“Take the best player available.”
It’s good advice. You may miss out on filling your needs earlier, but you get the most talent possible on your team – and you leave less talent available for your rivals to pick.
It can be a little scary, though, to not address your needs when you have a chance. The thing is that you never really know if other guys who can fill your needs will be available later.
That’s exactly what happened in our 21st mock of the year… and it was a thing of beauty.
Here are the results
Alijah Vera-Tucker – Guard
Profile: Agile and physical, Vera-Tucker is hands down the top interior offensive lineman in this draft. He good enough kick step to play some left tackle this year, moves well for wide zone and pulls, and has a hard anchor. A smooth and fluid blocker, he never loses his balance.
Analysis: The Packers need help on the offensive line and as much I don’t want to see Elgton Jenkins have to move to center, a talent like Vera-Tucker could be good enough to allow that. Jenkins could play center at Linsley’s level and Vera-Tucker might not be a noticeable dropoff from Jenkins. As the Packers play with an aging quarterback and look to run inside more, a pick like this might not be a surprise
Ifeatu Melifonwu – Cornerback
Profile: A lanky 6’3 213 corner, Melifonwu swallows receivers in his arms and cuts them off before they can hit their spots. He’s quick and fast and he plays physical at the catch point. Strong in man coverage with great anticipation in zone, he never had a PFF coverage grade lower than 74.1 in his 3 years of college ball. He’s also solid in run support and can handle the size and physicality of tight ends.
Analysis: This pick gives the Packers everything they like in Kevin King and more. With his size and run support abilities, he would allow the Packers to do everything they did last year… but better.
Jay Tufele – Defensive Line
Profile: With a solid 6’3 315 frame, Tufele is quick off the ball with good hand moves. He can play all over the line, has great secondary moves in his pass rush, and is a disruptive penetrater in run defense, where he shifts laterally with natural grace and finds the ball quickly even in misdirection plays.
Analysis: Kenny Clark has long been surrounded but sub-par talent on the line. Tufele could change that drastically.He has the pass rush ability the Packers value, but is also a very good run defender. He could be an immediate starter and 3 down fixture at defensive end.
Eric Stokes – Cornerback
Profile: An absolute blazer with 4.25 speed, the 6’1 Stokes has eye-popping measurables. He doesn’t have the athleticism or change of direction skills that would serve him in the slot, but he’s a good (if grabby) man coverage corner and is even better in zone. Sometimes he is inconsistent playing the ball, but he had 4 picks and took 2 back for touchdowns in 2020.
Analysis: I can’t believe he fell to the 4th round, but I’m not gonna look a gift horse in the mouth. Stokes’s speed and physical play combined with the Melifonwu pick earlier would give the Packers an absolutely smothering secondary.
Dillon Radunz – Offensive Tackle
Profile: A tantalizing blend of strength, athleticism, and technique, Radunz was a monster playing lower-level competition. However, at the Senior Bowl, he put on a show, regularly dominating against the top prospects in the class. He’s still a bit raw, but has as many physical tools as anyone in this class.
Analysis: Another absolute gift. Radunz would be an immediate starter at right tackle. He would surely have some growing pains jumping from Missouri Valley talent to the NFL, but he looks up to the task. Once he settles himself, he should be a long-term fixture for the team.
Dazz Newsome – Wide Receiver
Profile: A 5’11 190 slot receiver, Newsome has great separation quickness. He’s works the middle, catches in contact, and is slippery after the catch. A big playmaker, Newsome also averaged 11 yards as a punt returner in college.
Analysis: The Packers have not had a weapon like this in Matt LaFleur’s tenure. While he prefers bigger receivers, a guy like Newsome could fill a number of niche roles, particularly on jet sweeps.
Jamin Davis – Inside Linebacker
Profile: With good physical tools at 6’4 225, Davis is a fast, athletic linebacker with coverage ability. He only started for one year but had over 100 tackles in 10 games to go with 3 interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. While not beastly strong, he crashes into traffic with no hesitation and is solid in run defense, where he uses long arms to sort through blockers.
Analysis: Kamal Martin and Krys Barnes are a fine tandem at inside linebacker, but neither of them offer much in the way of coverage ability. In Joe Barry’s new defense, they may need someone like that and Davis is someone like that.
Pooka Williams, Jr – Running Back
Profile: An undersized zone runner, the 5’10 170 Williams is patient in waiting for holes and has 4.37 speed to hit the corner for big plays. He can’t take a pounding with his frame, but he looked like a fine receiver with limited opportunities.
Analysis: The Packers offense lacked speed last year and adding Williams after taking Newsome a round earlier would drastically change the athletic profile of the offense. Matt LaFleur can scheme with the best of them and giving him a couple 4.3 guys to go with the best offense in the league might not be fair.
Max Duffy – Punter
Profile: An Australian football player, Duffy has a unique background, a powerful leg, and refined mechanics. He wowed scouts at the Senior Bowl and is the consensus best punter in the class.
Analysis: The Packers have absolutely nailed the draft up to this point, so I’m good taking a bit of a luxury pick here. They need more consistency out of their punter and Duffy seems to have that.
Janarius Robinson – Edge
Profile: At 6’5 265, Robinson is a long, lean edge rusher who is smooth out of his snap with a big first step. He has decent bend around the corner with his length and some nice rip moves that are even more effective with his long arms. In the run game, he has good processing and uses leverage to stand his ground.
Analysis: The Packers don’t have rushers of this mold, preferring bigger hybrid guys who can also slide down to end. New DC Joe Barry may look for some more traditional pass rushing edges and Robinson would fit that bill.
This draft shows why you should always take the best player available. The Packers needed a cornerback and offensive tackle more than anything. The best player in the 1st round was a guard and playing him would mean moving their current guard to center. Still, they came out of this draft with an amazing class. Not only did they fill their cornerback need with two great prospects, they landed a fantastic offensive tackle prospect, beefed up the defensive line, got a much-needed cover backer, and still added a couple dynamic weapons for the offense. Oh, and they got a punter!
I love this class and think it might be the best haul of all the mocks I’ve analyzed.
Caleb Farley went 4th overall (no worries about the back injury in this mock) and Patrick Surtain went 5th. That could make it hard for the Packers to get a premium cornerback in the 1st.
For this mock, I drafted against the board from Jets Hub
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