After last season's virtual draft, Cleveland played host to festivities this year with a handful of potential draft picks present and socially distanced because of COVID-19.
Here's a pick-by-pick look at how each player Green Bay selected will fit.
Round 1, 29th overall: Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
My take: Should it really be any surprise that the Packers went defense in the first round? This is the ninth time in their last 10 first-round picks they’ve addressed that side of the ball, with the lone offensive player being quarterback Jordan Love last year. Brian Gutekunst took a cornerback, Jaire Alexander, with his first pick as GM in 2018. Also, the last two times the Packers changed defensive coordinators, they gave him a first-round player or players. In 2009, Dom Capers got two first-rounders -- B.J. Raji and Clay Matthews. Mike Pettine got Alexander in 2018 and now Joe Barry gets Stokes. The pick says Pettine wasn’t the only problem with the Packers’ defense last year.
Speed kills: Stokes is fast. Very fast. Sub-4.3 fast. At slightly over 6-foot and 194 pounds, he turned in a pair of 40-yard dash times under 4.3 at his pro day. His was timed at 4.25 seconds and 4.29 seconds in his run in front of scouts at his pro day. With no scouting combine this year, they're all technically unofficial times and it’s hard to compare 40 times in different conditions and at different locations. But it’s safe to say Stokes is one of the fastest players in this year’s draft.
Why no receiver -- again?: Two of their favorites were already off the board: Florida’s Kadarius Toney to the Giants at No. 20 and Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman at No. 27 to the Ravens. It’s now been 19 years since the Packers last took a receiver in the first round, going back to Javon Walker in 2002. They almost certainly will take a receiver or receivers at some point this weekend, considering they’ve shied away from the position in each of the last two drafts, but the streak of no receivers in the first round continues.
Round 2, No. 62 overall: Josh Myers, C, Ohio State
Josh Myers' NFL draft profile
Check out the best highlights from Ohio State C Josh Myers' college career.
My take: The last player the Packers took from Ohio State was Corey Linsley in 2014 (fifth round). Linsley’s departure to the Los Angeles Chargers in free agency opened the door for Myers. The question is does he replace Linsley and make a run at the opening-day center spot? Or do the Packers move someone -- say Elgton Jenkins, Lucas Patrick or Jon Runyan to center -- and play Myers at guard?
Myers appears to have the versatility to play any of the three interior line spots. “Don’t want to pin him to one position because he can play all three,” Packers director of college scouting Matt Malaspina said Friday. It also could help give the Packers more options at tackle (where Jenkins also could play) if All-Pro LT David Bakhtiari isn’t ready for the opener after his Dec. 31 torn ACL. Myers was just the second true center taken in this draft. He allowed three sacks last season, according to Sports Info Solutions. OSU averaged 5.7 yards per rush up the middle, seventh-best in the FBS. The third center, Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey, went one pick later to the Chiefs.
Round 3, No. 85 overall: Amari Rodgers, WR Clemson
Amari Rodgers' NFL draft profile
Check out the highlights from Clemson WR Amari Rodgers' college career.
My take: Is it too little, too late to appease Aaron Rodgers? After not taking a receiver in each of the last two drafts -- and never having taken one higher than the fourth round during his tenure as GM -- Brian Gutekunst not only took one on Day 2 but traded up to do it. Amari Rodgers would seemingly be a great fit for Aaron Rodgers, if he’s their quarterback. Or he could be a security blanket for Jordan Love if the Packers turn things over to him. Either way, think of Randall Cobb meets Ty Montgomery meets Tyler Ervin -- a slot receiver who can line up just about everywhere, including the backfield. Coach Matt LaFleur can use Amari Rodgers in his pre-snap motion plays as either a decoy or a primary target. At Clemson last season, 86% of Amari Rodgers’ targets came from in the slot. Aaron Rodgers’ threw only 31% of his passes to slot receivers.
