Green Bay Packers 2021 NFL Draft: The Reasons Behind the Picks

Speed, special teams, big school experience were high on Packers' list.

By now you’ve seen the stats, the scouting reports and the comments about the Green Bay Packers 2021 draft picks.  By observing the way General Manager Brian Gutekunst handled the draft, we can draw several reasonable conclusions that help to understand why the picks were made. 

 

 

The Aaron Rodgers flap had no effect on Green Bay’s draft strategy. 

 

Gutekunst apparently resisted any pressure to try to appease the disgruntled Rodgers by drafting a bunch of “weapons” for him.  Of the nine players drafted, only two were so-called “skill position” players, and one of those was a seventh round flyer on a running back who will be third string.  This was a draft that was going to be based on needs.....the team’s needs, not Rodgers’ needs.  

 

 

The Packers evidently feel fairly confident that Rodgers will play for them this fall. 

 

The fact that the Packers did not draft a developmental quarterback on day three, someone who could serve as Jordan Love's back-up, indicates one of the following things: 

 

  1.  They feel good that this whole Rodgers thing will blow over and they will negotiate his return this summer, and they will be okay with Rodgers and Love as signal callers. 

  

  1. There is already a deal in the works that involves another quarterback if they are forced to trade Rodgers. 

 

  1. There is an undrafted free agent out there they like as Love’s back-up if the second year signal caller has to start. 

 

Gutekunst did say the team will add one and possibly two camp arms before practices begin.

 

 

The Packers don’t really anticipate David Bakhtiari will be available to open the season and have serious concerns about the quality of depth in their offensive line. 

 

This explains the triple dip at the offensive line positions.  The selection of Josh Myers in the second round means they would prefer not to have to move a current starter over to center.  They were looking for someone to plug and play there immediately.  This would allow other veterans to stay in their established positions.  Picking Royce Newman in round four and Cole Van Lanen in the sixth upgrades the quality depth, with both being able to play tackle or guard.  This means last year’s late round OL picks, Simon Stepaniak and Jake Hanson, along with UDFA Yosh Nijman, will face a battle to retain their place on the team, especially when Bakhtiari returns.   

 

 

Matt LaFleur wants a true slot receiver. 

 

Since the departure of Randall Cobb, Green Bay has lacked a receiver with the measurables designed for the slot.  They have rotated Davante Adams, MVS, Allen Lazard and EQ at the position.  But in round three Gutekunst traded up seven spots to grab Clemson receiver Amari Rodgers.  At a smidge over 5’9” and 212 lbs. with 4.4 speed, Rodgers is prototypical for the role.  Green Bay has long held to a height standard for its receivers, but coach LaFleur obviously wants an exception he can line up all over the field with focus on the slot.  A self-described “gadget guy”, Rodgers would also seem the perfect replacement for Tyler Ervin as the jet sweep and pre-snap motion player. 

 

 

The Packers feel they need to upgrade at the slot corner, or “star” position. 

 

Chandon Sullivan is the returning starter at nickel back, but In the first round, Gutekunst passed up defensive line and offensive tackle prospects to take cornerback Eric Stokes.  The expression I keep seeing connected to Stokes is “freakish athlete”.  His incredible 4.2 speed and long arms make him ideally suited to compete for Sullivan’s job.  The slot corner covers a receiver who comes out to the middle of the field and can cut to either side, or accelerate down the seam.   Stokes’ has the recovery speed to react to the cut and maintain coverage.  There is another possibility.  If the coaching staff likes Stokes as an outside corner, they could move him out there and move Jaire Alexander to the star.   

 

Then, in round five, Green Bay moved to bolster the secondary even further by taking small school DB Shemar Jean-Charles.  Gutekunst says he, too, has the talent to play inside and will get a look there.  The Packers may also see him as a depth upgrade over Josh Jackson and Ka’dar Hollman on the outside.    

 

 

Gutekunst wanted no part of the defensive line prospects in this draft. 

 

Despite D-line being a major need, the Green Bay GM refused to reach for a prospect in the first four rounds, settling for massive Tedarrell Slaton of Florida in round five, a value at that tier.  It was simply not a good year for this position, as illustrated by the Packers passing on players like Christian Barmore and Levi Onwuzurike.  Slaton will be a boulder of granite that will be difficult to move out of the way against the run.  He will come off the field on passing downs, so he is rotational at best.  The Packers will need to look further to improve the D-line room. 

 

 

Green Bay continues to place low value on the inside linebacker position. 

 

As it currently stands, the Packers starters at IDL are undrafted free agent Krys Barnes, and fifth round pick Kamal Martin.  Both had promising moments in their rookie seasons, but many felt this was an area in need of upgrade.   Gutekunst addressed it only in the sixth round with the selection of Isaiah McDuffie.   Reading the scouting reports, McDuffie sounds a lot like Ty Summers.  Great speed, runs sideline to sideline quickly, gets to the ball, but has trouble with angles and closing the deal.  Struggles to cover well.  Gutekunst did say after the draft he would like to have addressed ILB in earlier rounds but the board did not fall that way.  He says the team will continue to mine the free agent market to look for upgrades.  

 

 

Running back was the last position addressed, but may be the most effective one. 

 

The number three running back spot behind Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon is wide open.  The candidates are Dexter Williams, Patrick Taylor and Mike Weber.  Enter Green Bay’s seventh round pick, Kylin Hill.   This seems to be a great find at the bottom of the draft.  You can’t be a slouch and lead the rugged SEC in rushing, which he did in 2019.  Gutekunst no doubt noticed his running for over 1,300 yards that year, but what may have caught his eye even more was Hill’s pass catching prowess.  In 40 games, he caught 67 passes for 631 yards and six scores.  A pass catching running back who is strong enough to run with power.  Sound familiar?  Yes, the Packers see Hill as another Jamaal Williams.  I have a feeling this is going to be the most pleasant surprise of the 2021 draft. 

