Round 4 (37) Royce Newman, G, Ole Miss
Round 5 (29) Tedarrell Slaton, DT, Florida
Round 5 (34) Shemar Jean-Charles, CB, Appalachian State
Round 6 (30) Cole Van Lanen, OT, Wisconsin
Round 6 (36) Isaiah McDuffie, ILB, Boston College
Round 7 (29) Kylin Hill, RB, Mississippi State
Ah, Day 3 of a draft. A day of lottery tickets, guys to dream on and proclamations of, “You know, I had a 3rd round grade on this guy” from draft pundits the world over.
Brian Gutekunst said this was a deep draft for offensline linemen, and it appears as though he meant it. After picking up Josh Myers to plug into the interior offensive line in the 2nd round, he grabbed two more pieces on Day 3: Royce Newman from Ole Miss and Cole Van Lanen from Wisconsin. Though Newman played tackle in 2020, he lined up as a guard in 2019, which is likely where the Packers will be looking to use him. Newman is most effective as a pass protector, but he does well laterally in a zone blocking scheme in the run game. He’s an athletic guy – scored an 8.72 RAS, posting elite scores in the speed section – but doesn’t have a lot of power. He may never be a full-time starter, but has a lot of value as a versatile back-up and spot-starter.
Van Lanen comes in as another athletic guy (8.49 RAS), even if he scored poorly in the size grade for his position . In contrast with Newman, Van Lanen’s biggest strength is his run-blocking ability (not a shock considering where he went to school). Good burst off the line and can move some bodies. With his skillset, Van Lanen could be a nice road-grading guard early in his career, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he grows into a starter down the line.
Gutekunst also addressed the opposite side of the trench with the selection of Tedarrell Slaton in the 5th round. With Joe Barry likely bringing large portions of Brandon Staley’s defense with him, the Packers were in need of some bodies on the defensive line. One of the hallmarks of Staley’s defense is playing with 5 men on the line and two-high safeties. At 6’4″, 330 lbs, Slaton is a big body on the line that is more than capable of occupying blockers. In a defense that leans heavily on getting one-on-one match-ups for the defensive line, Slaton could be a body up front that will help free up Kenny Clark to do Kenny Clark things.
The selection of Shemar Jean-Charles is a bit baffling if you just look at his 4.27 RAS. The only section where he graded out better-than-good was his strength. Turned in poor shuttle and 3-cone times, and his top-end speed is certainly in question with his 4.52 40 time. But the selection makes more sense if you keep in mind the incoming defensive scheme. Slot corners will need to be able to read/react to route breaks in front of them, and also recognize run keys and fill lanes quickly. Jean-Charles does a good job with his reads and closes quickly when he needs to. At 5’11”, 190 lbs, he’s a bit undersized. But he’s more than willing to stick his nose in the line when needed.
Isaiah McDuffie was brought in to help add some competition to the inside linebacker room. At 6’1″, 227 lbs, he’s a bit undersized, but he has really nice speed and burst from the middle. Good instincts and awareness. At his size, he’s not likely to fight through a lot of blockers. But if the added beef of Slaton up front is able to keep him clean, he’s likely going to turn some heads in Training Camp and preseason. I wouldn’t be shocked to hear some “Hey, this McDuffie is looking really good,” stories out of camp this year.
Finally, we’re back on the offensive side of the ball with the selection of Kylin Hill. Hill is an interesting study. He absolutely went off in his junior year at Mississippi State, rushing for 1,350 yards on 242 carries (5.6 YPA). Then Mike Leach brought the Air Raid to Starkville and Hill wasn’t getting the ball much. He did, however, show off some nice ability as a receiver, hauling in 23 passes for 237 yards in just 3 games (that’s after averaging 14.6 receptions per year in his first 3 years). Hill is a physical, one-cut runner with some nice hands in the passing game. I believe he’ll slot in nicely as RB3, allowing the offense to function well when he’s out there.
All in all, a really nice Day 3 for the Packers. A couple interior offensive linemen, a big body on the defensive line, a slot corner for Barry’s system, an intriguing ILB and a pass-catching RB. If you’re looking to take a couple lottery tickets and fill in a couple depth holes, this is a really good group to do that with. I thought it was an impressive draft overall, and this Day 3 haul is a big reason for that.