The initial wave of free agency for the 2021 offseason has passed and the Green Bay Packers, despite being in some conversations, mostly retained their own players and avoided overpaying in a market that just did not seem to value wide receivers.
Unfortunately, the hole left by Corey Linsley on the offensive line will bring questions going into the draft and could inform the Packers' strategy come late April. Jamaal Williams was also allowed to leave the building so it wouldn’t be shocking if the Packers picked up a third back at some point in the draft, as Matt LaFleur likes having a ton of running options. The Packers also opted to re-sign Kevin King to a one-year deal, which still leaves a hole in the secondary that fans were hoping to be filled by the likes of Richard Sherman or William Jackson.
In today’s mock draft roundup, however, none of those holes are addressed for the Packers in the first round. Perhaps in later rounds, but not in the first according to these experts. There are some interesting names here, including one so wild, I’ll try not to get too excited over the prospect of it shaking out this way.
USA Today: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
The twitchy gadget player has been mocked all over the board in the back half of the first round, but has been a particular target for the Packers among the mock draft community. His uncanny abilities as a playmaker make him a unique fit for the Packers who could utilize him as a slot and jet sweep option. A player with game-breaking abilities, he boasts a 35 percent missed tackle per touch rate since 2018, first among draft-eligible receivers, according to Pro Football Focus.
CBS Sports: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
This is the one that’s sort of hard to believe. Parsons might be the best defensive player in the draft and is certainly the best linebacker available. Him sliding to 29 would mean a) the league really doesn’t like linebackers anymore, or b) him sitting out this past college season really impacted his stock.
Parsons is an elite athlete who can be a field general at the second level and come tearing off the edge as a pass rusher. Showing no real weaknesses in his game, Parsons would be a Day 1 starter for the Packers and really just about any other team that might take him. With fluid hips in coverage, Parsons profiles as an every down LB.
Draft Network: Christian Barmore, IDL, Alabama
If you want to see Packers Twitter melt down on draft day (again), drafting a defensive tackle is exactly how that’s done. Despite the lack of appeal with drafting this position, Barmore could heavily impact the Packers defense that has continually struggled to stop the run and apply pressure from the interior without moving Za’Darius Smith inside. Per PFF, Barmore is the top graded DT among Power 5 schools in pass rush grade (91.5) and run-stop rate (13.3%).
At over 300 pounds, Barmore isn’t just a gap-sealing big man, but rather an athletic DT who has really good lateral movement. Line him up next to Kenny Clark, and the Packers will be able to provide exactly what new defense coordinator Joe Barry wants out of this defense: gap discipline and controlling the LOS.
Pro Football Network: Rondale Moore, WR Purdue
Moore is similar to Toney in that he’s a hyper-athletic tools guy who can play in various spots for the Packers offense. The concern with Moore is his short stature and injury history creeping up to impede his progress. But watching his Pro Day was truly a fun experience.
At 5’7”, we saw Moore levitate with a 42.5” vertical leap and run a 4.29 40-yard dash, and he posted a separate video of him pumping out 24 reps of 225 lbs. on the bench. The video of him as a freshman squatting 600 pounds has also been resurfacing lately. He’s a freak of an athlete and definitely a workout warrior.
His tape shows a dynamic player who uses his speed to blow by defenders and his low-center of gravity to shake off weak tackles. He has good hands and, according to PFF, wasn’t credited a drop in 2020. But, again, the sample size is small. He’s only played seven games in the past two seasons and his frequent injuries are something to account for.