 

 

Special teams ability played an important role. 

 

What is the common thread among Eric Stokes, Amari Rodgers, Shemar Jean-Charles, Isaiah McDuffie and Kylin Hill?  The answer is speed and athleticism, two of the qualities that make a good special teams player.  It seems evident Gutekunst was drafting with an eye toward players that could upgrade his kicking units.  Stokes, Rodgers and Hill may all get a look at the kick returner post. 

 

 

In a year when teams could not get much in-person contact with prospects because of Covid protocols, it was clear the Packers leaned toward proven big school programs with a history of success.   Eight of the nine picks were from Power Five conferences, four of them from the SEC, widely considered to be the premier college league. 

 

This was not a sexy draft for the Packers, but it addressed needs in the secondary, offensive line and special teams.  Now we wait to see how this quarterback mess plays out to know what kind of team we really have in 2021.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ken Lass is a former Green Bay television sports anchor and 43 year media veteran, a lifelong Packers fan, and a shareholder.

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Comments (71)

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Sureshot's picture

May 03, 2021 at 06:34 am

Excellent article.

I agree with you that the 7th round selection might be the best surprise of the 3rd day. Highlights shows a willing runner, powerfull, shifty.
I haven't checked the pass protection but if he puts the same kind of commitment to push back blitzers than to break tackles, Hill could get a big role in the running back rotation.

It seems alaso a very good idea to draft players with in mind a role for them in Special Teams. That is really something that needs to be improved.

Now, we have to cross fingers and hope that AR and the Packers can cool down this heated situation and go back to work for bringing the Lombardi Trophy home.

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murf7777's picture

May 03, 2021 at 06:36 am

Going into the draft I was hoping to get two major contributors to this years team. I believe Gutey and Co. have done just that. Stokes should get 70% snaps.

Myers is a plug and play Center who I expect to be the starter as a rookie. Rodgers to Rodgers, maybe not, but

Amari is the type MFl wants in his O. I suspect he will get 30% of snaps and possibly be our new punt returner.

Slaton has some very good pass rush moves with quick feet, he will need to get better run stuffing technique to get playing time but I suspect he will get some game time.

Kylie Hill, is one of the more interesting players almost not drafted because he was projected to go as early as day two. Might his social justice stance dropped him lower. Regardless, I see him getting some playing time and if any injury a lot more.

Gutey hit a potential home run with what I project to be 3 major contributors and possibly 2 minor others while building depth and ST’s with the other picks.

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EddieLeeIvory's picture

May 03, 2021 at 06:59 am

Good call about the racist, "woke" actions by Hill, but I have a hard time buying teams being turned off by it as that's what has been force-fed to all of us for 13 years. (2008 Election)

Getting Amari Rodgers in round 3 will prove to be a coup.

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murf7777's picture

May 03, 2021 at 09:22 am

I didn't mean anything about racism, more so, when someone takes a stance on anything controversial, you are going to have the people against such stance being offended and might affect how a person feels about that person.

I apologize to the group if it came across racist as I don't want this forum going anywhere but football!

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Stickwin's picture

May 03, 2021 at 03:06 pm

Your comment was not racist. I cannot say the same for the reply.

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NickPerry's picture

May 03, 2021 at 06:41 am

You're right Ken, it wasn't a sexy draft but in 3 years when grades REALLY matter and teams know what they have, I think this will turn out to be a very good draft for the Packers.

I really like the Stokes and Meyers picks. I guess we'll find out in 3 years if Meyers or the Center who went right behind him was the right pick. I think Meyers has more versitility and in GB that's a must.

I LOVE the Amari Rodgers pick and can only hope AR 12 is the QB in 2021 and beyond throwing him the ball. Amari Rodgers is MADE for MLF's scheme and it wouldn't surprise me a bit if he has a Randall Cobb effect on this team week one just like Cobby did againstr the Saints in 2011.

I don't understand why more aren't excited about Shemar Jean-Charles. It wouldn't surprise me at all if this kid is pushing Sullivan for his job...QUICK.

The RB is the 7th, Kylin Hill, is a STEAL. He runs with EXCELLENT balance and has been playing against the best defenses in College Football AND he can catch and block in pass pro.

Could it have been better? Sure and the "Boo Birds" who hate Gute would have had issues had he gotten Surtain, Chase, Barmore and fill in the blank. Lets give em time and SUPPORT the guys they did pick.

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dobber's picture

May 03, 2021 at 07:57 am

I also thought sure that Humphrey would be the preferred guy over Meyers. Some point to the fact that they see Meyers as playing any of the 3 IOL positions. I'm sure Humphrey could, too, so it must come down to something in Meyers they just liked better (to state the obvious).

Amari Rodgers fits that RB/WR hybrid body type that's become increasingly common in recent years. Guys like Antonio Gibson and Chris Samuels...they can run, they can run routes. In this case, I think AmRod is much more a WR than a RB, but that extra bulk will help him take the pounding that Ervin couldn't. He doesn't need to play a lot, and he doesn't need to get the ball much when he's on the field, but that sweep/motion action does a lot to make defenses shift and make mistakes.

All over Jean-Charles as a potential slot CB. Sullivan was barely average last year, and his price tag is increasing. Between Jean-Charles and Stokes, I think Hollman and Jackson will need to be much improved to make this roster.

A solid draft, but it lacked the big moves or the star-power fans want to see. It's being panned for those reasons. As you say, it's what these draft classes are doing a couple years down the road--not two days after the closing pick--that matters.

