Recapping the Green Bay Packers 2021 NFL Draft

Packers 2020 Record: 13-3 (29th Selection)

The Packers have now gone 13-3 and lost in the NFC Championship game in two consecutive seasons. Aaron Rodgers’ pleas for offensive support have gone largely unacknowledged by Packers GM Brian Gutekunst. Subpar defensive back play was largely scrutinized by fans in the 2021 NFC Championship game. The cherry on top, the Packers lost All-Pro center Corey Linsley in free agency. With clear needs the Packers addressed every position of doubt within the first 100 picks of the draft, even trading up for a wide receiver. With relations tense between the Packers front office and Aaron Rodgers, Gutekunst is hoping this year’s selections will put the pieces in place for another Super Bowl run.

Round 1, pick 29: Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia

The Packers took Eric Stokes in the first round addressing their secondary after a lackluster performance in the NFC Championship game. Stokes declared for the NFL draft after his breakout junior season. Stokes earned a first team All-SEC nod in 2020 after recording four interceptions, the second most in the conference. At his pro day, Stokes posted a 4.25 second 40-yard dash time the fastest of any player in this year’s draft. Stokes offers unmatchable speed in coverage allowing him to catch up to receivers he may lose earlier in routes and close out on the football quickly. Stokes will come in day one competing for Kevin King’s job as starting corner opposite of Jaire Alexander.

Round 2, pick 62: Josh Myers, OL, Ohio State

Corey Linsley was one of the greatest offseason losses by any team this year. The Packers filled their starting center spot in the second round selecting Josh Myers out of Ohio State. Myers excelled in his two years starting at Ohio State appearing in 21 of his final 22 games, and leading a group that blocked for J.K. Dobbins in a 2,000 yard rushing season. Coming out of high school Myers was a four-star recruit and a top five guard prospect in the country when he signed with Ohio State out of Miamisburg High School in Ohio. Having made calls on the line for Ohio State, Myers will be ready to step into the starting role for Green Bay, regardless of who is under center.

Round 3, pick 85: Amari Rodgers, WR, Clemson

Amari Rodgers contributed to an incredible run by the Clemson football program reaching the College Football Playoffs in each of his four years with the Tigers. Rodgers, a four-star recruit from Tennessee appeared in every game for Clemson in his career totaling 181 receptions, 2184 yards, and 15 touchdowns. Rodgers has shown flashes on special teams as well as a punt returner, returning 68 punts for 529 yards and a touchdown with Clemson. Rodgers may not be the first-round receiver Aaron Rodgers was hoping for in the draft. Rodgers does add depth to a very weak receiver room (behind Davante Adams). The Packers moved up seven spots and gave away a fourth round pick to draft Rodgers at 85. The hope is for Rodgers to develop into the starting slot receiver for the Packers, anything less would be a disappointment after giving up two picks.

Round 4, pick 142: Royce Newman, OL, Ole Miss

Royce Newman started all 22 games in his final two seasons at Ole Miss, only allowing three sacks in 846 pass block attempts. Newman has proven he can be effective inside and outside on the offensive line, in his redshirt junior season, he started all 12 games at left guard before transitioning to right tackle his final year. This versatility will help the Packers tremendously down the stretch of a 17-game season barring injuries. Having played well against tough defenses in the SEC in college, I expect Newman to develop into a starter for the Packers in his first few seasons.

Round 5, pick 173 Tedarrell Slaton, DL, Florida

Tedarrell Slaton was a four-star recruit coming out of American Heritage High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Slaton was a US Army All-American in 2017 as an offensive lineman. However, he wished to play defense in college, choosing to attend the University of Florida. It took Slaton three years to crack the full-time starting lineup, but he was able to capitalize with 37 tackles his senior year. At six-foot four-inches 330 pounds, Slaton is the prototype size for an interior defensive lineman in the NFL. The Packers decided to address depth on the defensive line selecting Slaton, as he will be the third man on the depth chart with a chance to fight for the backup role behind Kenny Clark.

Round 5, pick 178 Shemar Jean-Charles, CB, Appalachian State

The Packers deepened their DB room, selecting Shemar Jean-Charles with their second selection in the fifth round. Jean-Charles was lightly recruited out of high school only receiving a handful of offers from smaller FBS schools as a two-star recruit. Jean-Charles proved himself at Appalachian State appearing in 50 games in four seasons after redshirting his freshman year. In his final season Jean-Charles led the country with 16 pass break-ups and was a semi-finalist for the Thorpe award (Best DB) and Bednarik award (Best Defensive Player). Jean-Charles’ size has been one factor brought into question by many scouts, only weighing in at 184 pounds and standing at five-foot ten-inches, his disadvantage against bigger receivers in the NFL may prevent him from becoming a true outside cornerback. With questions in his run defense ability moving him inside is not an immediate option either. Regardless, as a great playmaker in college Jean-Charles will offer good backup support should he need to be called upon early in his career.

Round 6, pick 204: Cole Van Lanen, OL, Wisconsin

If you’re a Packer fan and you’re reading this, you probably already know who Cole Van Lanen is. A Green Bay native out of Bay Port High School, Van Lanen was a four-star recruit for the Wisconsin Badgers, and now returns home to Green Bay after being drafted by the Packers in the sixth round. Van Lanen was a four-year Academic All-Big 10 selection and received second team All-Big 10 honors in each of his final two seasons. Van Lanen offers a familiar face at home in the Green Bay community and great depth on the offensive line. After playing tackle in college, most scouts believe his lack of length and athleticism on the edge should mean a move to guard in the NFL. However his tackle experience will prove useful if needed due to injuries.

Round 6, pick 220: Isaiah McDuffie, LB, Boston College

Isaiah McDuffie was a three-star recruit as an athlete coming out of high school rushing for 1,531 yards 21 touchdowns and recording 111 tackles his senior year. McDuffie immediately saw a role on special teams, appearing in all 13 games for Boston College as a true freshman. In his sophomore season McDuffie earned a starting spot at strong side linebacker totaling 85 tackles, second on the team. McDuffie suffered an injury during the spring before his junior season and was sidelined for all but four games. As a redshirt junior in 2020, McDuffie recorded the fifth most tackles in college football with 107 and was named to the All-ACC second team. McDuffie will most likely be a contributor on special teams and a back up inside linebacker his first few seasons in the NFL.

Round 7, pick 256: Kylin Hill, RB, Mississippi State

With their last pick in the draft, the Packers drafted their replacement for Jamaal Williams in Kylin Hill. Hill was a four-star recruit out of Columbus High School in Mississippi, and appeared in all 13 games as a true freshman for Mississippi State. In his four-year career, Hill rushed for 2,535 yards, averaging 5.6 yards per carry, and 16 touchdowns. Hill proved just as valuable in the passing game hauling in 67 receptions for 631 yards and six touchdowns. Hill opted out of the college football season after three games and chose to declare for the NFL draft. Against LSU his senior season, Hill caught eight passes, going for over 150 yards, and a touchdown in a winning effort. With Aaron Jones returning and AJ Dillon heading into year two, Hill will be the third back in the rotation, where Dillon saw 46 carries as a rookie last season. 

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