How will the 2020 Packers Draft Class look in 2021? Today, we look at those players and project their roles and impact for the upcoming Packers season.
2020: Round 1 – Jordan Love, QB
It’s unlikely that we’ll see Jordan Love take many, if any, snaps in the 2021 season. With Aaron Rodgers more than likely returning as Green Bay’s starter, it’s impossible to envision a scenario where Love outright replaces Rodgers if A-Rod is back, unless an injury occurs. Love, the 26th overall pick in the 2020 draft, was inactive for every Packers game last season and sat 3rd on the QB depth chart. Tim Boyle, last year’s backup, is a Restricted Free Agent and it’s to be determined if the Packers bring him back.
If Love doesn’t play in 2021, Packers fans still hope that considerable progression occurs in his game. With no preseason games in 2020, it’s difficult to give Love any sort of fair assessment. He has zero experience playing against NFL defenses besides in Packer practices. Last year, the media reports on how Love looked in practice weren’t great. Comments such as “inaccurate” and “difficulty picking up the offense” surfaced.
Love is still a young player, going into his 2nd NFL season at 22 years old. With a full off-season to grow and hopefully a preseason in 2021, we should get a better sense of the kind of player Love is.
2020: Round 2 – AJ Dillon, RB
The big, burly 250 pound running back from Boston College had an effective rookie season in 2020, even with severely limited snaps. Dillon, turning 23 in May, finished the regular season with 46 carries for 242 yards (5.3 AVG) and 2 Touchdowns. He played critical roles in the Packers victories vs. the Titans (21 carries, 124 yards, 2 touchdowns) and their playoff win vs. the Rams.
Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams are free-agents and it’s to be seen if the Packers bring one of them back. Even if they do, Dillon will at the very least be the #2 running back on the depth chart and will see a heavy increase in snaps. The powerful running back with soft hands and fresh legs will be a workhorse for the Packers in 2021, make no mistake about it. Matt LaFleur was the Titans offensive coordinator in 2018 with Derrick Henry at his disposal. I believe a big, strong running back was what LaFleur wanted in Green Bay and he has his guy with Dillon.
2020: Round 3 – Josiah Deguara, H-Back
Deguara, the swiss-army knife FB/TE from University of Cincinnati should be a fun player to watch in the 2021 Packers offense. Last year, Deguara saw his season end prematurely in Week 4 when he suffered a season-ending injury. He should be back in action come the start of 2021.
Deguara was an effective blocker during his time at Cincinnati and also showcased his receiving abilities. He hauled in 38 receptions as a junior and 39 as a senior. The best trait that Deguara brings to the Packers offense is his versatility. He can line up as a Fullback and be an effective blocker. He can line up in the exact same spot and be a mismatch on linebackers out of the backfield with his solid route running and reliable hands. Deguara also has the size and ability to play in-line tight end and the athleticism to be in the slot.
Matt LaFleur likes to move his players around on the field and clearly values versatility. I believe Coach LaFleur and the Packers had visions of Josiah Deguara being the next Kyle Juszczyk (Kyle Shanahan chess piece) when they drafted him last season.
2020 Round 4 – No Pick
2020 Round 5 – Kamal Martin, ILB
The young, thumping linebacker from University of Minnesota saw a fair amount of playing time in 2020 and should see an increased amount of snaps in 2021. As it stands right now, Krys Barnes and Kamal Martin are the inside linebacker tandem of the future.
Martin, 22 years old, played 208 snaps in the regular season, which was about 18% of all plays. Martin wasn’t healthy to play until the Packers Week 7 game against Houston, so it’s likely that he would have seen more playing time had it not been for injury. In his debut against the Texans, Martin and Barnes had a noticeable impact, displaying their physicality. Martin finished that game with 6 tackles, all solo’s.
Martin is an athletic and aggressive linebacker who can really pack a punch. He still has a long way to go with his development and needs to be able to stay healthy. With that said, he looks to be a promising and impactful player for the future. We should see a lot more of him next season with Christian Kirksey unlikely to return.
Round 6: The round of Offensive Lineman
2020 Round 6 – Jon Runyan, OL
Jon Runyan, one of the Packers late draft picks in 2020, could play a very large role for the Packers in 2021 and the ensuing years. Runyan played admirably when he was called into action in 2020 and gave Packers fans optimism that they may have “found a player”. The son of former 14 year NFL offensive tackle Jon Runyan is an exciting prospect.
Runyan played about 15% of offensive plays in 2020, all filling in for injury. In 2021, Runyan has a chance to see his role grow exponentially if the Packers don’t re-sign FA Corey Linsley, who has been a key starter for the Packers since 2014. If Linsley isn’t back, the Packers will have to figure out how they want to address the interior of their offensive line. Most definitely, Runyan will be one of the top guys in the mix. The 6’4, 307 pound guard from Michigan has a chance to be a 2021 starter.
2020 Round 6 – Jake Hanson, C
Hanson wasn’t awarded a roster spot for the 2020 Packers and was recently re-signed to the practice squad. As a member of the Packers, Hanson will have his opportunity during training camp and preseason to potentially earn a roster spot.
2020 Round 6 – Simon Stepaniak, G
Stepaniak will have a fair opportunity to make the team in 2021. He suffered a torn ACL in his senior season at Indiana and wasn’t expected to play for the Packers in the 2020 season.
2020 Round 7 – Vernon Scott, S
Scott, one of the Packers 7th round picks out of TCU, played 89 snaps on defense (7.8%) and 43% of snaps on special teams. He managed 13 tackles and a sack on Matthew Stafford in his limited snaps. Scott was able to earn a spot on the 2020 Packers roster and saw a respectable amount of playing time, especially for a 7th round rookie draft pick. He will look to secure a spot on the 2021 Packers and add depth to their secondary and special teams units.
2020 Round 7 – Jonathan Garvin, OLB
Garvin played in approximately 8% of Green Bay’s defensive snaps and 5% of their special teams snaps. For much of the second half of the season and playoffs, Garvin was a healthy inactive. The former Miami Hurricane had a nice training camp in 2020 and will look to earn a spot on the Packers roster in 2021.
Alex grew up in a family of Chicago Bears fans in the suburbs of Chicago but was always a diehard Packers fan. Alex\’s AIM name when he was in elementary/middle school was PackerAlex. He now lives in Nashville, Tennessee and you can follow him on twitter at @Alex_Mayer93.