I believe that drafting for need is foolish.
But, as a fan, it’s hard for me to not look at needs and dream of getting a bunch of rookies to fill all the holes.
So I tried a new experiment in this mock. I use FanSpeak.com for my mocks (because they offer a ton of different boards from different analysts to see lots of different ways the draft could unfold) and one of the features they provide is a rated assessment of the Packers biggest draft needs
For this mock, I decided to follow those needs. In order.
When the Packers pick came up, I used their biggest need and took the player that I thought was the best fit for the Packers at that position to see how things would pan out.
Here are the results:
Rashod Bateman – Wide Receiver
Profile: Rashod Bateman is a stud. He has size at 6’2 210 and has shown the ability to run routes and get open no matter where he lines up. He catches in traffic, goes up for contested balls, and has a highlight film of one-handed snags. A tough blocker who is hard to bring down, Bateman averaged 20 yards per catch and had 11 touchdowns as a sophomore. Last year, he only played 5 games, but still averaged 95 yards per game. He’s a complete receiver that is still getting better.
Analysis: I hate this pick. Bateman is a stud and absolutely the best receiver on the board (after 6 were taken already), but I think the Packers biggest need is cornerback and there were plenty on the board (Greg Newsome, Jaycee Horn, and Asante Samuel Jr, to name a few). the Packers had the best offense in the league last year and lost their shot at a Super Bowl because their CB2 got abused all over the NFCCG.
Samuel Cosmi – Offensive Tackle
Profile: After starting at right tackle for a year, Cosmi has played left tackle the last two seasons. He could end up on either side in the pros depending on his development. He’s 6’7, but only 310 and will need to add some weight and strength to develop a stronger anchor. As it is, he wins on athleticism and technique. He shuffles his feet a bit, but seems athletic and quick enough to make up for it. He moves well to the second level and his natural length helps hold the edge, where he allowed just 8 pressures in 368 pas blocks last year.
Analysis: This pick was a little better. I think offensive tackle is one of the Packers top needs and Cosmi fits what they want to do. However, after watching cornerbacks get snatched up left and right before the Packers pick, I’m getting very nervous about that position… and the Packers future.
Benjamin St-Juste – Cornerback
Profile: A great frame at 6’3 200 with an 80″ wingspan, St-Juste has the ability to fill the big corner role on any team. Adept at disrupting routes with big frames, he was the highest graded cornerback at the Senior Bowl. He doesn’t have the quickness for covering the slot, but he has all the tools to play the perimeter, including the ability to hold the edge in run support.
Analysis: Well, it’s finally time to take a cornerback. A little late. I really like St-Juste and he currently looks like a sleeper, though I have a feeling he could climb into the 2nd round. I’d love for the Packers to get them in the 3rd on draft day, but only after taking a higher rated cornerback in the 1st
Drake Jackson – Center
Profile: A zone-blocking center with great footwork and mobility, Jackson wins with hands and leverage rather than power and drive. He’s very good at resetting hands and he’s smooth in pulls and combo block handoffs. He’s on the small side at 6’2 290, but he has experience, starting 44 consecutive games at center against SEC competition.
Analysis: The Packers may have the center of the future on their roster, but interior depth would be helpful. Some of their current options like Jenkins and Patrick also play guard and their guards also play tackle. Jackson would be a solid option to man the middle since they have flexibility around the rest of the line.
Alim McNeil – Defensive Line
Profile: An athletic nose tackle, McNeil was a running back in high school. After growing to 6’2 320, he has transformed into a powerful line anchor. A good short yardage run stuffer, McNeil has developed into a pass rusher who can push the pocket.
Analysis: The Packers desperately need help on both sides of Kenny Clark. McNeil is an intriguing power athlete who could play three downs in all sorts of packages. He has reportedly met with the Packers, meaning they could be targeting him in the middle rounds.
Garrett Wallow – Inside Linebacker
Profile: A former safety, Wallow flies to the ball with good speed and instincts. A solid zone cover man, he has also grown as a blitzer. He struggles to disengage blocks, but is a strong finisher at the point of contact.
Analysis: Martin and Barnes are nice, but both are better suited to thumping than covering. Wallow would give the Packers a true chase backer, which is a role they usually fill with a defensive back. His coverage ability size would be a welcome addition in nickel and dime sets.
Jaelon Darden – Wide Receiver
Profile: At 5’9 170, Darden isn’t going to win a lot of fights off the line, but if teams can get the ball in his hands, he has the ability to get yards. He’s had success with motion handoffs and also displayed a lot of potential as a kick returner.
Analysis: Tyler Ervin gave the Packers offense a wrinkle that they weren’t able to replicate when he was injured. Darden could take on that role and give them a kick return threat that they have sorely lacked.
John Bates – Tight End
Profile: A very good blocker, Bates doesn’t have a pretty highlight film, but he’s effective at the dirty work. He’s not terrible as a receiver, but his niche is definitely in hitting people. A good all around showing at the Senior Bowl has bumped his stock a bit.
Analysis: Marcedes Lewis isn’t getting any younger and the Packers will need to replace his blocking. Josiah Deguara is more of an H-back, meaning that Bates cold take the in-line blocking role.
Jack Anderson – Guard
Profile: Prior to getting hurt in 2020, Anderson started 28 straight games at guard, exhibiting toughness, drive, and a strong anchor. He’s an average athlete, with just enough mobility to handle zone blocking pulls. A bit of a project, he needs to work on flexibility and pad level.
Analysis: The Packers have talent on the line, but positioning is up in the air with the center position vacant and David Bakhtiari rehabbing a torn ACL. They have versatile lineman that can fill in in multiple positions, but a guy like Anderson could potentially fill-in as things get settled.
Darrick Forrest – Safety
Profile: Forrest isn’t an elite athlete, but he’s a very hard worker and has shown the versatility to play high, low, in the box, and even in the slot. A strong tackler, he’s frequently around the ball and came up with 5 interceptions in the last 2 years.
Analysis: The Packers have a great tandem of starting safeties, but very little depth behind them. Forrest has the versatility that the Packers like in their safeties and, more importantly for a 7th rounder, can be an immediate special teams contributor.
Drafting for need sucks. I don’t like this draft. I would have preferred a different player at every Day 1 and Day 2 pick (and Day 3, to be honest). One of the biggest places this went off the rails was taking a wide receiver in the 1st. Yes, Bateman is a stud, but the Packers have bigger needs at tougher-to-fill positions – namely, cornerback. If I could have even swapped corner and receiver needs in rounds 1 and 3, I think this would have been a much stronger class. I guess taking a wide receiver in the 1st ruined this draft as much as a needs-based approach did. There you have it: drafting for need and taking a receiver in the 1st are two great ways to ruin a draft – but if you’ve ever followed my coverage, you already knew that.
On the whole, the offense gets a nice boost with a flashy pick in Bateman and a safe choice in Cosmi to go with a solid potential starting center in Jackson, but that’s about it. They get a project to rush into a starting role at CB2 and poor value all around.
Basically, ever player drafted was a reach. Things would have worked out far better on the whole if I would have taken the best player available
Don’t draft for need.
I could have had Jaycee Horn and Dynami Brown instead of Rashad Bateman and Benjamin St-Juste, which I think would have made this draft far more impactful. The list goes on, but everyone was a reach.
Want to learn more!?
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!