The Projected Role for Each Packers Draft Choice in 2021

The Green Bay Packers added nine new players in the 2021 NFL Draft. Entering the draft, the Packers had some needs to fill, but most of them involved adding depth rather than a need for players who could step in and start immediately.

With the nine players now selected, here is a look at what role these players will likely play in their rookie seasons. This is subject to change depending on injuries, player performance and additional roster moves between now and the start of the season.

Round 1, 29th Overall: CB Eric Stokes, Georgia

Stokes has blazing speed and was selected to eventually replace Kevin King who re-signed what is essentially a one-year, prove-it deal with voidable years. The question is how soon will Stokes be ready to take over for King?

Stokes needs to work on his technique a bit and the adjustment to the NFL will take some time. King has a long injury history so Stokes may have to assume his new role sooner than the Packers would prefer.

Assuming he has a strong training camp, expect Stokes to battle with Chandon Sullivan to be the third cornerback as the season starts with a chance to supplant King as CB2 before the season is over.

Round 2, 62nd Overall: C Josh Myers, Ohio State

Myers probably has the best chance of starting as a rookie of any of the Packers 2021 draft picks. The Packers lost Corey Linsley to the Chargers in free agency and have a hole at the position.

Myers called the signals for the offensive line at Ohio State and was a leader on the team. He has a high football IQ and should be able to step in relatively quickly.

If Myers is not ready to go, the Packers have other options at center including moving either Elgton Jenkins or Lucas Patrick there or going with 2020 pick Jake Hanson.

Myers is the favorite to be the starting center as the Packers enter minicamp. If he doesn’t win the job, he will likely push to take over that role shortly.

Round 3, 85th Overall: Amari Rodgers, Clemson

Rodgers has a different body type and skill set than the other receivers on the Packers roster. While the other receivers on the roster are all over six feet tall, Rodgers is 5’10” and 210 pounds.

The Clemson alum is unlikely to start as a rookie but should see plenty of action. He will likely contribute on gadget plays like end arounds, jet sweeps and screens much like Tyler Ervin did in the past. He should also see some plays in the slot on short passes over the middle.

Another use for Rodgers in his rookie season could be as a return specialist, something he has experience doing in college. The Packers have struggled returning punts in recent years and Rodgers will be one of several young players who will be given a chance to fill that position in 2021.

Despite his lack of height, Rodgers doesn’t have a small frame and he should be able to handle the physicality of the NFL. By season’s end, I would expect Rodgers to have an increasing role in the offense as well.

Round 4, 142nd Overall, G Royce Newman, Mississippi

Newman played right tackle in college but is projected as a guard in the NFL by most scouts. He will likely contribute on special teams and be a backup offensive lineman in his rookie year.

Newman’s best chance to start may be if either Jenkins or Patrick are moved to starting center which would open a starting position at guard. Still, most scouts believe Newman is at least a year away from being able to start because he needs work on his footwork and his ability to block defenders on the second level.

Round 5, 173rd Overall, DL Tedarrell Slaton, Florida

Slaton is a big man at 6’5” and 330 pounds. He projects as a defensive lineman who will play predominantly on running downs and showed the ability to penetrate to stop running plays in college.

The Packers lack of depth at this position should give Slaton a chance to see snaps on defense, mostly as a rotational player who sees the field on running downs and in short yardage situations. His size and strength potentially make him a great candidate to occupy blockers and help free up Kenny Clark to make more plays.

Round 5, 178th Overall, CB Shemar Jean-Charles, Appalachian State

Jean-Charles is a ball hawk who broke up a lot of passes in college. He lacks the ideal size the Packers like at corner but has the body type to play well in the slot and has good anticipation and football smarts.

It’s a big jump from Appalachian State to the NFL, so Jean-Charles may need time before he makes a major contribution on defense. He should see extensive action on special teams as a rookie and if he plays very well, could compete to be the Packers dime back before the season is over.

Round 6, 214th Overall, OL Van Lanen, Wisconsin

Van Lanen will fight for a depth spot along the Packers offensive line. If he sees the field as a rookie, it will likely be on special teams. The Packers value versatility on the offensive line and Van Lanen fits that bill. That will help him in his fight for a roster spot or to at least make the practice squad.

Round 6, 220th Overall, LB Isaiah McDuffie, Boston College

McDuffie projects as a cover linebacker who can stay with running backs and tight ends on pass plays. He started his college career at safety before moving to linebacker.

As a rookie, he will play mostly on special teams if he makes the final roster. He will only likely get significant reps on defense if injuries strike.

Round 7, 256th Overall, RB Kylin Hill, Mississippi State

Hill will compete with Dexter Williams and a few others for the third spot on the depth chart at running back behind Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon. The big key for him will be pass blocking and route running which are essential in Matt LaFleur’s offense. Both Jones and Dexter Williams struggled with this early in their careers.

