All the talk in draft circles is about the top five quarterback prospects and where they might slot in for the first few picks of the 2021 NFL Draft. That’s fine and hopefully a run on QBs means that a lot of good, blue-chip talent slides to the Green Bay Packers who — yet again — sit back in the later end of the first round.
The Packers have a few needs outside of WR and that’s what these mock draft experts have provided for the Packers with their boards. Looking at players in the trenches and in the secondary would provide a strong boost for the Packers right away. The Packers had the #1 offense in the league last year, so it shouldn’t be a surprise if they look beyond pass catcher. Though, if Rashod Bateman is there at 29, I hope there’s someone in the war room pounding the table into splinters for him.
PFF: Dillon Radunz, OT, NDSU
While WR still remains the fan-favorite selection for the Packers’ first round pick, shoring up the offensive line is a more critical move for the team long term. With Bryan Bulaga leaving last season and Corey Linsley joining him in Los Angeles this year, the line has lost more talented players than it has gained. The left side remains a strong point and Billy Turner played well last season, but adding more players is crucial. Lane Taylor has also decided to accept a paycheck elsewhere.
Radunz in the first round might be a little rich for me (if we’re taking a small school lineman in the first, I’d rather have Quinn Meinerz) but adding Radunz would give the Packers a big body with plenty of positional versatility. Radunz has a little work to do, but can be an effective pass blocker and run blocker at the next level. He’s definitely one of those linemen that is always looking for work and you love to see that.
CBS Sports: Levi Onwuzurike, DL, Washington
I’m not sure Onwuzurike is a first-round pick, but the Packers do tend to love defensive linemen from the Pac-12. Adding Onwuzurike to play in tandem would be a great piece for freeing up Kenny Clark and letting the trio of Z’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, and Rashan Gary wreak havoc in the trenches. That’s if Onwuzurike pans out.
Onwuzurike is similar to Clark in that he has a really good jump off the ball. His explosion can’t be underrated when you’re watching him. He takes up a lot of space and is a powerful bull rusher who can collapse the pocket, but at this stage, he doesn’t have a stand out pass rush move that makes him a formidable sack artist. His main role for the Packers—at least initially—would be to absorb blocks, maintain gap discipline, and keep the interior run game in check.
NFL Network: Landon Dickerson, OL, Alabama
Back to the other side of the ball is the guy that helped presumed top-5 pick Mac Jones stay clean at Alabama. Despite having a few injuries during his college career, Dickerson can be an anchor for the Packers offensive line and doesn’t have to be the best player in the front five. Just competent. However, the goal is to more so hit on someone who is more than just competent with a first-round pick.
Dickerson is a big lineman and gets physical with his blocks. He’s not a particularly quick big man, though, so that might hurt his versatility. He played well with Alabama, but playing with that unit and that offense can help. Dickerson is a smart athlete, however, and can always find work without needing elite athleticism to get him there, just recognizing where he needs to be before a defender gets by. In tearing his ACL twice and playing the center position, I don’t think Dickerson should go in the first, but he just might. He’d also have to pick a new number if he lands in Green Bay, as a certain long-haired left tackle already has his nice college digits.
Yahoo Sports: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Farley sliding down to the Packers at 29 might be due in part to him sitting out the 2020 college season and injuries. Farley would be an instant upgrade at the CB2 position—taking over for Kevin King, who has been so-so for the Packers since they drafted him.
Farley is another prospect who has the talent of a player drafted much higher, but the checkered injury past makes him a question mark going into the draft. He’s a long corner with incredible athleticism, but would we want the Packers to draft another corner who has trouble staying on the field? At 6’2”, he may not be tasked with shadowing the other teams’ big WR, like King has done, but he is a physical corner who knocks players off their routes, steps up in run support, and has good ball skills when he makes the right move.