So much attention has been focused on Aaron Rodgers’ future this offseason that it’s easy to forget that most Green Bay Packers news has been positive. They’re in prime position to log their third straight 13-win season — even if it will require more than that to erase the 31-26 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC championship game — and the NFL draft will help.
The Green Bay Packers have 10 NFL draft picks this week
The Philadelphia Eagles enter the 2021 NFL draft with 11 scheduled picks and probably need more than that to fix all their problems coming off a 4-11-1 season, a coaching change, and the offloading of Carson Wentz, their once-upon-a-time franchise quarterback.
The Packers are one of six teams that will start the seven-round draft with 10 scheduled picks. Aside from the full set of their own selections, Green Bay owns compensatory picks in the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds.
Three of Green Bay’s picks are in the draft’s first 100 positions: No. 29 overall in the first round, 62nd in the second, and 92nd in the third. So, head coach Matt LaFleur can look forward to quality reinforcements arriving for the start of training camp.
How do the compensatory NFL draft picks work?
Figuring out where the Packers’ three compensatory picks came from is no easy task. The league awards those picks to teams based on their net loss of players through free agency the previous year, but the formula has never been made public.
Following the 2019 season, Green Bay lost tackle Bryan Bulaga (Los Angeles Chargers), and linebackers Kyler Fackrell (Chargers), B.J. Goodson (Cleveland Browns, and Blake Martinez (New York Giants). On the other side of the ledger, Green Bay signed receiver Devin Funchess, a second-round pick for the Carolina Panthers in 2015 who most recently played for the Indianapolis Colts.
Bulaga was the only first-round draft pick of the bunch – in 2010 – and the Packers landed the rest of those lost free agents in the third or fourth rounds in 2016. So, clawing back extra picks in the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds this week constitutes a pretty good deal.
The league awarded the Dallas Cowboys four compensatory picks this week and the Atlanta Falcons three. Fourteen others received one or two extra selections.
Green Bay is in a position to plug some holes
Green Bay’s offseason, as tracked by Spotrac, has been remarkably quiet, other than the drama that Rodgers triggered in the aftermath of the playoffs loss by seemingly opening the door to leaving. Center Corey Linsley and running back Jamaal Williams left via free agency, but the roster didn’t take much of a hit otherwise.
The Packers are exercising the fifth-year option on Jaire Alexander, but cornerback remains a position where they are thin, as noted by USA Today. With Kevin King and Chandon Sullivan operating on one-year contracts, Green Bay needs short- and long-term help for a unit that has been short of Pro Bowl-worthy players for a number of years now.
With the Chargers luring Linsley away with a $62.5 million deal and left tackle David Bakhtiari suffering a torn ACL late last season, the Packers need reinforcements on the offensive line, too. Lucas Patrick, undrafted out of Duke in 2016, can fill in at center, but their 10 picks this year give the Packers the opportunity to look for depth and versatility.