The Packers have always built through the NFL draft. They have been very successful for many years in building their roster through the draft. The Packers’ draft classes in 2020 and 2021 have been looking very promising this year. They have indeed made a huge impact on the Packers this season and have been one of the main reasons for their current 12-3 record. Here are the reasons why the Packers 2020 and 2021 draft classes have made a huge impact for the Packers this year.
The Draft Picks of Jon Runyan Jr. and Royce Newman Have Been Key This Year
The Packers have been indeed very good on drafting and developing offensive linemen. Their track record on offensive linemen has been very impressive. It continues as the picks of Jon Runyan Jr. and Royce Newman in the last two drafts. Both have been key players for the Packers as the offensive line has been decimated with injuries this year. Both players have not been perfect and have had their share of struggles this year. Yet, they have protected Aaron Rodgers well. In addition, both players are graded well by Pro Football Focus, earning grades of a 70.0 or higher the last couple of games. These players will certainly be key for the Packers as they enter the postseason.
Jordan Love Saved the Packers’ Quarterback Room Against the Kansas City Chiefs
The Packers’ pick of Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft was indeed questionable. He is still a ‘wait and see’ as there is not enough to evaluate to know if the pick will pan out or not. However, thanks to Jordan Love the Packers were able to have a decent quarterback against the Kansas City Chiefs. Due to COVID-19, Packers quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Kurt Benkert missed the game. Jordan Love was the last man standing in the quarterback room. If the Packers did not have Jordan Love they would have been in huge trouble. Not to mention the Packers win that game if not for the horrendous performance by the special teams unit. If the Packers didn’t have Jordan Love they would have had next to nothing at quarterback playing the Chiefs.
AJ Dillon Has Carried the Load With Aaron Jones Dealing With Injuries
Drafting AJ Dillon in the second round of the 2020 draft was indeed a reach. You can easily find running backs later in the draft. However, he has been very key this year to the Packers’ offense. He has given Green bay a nice one-two punch with Aaron Jones. Also, Dillon has carried the load when Aaron Jones is dealing with injuries and has done well. Dillon has been the closer and the guy to wear down defenses in the fourth quarter and has been impressive in the passing game. He has brought a physical presence to this offense that the Packers have been missing for years to take the pressure off Aaron Rodgers. The AJ Dillon pick has been very good for the Packers and has helped them on offense this year.
Eric Stokes is Coming into His Own as a Rookie This Year
The Packers drafted Eric Stokes in the first round of this year’s draft. The pick was overlooked thanks to the Aaron Rodgers drama. Yet, he has been arguably the best rookie corner in the league this year. Though he has struggled at times, he is learning and developing nicely. His speed has been noticed as he has shown he can keep up with a lot of receivers in the NFL. He can be a very good corner in the NFL and has the potential to be great. With the improvement of Stokes and Jaire Alexander coming back, watch out for the Packers secondary. Eric Stokes has been a very good player for the Packers and looking like a very big hit in the draft for them.
The Drafting of Depth Has Paid Off for the Packers as Injuries and COVID-19 Have Hit Their Roster
The Packers have drafted a lot of depth players the last two drafts. That was a big a criticism of the Packers drafting, especially in the 2020 draft, with people believing they had ‘needs to fill’. Yet because of injuries and COVID-19, this year, those depth players have been very key. For example, with Robert Tonyan tearing his ACL and now Mercedes Lewis catching COVID-19. 2020 third round pick Josiah Deguara has had to step up and he is being more involved in the offense. Zadarius Smith being out has had Johnathan Garvin getting more snaps and he has stepped up. The numerous picks used on offensive linemen like Jon Runyan Jr. and Royce Newman have helped with several players hurt on the offensive line. The drafting of quality depth in 2020 and 2021 has helped the Packers this year.
The Packers 2020 Draft Might be a Sign Of How Teams Might Draft in the Future Due to COVID-19
The Packers 2020 draft may not been a popular, but it may be a sign for how teams might draft in the future. The reason is simple: DEPTH. NFL teams have a big obstacle they have to overcome the next couple of years. That is COVID-19 in which it has devastated rosters, causing players to miss games. With it going to be around for awhile, teams have to make sure they focus on depth in the draft. Yes, get impact players, but teams also have to make sure they have enough depth. Any given week COVID-19 can take players away and leave teams very short handed. Last year due to COVID-19, the Denver Broncos lost their whole quarterback room and played a with a wide receiver at quarterback. The Packers’ 2020 draft may have given teams a sign of to how to draft in the future.