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jannes bjornson's picture

May 03, 2021 at 11:06 am

Myers moves better than Humphrey. Myers was my guy and you will know if he is a solid choice by the end of his first game as a Starter. Wide-open competition for the RT spot if they keep Turner at LT to start next season. They can let Jackson go anytime and no one would notice. Appalachia State had a strong defense, Jean-Charles is a football player.

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greengold's picture

May 03, 2021 at 08:56 am

I agree with so much of this, Nick, and I believe you’re SPOT ON with the Shemar Jean-Charles choice. His stats and his game scream positive results. Add in his love for STs, and he could prove to be a very positive influence on this Packers team.

I happen to have more appreciation for OT Royce Newman, OT Cole Van Lanen, and the selection of ILB Isaiah McDuffy, the latter being a perfect addition to STs on coverage units, and for short yardage run stop. I think the McDuffy choice was very specific to filling those needs. He’s got a real nose for the football, and simply lacks coverage skills.

Newman and Van Lanen are good OTs, Royce RT and Van Lanen LT. Both very solid road graders with proven credentials in power programs. Coupled with C Josh Myers, and the Kylin Hill selection at RB? WOW! Perfect for our running game.

The Kylin Hill addition was a gift from the gods. He truly is a premiere SEC RB, with good pass pro and receiver offerings. More than 700 yds rushing after first contact. What a 3 headed monster GB has at RB!

I totally love the Stokes, Rodgers and Slaton additions too. Nice draft from the earliest looks. We’ll see.

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gangathara's picture

May 03, 2021 at 07:09 am

A digital workplace is a cloud based work platform that lets businesses move work to the virtual space.

https://www.infobrez.com/digital-workplace-software

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Razer's picture

May 03, 2021 at 07:48 am

Perhaps we can all get together and down vote these parasites as a means to quickly identify the spam. The CTV crew can do the rest.

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egbertsouse's picture

May 03, 2021 at 07:54 am

I’d much prefer they get the cross-burners off this site first, then deal with the spam.

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Razer's picture

May 03, 2021 at 08:33 am

What are cross-burners?

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marginwalker76's picture

May 04, 2021 at 04:41 pm

It's what the men in white hoods do

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MarkinMadison's picture

May 03, 2021 at 07:17 am

Hill was a steal in the 7th. As this team continues to transition to a balanced offense pass pro may become less important for the RBs. It's critical when everyone knows a pass is coming. If they really don't know, then the Packers can move that skill from "must-have excellence" to "needs to be competent."

The nice thing about a balanced offense (and a balanced team) is that it benefits both aging QBs and new QBs. It also benefits QBs who are not necessarily hall-of-fame caliber. I don't think this defense will ever be great until they find another high level DL and a more dynamic ILB, but they at least are getting to competent now.

The remaining QBs in FA are in a word, really lousy, really past their prime, or really not worth the headaches. If a trade goes down the Packers will have to get a competent veteran QB to complement Love. You could just decide to let Love take his lumps and clean house next year, but then I think you risk creating a lot of bad habits or even wrecking his career.

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Razer's picture

May 03, 2021 at 07:45 am

...I don't think this defense will ever be great until they find another high level DL and a more dynamic ILB...

My feelings exactly. The front office just doesn't value these things. I have to go back to Ryan Pickett and Jenkins era to find a real commitment to the D-line. I got to go back to Nitzschke to find an ILB. Post Rodgers, we will need to build a better defense to win with less offense.

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dobber's picture

May 03, 2021 at 08:35 am

The NFL is all about finding weaknesses, creating mismatches, and exploiting them. The high-end teams make that hard to do...if the Packers can play with leads, it does a lot to hide their deficiencies. IF...

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mbpacker's picture

May 03, 2021 at 07:50 am

Well yeah, but also if Love gets hurt then what? A vet who can just run the system and not make mistakes might be better than an unproven undrafted free agent QB.

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Coldworld's picture

May 03, 2021 at 08:00 am

Possibly the QB approach is one to 2 camp arms and a cut down vet FA if required. At this point the coaching looks like it is all going to be Love focused.

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dobber's picture

May 03, 2021 at 10:19 am

"I don't think this defense will ever be great until they find another high level DL and a more dynamic ILB,"

I don't believe Wyld Stallyns will be a supergroup until they have Eddie Van Halen on guitar...

RIP, Eddie...

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greengold's picture

May 03, 2021 at 08:01 am

Great piece, Ken. I do think Day 3 was heavily targeted at improving both quality depth and STs.

While the AR flap may have had no effect, I’m left wondering if it had a huge effect on positions essentially omitted. What if AR trade to DEN is agreed to in principle?

DEN has 10 DL on their depth chart. They also have 4 QBs. GB added just 1 WR, an ILB who knowingly lacks coverage but will be a great tackle machine on STs, and ZERO QBs.

Were some of their picks this weekend made for the Packers? When you said Stokes to the star, it got me thinking... Surtain II on the outside? Baron Browning at ILB? Did DEN draft Seth Williams for us, or are we going to get a Jerry Jeudy or a Courtland Sutton at WR...? Safety seemed a glaring ommission to me in this draft by GB. Caden Sterns? If this hunch is right...

I had not considered Stokes at the star position at all, thinking Savage would make the shift there, thereby creating a need at FS.

Hmmmm.

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mbpacker's picture

May 03, 2021 at 07:53 am

Lot of questioning your questions. Seems to be out there but this is the NFL , time will tell.

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greengold's picture

May 03, 2021 at 08:16 am

Honestly, that whole fiasco simply forced me to look at our options. I love AR with the Packers and have been a staunch supporter of him here, but he really went scorched earth on draft day. I see zero chance he returns as a result.

