The Packers have some holes to fill, but historically, they have not drafted for need.
So even though the Packers need an offensive tackle, cornerback, defensive lineman, center, and wide receiver more than anything else, they still might go a different direction if they best player on the board plays a different position.
That was what happened with our 22nd mock of the year, so let’s see how that scenario could play out.
Here are the results:
Joe Tryon – Edge
Profile: A 6’4 250 speed rusher, Tyron has a great first step that gets him up the field quickly. He’s athletic and has the agility to go inside or outside with his moves. Mostly known as a pass rusher, he also sets good edge in run game despite having a leaner build.
Analysis: Edge isn’t typically listed as a top need or a 1st round option, but new Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry has a history of using slightly different body types than his predecessor. The Packers have a pressing need at defensive line, but Za’Darius Smith and Rashan Gary could both potentially slide inside if a guy like Tyron were to become a starting edge.
Rashod Bateman – Wide Receiver
Profile: A great route runner with footwork to win off the line, the 6’2 210 Bateman has the ability to get open from anywhere and is fantastic with double moves. He can catch in traffic, go up for high balls, and he’s tough to bring down after the catch. As an added bonus, he also blocks with attitude.
Analysis: I really wanted a cornerback here after missing out in the 1st, but they were all gone. The Packers don’t have any wide receivers under contract beyond this season and they may not be able to afford to keep Davante Adams (read more about that here). Bateman could be viewed as a steal this late.
Samuel Cosmi – Offensive Tackle
Profile: At 6’7 310, Cosmi is a bit lean, but has room to add muscle to his frame. His natural length helps him hold blocks on the edge that other tackles cant manage, though. He shuffles his feet a bit, but is still quick and mobile enough for zone blocking. Despite having a light anchor and some technique to clean up, Cosmi is already an effective player, allowing only 8 pressures on 368 pass blocks last year
Analysis: Again, I wanted a cornerback, but there just wasn’t the value. I could have went with my crush Benjamin St-Juste, but I rolled the dice on him hanging around until the 4th because I couldn’t pass up the value that Cosmi brings. He could step into the right tackle spot immediately and upgrade the line.
Shakur Brown – Cornerback
Profile: A good press corner, the 6’0 180 Brown plays physical and is an aggressive tackler. Though he’s better in man coverage, he is still solid in zone and, while he doesn’t always track the ball well, he has quick reactions and came up with 5 interceptions last season.
Analysis: Waiting until Day 3 for a cornberback isn’t my preferred approach, but there was so much value at other positions on Day 2 and cornberack has a lot of guys who can be solid contributors in the middle of the draft. Brown is one of many guys in this talent tier that should be able to start as a nickel back and work their way up to challenging Kevin King for his starting spot.
Marco Wilson – Cornerback
Profile: Wilson looked great in coverage in 2019 and started year on the outside, but then moved into the nickel role, which seemed like a much better fit for his skills and natural abilities. More suited to read and react than locking down in man to man, the 6’1 191 Wilson is also skilled in corner blitzes.
Analysis: Since I had to wait to grab a cornerback, I figured doubling up might be a good idea here. After getting a perimeter press corner in Brown, I went with a nickel zone corner in Wilson. This would give the Packers a lot of flexibility for new coordinator Joe BArry to mix things up based on in-game situations and opponent tendencies.
Trevon Grimes – Wide Receiver
Profile: At 6’4 217, Grimes fits the prototypical mold of a big-bodied possession receiver. Lacking high end speed, he runs patient deliberate routes and catches pretty much everything with strong, consistent hands. He also goes up to get the ball when it’s in the air.
Analysis: Another position that needs doubling up (at least). With no receivers signed after this year, the Packers will probably look to draft at least a couple. Grimes is a big body with strong hands that fits LaFleur’s offensive scheme and gets them another jump ball option for the red zone.
Jermar Jefferson – Running Back
Profile: A compact power back, the 5’10 215 Jefferson has good vision to find holes and stays balanced through contact. He has great feet and jump cuts to go with a lot of wiggle. Looks explosive on the field and plays faster than he times.
Analysis: The Packers have a couple good running backs, but there’s nothing wrong with getting another, especially when his skills are such a good fit for the scheme.
Cade Johnson – Wide Receiver
Profile: A big play slot receiver, the 5’10 185 Johnson didn’t get reps this year since the Missouri Valley Conference postponed its season. Prior to that, he showed good route running ability and slipperiness after the catch. Johnson is also a special teams options who returned kicks, including a couple he took for touchdowns as a freshman. Despite missing the 2020 season, he looked good in Senior Bowl practices where he consistently won his one on ones.
Analysis: Don’t be surprised to see the Packers grab three receivers this year. Gutey did it in his first draft and they had a lot more guys under contract then. Johnson doesn’t fit the big receiver mold, but he could carve out a niche role on offense while used primarily on special teams.
Roy Lopez – Defensive Line
Profile: A solid interior rusher with a 6’2 310 frame that can stand up to double teams, Lopez wins with leverage hand power, despite inconsistent usage. He could get even better with more coaching and provide solid rotational depth.
Analysis: Even if the Packers play Za’Darius Smith or Rashan Gary at end, they need an upgrade in depth. Lopez could help in sub packages, an area the Packers have struggled to find contributors.
Tariq Thompson – Safety
Profile: A versatile player, the 6’0 200 Thompson can cover the slot, plays zone, or come down for aggressive run support. He shows athleticism and good ball skills in coverage and has potential as a core special teams player.
Analysis: Amos and Savage are a great tandem of starters, but he Packers need depth and their nickel and dime sub packages (which they use frequently) would welcome a player with the ability to flex to any role. His primary purpose – as with many 7th round picks – would be special teams.
Joe Tyron would be a surprise at the top of the draft, and give the Packers defense an entirely different look. Brown and Wilson would bring some much-needed depth (and hopefully a new starter) to the cornerback position.
As much as that would help the defense, the offense stands to get even better. Bateman and Grimes are a great combo of big receivers that fit the Packers system and help build out the core of the position for 2022 – I actually wouldn’t be surprised at all if they were to become WR1 and WR2 in 2022. Cosmi would solidify the line and Jefferson would be a nice weapon for the offense.
Despite this draft going nothing like I would have imagined, I was really happy with the way it turned out for the Packers.
Kyle Pitts went to Atlanta at 4, which is becoming a trendy pick.
For this mock, I drafted against the board from Josh Edwards at CBS.
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