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Edge players the Packers could target in each round of the draft

If the Packers don’t retain Za’Darius Smith, they’ll need another pass rusher to add to the rotation

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Round 1 (#28)

Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State

Johnson would be a great fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker or as a 4-3 defensive end. With the flexibility of modern defenses and changing fronts, his versatility is a huge plus. Johnson is quick twitch and has the length to win on a variety of pass rush moves. Johnson is also stout against the run and plays with high effort – much like Rashan Gary did early in his career. Johnson would give Green Bay a three-man rotation without having to rush the rookie onto the field.

Round 2 (#60)

DeMarvin Leal, EDGE, Texas A&M

Early in the season, Leal was thought to be a first-round prospect. He has great athleticism, aligns all over the defensive line, and is great at converting his speed to power. He might skew slightly towards being more of a 3-technique early on where he has a great first step. He needs some more polish outside, though. He didn’t have the best combine, but his tape is enticing. He has fluid hips and is great at using his hands. Leal has a high motor and is good against the run, but he took a step back in both his pass rushing and run defense in 2021. He is certainly gifted with great athletic traits, but his lack of production after what was a stellar 2020 will cause him to slide.

Round 3 (#92)

Deangelo Malone, EDGE, Western Kentucky

Malone is a pure edge rusher. He is explosive off of the line, but has a narrow frame and needs to build on his pass rush moves. While Malone is a fluid athlete and is a high-effort player, he didn’t have any reps dropping into coverage and struggles to set the edge. He is able to slip by offensive linemen and shows good agility, but he’s going to be a pure third-down pass rusher to start off until he gains more strength and feels more comfortable dropping into coverage in Joe Barry’s defense.

Round 4 (#130, #136)

Tyreke Smith, EDGE, Ohio State

Smith is the toolsy athlete that teams love to look at in the later rounds. He’s had some injury history and the stat sheet hasn’t made any eyes pop, but he consistently gets pressure, can win in multiple ways, and has occasionally dropped into coverage. Smith might only have a few sacks on his resume, but he was still an impact player. If he can stay healthy, he has the versatility to be a solid contributor.

Round 5-7 (#170, #224, #245, #255)

Isaiah Thomas, EDGE, Oklahoma

Thomas is a high-effort player that has size and length. He is aggressive and smart, but he doesn’t have the flexibility to round the edge on speed rushes. He can play a little tall, but he has good strength, plays disciplined, and is good at identifying where the play is going.