That being the case, GB would either dig in, and get nothing, or, send him to an AFC team to maximize their return while he is at the height of marketability.

The FO cannot go public with anything until after June 1st. Merely pointing out, as a possibility, this one might be looking quite likely. Would love to know TGR’s thoughts on how something like this could work, as cap stuff is not my strength.

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dobber's picture

May 03, 2021 at 08:31 am

I saw speculation that the Packers would deal ARod post Jun. 1 to Denver in return for Jeudy, 2 1's, and a defensive player. THEN that the Packers would flip the 2 1s they get from Denver with Jordan Love and an additional high Packers pick to the Texans for Deshaun Watson.

I laughed at that one...mostly because I thought it would be hilarious for the Bears--given the Trubisky pick and their own inability to get Watson earlier--to have to play Watson twice per year for the next 10 years...and for the rest of the NFCN to have to continue seeing Packers teams with HOF caliber passers. In all, Watson's off-field troubles make him the kind of problem nobody is going to want to invest heavily in, and he's a PR nightmare for a place like GB.

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greengold's picture

May 03, 2021 at 09:25 am

Yeah, we’ll see all kinds of crazy stuff flying around on this for the next month or so. ESPN and the NFL Network will focus on that as a talking point all the way through. Put your ear plugs in and strap your helmets on to help ride out the storm.

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Coldworld's picture

May 03, 2021 at 11:51 am

I can’t see him playing again if this doesn’t turn out to be a complete fabrication. In this day and age, much will be forgiven, even animal abuse, but not the type of thing he is accused of. That’s a hard thing to sell in the current social climate. Rightly.

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greengold's picture

May 03, 2021 at 08:35 am

You’re not kidding, mb! Wow. Time to sit back and see what unfolds.

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Guam's picture

May 03, 2021 at 08:16 am

I wouldn't get too heavily invested in the Denver trade theory greengold. It is certainly a possibility, but so are a bunch of other theories. As fans, all we can do is wait and see what evolves. Personally I am hoping the Pack and AR can get this resolved such that AR stays and makes a serious run at several Super Bowls.

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greengold's picture

May 03, 2021 at 08:33 am

I appreciate that, Guam, and have said about all I wish to say on it. I’d like to have a reason for hope there for his return, but I really see none.

Given that, I do have immense confidence in Jordan Love, and, coupled with an insanely powerful running game, a strong D, and LaFleur’s guidance, think the Packers could do something special, regardless of what some others might think. I won’t forget Rodgers being booed the first time he walked onto the field. Fans predominantly won’t believe in a Jordan Love until he shows them a reason to in games. I get it.

Regardless of where Rodgers goes, the Packers should get a great return in trade, and would be freed from certain cap hell. There are positives to looking at our situation at face value. As crushing as the news was, the options have some appeal.

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Guam's picture

May 03, 2021 at 04:15 pm

I probably have a little more hope than you do, but this could certainly go lots of different ways. If the Packers do have to trade Rodgers, they should get a load in return. As to Jordan Love, I just hope he isn't thrust into the spotlight too quickly. Careers can get ruined that way.

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nostradanus's picture

May 03, 2021 at 07:22 am

When you draft at 29 & 62 it is not going to be sexy.

I have to give it to Gutey, he remained steadfast with his draft board even though he and Murphy are at the center of the Aaron Rodgers disaster that will eventually cost Gute his job.

I like Gute but he blew the Rodgers thing and if he doesn’t come back, the whole thing implodes!

BOOM!!

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dobber's picture

May 03, 2021 at 07:45 am

The Packers went after proven college guys (i.e. guys who have played a lot of college football). There are no "one year wonders" on this list. In that sense, I think he played it relatively safe and will be rewarded with a series of solid starters and support pieces. I don't know what the ceilings will be, but they've got to make sure these guys get coached up quickly. The lack of an in-person rookie camp and OTA schedule hurts that progression.

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Razer's picture

May 03, 2021 at 07:57 am

Aside from not drafting Jordan Love, not sure how Gutekunst could have effectively handled Aaron Rodger's ego. He secured the key pieces for playoff runs, he got him a new coaching staff and Rodgers still has 3 top dollar years on his contract. If only Gutekunst would have got him Randy Moss maybe we wouldn't see this immature behavior - oh wait - that was the history that seems to be repeating.

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dobber's picture

May 03, 2021 at 08:07 am

Six months ago, we were all chuckling about how the Love pick probably brought out the best in ARod. The guy plays best when he's feeling slighted.

I feel pretty strongly that ARod plays in GB this year. It's likely what's best for all involved. I think if there was going to be a deal, it would've been pre-draft (none of these "bombshells" are news to those involved) when they could've netted a high value pick rather than reaping picks mostly deflated in value due to ARod propping some other team up. It might be like the latter Favre years: he might not be hanging with the team very much. He might be especially short in pressers and not talking to the media very much...but if he plays anywhere close to 2020? Every GM out there now knows that ARod could be had...let the bidding begin (in 2022).

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nostradanus's picture

May 03, 2021 at 10:11 am

Haha Good one :)
I’m not at all confident in Love as the next Packers QB.
Remember it was Gutekunst(and Thompson) who were all Gaga over Deshaun Kiser and Brett Hundley.
And the traded a former 1st round DB to get the already 0 & 16 Kiser who is now out of the NFL!
Gutey has proven he is not a good judge of QB talent.
The only reason the Packers have been in contention is Rodgers and when he goes so does playoffs and probably players too. He’s the talent he’s the attraction and when he goes nobody is going to want to come to GB. The 30 year window will be closed and with that GB will start losing fan interest and revenue and all the skating rinks and sledding hills won’t amount to a hill of beans as Green Bay goes back to being the lovable losers of the 70’s & 80’s.
Boom! ;)

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dobber's picture

May 03, 2021 at 10:22 am

Let's be fair: the Packers were reportedly ready to just cut ties with Randall. They got a player in return. Something's better than nothing. They threw a dart.

