We’re kicking off our 2021 mock drafts with a 2-round affair to ease into the process.
If you’re new to our coverage, welcome! If you think mock drafts are stupid or silly or designed to make us feel like we’re smarter than NFL GMs, I disagree and encourage you to read this article that explains more about why we do mock drafts.
Now, onto the excitement!
In most mock drafts, especially the early ones, I go in looking for the best player available. I think it’s the best way to build a team – get the most talent you can and leave as little talent as possible out their for your rivals. If you let a good player get by you, you’re gonna have to play against him at some point.
This draft surprised me with the talent that was available. It wasn’t at the positions I would have preferred, but is quite a start for the Packers.
Here are the results:
Zaven Collins – Inside Linebacker
Profile: This guy can do it all. He’s big, physical and can cover sideline to sideline. He can thump downhill to stop the run and he can drop back into coverage, heck, he’s good enough to rush off the edge. His biggest “weakness” is only being a solid tackler. A smart player, he came up with big plays all year (including 4 interceptions with 2 ran back for touchdowns), and was PFF’s highest-rated college linebacker with a 91.1 score.
Analysis: I was initially disappointed. I really wanted Jaycee Horn because I think cornerback is their biggest need. I was excited to see Horn drop down the chart, then disappointed when the saints took him one pick before the Packers. I was shocked to check the board and see Collins. I’m not a fan of drafting inside linebackers in the 1st round, and I think Kamal Martin and Krys Barnes are a very promising young tandem at inside linebacker, but I just can’t lay off this kind of value. Collins would project as a Day 1 leader capable of wearing the coaches helmet to make the defensive calls. When you see how Devin White impacts a game from ILB and when you see how losing David Bakhtiari can wreck a game, you realize that you can’t pass on the best player on the board just beacause you want to reach for a different position. Despite all the reasons I didn’t want him, this was an easy pick. Best player available. By far.
Kadarius Toney – Wide Receiver
Profile: Toney is a protoypical slot guy. Undersized at 5’11, 190, he creates separation with quick sudden movements. He has a basketball shake release very similar to Davante Adams, but maybe more sudden than smooth. Lethal with the ball in hands, he broke 32 tackles on 80 catches in 2 seasons. His route running has improved, but he still misjudges balls at times. However, he’s a great returner and a fiesty blocker, even against much bigger players.
Analysis: It’s a deep tackle class, and I was hoping to get one, but there were already 11 tackles off the board by this point and the position was pretty well picked over. Luckily, another great player fell and it was easy to go with the best value on the board again. Toney would step in as the immediate number 2 option in the passing game and be a contributor in the return game. He also has the skills to take over in the Tyler-Ervin-Tavon-Austin role with jet sweeps and counters.
This would be a phenomenal start to the draft, even if it didn’t hit the biggest needs. It adds two of the most exciting prospects in this class at positions that could both stand an infusion of premium talent.
This class misses out on an early cornerback or offensive tackle – possibly their two biggest needs – but adds a couple of foundational players that the team can build around.
There were 5 receivers selected in the 1st round and only 3 more before the Packers 2nd pick. Last year, almost twice as many were taken before the Packers second pick. This year’s class seems as deep or deeper than last year’s stacked class, but because so many teams took them last year, the Packers have a chance to get a better value this year.
Want more insight into how winning teams build through the draft (and how losing teams fail)? We’ve got you covered!
Start shallow, then get deep into understanding draft strategy with our draft book (rated a #1 New Release): A Fan’s Guide To Understanding The NFL Draft: Strategies, Tactics, And Case Studies For Building A Professional Football Team
Then jump into free agency with another #1 New Release: A Fan’s Guide To NFL Free Agency Hits and Misses to better understand this critical part of the NFL offseason and see where teams have found (or missed) success in this critical component of team-building.
Finally, get to the game behind the game with our new must-have book for 2021: A Fan’s Guide To Understanding The NFL Salary Cap – which lays out detailed, easy-to-follow scenarios to explain exactly how contract structures and salary cap rules impact teams.
All these great books are available in ebook and paperback – and free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers!
If you don’t have Kindle Unlimited, you can get a free trial of Kindle Unlimited here!
Don’t just watch the draft – understand it and learn why GMs make the moves they do.
Check out our PFTW 2021 Mock Draft Archive to see how other scenarios played out!
Check out Packers Draft Central 2021 for all our 2020 NFL Draft coverage!