Equanimeous St. Brown. James Starks. Mason Crosby. Johnny Jolly. Matt Hasselbeck. What do all of these players have in common? They were all drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the sixth round and became household names.
So technically Hasselbeck was mostly a backup quarterback and truly shined for the Seattle Seahawks. He was still drafted by the Packers and became a talented starter in the NFL.
Currently, the Packers have two sixth-round picks. Nos. 214 and 220 are theirs. Their second one was a compensatory pick they got because linebacker Kyler Fackrell was signed in free agency by the New York Giants.
There is a strong possibility the Packers will trade up during the draft and give one or both of those picks away. They have 10 picks in total. And while they could use all 10 picks to find some solid players, it’s easy leverage to trade with on Draft Day to get the players they want.
If Green Bay still has a sixth-rounder or two, here are three solid players that could join players like Crosby or Starks as late-round gems:
The Packers might be able to find their future center in this year’s draft. Jackson had 44 consecutive starts at Kentucky and appeared in 47 games total. His presence at offensive line brought Kentucky a lot of success. Over his five years, UK won 37 games. That is the most over a five-year span since 1953. They also went to five straight bowl games, which ties a school record.
Drake was a team captain last season. He was named a PFF First Team All-SEC Center and had 40 knockdowns and 188 blocks at the point of attack during his final year.
Jackson is a little smaller for a lineman and center. His 6’2″, 293-lb. frame might be a reason he drops a little in the draft, but he is a smart player. He also walks into this year’s draft with a master’s degree in kinesiology and health promotion. He seems like a Packers-type of player and would add to the depth at offensive line that Green Bay needs.
Drafting multiple linebackers will and should be in the cards for Green Bay. The Packers have been linked to drafting linebacker Zaven Collins for their first-round pick at 29. Lots of NFL experts agree with that theory, including Zone Coverage’s own Mitch Widmeier.
Toney should also be given a look much later in the draft. The Penn State edge rusher could be used at outside or inside linebacker. Toney had 112 total tackles over his four years with the Nittany Lions. Last year he had 31 total tackles, five sacks, and one forced fumble.
Toney was also selected to be a team captain during his senior year. He’s a solid run defender and has some nice closing speed if he has to play in coverage. His only drawback is the concern that he doesn’t play at the physical level needed in the NFL. But with players like Za’Darius Smith, Rashan Gary, Preston Smith, and Jaire Alexander, he is still young enough to learn how to play physically.
Would a wide receiver in the first few rounds be nice? Of course. But patience is also a virtue sometimes. This year’s draft has another talented receiving group though, so the Packers can wait if they want.
Positions like cornerback, offensive line, defensive end, and linebacker are needed a lot more. Green Bay could wait and draft someone like Adams and still walk away with a future No. 2 receiver next to partner with Davante Adams.
The Arkansas State wideout had a 2020 that should make any team interested in him. He had 79 receptions, 1,111 yards, and 12 touchdowns. His college totals were 166 receptions, 2,306 yards, and 21 touchdowns. To say he made major jumps every year would be an understatement.
Last year was truly a breakout year for Adams. He had eight games last year with 90-plus yards receiving. His last two games in November both had impressive numbers. He had two touchdowns each game, with nine and 10 receptions and around 140 yards each game.
Jonathan did have some drop issues and did miss the team’s final game with a hip injury. That hairline fracture might have cost him a round in the draft. Buzz is generating for him though, so Green Bay might need to pull the trigger earlier if they want Adams in green and gold.
All these players will be in Green Bay’s draft range, and it will all depend on how many picks they still have when they get to the sixth round. I wouldn’t count on having both still, but it’s possible. There are some solid players that can come out of the later rounds.
Out of the players available, Adams really stands out. It would add another receiver, and would give the Packers nothing but upside on offense. And if he needs a year or two to develop, you didn’t pass up NFL-ready defensive players or offensive linemen that the Packers need to play right now. It’s very unlikely that Green Bay walks away from this year’s draft without a receiver.