Closer look at the Green Bay Packers’ 2021 draft picks

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Zach Kruse
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The Green Bay Packers selected nine players during the 2021 NFL draft, including first-round pick Eric Stokes and three offensive linemen.

It’s now time to dig into the draft class and find out what the Packers added to their roster during the year’s biggest roster-building event.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the entire draft class, providing breakdowns, player profiles, scouting reports from The Athletic’s Dane Brugler and comments from the Packers on all nine selections.

1.29: CB Eric Stokes, Georgia

Georgia defensive back Eric Stokes covers a play against Florida during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Breakdown: Blazing fast cornerback prospect with ideal length and recovery speed. Two years of starting experience in the receiver-rich SEC. Rarely targeted. Second-team All-SEC pick in 2020 after intercepting four passes and returning two for touchdowns. Allowed only three touchdown passes despite playing almost 1,600 total defensive snaps the last three seasons, per Pro Football Focus. Needs to become more fluid in coverage transitions and less grabby down the field. Speed makes up for mistakes. Sam Shields type. Brugler's scouting report: "Overall, Stokes must correct his play recognition and transition flaws, but his size, speed and promising ball awareness are undeniable and scheme-versatile traits that will help him compete for starting reps early in his NFL career." They said it: “The 4.29 (40) always gets your attention…Pat Moore, our area scout, does a fantastic job, was very high on him early. Before he tested, before we got to see him as an athlete, we interviewed him. And he’s such a genuine human being. I think Packers fans are going to love him. He’s a quality human being who is really driven. He’s overcome a lot of adversity in his young life. Obviously, being a top player in the SEC and being a rare athlete. As you check the boxes, he added up.” – GM Brian Gutekunst

2.62: OL Josh Myers, Ohio State

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Breakdown: Massive center prospect at 6-5, 310. Two-year starter with over 1,500 snaps at center. The Packers think he can play any of the three interior positions. Powerful run blocker with good movement skills, providing an ideal fit in the zone run scheme Gave up six sacks and 26 pressures as a starter, highlighting some issues in pass protection. Team captain in 2020. Recovering from turf toe injury and didn't test during pre-draft process. Brugler's scouting report: "Overall, Myers isn’t an elite athlete for the position and needs to cut back on the aggressive leaning, but he brings the desired levels of toughness, smarts and execution. He projects as a starter in the NFL at a guard or center." They said it: "His size, his athleticism, his power, how smart he is, what they asked him to do at Ohio State, understanding he could handle that stuff here, that was intriguing to us. He just fit what we’re all about.” – GM Brian Gutekunst

3.85: WR Amari Rodgers, Clemson

Clemson wide receiver Amari Rodgers (3) carries the ball during the second quarter of the game against Texas A&M at Memorial Stadium in Clemson Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019.

Breakdown: Tough, dependable, playmaking slot weapon and returner. Caught ACC-high 77 passes in 2020. Also broke 17 tackles after the catch last season, per PFF. Fearless over the middle of the field and feasted on easy yards on manufactured touches. Finished sixth in team history in catches. Three seasons as Clemson's primary punt returner. Has running back-like frame and skills and could play snaps from the backfield. Expected to be used in a variety of roles within Matt LaFleur's offense, possibly similar to Deebo Samuel for Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco. Brugler's scouting report: "Overall, Rodgers might struggle to win on the outside vs. NFL corners, but he is a cranked-up competitor with the play strength, instincts and acceleration similar to Deebo Samuel. He projects as a versatile starting slot receiver with special teams skills." They said it: "He fills so many holes for us. That’s one of the reasons why we traded up for him. Not only as a punt returner and a slot receiver, but the creativity that Matt has within his offense. The jet sweeps, and screens. He’s a 212-pound receiver, he’s not one of these smaller guys. So I think kick returning could be part of his arsenal as well. He’s just built for us up here in Green Bay. Very versatile player. Very smart player.” – GM Brian Gutekunst

4.142: OL Royce Newman, Ole Miss

Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Breakdown: Started one season at left guard (12 games) and one season at right tackle (10 games). The Packers think he has versatility at the pro level, with the feet to play right tackle but the frame and playstyle for inside. Tested well, with good times in 10-yard split, three-cone and short shuttle. Gave up 25 total pressures at right tackle in 2020 and struggled at times in traditional pass sets against SEC-caliber rushers. Brugler's scouting report: "Overall, Newman doesn’t have overwhelming physicality or play strength, but he is quick off the ball with efficient setup and execution to stay square with defenders. He projects as a prospect with four-position (RT, LG, RG, OC) versatility." They said it: “Down there at the Senior Bowl, he moved around a little bit, even kicked him inside to center. Between previous years of playing guard, this year playing tackle and putting out good tape doing both, and then seeing him down in Mobile, we felt good about what we were getting.” – director of player personnel Jon-Eric Sullivan

