Realistic trade-up opportunities for Packers in first round of 2021 NFL draft

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Zach Kruse
·3 min read
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The Green Bay Packers traded up in the first rounds of the 2018, 2019 and 2020 NFL drafts, making general manager Brian Gutekunst – who holds 10 total picks this year – a good bet to trade up for the fourth straight season to begin his term as the Packers’ roster builder.

Green Bay is currently in possession of the 29th overall pick in the first round.

Gutekunst moved up nine spots in 2018, nine spots in 2019 and four spots in 2020. How could the Packers move up in this year’s draft?

The following exercise won’t be designed to identify which players the Packers could trade up for in the draft. Instead, it will look at the teams and draft picks that make the most sense for trade-up opportunities later this month.

Indianapolis Colts

Why the Colts: Indianapolis only has six draft choices currently, including no third-round pick and only four total picks on Day 3. Trading back in the first round would be an easy way for the Colts to regain some draft capital in the middle rounds. Hypothetical trade: Packers trade No. 29 and No. 92 to Colts for No. 21 Thoughts: The Colts get a third-round pick back, while the Packers move up nine spots and into what could be a valuable spot for players at several premium positions. In 2019, the Packers sent two fourth-round picks to Seattle to move up to No. 21, but the team's pair of fourth-rounders isn't nearly as valuable this year (No. 114 and 118 in 2019; No. 135 and 142 in 2021). Maybe the Colts would be so desperate for middle-round capital that they'd accept the two fourth-rounders.

Cleveland Browns

Why the Browns: The Packers may want to jump a like-minded team like the Saints or Ravens and secure a specific player. Gutekunst moved up to No. 26 last year, and the Packers have traded with the Browns in the first round as recently as 2017. Hypothetical trade: Packers send No. 29, No. 142 and No. 214 to Browns for No. 26 Thoughts: The cost here for Green Bay is a compensatory fourth-round pick and a sixth-round pick, although it might cost less to move up three spots. The Packers would still have one pick left in each round, and they'd be able to go up and get a targeted player. Teams at the end of the first round – when the number of first-round caliber players on the board for teams could be down to just one – make deals like this every year.

Baltimore Ravens

Why the Ravens: The Packers have a strong relationship with Baltimore through personnel executive Milt Hendrickson, and it's possible they would want to jump the Saints, who have many of Green Bay's same roster needs. Hypothetical trade: Packers send No. 29 and No. 178 to Ravens for No. 27 Thoughts: This would be all about getting a player before the Saints. A compensatory fifth-round pick is a small price to pay to ensure the team's first-round target doesn't end up in New Orleans.

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