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greengold's picture

May 03, 2021 at 10:40 am

nostradanus, you & I are good, and I love your takes, but I beg to differ on the Gutey QB thing.

Matt LaFeur knows QBs and was heavily involved in last year’s choices. He guided Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers to MVP seasons. You could be undervaluing Jordan Love, who the year prior to getting a new HC, having to learn a new system, losing 4 starting OL and 3 WRs was LIGHTS OUT!

That 2018 season, Love had 3,567 yds, 9.4 AY/A, 32 TDS, 6 INT and a 158.3 passer rating.

We can agree to differ, but I find this situation to possibly be brighter than many are willing to admit.

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greengold's picture

May 03, 2021 at 09:47 am

nostradanus, I couldn’t help but laugh when I read this.

Hearing Mel Kiper say he thought the Packers drafted about a round too early on many of their picks left me thinking, “well, no shit Mel, we’re ALWAYS picking at the back of any given round!” Totally agree with you there!!! Even funnier, Amari Rodgers was #2 on Mel’s Best Available when we took Myers at 62. Kiper is such a freakin’ wiener.

I feel very differently about the AR thing, and believe more of the blame is on him. I also have a ton of confidence in LaFleur and Love, who had the strongest arm of last year’s draft class, and was described as a mix of AR and Mahomes. Add a power running game and an improved D without Pettine calling the shots, and I think the Packers can do very well this season.

If Gutey gets a haul in trade, and Love turns out to be the real deal?

BOOM!

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Razer's picture

May 03, 2021 at 10:40 am

Well said GreenGold. Love has had a year to learn - more than most top QB selections. I would have preferred two years to learn the systems and get up to speed but 1 is better than none.

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stockholder's picture

May 03, 2021 at 07:24 am

I didn't think we had any needs. At least thats what Gute said before the draft. I can see Gute Loves Roster strength. But did these needs stand out to everybody? If they did, the last few drafts were a mistake. You make a point that Gute avoided the DL. Thats been the story since he became GM. And he just has kept the door swinging at LB, CB, and now the OL. Pat the guy where you want. But Gute; just keeps re-drafting the same positions. -- And now we will need a QB. Every year since 2010 we've put such a importance to the Packers drafts. It been the same o , same o. So whats the magic fix here. Well it's been Rodgers. And now the chrtism/Divide has come to Green Bay. You got to be a company suck ass not to back Rodgers. Gute had this planned. They wanted Rodgers out. Regardless what they say. But enough is enough, I don't care what either side says. They all have money and just don't care what the fans think. What a shame nobody cares to win now.

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Razer's picture

May 03, 2021 at 07:31 am

Gutekunst and team did a good job. The first three picks should be able to contribute early. The CB, DT, and Hill the RB are all good value and should improve what we have. The latter round investment in in the O-line is good and concerning. Tells me that the team feels the on-roster talent isn't there. I hope that there is a starting right tackle on this team not named Billy Turner.

The thing that struck me about the draft and picking at the bottom is that it is incredibly challenging. I watched LBs, OTs, Safeties and yes D-lineman that could have helped come off the board 10 and 12 picks ahead of our spot. The scouts did a great job picking from the bottom of the order.

The other thing that struck me is how incredibly selfish Aaron Rodgers and company chose to be. At a time when all these young men are set to take the spotlight, his camp uses it to push their agenda. He needs to speak to this.

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dobber's picture

May 03, 2021 at 07:42 am

I think one of the things that we've been spoiled about not having to worry about in recent years is the OL. When was the last time you can legitimately say that the Packers had a "less-than-average" OL? Even a couple years ago when McCray and Bell were playing poorly at RG and Baktiairi/Bulaga were in and out of the lineup with varying knee and ankle injuries, it was still a better than average front when healthy.

BG looks like he's going the competition route this year. He needed to make sure Jenkins is available to play wherever camp battles say he's needed...and they decided C wasn't going to be that spot. I think a couple holdovers are going to have a tough time making the 53. Just as they did a year ago before signing Wagner, the Packers are without a true swing OT at this point. Jenkins and Turner look like they can man either position, but this team is lacking in what you'd call "true OTs". Whatever the case, they're going to need #69 back sooner rather than later. Just because you have bodies, it doesn't mean you have depth. Stenavich has his work cut out for him.

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Razer's picture

May 03, 2021 at 07:59 am

...Packers are without a true swing OT at this point. Jenkins and Turner look like they can man either position, but this team is lacking in what you'd call "true OTs". Whatever the case, they're going to need #69 back sooner rather than later. Just because you have bodies, it doesn't mean you have depth. Stenavich has his work cut out for him....

Nice nutshell Dobber.

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dobber's picture

May 03, 2021 at 08:08 am

Our posts line up this way...it just took me forever to get mine written!

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Frolio's picture

May 03, 2021 at 08:12 am

I wonder if Nijman is further along in his development than we know and could serve as that swing tackle. Unlikely, but possible, and would help explain not taking a guy who's largely viewed as a LT going forward.

As for your earlier post about the O-line picks being an indictment of the depth, from last year's initial 53-man roster, they lost Linsley, Wagner, and Taylor, plus Bakhtiari's no guarantee to be back for Week 1. They needed to add bodies beyond UDFAs, even if they're happy with their depth, just to fill in the bottom O-line spots if nothing else. It's good that they think Myers can play C or G, and I've seen that Newman is thought to be able to play RT or G and Van Lanen has some T/G flexibility as well, so Gutey keeps adding guys with flexibility for Stenavich to mold.

