Packers 2021 Mock Draft 8 – Building Corner Depth

Going into a draft, you never know how things will pan out.

Sometimes, a draft lines up so that a team can pick players that meet all their needs in order.

Usually, teams aren’t that lucky.

Sometimes, the first pick serves up a player so talented that it doesn’t matter if they’re at a position of need, you just have to get them. And then sometimes, a draft doesn’t give you a premium player in the first round at your biggest need, but gives you a lot of options to address it later.

That’s what happened in our 8th mock draft.

Here are the results:

 

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Round 1

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah – Inside Linebacker
Profile: The Dick Butkus Award winner for best linebacker in college football, Owusu-Koramoah is extremely quick and explosive. A bit undersized at at 6’2 215, he still brings hits. With sideline to sideline speed and uncanny instincts, he finds the ball quick and gets there in a hurry. He shoots gaps with energy, is fantastic in coverage, and can eliminate the need for a box safety in sub packages. Against zone blocking, he makes quick reads and teleports to the ball carrier – he’s exactly the kind of speedy linebacker that can take a defense to the next level.

Analysis: The Packers have a couple of nice prospects at inside linebacker in Krys Barnes and Kamal Martin, but neither of them have the range and athleticism of Owusu-Koramoah. Inside Linebacker doesn’t rank high on the list of Packers needs (where cornerback, offensive tackle, and defensive line are all in worse shape), but this is just too much talent to pass up. If JOK guys falls to them, they may be able to trade back and reap a haul, which might be the best course of action considering how many holes they have (it also might put the name Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah right up there with TJ Watt in terms of Packers fans’s most angsty misses ever, but that doesn’t make it the wrong move).

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Round 2

Ifeatu Melifonwu – Cornerback
Profile: In 3 years, Melifonwu never had a game where his PFF coverage grade was lower than 74.1. He reads routes well and quickly cuts them off. Fantastic anticipation in zone coverage, and, at 6’3 213, he does not play around at the catch point. A great wrap up tackler that swallows receivers up in his lanky arms, he’s fast as well as quick, and solid run support. He looks like a complete corner.

Analysis: Ok, back to filling some real needs. The Packers cornerback “depth” was embarrassed in the NFCCG, where they let an old man, near dying of cold, toss easy touchdowns to wide open receivers. They desperately need help here and if the Packers take anyone who can play corner before Day 3, they will almost certainly enter the season as a starer. They could do a lot worse than Melifonwu, who’s length would make him a great complement to Jaire Alexander and give the Packers matchup flexibility no matter who they face.

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Round 3

Dyami Brown – Wide Receiver
Profile: A highly productive receiver, Brown had 2,000 yards, 20 TDs, and 20 yards per catch over the last two years. At 6’1 195, he can play wide or in the slot. He’s shown the ability to go deep as good as the best in this class, but also has the ability to run routes from anywhere. Great at tracking the ball and good at late catching, Brown explodes off the line with releases so smooth they look slower than they are. He sets up defenders to make space and gets open against any type of coverage.

Analysis: The Packers love versatility from their receivers and Brown has it. In LaFleur’s multiples scheme, he prefers a little more size, but he but needs this kind of playing range. Brown has MVS deep ball ability, but is more than just a deep threat. He would bring a wrinkle to this offense that could give defensive coordinators questions they didn’t have last season when each Packers receiver had a clearly defined niche.

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Round 4

Josh Ball – Offensive Tackle
Profile: Just about the tallest player in the draft, at 6’8 310, Ball is but surprisingly flexible and agile. He was suspended from FSU, then played JUCO ball, then went to Marshall where he started one year. Another raw prospect, Ball needs to add weight and strength. As it is, he has weaker anchor due to being so tall but bends his knees well to compensate. Even against lesser competition, super-athletic edge rushers pushed his footwork boundaries. Ball’s footwork needs some refinement, but he still looks like a phenomenal project who plows off the snap in run blocking and has enough tools to develop at the next level.

Analysis: It would have been nice to address this position sooner, but the Packers would be lucky to find a prospect like this on Day 3 from a deep tackle class. He may not be starter-ready in week 1, but with Bakhtiari’s injury, and a lot of you prospects on the line, they will take some time to come together, regardless.

Robert Rochell – Cornerback
Profile: A 6’0 195 press corner, Rochell is ultra-competitive, to the point of getting grabby. His technique needs development, but he plays physical and feisty in man coverage. He’s not as smooth in zone, where he waits to react to everything unfolding rather than just locking onto his man. In any situation, he’s a very willing tackler. As a former receiver, he knows how to play the ball – in 2019 he had 5 interceptions and 13 pass break-ups. He wasn’t as productive in 2020 (like most players), but he reportedly ran the 40 in the high 4.3 range, making him one of the fastest defenders in the class.

Analysis: By Day 3, there aren’t a lot of complete prospects, especially at a premium position like cornerback. However, you can find a guy like Rochell with a good frame, great hustle, and more speed than he will ever need. Having depth and competition like that at corner will be key for the Packers to get back to a third straight NFCCG.

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Round 5

Trill Williams – Cornerback
Profile: An elite athlete and versatile player, Williams is as adept at man coverage as he is at zone coverage as he is at playing safety. At 6’2 200, he’s aggressive at getting after the ball, sometimes to the point of getting out of control. He occasionally misses tackles or the ball by being overly aggressive, but as a physical run defender, Williams never lacks for effort.

Analysis: The Packers need corners, even after they already took two in earlier rounds. They need safety depth, as well. The secondary as a whole is very thin and Williams can help them in a number of ways, giving them depth and flexibility that they sorely need on the back end.

Dazz Newsome – Wide Receiver
Profile: Newsome fits the slot receiver role to a T. At 5’11 190, he gets good separation with his quickness and he’s a playmaker with the ball in his hands – agile, slippery, and tough to bring down after the catch. He works the middle and catches through contact. As a special teams contributor, he averaged 11 yards per return on punts.

Analysis: Matt LaFleur favors bigger receivers, but he also has a role for jet sweep, gadget type hybrids. Newsome could fill that role, making Tyler Ervin and Tavon Austin – who struggled to stay healthy and be productive – unnecessary.

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Analysis

The Packers wouldn’t be able to fill all their needs immediately with a draft like this, but getting a dynamic inside linebacker would be a boon to the defense, as would building secondary depth. Josh Ball is not the day 1 answer at tackle, but could grow into it, meaning the team would need to lean on the depth guys they drafted on the offensive line last year. The offense gets a couple receivers to develop for when all of theirs are free agents next year, but with no running back to build depth, they would be thin there as well.

It’s not a great draft for need, but they added a lot of talent. A haul like this would take some creative coaching.

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Of Note

The Lions took a wide receiver (Jaylen Waddle this time) for like the 5th straight mock I’ve done. Taking a receiver in the top 10 is the most Lions thing I can imagine in the draft.

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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

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!

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Don’t just watch the draft – understand it and learn why GMs make the moves they do.

 

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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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