With many teams being stuck up against the sunken salary cap for the upcoming 2021 NFL season, additions through the draft will become the easiest and cheapest tactic this offseason. For the Green Bay Packers, their draft picks will need to hit and hit often this class, an area that general manager Brian Gutekunst has been able to use to his advantage in the past.
Being able to unearth gems and solid role players, like Jordy Nelson, David Bakhtiari, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling among others, is something that has helped keep the Packers competitive across various timeframes. With this year’s draft having some underrated players of its own on the offensive side of the ball, Green Bay would be smart to look into these three following players.
Running Back – Memphis
Trying to help establish Memphis as a bit of an underrated running back feeder school for the NFL, Kenny Gainwell is doing his best to follow in the footsteps of another former Memphis back, Antonio Gibson. While not entering the draft with the kind of expectations that Gibson possessed, Gainwell’s case has gained traction over the offseason, after much tape and stat sheets have been delved into.
Listed at 5’11”, 191 lbs., Gainwell would be that third back at head coach Matt LaFleur’s disposal, helping finalize his personalized version of the three-back stable that Kyle Shanahan utilizes in San Francisco. His role would be a meld of both what Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon do, as his receiving skills would come from what Jones does, while Gainwell’s physicality and balance would help pull from what Dillon’s role would be.
A day two pick, Green Bay would likely need to move up in the third round (if not taken in the second) if they would want him, a move that could be orchestrated by attaching one of their late compensatory selections along with their third-rounder.
Tight End – Notre Dame
Outside of Robert Tonyan, the Packers are needing to find an established TE2 that they can add to their weaponry, and Notre Dame’s Tommy Tremble fits that bill. Having displayed a healthy combination of pass blocking and pass-catching while in school, Tremble’s play-style fits exactly what a tight end fulfills in LaFleur’s offense.
Seen as an above-average prospect in both blocking and receiving, shades of Josiah Deguara, Green Bay’s tight end selection last year that missed most of this season with an ACL tear, are evident in the 6’4”, 248 lb. Tremble, something that certainly should catch the eyes of LaFleur and the front office.
Pairing Tonyan with Deguara and Tremble would help solidify the TE ranks for years to come, which would put Jace Sternberger, Dominique Dafney, and Marcedes Lewis on the outside looking in for a potential roster spot for ‘21. Plus, the addition of Tremble in the middle rounds could help alleviate the need to use an early selection on a wide receiver.
Wide Receiver – Louisville
Needing to add a WR to this offense in this draft, a speed guy like Louisville’s Chatarius ‘Tutu’ Atwell fits that need perfectly. With solid hands, burning speed, and a knack for hauling in the big plays, Atwell’s role in the LaFleur offense would help add another element to it, making it even easier for Aaron Rodgers to orchestrate the offense.
During his time with the Cardinals, Atwell produced ten games of 100-plus yard games, and in his sophomore campaign alone, his 1,292 yards ranked 10th in the entire nation and first in the ACC. In his junior season, he scored a touchdown in six of nine games and produced two more 100-yard affairs, adding the final two tallies to his 100-yard career game totals.
His projections have been all over the board, ranging from a first-round grade from Daniel Jeremiah to a Round 3 selection, but Atwell’s abilities out of the slot would make for an intriguing addition to the Green Bay offense.
While all three of these players would help fill various roles for the Packers, they also are all expected to go around the same time in the draft. With the offense needing to add a weapon or two to it, look for at least one of these players to potentially become a Round 2 or 3 target for Green Bay.
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23
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