The Green Bay Packers need to hit early on some instant-impact players in the NFL Draft with their first couple of selections. There are needs across the board at multiple positions, including cornerback, offensive line, defensive line, and wide receiver. Realistically, the Packers won’t be able to strike gold on all those spots in the draft, and they may not even draft a player at one of those positions at all.
Of the four most glaring needs left on this roster, the one the Packers can most afford to wait on is the wide receiver spot. Last year there was a belief that Green Bay was a wideout away in 2019 and that they needed to take one in the first round of a receiver-heavy draft. We all know what happened instead.
A year later, it’s still a priority to get someone next to Davante Adams but it has slipped down the priority list. Marquez Valdes-Scantling put together a solid season, and who knows what role Devin Funchess will have. Robert Tonyan bursting onto the scene helped the passing game as a whole and provided Rodgers with another great weapon.
The Packers have pass-catching options. Cornerback and the trenches are more pressing right now.
Jaire Alexander is an absolute lockdown cornerback, one of the best in the entire league. The Packers were forced to bring back Kevin King for another go-around, but that seems like a temporary fix for next year. They will need to address the position fairly early in this year’s draft.
The secondary is really good with Alexander, Adrian Amos, and Darnell Savage. If Green Bay can get another solid cornerback across from Jaire, it would further solidify that unit. King isn’t awful by any stretch of the imagination. It’s just a situation that many believed had run its course. Even with him back, plenty of questions linger, especially around cornerback depth. If the issue isn’t addressed this draft, it will likely be a problem in 2021 and be another spot that needs to be addressed in the 2022 offseason.
Green Bay’s offensive line was one of the league’s most consistent groups last year. They were incredible in the passing game and highly effective in the run-blocking game as well. But Corey Linsley, maybe the best center in football, has signed with the Los Angeles Chargers. All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari continues to rehab this offseason, leaving gaps in the line.
It’s an incredible saving grace for the Packers that Elgton Jenkins is as versatile as he is. The guy can literally start and play any of the five positions on the offensive line and be damn effective at all of them. But he’s only one player, and they don’t have any other O-linemen as protean as he is.
The Packers cannot leave Aaron Rodgers unprotected. Every team prioritizes protecting the franchise quarterback, but it has even greater importance when yours is also the league MVP. Green Bay needs to draft a big fella up front early.
Kenny Clark needs a sidekick, plain and simple. He is a one-man wrecking crew, but teams started to realize they could put more bodies on Clark last season in an attempt to neutralize him. Dean Lowry has had brief flashes, but he hasn’t proven to be the type of guy who can be consistently disruptive. The same can be said about Tyler Lancaster and Kingsley Keke.
The defensive line was a key factor in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Super Bowl run. Their defensive line gave Green Bay all sorts of trouble, and they did it to just about everyone else throughout the season as well. The Packers have an array of talent up front with Clark, Za’Darius Smith, Rashan Gary, and Preston Smith. The final piece is adding a legitimate young piece next to Kenny Clark. It’s not a glamor position in the draft, but it needs to be addressed ahead of wide receiver.
Nobody would be upset if Green Bay opts to take a wide receiver in the first round. But with all the really good mid-round talent at the wide receiver spot in this draft, combined with the glaring needs elsewhere, they can wait on a wideout.