After Packers GM Brian Gutekunst punted on the deepest wide receiver draft in NFL history a year ago, when 36 receivers went overall (and six went in the first round) — but none went to the Packers, could this be the year that they add a wideout in Round 1? If they do, it’d mark the first time since Florida State’s Javon Walker was the team’s first-round pick in 2002. And Rashod Bateman (above), who initially opted out of the 2020 season, then chose to play (36 receptions, 472 yards, two touchdowns in five games) before opting out again, would be a worthwhile selection to break the streak.
Jason Wilde takes a look at 12 players that could be a fit for the Green Bay Packers with the No. 29 pick in the 2021 NFL draft.
1. Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
2. Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
The 5-foot-11, 193-pound Kadarius Toney (above) could be a great fit for head coach Matt LaFleur’s system and would give the offense that versatile do-it-all player that LaFleur has coveted. The Packers tried Tyler Ervin in that role last year, but his lack of durability caused problems. In Toney, the Packers would get a player who lined up everywhere for the Gators, from the backfield to the slot to out wide. A second-team all-American last year in his only season as a starter, he caught 70 passes and scored 11 touchdowns. Can also be a primary return man.
3. Elijah Moore, WR, Mississippi
Another versatile receiver who could give the Packers their first true slot receiver since Randall Cobb, Elijah Moore (above) is undersized (5-foot-9, 178 pounds) and is rough around the edges, needing polish at the next level. But with a 4.35-second 40-yard dash and play-making ability, he’s an intriguing possibility. Should he fall out of the first round, Moore would be a player worth considering a trade up for in Round 2 as well.
4. Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
The 6-foot-2, 204-pound Terrace Marshall Jr. (above) is the kind of big receiver Gutekunst likes, and his humble personality would make him a good fit in the locker room — something Gutekunst talks frequently about valuing. Despite opting out of the season after seven games, Marshall still set career highs for receptions (48) and receiving yards (731) in his abbreviated season while scoring 10 touchdowns. Having spent much of his career in the shadow of Ja’Marr Chase (a possible top-10 pick) and Justin Jefferson (last year’s No. 22 overall pick who had an outstanding rookie year with the Minnesota Vikings), Marshall has the tools to develop into another top NFL wideout from LSU.
5. Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
The 6-foot-6, 317-pound Teven Jenkins (above) is big, powerful and athletic. He doesn’t have ideal arm length for a tackle (33 1/2 inches), but neither did Bryan Bulaga, and he turned out to be a very good player in Green Bay as the Packers’ 2010 first-round pick. Jenkins projects as a tackle or a guard, and given the Packers’ offensive line uncertainties after left tackle David Bakhtiari’s torn ACL and the free-agent departures of all-pro center Corey Linsley and experienced guard Lane Taylor, augmenting the depth up front is a primary need.
6. Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT/G, USC
The 6-foot-4, 308-pound Alijah Vera-Tucker (above) was a left tackle for the Trojans in ex-Packers backup QB Graham Harrell’s offense, and the Packers have historically taken college left tackles and converted them to guards with much success. An excellent pass blocker with terrific balance, feet and hands, he needs to get stronger but has just scratched the surface of his talent and has significant upside with only 19 games of college experience.
7. Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
It’s a weak defensive tackle draft — something Gutekunst himself acknowledged — but adding Christian Barmore (above) and lining him up alongside Kenny Clark would make for quite the intriguing duo in the middle of the Packers defense. Although the 6-foot-4, 310-pound Barmore was a one-year wonder at Alabama, his eight sacks last season add productivity to his tantalizing potential.
8. Jamin Davis, linebacker, Kentucky
The Packers haven’t historically put much value on inside linebackers, but Jamin Davis’ potential might make him worth the investment. Only a one-year starter for the Wildcats after a redshirt year and two years as a backup, he exploded as a junior in 2020, recording a team-high 102 tackles, 1.5 sacks and an interception he returned for a touchdown in the 10 games he played.
9. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (above) likely will be gone by the time the Packers go on the clock at No. 29, but given Gutekunst’s willingness to trade up for players he likes, this could be an instance he deems worth the trade cost. Gutekunst attended the Fighting Irish’s pro day on campus, and he had to like what he saw from the 6-foot-1, 221-pound Owusu-Koramoah, who recorded seven sacks, 24.5 tackles for loss, one interception, five forced fumbles and 142 tackles over 25 games the past two seasons and won the Butkus Award as college football’s best linebacker.
10. Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Another fascinating option should the Packers decide to reverse course and use a premium pick on a position all-too-frequently neglected in past years, Zaven Collins (above) was a tackling machine as an every-down linebacker for Tulsa, finishing his three-year career with 244 tackles, 30 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and five interceptions. He has the size, speed, range and versatility to be a decade-long starter in the NFL.
11. Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
With 28 pass break-ups and seven interceptions in three seasons, the versatile, athletic, ball-hawking Trevon Moehrig (above) could step in as a Day 1 starter and allow 2019 first-round pick Darnell Savage to move into the so-called “Star” position in new defensive coordinator Joe Barry’s system as more of a coverage player. The Packers have been enamored of late with TCU players, and Moehrig, who was last year’s Jim Thorpe Award winner as the nation’s top defensive back, would be a terrific best-player-available pick.
12. Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
The first major NFL prospect to opt out of the 2021 season, having decided last July, Caleb Farley (above) hasn’t played in a football game since Nov. 23, 2019. He was a two-year starter for the Hokies, redshirting as a true freshman after suffering a torn ACL in his knee. He ended up intercepting six passes in 23 career games, and teams like his prototypical size, speed and football instincts.