If there’s one thing we know about the Green Bay Packers’ drafting tendencies under general manager Brian Gutekunst, it’s that he loves exceptional athletes. The Packers have almost exclusively drafted players with elite athleticism over the past three years, extending a trend that Ted Thompson started and taking it even farther.
Tools like Relative Athletic Score (RAS) and the proliferation of Combine/Pro Day testing numbers have made it easier to look inside the Packers’ collective scouting brain to see what they like. At APC, we broke down the receivers and cornerbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft class last week to see who fits Green Bay’s tendencies, and we will continue on with a few more positions this week.
But why not try putting those filters and testing preferences into action with a mock draft? That’s just what we did over the weekend, looking at all seven rounds courtesy of the mock draft simulator at NFLMockDraftDatabase.com. We prioritized athleticism over all in this mock as we examined the kinds of players who might be available at each selection.
Let’s kick it off with a ludicrous athlete on the offensive line in round one.
Round 1 (#29): OT Samuel Cosmi, Texas
6057, 314; 4.87 40; 4.39 short shuttle, 7.35 3-cone; 36 bench press reps
At 29 in this mock, there had already been a major run on cornerbacks and wide receivers. All of the big name corners were gone: Patrick Surtain, Jaycee Horn, Caleb Farley, and Greg Newsome. Likewise, five receivers went off the board, including Rashod Bateman and Kadarius Toney. And with Teven Jenkins also gone, I took the one player left at one of those positions who I feel is a first-round player and who is a perfect fit for the Packers’ prioritization of athleticism.
Round 2 (#62): ILB Baron Browning, Ohio State
6026, 245; 4.56 40; 4.22 shuttle, 6.78 3-cone, 40” vert
As in round one, I was stuck here a bit. Dyami Brown went off the board two picks earlier at 60, finishing off another cornerback and receiver run in round two that left me with no good value options for the right type of athletes for Green Bay at those spots. Thus, I settled on Browning, thinking that perhaps a player with his athleticism and range will appeal to the Packers now that Joe Barry is on board as defensive coordinator. I’m looking at him as a WLB to pair with Kamal Martin or Krys Barnes as the Mike of the future.
Round 3 (#94): WR Nico Collins, Michigan
6041, 215; 4.45 40, 6.71 3-cone, 37.5” vert
Finally, I get a receiver. Collins’ size will fit in well with the other receivers on the roster, but his overall athletic profile is more well-rounded than some of the others. I’m not too worried about him opting out in 2020 or his lack of production in 2019 based on reports on him from the Senior Bowl. Collins should be able to produce as a complementary player as a rookie and has WR1 upside.
Round 4 (#135): RB Trey Sermon, Ohio State
6003, 215; 4.59 40, 6.83 3-cone, 37” vert
Anyone who watched Sermon carve up the Clemson defense in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day can see what would make Sermon so tantalizing for the Packers. Yes, the Packers re-signed Aaron Jones, but Sermon offers much of the same type of ability as a slasher who fits best in a zone running scheme.
Round 4 (#142): CB Robert Rochell, Central Arkansas
5116, 193; 4.41 40; 6.84 3-cone; 43” vert, 11’1” broad
Rochell is an absolutely absurd athlete, but he is incredibly raw as a cornerback. The Packers have done well with that type of player in the past, however, and I’m counting on Jerry Gray to mold this lump of clay much the way Joe Whitt did with Sam Shields. Yes, I would have liked a more refined player at the position, but I missed out on Minnesota’s Benjamin St-Juste in the early 130s, so we’ll have to deal with a developmental player.
Round 5 (#173): S/LB Divine Deablo, Virginia Tech
6032, 226; 4.45 40; 7.01 3-cone, 10’6” broad, 19 bench press reps
I would like Deablo’s fit for Green Bay more if the Packers still employed Mike Pettine, as I can see him fitting in perfectly as a dime linebacker in the Raven Greene role. That size and speed makes it a logical fit. Still, he would give Joe Barry an interesting player to work with.
Round 5 (#178): OL Robert Hainsey, Notre Dame
6044, 306; 5.24 40, 7.53 3-cone, 4.63 shuttle, 32 bench press reps
Hainsey was a right tackle for the Irish, and he checks all of the Packers’ boxes as an athlete on the offensive line. He might move to guard a la Jon Runyan, Jr., but that’s fine since we grabbed Cosmi in round one as our right tackle of the future.
Round 6 (#214): EDGE Jonathon Cooper, Ohio State
6025, 253; 4.71 40; 7.02 3-cone, 4.31 shuttle, 28 bench press reps
I know Cooper’s RAS is just below the 8 mark, but he’s close and he is hurt by being a bit on the small side for a defensive end. (Here’s hoping Kent Lee Platte starts categorizing EDGE players separately sometime.) But for the Packers, he’s a fine size as a conventional 3-4 outside linebacker, and all of his testing numbers are solid — his speed and agility numbers are all above the 80th percentile, for example. Cooper was never a massive force for Ohio State, playing behind a slew of great defensive ends, but as an EDGE4 or EDGE5, he should hold up well.
Round 6 (#220): WR Simi Fehoko, Stanford
6037, 222; 4.44 40, 6.78 3-cone, 4.26 shuttle
We’re back over the 9 mark with another big receiver in Fehoko, who put up back-to-back 500-yard seasons for the Cardinal. He averaged a whopping 23.6 yards per catch in 2019, then had 574 yards in just six games in 2020. That’s worth a late-round flier.
Round 7: RB Kene Nwangwu, Iowa State
6001, 210; 4.32 40, 1.45 10-yard split; 6.83 3-cone, 4.25 shuttle, 38” vert, 10’5” broad
Why didn’t a player like this get more playing time at Iowa State? In short, he was backing up one of college football’s best backs in Breece Hall, who finished 6th in Heisman Trophy voting as a sophomore. Nwangwu is a ludicrous athlete, however, who was a tremendous kickoff returner and special teams player. Get Nwangwu in the Tyler Ervin role and get the ball in his hands two or three times per game to see if he can break a big one.