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Packers
NFL

Packers’ 2021 NFL Draft Class Not Meeting Expectations

  • Ryan Fowler
  • November 23, 2022
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A group of athletes initially looked upon to provide a mix of starters and a healthy amount of depth, the Green Bay Packers’ 2021 draft class has fallen flat nearly two years into each player’s respective career. A franchise in past years whose draft misses were swept under the rug due to the presence of the Hall of Fame duo of Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams, the inability to select and develop talent has flashed this fall for oft-scrutinized Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst.

Eric Stokes

The class headliner and a flat-out burner on the perimeter out of the University of Georgia, his 25 career appearances have left much to be desired. While Stokes’ rookie season flashed a talent that was able to play on the outside opposite Jaire Alexander at a decent clip, struggles this fall in the early portion of the season were overwhelmingly apparent. 

He’s been picked on early and often, and after facing 17 targets in a four-game span, his season ultimately came to a close after the team placed him on injured reserve following Week 9. He’s allowed 884 yards and five touchdowns as the primary man in coverage thus far in his pro tenure with just one interception.

Josh Myers

A bright spot in the class, although Myers hasn’t taken the step we’ve wanted to see him take this fall as a second-round selection, he’s been just fine in 17 appearances over the last two years and in 11 starts this season. He eclipsed the 1,000 snap mark this fall, improved in his reps in pass pro, and looking down the line, looks to be the anchor of the Packers’ front five for seasons to come.

Amari Rodgers

Eight catches, 95 yards, zero trips to paydirt. A slot talent that was looked upon to provide another set of reliable hands for No. 12 under center, the former Clemson product was irrelevant, fumbled a lot, cut, and is now a Houston Texan. It couldn’t have gone worse.

Royce Newman

While he’s bounced around the line a little bit, earning snaps at both left guard and right tackle since his arrival, he’s found a ‘home’—if you will—at right guard. However, it’s been ugly, like, REALLY ugly, as Newman has allowed 10 sacks in 22 starts, 49 (!!!) pressures, and was benched after Week 6 this fall. An early-day-three pick, while first impressions showcased an athlete with some tools to work with, teams have figured him out, and he’s got a long way to go if he ever wants to regain his spot as a starter.

T.J. Slaton

For me, Slaton has been better anchoring in the run game this fall—which is a plus as his game won’t come as a penetrating defensive tackle. That still doesn’t mean he’s been good. He’s played minimal snaps this fall, and for a player that was believed to add depth behind the likes of Kenny Clark and first-rounder Devonte Wyatt, he’s also got a long way to go to see increased snaps anytime soon.

Shemar Jean-Charles

A core special teamer, his evaluation remains up in the air. Down the road, I would like to see him get some snaps at nickel to really provide a platform to compete, but injuries derailed his 2022 season before it ever got started. He was an exciting player at Appalachian State, and a talent that’ll compete his tail off wherever he aligns, but for now, he’s been nothing more than a contributor on teams. 

Cole Van Lanen

I’m not going to sit here and expect selections that came late on day three to progress into Pro Bowlers, but it’s where rings are won and lost in building the core of your team. Van Lanen was traded to Jacksonville before he ever played a snap for the Packers.

Isaiah McDuffie

A sixth-rounder out of Boston College, McDuffie—like Myers—is another small bright spot in the class. Primarily deployed as a special teamer, he’s been an excellent tackler since his arrival and was outstanding in limited work at MLB in a start against Detroit. He’s not someone that’ll move the needle at all in terms of adding talent because of his presence, but he’s a nice backup option for head coach Matt LaFleur. 

Kylin Hill

One of the SEC’s most productive ball carriers last fall, Hill entered the fold with a long climb up a steep slope with Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon ahead of him on the depth chart. Legitimate snaps were always a longshot, and Hill was cut in mid-November.