Round 4, No. 142 overall: Royce Newman, OL, Mississippi
My take: With David Bakhtiari (ACL torn on Dec. 31) still on the mend and Rick Wagner released (and possibly retired), the Packers need options on the offensive line. Second-round pick Josh Myers gave them that on the inside (he'll likely start out at center but also can play guard), and Newman offers that on the outside. He started at left guard in 2019 but moved to right tackle last season. Newman gives them another option at right tackle -- which would allow Billy Turner to hold down the left tackle spot until Bakhtiari is ready. The Packers have a good track record with linemen here. Three of the last four taken by them in the fourth round have made multiple Pro Bowls (Bakhtiari, T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton), while each of the last five taken by the Packers in the fourth round have started 40 or more games.
Round 5, No. 173 overall: Tedarrell Slaton, DT, Florida
My take: The Packers haven't drafted a defensive lineman since 2019 and did not re-sign Montravius Adams, who went to the Patriots in free agency. Slaton gives the Packers another big guy (6-foot-4, 330 pounds) who could potentially take some of the pressure off Kenny Clark. He's much more of a run stopper than a pass rusher. But Kingsley Keke's emergence last year as a spot rusher should take the pressure of Slaton to be a pass rusher right away. It also could give the Packers insurance should they eventually decide to make Dean Lowry a post-June 1 cut -- a move that would create $4.8 million in cap space. He said he prefers to go by T.J. because "some people can't pronounce my name correctly."
Round 5, No. 178 overall: Shemar Jean-Charles, CB, Appalachian State
My take: GM Brian Gutekunst loves cornerbacks. This is the fifth corner he has drafted since he took over in 2018. All but Ka’Dar Hollman (sixth round, 2019) have come in the fifth round or earlier. In fact, three of the five, including first-round pick Eric Stokes, have come within the first two rounds. The concern with Jean-Charles is the speed, or lack of it. He was timed at 4.51 in the 40, which would put him in the same range as Josh Jackson, a second-round pick in 2018 who has struggled to crack the lineup.
Round 6, No. 214 overall: Cole Van Lanen, T/G, Wisconsin
My take: This may not register on the national radar but this is a huge local story. Van Lanen is a Green Bay native and played at suburban Bay Port High School before going to Wisconsin. It also marks the fourth straight year that a Green Bay-area prep player has been drafted -- but the first by the Packers. Last year, it was quarterback James Morgan (Jets, fourth round). Before that it was guard Max Scharping (Texans, second round) and before that it was Kahlil McKenzie (Chiefs, sixth round). And that doesn't include Raiders fullback Alec Ingold, who made it as undrafted free agent in 2019. Van Lanen is the third offensive lineman the Packers have taken in this draft and the sixth in the last two years. He played left tackle at Wisconsin but likely projects as either a right tackle or guard. He's the first Green Bay native to be drafted by the Packers since quarterback Bud Keyes of Wisconsin in 1988 (10th round).
Round 6, No. 220 overall: Isaiah McDuffie, LB, Boston College
My take: The Packers’ top two inside linebackers entering this season are a pair of second-year players, former fifth-round pick Kamal Martin and former undrafted free agent Krys Barnes. Barnes arguably made the biggest impact of any rookie from last year’s class. The Packers have not invested highly at the position in recent years. They tried the free-agent route last year with Christian Kirksey but released him one year into a two-year deal. McDuffie is undersized (6-1, 227) but that could fit into what new defensive coordinator Joe Barry wants to do.
Round 7, No. 256 overall: Kylin Hill, RB, Mississippi State
My take: The Packers are set with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, but they lost Jamaal Williams to the Lions in free agency and have not re-signed gadget back/receiver/returner Tyler Ervin, who probably will be replaced by third-round pick Amari Rodgers. Jones (fifth round) and Williams (fourth) were Day 3 picks and running backs coach Ben Sirmans is among the finest teachers in the game, so why not take a flier late on a running back who started 25 games and rushed for 2,535 yards with 21 touchdowns and fumbled only once?