Hello Packer Nation,
The NFL draft has commenced, and the word I hear describing their 9 draftees is "solid." I think that perfectly describes this class for the Packers. On paper, it looks like a "solid" class. Let's go through the picks from rounds 2-7.
62) OL Josh Myers, Ohio State
It is projected that Myers will slide in and take over for the departed Corey Linsley. There are some interesting similarities between Linsley and Myers. They both went to Ohio State. They were both multi-year starters. They were both team captains. They are both "country strong."
Myers is an above average run blocker and below average in pass protection. In roughly 750 snaps, he gave up 6 sacks. This seems like a low number considering the reps, but for an interior lineman, this is a high number. In Linsley's six years as a Packer starting center, he was responsible for giving up a total of 12 sacks. He played a total of 734 snaps in 2020 and was only responsible for giving up 1 sack.
Statistics aside, Myers explodes out of his stance and when he engages in a block, he thumps the defender. He is really good at moving defensive lineman away from the line of scrimmage when run blocking. In pass block, he anchors well against the bull rush but once he stops moving his feet, he gets into trouble. He relies on his strength to win each and every rep and that will not work in the NFL. The Packers have done well drafting and developing OL so he is in good hands to improve his technique and leverage.
The one thing the Packers covet is position versatility with their OL. Myers can also play guard but his first chance at cracking the starting lineup will be at center. It will be interesting to see how passing over a higher rated prospect in Creed Humphrey will pan out. Myers is far from a finished product where Humphrey is much closer to that today. Humphrey is a plug and play starter who fits the Packers mold as a center - very good on his feet, leverages blocks well and is mobile. Myers will need some refinement to get there.
85) WR Amari Rodgers, Clemson
The Packers moved up from #92 and traded that pick as well as their 135th pick to draft Rodgers. He fills an immediate need in the slot as well as a punt/kick returner. Rodgers film is impressive, and while he didn't time well in pre draft workouts, his film shows he has an explosive second gear and makes things happen with the ball in his hands. If Rodgers is anything, he is a damn solid football player. He performed well in big games and was a part of many successful Clemson teams in his four years there, including their 2018 National Championship win. He came off his most successful year in 2020 and had over 1,000 yards receiving. He finished 6th in Clemson history in receptions. You cannot say he wasn't productive.
Rodgers dreamed of being a Packer and they get a highly motivated player with a tremendous work ethic. The Packers thought very highly of him and feel like they will be able to tap into his talent with his scheme diverse approach. He is the son of former NFL QB Tee Martin. I like the pick but question what it took to get him as they needed as many draft picks as possible to improve this team. But, they had teams before the #92 pick who were looking for wide receivers. As I have always said, if you feel strongly about a player you do what it takes to get him. Gutenkunst wanted Rodgers and thought the trade off was well worth it. I wish they thought highly of a defensive lineman as they do a receiver.
142) OL Royce Newman, Mississippi
Newman started at left guard in 2019 and right tackle in 2020. He even played some center in the Senior Bowl. He shows versatility not being a one position player and will likely start out at right tackle where the Packers have a hole to fill. He plays to the whistle and brings a nasty attitude in the trenches. He is an excellent athlete for a 6'5" dude. He his technically sound and comes in with a great foundation. He isn't as green as most lineman. He has a great feel for setting up his blocks and his football instincts are top notch.
He struggles adjusting when the edge collapses. He is a lineman that needs to get his hands on his opponent as he struggles trying to recover. This is a great "value" pick and the Packers have had good luck drafting OL in the fourth round (Josh Sitton, TJ Lang and David Bakhtiari). This could be the best pick of the bunch for the Pack!
173) DL Tedarrell (TJ) Slaton, Florida
For the love of...this was way too long before drafting a defensive lineman. I have felt this was THE biggest position of need for the second straight year. I don't necessarily disagree with the pick, but they had highly rated DL at previous picks waiting there for them. I have a difficult time understanding why they do not invest highly on the DL and continue to underestimate this positions importance to a defense.
Off my soap box...Slaton was a highly recruited offensive guard out of high school and was moved to the defensive line in college. His playing experience is a bit limited and only started one year. He is a massive dude and is tough to move when he anchors correctly. He needs significant work with technique and leveraging his mass correctly to take on double teams. He was not overly productive in college, but his athletic profile is something you can work with. He struggled with weight and ballooned up to 360lbs before slimming down to 330lbs in preparation for the draft.
Like I said, I do not disagree with the pick. Slaton needs a ton of work before he can become a significant contributor. He is likely a year away from that. He is far from a finished product.
178) CB Shemar Jean-Charles, Appalachian St.
A productive I-AA corner, Shemar was a second team All-American last season, breaking up 17 passes (most in FBS). He seems to be around the ball a lot, but some question the competition he went up against and if that influenced his production. Packer draftee Eric Stokes went up against NFL caliber receivers on a weekly basis.
Jean-Charles doesn't fit the Packers "mold" as their premier corner, so his ceiling likely limits him to slot corner in the NFL. He isn't fast enough to play outside, according to some scouts. He has a smallish stature (only 5'10" and 180lbs). He looks like a carbon copy of Josh Jackson coming into the NFL, which hasn't panned out for the Pack.
214 OL Cole Van Lanen, Wisconsin
Local boy who grew up 10 minutes from Lambeau and went to Bay Port HS. Was a three year starter at left tackle at Wisconsin. He doesn't have the athleticism to play tackle in the NFL and will likely be moved inside to guard. Cole is a limited prospect due to his athletic profile and lack of technique to win blocks against NFL caliber rushers. Wisconsin is known for developing heavy handed offensive lineman who excel in run blocking but leave much to be desired pass blocking. Van Lanen likely won't see the field this season as the Packers currently have 16 OL on their roster.
220) LB Isaiah McDuffie, Boston College
Another position the Packers just do not value highly (much like defensive line). The Packers took a flyer on the quick footed and productive college ILB. He had over 100 tackles in 2020. He is a tireless worker and he will not fail due to lack of effort. He has a nose for the football, but will need to work on getting off blockers at the second level. He does not shed blocks well and without much help up front, this severely limits his ceiling in Green Bay. If the Packers had defensive lineman who ate up blocks, McDuffie has growth potential. Until that happens, he will need to do his best to avoid blocks and be taken out of plays because he doesn’t have the girth to sustain blocks against lineman.
256) RB Kylin Hill, Mississippi St.
Hill flashes a ton of potential but most of his college production came against inferior teams. He is a versatile back who can play all three downs and really excelled in the pass game. He breaks arm tackles and is tough to bring down once he gets in the secondary. He is very similar to former Packer Jamaal Williams but has a bit more speed and fluidity in his movements. This was a good pick because the Packers currently do not have proven depth behind Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon.
In my personal view, "solid" drafts just don't get this team to the next level. They needed to hit home runs in this draft and truly didn't go for those players, They went with the safe picks. That is all well and good, but let's be real, this is a blue collar team in need of difference makers. Time will only tell and I have been consistent that you cannot rank a draft until they have played. But, out of all 9 of these players drafted, who set the world on fire in college? Who changed games? In college, none of them did consistently.
We will only need to wait and see...
Go Pack Go!