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jannes bjornson's picture

May 03, 2021 at 11:26 am

Both guys selected in the draft were Tackles and it should signal Nijman to the bench or cut.

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Coldworld's picture

May 03, 2021 at 11:58 am

Neither project to left tackle, which is exclusively where the team has been training Nijman. One could take that as evidence that he is part of the plans this year.

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Guam's picture

May 03, 2021 at 08:07 am

There were some good OT's still out there at #62, but the Packers went IOL with Myers. I think that speaks volumes about what the Packers think they already have at OT on the roster (not what I thought about their OTs, but they know a lot more than I do....). Apparently Turner/Jenkins/Nijman/Runyon are good enough in the Packers eyes to start the season.

I think drafting Myers also speaks to Hanson and concerns he may not make the grade. The selection of two more IOL may also reflect on Stepaniak although it may just mean they haven't seen enough of him to properly evaluate him given his late start last year.

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dobber's picture

May 03, 2021 at 08:23 am

I agree: I felt the Packers could very well have picked a player ticketed to play RT at that point. They had plenty of directions to go at that point. My hunch had been that the Packers pick position aligned well with a top-tier, proven, college C, and rather than projecting a player to the right side, they took the closest thing to a pro-ready guy they could get.

I'll say this: if the Packers thought Nijman would be good enough to make the 53 and play there if called upon this season, they wouldn't have taken two G/T in the mid-rounds. As it stands, who do you peg as the 8-9 game day actives on OL? It's a mess.

Heaven forbid Turner or Jenkins gets hurt at this stage...

In Edit:
Here's the list of returning OL (drafted, not UDFAs/Practice Squad) and current draftees...
Bakhtiari
Hanson
Jenkins
Meyers
Newman
Nijman
Patrick
Runyan
Stepaniak
Turner
Van Lanen

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Guam's picture

May 03, 2021 at 08:32 am

I would question Nijman as well, but either Nijman or Runyon will have to be ready early this year as I would not care to see Newman or Van Lanen at RT if either Turner or Jenkins are hurt. I have seen lots of Van Lanen (avid Badger fan) and I don't think he is an NFL tackle. Great road grader guard, but not an OT against NFL speed rushers. Don't know much about Newman, but he sounded similar to Van Lanen in the scouting reports.

Tackle will be dicey until Bahk returns, but the Packers have pre season to sort out the interior OL. You are correct that Stenavich will have lots of work ahead of him.

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dobber's picture

May 03, 2021 at 08:42 am

I agree: the Badger OL has been sub-par for a couple years now. Jonathan Taylor was just that good. Dietzen is on the list of UDFAs and I'm a little leery of investing too strongly in Badger OL right now. Could be Van Lanen will be a brute as a G, but I agree in that I don't think he's someone you want being a regular at T.

Rumor is that Bakhtiari's recovery has been ahead of schedule (remember that Bulaga returned from one of his ACLs in 9 months), and maybe the Packers feel he'll be available earlier than we all expect...but I have a hunch he goes on the PUP and he doesn't play until late October at the soonest.

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jannes bjornson's picture

May 03, 2021 at 11:36 am

Maybe Newman or Van Lanen take over the RT spot. The competition is wide open. Clifton and Tauscher started as rookies on what became one of the best Packer O lines of the era.

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greengold's picture

May 03, 2021 at 11:25 am

Yosh Nijman held lottery picks Ferrell, Allen, Burns, Wilkins and Lawrence to ZERO sacks during his 3 years at VT. A murderers row of ACC pass rushers. The Packers spent two years protecting him on the roster and developing him. Started at both RT and LT.

There hasn’t been any talk about him from Gutey, just like there was no talk about our WRs in last year’s scenario at that position. Maybe we are better off than we might think at OT, and these picks were to solve a depth hole on the roster... It’s possible. Player development is the Packers MO. Maybe this year we actually start seeing development of players again, this time under Matt LaFleur. I thought that aspect was lacking the last half of Mike McCarthy’s tenure.

We may be very surprised to see development of many players this year: Nijman, Love, Sullivan, Martin, Gary, Savage, Dillon... I’m hopeful there. LaFleur says he takes this seriously, and only now will we begin to see how good he is at player development, year 3.

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Handsback's picture

May 03, 2021 at 08:13 am

I thought with 3 oline last year and 3 this year pointed to quality and depth. It seems Green Bay always has UDFA making the team to fill in oline spots due to starters going down. Maybe now the next man up will be starter quality.
The reverse could also be true that the 3 guys drafted last year...and only one is starter quality. I really don't know but the oline should be set for a few years.

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Handsback's picture

May 03, 2021 at 08:18 am

One other thought...the middle of the Packers d is still soft. ILBs and Dline guys were not there for them to pick. Would expect some FA pick-ups as mentioned above.

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Ernesto's picture

May 03, 2021 at 08:29 am

IMO it was another miss of a draft. NBC gave them a B but the worst score they gave was a C to the colts. Just read another analyst of hit versus misses and the Vikes was a big hit and the packers a big miss.
There assessment not mine: Stokes was a reach at where he was taken. Meyers was rated a 4th round pick at best and they passed on the top center from Okla. who was available. The rest of the assessment was the guys who were available that they passed on versus who they took.
This BS of 'we only draft people who play multiple positions' for the o line is total crap. Plan on another year of mucical chairs versus solid starters who dominate.

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

May 03, 2021 at 08:54 am

(thinking back over last year)

"How did the Packers' OL do last year? Were they any good? Oh no, they were playing musical chairs all year long. OK, but were they good? Well, they shuffled people around, and rotated Runyon and others in and out...
OK, I get that... but was the OL good?"

