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Packers 2021 Draft in Review

Once the Super Bowl is in the books and the first week of free agency ends, the NFL draft is the focal point of positive news for fans. Often, if you are a glass half full type of fan, it can be the happiest few weeks to be a Packer fan. Your team is undefeated, the draft could potentially cure all of your team’s failings, and every prospect has a story that can make you root for their success.

Last year’s draft day burst that bubble for Packer fans. News of the rift between Rodgers and the front office poisoned the day turning promise into panic. Waiting for round three to draft a wide receiver helped fuel more complaints along with the first round pick of CB Eric Stokes who some analysts said was the second best CB on his college team. Tyson Campbell, drafted in round 2 by Jacksonville, was seen by many as a better player.

Drafting Josh Meyers as the second center off the board in the second round, was a need selection, but pundits like Walter Football had Myers as the sixth ranked center. Center Creed Humphrey was taken one pick after Myers by the Chiefs and the next true center, Kendrick Green, was drafted 23 picks later by Pittsburg. After one full season it is time to review the Packers 2021 draft.

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones (11) and Green Bay Packers cornerback Eric Stokes (21) look to catch a pass in the fourth quarter during their football game Saturday, December 25, 2021, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Samantha Madar/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Round one: CB Eric Stokes

Stokes was looked to be a luxury pick for the Packers due to the standout play of Jaire Alexander and the alleged potential of Kevin King and Chandon Sullivan. Stokes was forced into a starting role early due to injuries to both King and Alexander. Stokes improved to the point where offensive coordinators stopped targeting him and came up big in the playoffs with an interception against San Francisco. He is the starting left corner of the future. If Alexander can come back from his shoulder injury the pair could be the best in the NFL next year.

The pundit argument that Campbell was the better prospect is still a good debate. In week 15 Stokes played well, coming up with a critical two point conversion stop and allowed only one first down for a total of 35 yards. Campbell was even better. Campbell had a great interception and limited the Texans to nine total yards in his team’s loss. Campbell was recognized twice in the final weeks of the season for outstanding performances.

C Josh Myers

Jan 22, 2022; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers center Josh Myers (71) prepares to snap the ball in the first half against the San Francisco 49ers during a NFC Divisional playoff football game at Lambeau Field. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Round two: Josh Myers

Myers started from the first snap but his progress was limited by losing playing time to injury. He returned for the playoffs but no one would say the offensive line had a good day against the 49ers. Myers did show improvement during the season and would never be labeled a bust, but he did not play at the level of Pro Bowler Corey Linsley whom he replaced.

Creed Humphrey made All Pro in his rookie season for Kansas City. Humphrey allowed 12 pressures, no sacks, and had the best run blocking grade for centers at 92.5. Kendrick Green has not been successful at center for Pittsburgh. He only had three college starts at center and his inexperience at the position contributed to Ben Roethlisberger publicly stating he believed Green should be moved to guard.

WR Amari Rodgers

Sep 12, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Amari Rodgers (8) receives a pass in the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Saints at TIAA Bank Field. Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Round three: Amari Rodgers

Packer fans who wanted a top wideout were not satisfied with a third round pick who stood 5’9”; 210 lbs and mostly played a gadget role in college. As a third round pick Rodgers gave no indication he will become the next James Jones. He was less than impressive as a return man and never cracked the rotational lineup for targets by Aaron Rodgers. His entire stat line for his first season on offense resulted in four catches for 45 yards. His two fumbles also failed to impress. Drafted one pick after Rodgers, Nico Collins has impressed. Thirty three catches on 60 targets for 446 yards on a bad Texan’s team. He is 6’4” and 225 lbs. Anthony Schwartz, drafted by the Browns two picks later is labeled a bust but his 145 reception yards more than triple Rodgers.

Later pick Amon Ra St. Brown, brother of Packer receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, had multiple big games for a bad Lions team. His 90 receptions and six total touchdowns blow his older brother’s four year career totals (33 catches/2 TD’s) out the window.

The next two Packer picks have exceeded expectations. Fourth round pick, guard Royce Newman, started early due to injuries and displayed starting talent while learning from rookie mistakes. Stats on Newman vary, but he gave up at least 3.5 sacks and had four penalties. He may have the potential to start at right tackle, his college position, in the future.

T.J. Slaton kept improving during the season and was a main reason the Packers jettisoned Kingsley Keke. Against Baltimore, Slaton had 4 tackles and against the 49ers in a small amount of snaps he had a tackle for loss. The next defensive tackle drafted, Marlon Tuipulotu from USC, had one total tackle for the season. Usually a fifth round nose tackle would need development to see an NFL field. Slaton has already contributed more to the Packers than 2017 third round pick Montravious Adams did in three seasons.

