Packers 2021 Mock Draft 3 – Plugging Holes On Defense

The Packers have plenty of needs to go around for a team that was one play away from going to a Super Bowl they almost certainly would have won.

This gives them flexibility in finding value regardless of which positions fall.

One consistent theme over the last decade since the Packers won it all is that the offense has outperformed the defense. In this mock, that gets taken addressed early.

Here are the results:

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Round 1

Jaycee Horn – Cornerback
Profile: Jaycee Horn is a big corner (6’1 202) who plays physical. He excels at press technique and route disruption, but has a tendency to grab at bit. He’s more concerned with locking into his receiver than looking for the ball and only had 2 interceptions in 3 years. However, he smothered receivers, allowing only 8 catches for 116 yards in the 7 game season. He also hustles to the action, coming up with 16 tackles, even though he only allowed his man to catch the ball 8 times.

Analysis: Horn would immediately step in as a starting corner for the Packers. His size and style remind me of a better version of Kevin King. King’s biggest deficiencies were not be able to stay healthy and being drafted instead of TJ Watt. It appears as if JJ Watt is not available in this draft and that Horn is able to stay healthy better than King. Horn is a little smaller than King, but he is also more athletic and physical. The Packers would be able to match him up on bigger receivers and use him in run support the same way they used King, but with better results.

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Round 2

Levi Unwuzurike – Defensive Line
Profile: Levi Unwuzurike is a long, athletic lineman with a knack for out-leveraging blockers. He looked like an All American candidate coming into the year, but sat out the season under Covid. There are some concerns that he may have stunted his growth by missing a year, but at Senior Bowl, his 1 day of practice alleviated those fears. He has good leg drive, a beastly anchor, and good gap control int he run game, where he shows an uncanny awareness of where to find the ball carrier. He also has a good first step and hustle in getting after the passer.

Analysis: It’s a weak class of defensive linemen, which is sad for the Packers because (barring a miracle JJ Watt signing) they have a big need (even with a miracle JJ Watt signing, it’s still a big need). Levi might look like a reach in the 2nd after sitting out last year, but based on his production in 2019 and his good (though short) Senior Bowl showing, he might be one of the best chances the Packers have at shoring up their line this draft.

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Round 3

Josh Meyers – Center
Profile: Josh Meyers is a limited athlete, but a smart center. He seems able to handle all the line calls and adjustments and is extremely accurate with his shotgun snaps He’s a great complementary blocker, who gets after linebackers when pushing to the second level. In 1×1 situations, he has a solid anchor and pushes into stalemates more than driving guys off the ball, which suits the zone blocking scheme (like the Packers employ) better than a power gap scheme.

Analysis: The Packers have options at center including Jake Hanson and Lucas Patrick, but there are no guarantees. A pick like Meyers could step in as an immediate starter and give the Packers flexibility to move Patrick back to guard, where they may need more depth if Elgton Jenkins needs to play tackle with David Bakhtiari out.

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Analysis

It’s not a very deep cornerback class, so if the Packers were able to get a guy like Horn, it would be a huge win for a defense that desperately needs another corner. It’s also not a very deep defensive line class, so a solid pass rusher with great run support like Unwuzurike would further bolster a defense that could use more pieces for their dew defensive coordinator. He might be one of the most balanced players the Packers have ever lined up next to Kenny Clark and would launch their defense into discussions among the league’s best.

Throw in a read-to-play center to take over for Corey Linsely, and the offense can pick up right were they left off.

A draft like this is the perfect blend of getting value while addressing needs.

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Of Note

All of the Packers division rivals drafted wide receivers with their first picks, which I find hilarious.

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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

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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!

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