"Err... yes, the OL line was great, one of the best in the league in 2020. Their worst showing was in the NFCCG, when Bakt was out. He was a solid starter, who never played musical chairs."

"So you're saying solid starters can bring you down if they cannot start, and if there is no music playing?"

"Hmmm... now you put it that way, ummm... awwww... geee... yes, I now see that people who play multiple positions make for a great OL. Thanks for straightening me out!"

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jannes bjornson's picture

May 03, 2021 at 11:39 am

Stokes was moving up boards and always had a 2nd or low first rating. Myers a 2nd round rating from any reputable draft analysis sports column. The entire OSU line will be drafted over the course of this year and next and he was the catalyst.

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

May 03, 2021 at 08:55 am

Kylin Hill has another positive trait that Jamaal Williams has... no, not the dancing... his ball security.

I've seen reports that say that Kylin Hill has had only 1 fumble in his college career (and another article said zero fumbles). Jamaal was great in that regard. He never fumbled as a Packer.

Here's to Kylin Hill never fumbling as a Packer!

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greengold's picture

May 03, 2021 at 11:03 am

PeWauKeeFan!!! Another great point that I forgot about. Kylin Hill was a remarkable addition to the Packers, and his former OC, Luke Getsy, is our current QB coach. ALSO, Hill is used to running behind none other than Elgton Jenkins, both former Mississippi State teammates.

Holy crap!

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RCPackerFan's picture

May 03, 2021 at 08:58 am

I don't really get where everyone says the Packers don't have weapons? They have weapons. Adams is top 2 WR in the league and he is not #2. Jones is a top 5 RB. Tonyan was possibly the most productive TE in the league. MVS is one of the top 2-3 deep threats in the league. Dillon looks like he might be a beast this coming year. Lazard is a guy that really only has played 1 year. He should be improving as well. They have enough weapons to be top 5 offense in the league.

That all being said, my conclusions on the draft are this.

They are not expecting Bakhtiari to be back at the start of the year, but won't be surprised if he is. They are covering their butts if he won't be. They did cover their butts with Linsley leaving. With the 3 OL they added last year and 3 they added this year they have really built up the OL depth. My thoughts on a few of the players. Stepaniak might be one to really watch for this summer. He was highly thought of and got some practice time late in the year. He is a guy to keep an eye on to possibly win a starting OG spot. A lot of people have pegged Runyan as an OG. I would not be surprised if he was in the running for the RT spot. He played OT in college, and if Bakhtiari can't start the season, Turner will likely be the LT, meaning they need a starting RT. Myers looks to be a plug and play OC for them. They clearly saw something in him that they really liked. The last Interior OL they selected in the 2nd round was Jenkins. Who was also an OC. Myers might be a guy they consider at OG as well. With Patrick going to OC. I would assume he will be OC though. Newman and Van Lanen might be OG or OT. They have some flexibility. They have a lot of guys who look like can play OG, so Jenkins may move to OT until Bakhtiari were to come back. They have given themselves a LOT of options.

They added a perfect WR to the offense. A needed player as well. Rodgers is the perfect compliment to the offense. They have a guy who is a slot guy who can be the jet motion guy. He is a very tough RAC guy. Rodgers reminds me of Cobb. He will be one of the QB's best friends. Also I think he will be the top return man this year.

The NFC Championship game clearly left a lasting impression on the team. They do not want anymore Scotty Millers running past our CB's for a TD in the final seconds of the first half. They also wanted more depth. They clearly don't trust Josh Jackson and Kevin King, and don't expect them back after this year.

Slaton is a BIG DT. They needed some more beef up front. He was a 5th round pick so we can't expect him to be a big contributor his rookie year. BUT, they have had plenty of 5th round picks that have contributed. If they can find a role for him early he could flourish next to the guys around him.

Beings ILB was not a higher pick, I think they really feel good about Barnes and Martin. They have some guys that can provide some depth.

Another position that I think they feel good about is the 3rd safety spot or the hybrid spot. While they could resign Greene, I think they like Scott and Black.

Obviously it is way to early, but I'm penciling in Hill for the 3rd RB spot. He reminds me a bit of Williams as a runner. I think he will fit right in.

Overall I like the draft. I think they found a lot of guys that will fill some holes and provide solid depth.

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greengold's picture

May 03, 2021 at 11:30 am

Way to bring it RCPackerFan! Rock solid.

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JohnnyLogan's picture

May 03, 2021 at 09:53 am

Have fun and look at the entire league draft results. See who could have been taken at CB, C, and WR, if Gute had only changed the order of picks, meaning maybe taking Rondel Moore 1st. Who was left at pick 62 at CB or C? Different combinations. See if you can do better.

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BSA441's picture

May 03, 2021 at 10:49 am

Great article, not living in WI I struggle to find packer news, cheesheadtv is a revelation. Love the articles and especially love the comments. Love this team and the way they play. Don't understand why the NFL's number 1offense is always crying poverty,need a defense that can hold a lead and I think that's what this draft was about

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splitpea1's picture

May 03, 2021 at 03:08 pm

It's apparent that the first three players selected have outstanding potential. But other than the two CBs and slot WR taken, I believe our draft priorities were out of whack.

The infatuation with the offensive line has gotten a bit out of hand. One solid tackle prospect would have sufficed. We have now collected SIX linemen in the past two drafts in addition to the mega-expensive Bakh re-signing. We do not need a Pro-Bowler or a potential one at every position to succeed here. Last year we had the #1 scoring /#5 yardage offense with a versatile group (which admittedly shrunk during the transactional period, but we have younger players who may be ready). So this endless search for depth seems somewhat wasteful and comes at expense of improving other areas of the team....