The rest of the picks are all unproven. Shemar Jean Charles played a high number of special teams snaps on the worst special teams in the league. His struggles tackling do not bode well for a bright future.

Cole Van Lanen saw a few snaps against Minnesota which should mean the coaches saw NFL potential in the young hometown pick. If he can become a starter this draft blossoms into potentially a generational draft.

Isaiah McDuffie played special teams and his potential is unknown. Packer GM Ron Wolf said a successful draft is defined by three starters. Newman, Stokes and Myers will allow this draft to meet that definition if they stay healthy. If Slaton and Van Lanen blossom into starters then this draft will be remembered as a classic. Only time will tell at this point. This year’s draft may require a generational Packer draft for the team to overcome their salary cap woes. Let’s hope Gutekunst and company have at least four more starters on their draft board that fall to Green Bay.

Paul Edwards

Paul Edwards is a lawyer, victim advocate, writer, and long term Packer fan and Packer history enthusiast.

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5 Comments

  1. stevebooth8739 February 9, 2022

    I think that it’s a tad unfair to compare Myers to a (Pro-Bowl Center) Linsley. I would suspect that none of the centers would live up to that comparison probably not even Linsley (in his first year).

    Drafting is a crap shoot. At least they avoided Kendrick Green.

    It also isn’t particularly fair to compare them to draft choices chosen later. Anybody can cherry pick a draft. The amount of resources these teams expend to get information and properly evaluate would probably boggle the mind. I think about the Patriot Tight End Aaron Hernandez. He went in the fourth round due to suspected character issues. Some of these other players may have been evaluated similarly.

  2. Tom M February 10, 2022

    Eric Stokes and Josh Myers look like pro bowl players if they can stay healthy. While Royce Newman looks like a solid NFL guard with an 8 yr career. TJ Slaton could be a real find along the D line. It just depends on how bad he wants it and how hard he’s willing to work at it. It’s hard to fault Gutekunst for not taking EQ’s brother since he’s hardly set the NFL on fire himself. It’s clearly a case of once bitten twice shy. Unfortunately Amari looks like a bust. The big mistake Brian Gutekunst made had nothing to do with the draft. I blame him for not trading Aaron Rodgers straight up for Matthew Stafford. It cost us a Super Bowl. Stafford, finally on a good team, has done what little Aaron couldn’t do in the last 11 years. Take a good team to the SB and beat the 49ers in the playoffs. While Packer fans settle for the Joe Rogan of the NFL and his MVP awards, Stafford is favored to win the SB.

  3. PF4L February 13, 2022

    Because ( according to Tommi) the Packers ‘would have’ traded even up (in their own division mind you) for Stafford.
    .
    I’d like to say that was the dumbest comment i ever read from Tommi
    But……as dumb comments go….it isn’t even close to his dumbest.
    .
    Don’t underestimate Tommi’s lack of intelligence.
    I did that once awhile back, because…. for the life of me, i never knew anyone could be that stupid.
    Then i read more of his comments, thus, proving me wrong.
    Lesson learned.
    .
    STAY IN SCHOOL KIDS

  4. Mitch Anthony February 13, 2022

    I’m pretty damn close to declaring Amari Rodgers a bust as well. Certainly he wasn’t worthy of the draft capital expended on his acquisition. His college tape showed some real potential upside as a slot receiver but I just wonder if putting him in the returner role, where he failed, got into his head and set him on a course for further mistakes. Veteran players and mature players can often shed mistakes and move on, sometimes the developing player gets in a rut. Mistakes create more mistakes and it makes it harder to – dare I say it – trust him.

    Look at a recent history of third round picks. 2021 Amari Rodgers, 2020 Josiah Deguara, 2019 Jace Sternberger, 2018 Oren Burks, 2017 Montravius Adams, 2016 Kyler Fackrell, 2015 Ty Montgomery, 2014 Kyhri Thorton, 2013 None, 2012 None, 2011 Alex Green.

    Other than maybe, possibly, hopefully Deguara and Kyler Fackrell, who was decent in his role, you could make a case for this team not picking in the third round. It is a curse.

  5. PF4L February 15, 2022

    Yea, i don’t know if our tight ends are doing the trick….
    Dequara….245 yards
    Tonyan….204 yards
    Lewis….214 yards
    .
    All for only 8.6 million.
    Which……is cheaper than the 10 million/year that Gute gave Jimmy
    .
    Keep up the good work.