Packers draft grade. An analysis of their 2021 draft class
What do you even make of Packers at this point? They were just in the NFC Championship and were a very, very conservative call away from being back in the Super Bowl in 10 years. They have a dynamic duo at running back in Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon that took over down the stretch for the team. The offensive line is still anchored by David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins. DeVante Adams just made an argument as to why he might be the best receiver in all of football. And the defense, well, they have a great combination of guys who can cover, minus Kevin King, and guys who can get after the QB. Well, all of this rang true when the clock hit zero against Tampa.
Then the wheels started coming off, Aaron Rodgers so dismayed at the fact that his team came so close to beating the Bucs, all while punting on their 2020 1st round pick. Instead of getting the top QB in the NFC the last decade any help, they slapped him in the face with his eventual replacement, then doubled back around again in the second round with a running-back. Had the team had a viable second option at receiver, would the game against the Bucs gone differently?
Well, Rodgers apparently felt so, and he immediately created doubt as to his future as a Packer in the press conference. He was just emotional, right? Feeling the disappointment of having his best chance to lift up the Lombardi again. Yeah, well, he then replaced TV’s most recognizable host on arguably it’s most recognizable game-show, where Alex Trebek held the position for over 35 years. If that’s not a “I don’t need you guys nearly as much as you need me”, well then, I don’t know what is.
The worst part for Green Bay is that this “screw you” mentality has now trickled down to DeVante Adams, who has all but shut off communication with the front office on an extension. Now, instead of trying to appease one star, the Packers are fighting two fronts, which ironically enough are clearly tied together. The good news for Green Bay is that they make this all go away if they just make Aaron feel warm and fuzzy with a solid off-season. Go and add a receiver or two and the whole thing will be over. Rodgers will sign an extension and Adams will follow suit.
Seemed that way, Aaron Jones was inked to a huge deal, so Rodgers got his favorite toy out of the backfield back. Which came at the cost of center Corey Linsley, but hey, Rodgers is a magician, offensive line is important, but they don’t catch the ball. Well, then everything else went to s*** and the Packers gave Rodgers the biggest “F you” in the draft.
Georgia CB Eric Stokes (Round 1, Pick 29)
In most situations I would commend the team for making this pick with a high Packers draft grade. They grabbed a solid man to man cover corner that went against the nation’s best talent and are pairing him with an elite No. 1 corner that already exists on the team. Not to mention a fearsome pass-rush that is spearheaded by Kenny Clark, Za’Darius Smith, Rashan Gary, and Preston Smith.Embed from Getty Images
This isn’t most situations and you have a QB is openly on strike and recruiting his teammates to his cause. The result, a knock against our Packers draft grade. Even if you weren’t interested in enabling the crying child in the corner, why are you screwing the back-up? Who the hell is Jordan Love going to throw to if Adams holds out? Guys who have more names than they do catches? The Packers played this one poorly, the secondary wasn’t responsible for the loss at Raymond-James Stadium, the offense was.
The worst part is that receiver was a weak-spot too, especially with Robert Tonyan leaving in free agency, the Packers are literally down to nothing. Why not take a shot on either Elijah Moore or Rondale Moore? Either one would have been an olive branch to the Rodgers camp that would have put the pressure on him. Right now, public perception is that Green Bay is being arrogant and Rodgers simply just wants the help that Peyton and Brady received at the end of their careers. Had they gone after a receiver in the first round or even made a concerted effort to bring in Julio Jones, the narrative would have been different. The question would be, well what else does Aaron want? Which is important for this regime as they move forward, there will be a lot of backlash if Rodgers/Adams holds out AND the Packers play poorly.
Solid player, right spot, but wrong selection. Not good for our Packers draft grade.
Ohio State IOL Josh Myers (Round 2, Pick 62)
A great selection, specifically if the Packers grabbed a receiver at 29, he fills a massive hole with the loss of Corey Linsley to the Chargers. He’s a big (6’5, 315), physical interior linemen that wants to demolish the guy in front of him. If there’s one thing I would want my offensive linemen to have, it’s a mean-streak, with that level of tenacity you can teach them the proper technique to be a stud. Which is what Myers needs, just refinement on his mechanics. However, he launches out of his stance and creates movement in the running game. In terms of need, it’s a plus in our books for our Packers draft grade.
However, the same problem exists here that existed at 29, what the hell are you doing to your fan base? How in the world do you explain not attacking receiver with back to back picks knowing full well that the two best players on your team and arguably in the division are on strike, with the only demand that you provide them more help?? In what world is replacing a position where you lost a player going to make them feel as though you’re at least attempting to rectify the situation?
I would have reached for a guy like Dyami Brown, who has the explosiveness that Rodgers loves, if it meant ending the feud between the Montagues and Capulets . Seriously, what’s worth more to you going into 2021: adding a very good interior offensive lineman, but losing Rodgers, Adams, and fan support or reaching for a receiver, but mending fences with both guys and the fans? It’s not even a question, especially since both guys who are pissed off are the main drivers for ticket sales.
Who is going to come watch Jordan Love hand the ball off to A.J. Dillon and Aaron Jones for 4 yards a touch? Especially when opponents are running circles around them because their offense is so anemic and predictable that everyone is up against the line of scrimmage. You really have to wonder what was going through the Packers’ front office’s mind and if there was an actual owner, would this behavior have flown?
Clemson WR Amari Rodgers (Round 3, Pick 85)
Okay, remember when I said Aaron Rodgers got two slaps in the face with the 2020 draft? Well, this was a straight missile kick to the groin. Not only do you wait 85 picks to provide some sort of reinforcements, you HAVE TO select the guy whose name basically sounds the same if you say it 5x fast? There’s no coincidences in this world and even if there was, this isn’t one.
I mean he was a good player his last year at Clemson, catching 77 balls for over 1000 yards and 7 TDs, then posting a 4.44 40 at his Pro Day. So, it’s not as though you reached on the player, but there is a legitimate question of whether he WAS THAT good or did Sunshine over there make him look better.
I’ve already expelled enough hot air regarding the Packers and how they’ve decided to run their organization the last couple of years. As a Patriots fan, I feel for Packers fans, seeing your team alienate your franchise’s best player, not because they want more money, but because they want more talent to win more. Yeah, not a good look Green Bay and why wouldn’t you just take a look at New England as the example? Or, better yet, why wouldn’t you just package this pick with others to go grab Julio ‘bleeping’ Jones…
I’m going to wrap this synopsis with one sentence, good players that fill needs, but all three of them combined aren’t worth what you’re potentially give up for them.
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