....Such as the interior defense. Under the current administration, the Packers habitually present distorted rationales for not reinforcing these important positions with top-notch prospects. Don't tell me the board was devoid of talent or didn't fall the right way, because plenty of other teams didn't have a problem selecting them in Rounds 2-4. Gute certainly doesn't mind building the offense from the inside out, but when it comes to defense, only the perimeters seem to matter. When the Packers have come up against premium defenses with skilled interior players in the last two NFCCGs, guess which team has won?...
I'm not dismissing the addition of Slaton, but I think we could have used an additional lineman that was maybe a little more active and versatile in an earlier round, or if not...gasp...and inside linebacker.

So while soaring optimism is generally the rule of the day(s) after the draft, a more balanced approach is probably needed to ground any expectation of greatness here. Of course, any future doubts can be erased by a snapshot of a smiling Gute holding the Lombardi Trophy in his hands.

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LambeauPlain's picture

May 03, 2021 at 03:24 pm

I disagree with your take on the OL...it is not infatuation to draft three OL players in a class deep in them after losing 3 starters, prior starters...Linsley, Wagner, Taylor. The three taken taken last year...all late, so far only Runyon is a keeper. Stepaniak and Hanson may be, but it is clear they are not yet.

And the game is won in the trenches...so I agree with you about the front 7 D. Slayton is a boom bust and while Gutey did bring in the FA Smith's and draft Gary, more talent is needed...especially at DL and ILB.

But overall the draft checked many boxes with great prospects. We will see in 2, 3 years.

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splitpea1's picture

May 03, 2021 at 06:21 pm

I knew that remark would raise some eyebrows. I was hoping it would escape detection with most of the attention going to the Rodgers drama, but, you know, I had to get it out.

Anyway, I feel strongly that there should have a been a sacrifice made regarding the offense somewhere along the line. Plenty of ways for Gute to sacrifice without suffering huge repercussions (pick one):

1) You want Myers, fine, but that means you can't select your first choice at WR in the third and burn up a fourth-rounder in the process

2) You want Rodgers, fine, but you trade down with your second rounder to be in the position to get him without moving up. Lots of good prospects of all positions left in Round 3.

3) Now that the first fourth-rounder has been dealt away, don't use the second on the T prospect that should have been taken before a C/G was even considered.

4) Once the season starts, keep reshuffling the line until Bakh gets back; for the most part, it worked until Tampa Bay in the playoffs. If Runyon is indeed a keeper, play him--that's what he's here for!

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Guam's picture

May 03, 2021 at 04:31 pm

The infatuation is one second round pick, one fourth round pick and four sixth round picks. If the Packers get three starters out of that mix they will be very fortunate. The Packers lost three starters/key reserves from last year's opening game - Linsley, Taylor and Wagner. It is a game of replacement.

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greengold's picture

May 03, 2021 at 02:46 pm

Offensive line should always be a top priority to have covered. You've got to protect the franchise. I believe Gutekunst went into his first draft 2018 trying desperately to fix some of the glaring mistakes in Ted Thompson's last years at the helm, and OL kind of got away from him, and most of us, in terms of depth. It was such a dominant OL.

Thompson had ZERO OL pan out since his Corey Linsley selection at C with the 161st pick in 2014.

Ted took no OL in 2015, traded up for Jason Spriggs at 48 in 2016, adding OT Kyle Murphy in R6. He then took C Kofi Amichia at 212 of the 2017 draft, and that was it.

Gutekunst focused on fixing our DB problem in 2018, along with adding 3 WRs. He went D heaving again in 2019, while getting the steal of the 2nd Round in Elgton Jenkins. Last year he worked to upgrade interior OL, this year, he added OT plus a starter to take over for Linsley. I think we were all lulled to sleep a bit with the continued dominance of David Bakhtiari. Once he went down unexpectedly, shit got real, and we may have lost the NFCC as a result. Gutekunst knows now how important it will be to maintain a steady stream of talent there.

I actually love this draft. Good group of talented players all the way through. Wishing we could have added Jabril Cox and Alim McNeill, my two biggest draft crushes for the Packers, but, I like who they got.

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DarkHorse833's picture

May 04, 2021 at 02:02 am

i think the draft was a tad bit messed up. they had gregory roussou, nixon, an basham well in there grasp an didn't pull the trigger don't tell me they couldn't get d-line help, besides if they did draft those guys it would of helped corners out with mistakes that would be made by opponents qb's, stokes could of ended up being drafted later on. but the shemar pick is good value i liked his tape. i understand we can berate everyone about who or how to pick....but they ain't gonna listen to couch gm's...hill could also probably play as a wideout. patrick taylor could be number 3 rb hands down if he stays healthy. slaton needs to build himself up because his chances would be slim like montravious adams...so get stronger an try to improve moves as much as possible. still have jake hanson that didn't give up a sack in like 1500 snaps or something like that. i think they just shift alot of players. i liked runyan he needs a better role, IMO D-line is hurting..if Zadarious does go to d-line it would be interesting but gary knows how to play that position. if they wanted to get tougher on that line...they should of grabbed Marvin wilson an get him back up to his weight to be a monster he was in college. there was enough opportunities to get players to revamp that D-line in a matter of speaking. i think there scared there o-line is gonna come crashing down to the ground but having a defense helps too. plus they missed out on J.O.k. trevon moerig. barmore. Moses. to name a few that could of been higher graded..besides Moses i think he'll need a lil refinement but others jumped off tape. time will tell how this goes an it will be a tough pill to swallow with the drafting team. they needed more monsters on d-line thats all i think that would of truely benefited this team in a positive way to get after the qb's way better strike some fear into there hearts when they play us.

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ScottW's picture

May 05, 2021 at 02:46 pm

OL competition will be the highlight of camp. Thanks for posting.

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