The 2021 NFL Draft is almost here and Green Bay Packers fans are eager to know who the team will select in the first round. The Packers presently hold the 29th pick in the first round although GM Brian Gutekunst has made a trade in the first round of each of his first three drafts with Green Bay.
This is the next in a series of articles looking at players the Packers may be interested in selecting at this year’s draft. The only players listed here are realistic possibilities for the Packers to pick at 29 or if they trade up or down slightly from that spot.
Today we will examine wide receivers since the Packers have a definite need at this position. As of right now, none of the wide receivers at the top of the depth chart are under contract beyond the 2021 season. So, unless the Packers intend to extend all these players, they will need to start developing a player who may need to play a bigger role in 2022.
Davante Adams is the undisputed number one receiver. Adams is in his prime and is one of the best wideouts in football today. The Packers are reportedly discussing a contract extension with Adams although nothing is official as of now.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling has outstanding speed but lacks consistency. Allen Lazard has size and is one of the top blocking wide receivers in the league but needs to stay healthy and continue his development. Devin Funchess and Equanimeous St. Brown both have a lot to prove after being slowed by injuries and inconsistency (St. Brown) and having played just one game total over the past two seasons (Funchess).
There are several quality wide receivers that could be available when the Packers pick at 29. Players on this list are likely to be available at that spot or be available if Gutekunst chooses to trade up 10 or fewer spots to grab that player.
So here is a list of possible wideouts the Packers may take in the first round. They are not listed in any particular order.
Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
Bateman is one of the best route runners in this draft and he has good but not outstanding speed. Bateman’s intelligence and football savvy mean he will likely be able to have an impact sooner than most rookie receivers in the NFL.
Bateman can line up outside or in the slot and has good size at 6’1” and 210 pounds. He also has good instincts for the ball and won nearly all the contested catches he had in college.
The biggest concern about Bateman may be his relatively small frame and some scouts question whether he’ll be able to hold up to the physical pounding he’ll get in the NFL.
Bateman would be a great fit in the Matt LaFleur offense and he could have an impact on the Green Bay offense early in his career.
Terrace Marshall Jr., LSU
Marshall has the height the Packers like at 6’3” and he has been timed at 4.46 in the 40 so he also has great speed. The former LSU star also has soft hands but drops some passes due to a lack of concentration and that is a concern for some scouts.
In 2019, Marshall was a complimentary receiver but last year, he was the featured wideout and he seemed completely comfortable in that role. Marshall can play both outside and in the slot.
He may need to work on his running after the catch but overall, Marshall’s size, speed and hands make him a strong prospect who can be a dangerous weapon in the NFL once he gets comfortable.
Kadarius Toney, Florida
Toney is at his best when lining up in the slot. His 4.43 speed makes him a dangerous weapon whenever he gets on the field and defenses need to account for him at all times. He is very good at gaining separation from defenders when running his routes.
Because he is only 5’10”, he can be frustrated by press man coverage at time and this is something he will have to work on when he gets to the NFL.
Toney has played running back before and is a threat to break a long play after the catch. He doesn’t have as much experience as a receiver and some scouts consider him more of an “athlete” than a pure wideout.
The Packers have a need for a receiver with Toney’s skill set in the slot and he may be a good fit in Green Bay.
Rondale Moore, Purdue
Injuries have felled Moore the past two years and have limited him to seven total games over the last two seasons. In 2018, his freshman year, Moore was outstanding catching 114 passes for 1,258 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Moore also excels as a return specialist and the Packers certainly have a need at that position. Moore could easily play the Tyler Ervin role in the offense, running jet sweeps and screens or he can line up in the slot. He also changes direction very well and that makes him an elusive when the ball is in his hands and an effective route runner.
He’s only listed at 5’9” and 180 pounds so durability may be an issue although he does have good strength for his size.
If his medicals check out and he lands in the right system, Moore can be a dangerous weapon who can make 7-10 touches per game and create big plays for his team.
Dyami Brown, North Carolina
Brown has good deep speed and excels at making adjustments to the ball in midair. He plays very well against zone defenses and knows how to find the weakness in the zone and make catches between defenders. Brown can also play either in the slot or on the perimeter.
In college, Brown was a consistent deep threat and averaged 20.1-yards per catch while coring 20 touchdowns in 24 games at UNC.
Brown will need to improve his consistency with his hands and he only ran limited patterns in college, so his adjustment to the NFL may take a little longer than some of the other players on this list. Still, his speed, football intelligence and versatility should make him a solid prospect in the first or second round of this year’s draft.
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