Packers draft class could be important for free agency in 2021

AJ Dillon (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
AJ Dillon (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

The Packers’ draft class could give us clues about what to expect from free agency next offseason.

On paper, the Green Bay Packers look to have had an eye on the future with their 2020 draft class.

That’s obvious just looking at the first round alone when they traded up for Jordan Love. Love likely won’t start at quarterback for at least three years, barring an injury to Aaron Rodgers. The Packers are hoping he’ll be the long-term starter down the line.

But beyond the Love pick, the selections Green Bay made in later rounds could give us clues about what to expect in free agency next offseason.

Packers draft a running back and three offensive linemen

With star players like David Bakhtiari, Aaron Jones, Kevin King, Corey Linsley, and Kenny Clark all set to become free agents next year, the Packers may have begun preparing in this year’s draft.

Keeping them all will be close to impossible, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to draft potential replacements. And it’s possible they’ve done exactly that.

It’s interesting that they didn’t draft a cornerback or defensive tackle. That could be good news for King and Clark, perhaps an indication that re-signing them will be a priority. And while they did draft three offensive linemen, they all will most likely fit best at guard or center. If they were expecting to lose Bakhtiari, they may have drafted a tackle early.

With three interior offensive linemen added on the final day of the draft, it’s possible the Packers are expecting to not be able to re-sign starting center Linsley next offseason.

The Packers also drafted running back AJ Dillon in the second round. This was a surprising move at the time, but both Jones and Jamaal Williams will be free agents next spring. Maybe the Packers view Dillon as their starting running back in 2021.

The 2020 draft class might not have any impact on who they re-sign or let walk in under a year, but it’s a possible early sign. After drafting a running back early, it could mean the team is prepared to lose Jones and/or Williams. And selecting three offensive linemen could mean Linsley is entering his final year for the Packers.

In time, we’ll learn whether this year’s draft class was put together in preparation for next year’s free agency.