5.173: DL Tedarrell Slaton, Florida

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Breakdown: Gigantic interior defender at 6-4, 330. Mostly a space-eater at Florida with minimal production (98 tackles, 10 tackles for loss in 45 games). Did flash some pass-rushing disruption with 11 quarterback hits over final two seasons, per PFF. Incredible first step for his size, highlighted by 1.68-second 10-yard split. Could be a two-gapping player for Packers defensive line, assuming some of the thankless work in the middle from Kenny Clark. Strong and wide but needs to get better at anchoring and holding the point of attack. Likely only a rotational role player at the next level. Brugler's scouting report: "Overall, Slaton is a massive athlete with the raw power, promising technique and two-gap potential to be an intriguing project for an NFL defensive line coach." They said it: "Definitely against the run. And definitely in pass situations. I feel like I'm a great player when it comes to run and pass. But I think I'm really going to make an impact on the run game."– Slaton

5.178: CB Shemar Jean-Charles, Appalachian State

Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Breakdown: Undersized corner (5-10, 184) but a magnet to the ball in the air. Broke up 27 passes as a two-year starter. Second-team All-American in 2020. Forced 17 incompletions last season, tied for No. 1 in the draft class, per PFF. High football IQ. Played mostly on the perimeter but could be headed for the slot in the NFL. Just doesn't have the size or athleticism to hold up on the outside. Team captain in 2020. Brugler's scouting report: "Overall, Jean-Charles doesn’t have an elite size/speed/strength profile, but he is a “right place, right time” type of player and stays balanced in coverage to disrupt passing lanes." They said it: "I think he has a really good chance to play inside at nickel and do some of those things. I also think he's a very strong athlete even though he doesn't have great height that will allow him to play outside if we need him to. I think we looked at him as a guy that can compete inside. He has a lot of twitch and he gets his hands on a lot of balls. Very productive year this last year at App. State. Just a great kid." – GM Brian Gutekunst

6.214: OL Cole Van Lanen, Wisconsin

Breakdown: Green Bay native started 19 games at left tackle in Madison. Two-time All-Big Ten pick. Strong run blocker but lack of length and issues in pass protection against top competition could mean a move inside. Hit all the Packers' usual athletic thresholds (see: 10-yard split, short shuttle, three-cone) for offensive linemen. Gave up eight sacks on around 800 pass-blocking snaps, per PFF. Graded out high as a sophomore but never reached took the next step over final two seasons. Brugler's scouting report: "Overall, Van Lanen is smart and physical, but his average length and balance issues will push him inside to guard for some teams. He projects as a possible backup." They said it: “Very athletic big man. Just a ton of versatility. He’s a smart kid.” – GM Brian Gutekunst

6.220: LB Isaiah McDuffie, Boston College

(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Breakdown: Three-year starter with over 200 career tackles. Productive as a senior, tallying 107 tackles (6.5 for losses) and earning second-team All-ACC honors. Produced 8.5 career sacks. Ran 4.58 in the 40-yard dash. Brugler's scouting report: "Overall, McDuffie needs to play with better discipline, but he only knows one speed and flies around the field with a touch of insanity to him. He projects as a special teamer and linebacker depth." They said it: "Super happy to get there towards the end and pick up Isaiah McDuffie. Not only as an inside linebacker but we think he has a really good chance to be a special special teams player." – GM Brian Gutekunst

7.256: RB Kylin Hill, Mississippi State

Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

Breakdown: Tough, tackle-breaking runner with pass-catching experience. Produced 1,350 yards and 10 scores during terrific 2019 season. Runs hard and can elude tacklers. Broke 116 tackles during college career, per PFF. Jacked up at 5-10, 214 pounds, did 22 reps on the bench. Caught 67 passes. Only one career fumble (as a freshman). Could be a three-down player and potential kick returner. Brugler's scouting report: "Overall, Hill’s run tempo and emotional maturity will be put under the microscope during the draft process, but he offers the agility, determination and pass-catching skills to be a productive piece of a running back rotation in the NFL." They said it: "Jon-Eric Sullivan was a big fan of Kylin from the get-go. He's a very talented individual. We were surprised to see him on the board that late. Kinda holding our breath there in the seventh round. He's an explosive athlete as a runner, catches the ball pretty well. He might be able to add some special teams value as well." – GM Brian Gutekunst

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