If he makes the active roster, expect Hill to contribute mostly on special teams as a rookie with the occasional carry on offense unless either of the top two backs get hurt.

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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Comments (12)

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greengold's picture

May 06, 2021 at 04:40 pm

This is a good breakdown, Gil, on how we can expect these new players to see the field. Thanks for sharing this.

Watched a bunch of Shemar Jean-Charles and WOW. He's got a highly uncanny ability to know the passing lane and get there to disrupt it, or the catch point and disrupt it. He really is fun to watch work. He's got power to his game, and looks to have recovery speed when the unexpected happens.

Jean-Charles, Stokes and Uphoff are going to be very welcome, high impact additions to this Packers secondary.

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Alberta_Packer's picture

May 06, 2021 at 02:56 pm

If all of the above projections come to fruition - it will have been a superb draft. And I believe, at the very least, that a majority of the selections will pan out. Some additional thoughts - I think that Packers will try Newman first at the tackle position - hoping he may be able to provide positional depth. I'm really intrigued with Slaton. He just has to stonewall the middle in order to make the D-line significantly better from last year. Thinking the jump from Appalachian State to the NFL may not be too large for Jean-Charles. Seeing McDuffie leading special teams in tackles - while Hill wins the 3rd running back competition. As for Van Lanen - the practice squad will be a successful first year for him..

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

May 06, 2021 at 05:39 pm

As usual, hoping for 2-3 long term starters or strong contributors, eventually. Wondering if it will be enough to wait for Slaton to take some of the heat off Kenny Clark. We have certainly had rookies contribute in the past. James Jones had 676 yards as a rookie, Bulaga, Jenkins, Linsley and Bakhtiari all started as rookies, but not sure any of these offensive line guys are in that class. But maybe Meyer can step right in.

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splitpea1's picture

May 06, 2021 at 08:06 pm

I think Amari may have a chance to be a strong contributor, regardless of whose "trust" he has to earn behind center.

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hobowilly's picture

May 06, 2021 at 10:39 pm

It appears Myers is the most likely as you suggest. I was pulling for Creed, but now that i've gone back and compared the 2, Myers is bigger and more likely to be a Packer interior lineman (x spots)...I don't buy the hype of Ohio St particularly though. let's hope he can be almost as good as Linsley and that'll be a pretty good move. Picking Linsley in round 5 was spectacular. So was my man Aaron Jones!!

If i were GB I'd still be concerned over what happened in the NFCCG. TB clearly picked on Sullivan & King. If we can get 1 of the drafted CB's to take over the star position, i believe we've improved the defensive backfield. If GB can maintain it's 10 top defense under new DC Barry, i will be impressed but many are worried, right?

Also very much appreciated Gutey & Co tripling down on O linemen...this will pay dividends down the road, if only one emerges as a starter level player. But, i clearly feel it'll be Myers.

Let's all root for A Rodgers and hope that he is a better overall player than Ty Montgomery and shows Cobb like potential. Cobb was a great draft as he hit the ground running. Anyone remember that Kick off return he had as a rookie??

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fish's picture

May 06, 2021 at 06:01 pm

I don't think McDuffie is a cover LB. From what I saw, he struggled staying with RBs and TEs on pass routes. He did look to have good instincts on running plays though. He's sort of the opposite of Burks in that regard.

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jannes bjornson's picture

May 06, 2021 at 06:04 pm

He has more instincts in his little toe than all of Burks psyche.

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stockholder's picture

May 06, 2021 at 06:21 pm

I don't want to burst peoples bubble. But PFF grades are out. And I know how everyone swears by PFF. Overall draft- C minus- Myers- Poor. Rodgers - Below average. Of course you don't work for the packers. Your not at fault.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

May 07, 2021 at 09:52 am

PFF and Shefter can get in a boat and sail the F off.

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packer132's picture

May 07, 2021 at 06:41 pm

Stockholder: Why do you proclaim to be a Packer fan? Every post you make is negative and rips the team. You are calling the draft a failure again, and no player has even been to training camp or preseason. Take a hike!

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MarkinMadison's picture

May 06, 2021 at 07:51 pm

This team, fourth round offensive lineman? Just pencil Newman in as your starting RT, at least until Bakh is back.

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Minniman's picture

May 07, 2021 at 07:05 pm

I know that this is an oft-overlooked and very minor but important role on a team, and frankly, you don't draft in the first round to fill this role, but I see great EARLY value potential for Stokes as the gunner on ST. Sure, he's tagged for bigger and better things, but the Packers haven't had a decent gunner since Janis - so one with his speed and actually being a DB, surely he should see some action in this role.

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