Looking ahead to the 2021 NFL Draft now, these five prospects should already be on the Green Bay Packers’ radar.
After trading up to draft quarterback Jordan Love in the first round and taking running back A.J. Dillon in the second round, the immediate grades on the Green Bay Packers’ 2020 draft haul were not good. A major need a wide receiver was completely ignored, and a parallel need at linebacker saw one late-round pick to help it.
Rather than add immediate help for quarterback Aaron Rodgers, or more proactively look to help a run defense that was not good last year, general manager Brian Gutekunst devoted premium draft picks to an eye beyond 2020. Time will tell if he was right, but the window to win while Rodgers is under center is narrowing and the 2021 draft looks to be even more important to that effort now.
Plans for the 2021 draft are in the infant stages, but these five prospects should already be on the Packers’ radar.
5. Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
Long-time Packers’ left tackle David Bakhtiari is heading into the final year of his contract. The price to keep him next March has gone up , with the deal Laremy Tunsil just got from the Houston Texans. So offensive tackle is sure to be on the first-round radar in the 2021 draft.
In some very early 2021 mock drafts that are already out, Eichenberg is tabbed to go off the board in the top half of the first round. But two mocks, from Neil Driscoll of Pro Football Network and Cleveland.com’s Matt Goul, have him going to the Packers with a pick somewhere in the 20’s.
Eichenberg step in right away at right tackle and form a long-term pair with a re-signed Bakhtiari, who still won’t even turn 30 until early in the 2021 season and will be plenty worth a lucrative commitment. But heading into his third year as a starter for the Fighting Irish, Eichenberg could also be drafted to replace Bakhtiari immediately.