contract through the end of 2021.
  • DL: This is an area where Green Bay has spent picks on in the past but hasn’t gotten a ton of return for.
  • OL: David Bakhtiari is always hurt, and the depth isn’t great.
  • WR: This always seems to be someone that people like to mock to the Packers, but they never take the bait.

Trade up

Teams trade up because someone they covet begins to slide, or they worry that a player they want to select will not make it to where they are currently picking. For Green Bay to move up, there has to be an enticing piece on the board that the front office didn’t expect to be there. Now, what could that be?

One of the big three cornerbacks slipping could fit that bill. Patrick Surtain II, Jaycee Horn, and Caleb Farley are all expected to go in the first half of the first round, but if one slips, that could be a reason to pounce. Of the trio, Farley is the most likely as he is coming off a back injury.

While I don’t claim to be an OL scouting expert, there seems to be a clear Top 5. One of them might make it to rival Chicago at 20, but I have doubts that any of them would slide much further than that.

Stay put

Honestly, staying put might work out best for the Packers. I would say that the defensive line is probably their biggest need and most mocks I’ve seen have them getting the pick of the litter for DTs at No. 29. There’s a halfway decent chance that one of the edge rushers also falls, but best thing that could happen is Green Bay selects Alabama DT Christian Barmore. He’s the type of run-stuffer the Packers have been looking for, and he’s from a big-time program, which they also like.

Staying put also puts them into play for Northwestern CB Greg Newsome II. He’s a lockdown defender, even if he’s a little shorter than the Packers’ standard CB profile.

Trade down

One good thing about picking at the end of the draft, outside of being a good team, is that teams at the top of the second round like to trade back into the first to gain the fifth-year option for rookie contracts. This would allow Green Bay to slide back, pick up a few more picks either in 2021 or 2022 and select a similarly-graded player.

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Even Smart Hulk agrees with this plan

If the Packers slide back, odds are good that they are looking to separate players in the second tier of offensive linemen or if Barmore is off the board. My guess is they will not slide back for a corner.

Conclusion

Traditionally, Green Bay is pretty conservative when it comes to the draft. They don’t gamble on trading up much. (Gambling on early-round quarterbacks while simultaneously pissing off their Hall of Fame signal-caller is another matter, however). The Packers brass are more likely to stay put or trade back. I would anticipate them selecting a corner or defensive lineman.