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A draft class limited on first-round talents might encourage a trade up the board while also making a trade down from No. 29 overall more difficult for the Green Bay Packers.
According to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com, “many teams” are rating only 14-17 players as legitimate first-rounders on their board, down around 4-5 players from most years.
A smaller draft class and all the other COVID-19 related issues will affect the action to start the 2021 NFL draft.
The Packers have the 29th overall pick in the first round, lessening the likelihood that a player rated in the first round will still be on the board when Brian Gutekunst comes on the clock late Thursday night.
Since taking over as Packers general manager in 2018, Gutekunst has traded up in the first round during all three drafts. He said Monday it’s “always tempting” to trade up, especially if a game-changing player is in range, but he admitted he needed to be careful and not lock into one player.
Last season, the Packers traded up four spots to make sure they landed the team’s last remaining first-round caliber player on the board (quarterback Jordan Love). A similar scenario could play out on Thursday night.
Trading down from No. 29 might also be more difficult if the crop of first-round talents is so much smaller. Will a team picking in the early second round really want to move up for a player rated as a second-round prospect? The Packers might need to either move up to get a first-round talent or sit at No. 29 and pick between a bunch of lower-rated players.
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