Packers strengthen defense in final four-round 2021 mock draft

Zaven Collins - Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports
Zaven Collins - Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports /

All good things must come to an end. Only two days away from the start of the 2021 NFL Draft, it means it’s time for my final Green Bay Packers mock draft of the year.

With the help of The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator, I picked in the opening four rounds with no trades.

It’s difficult to know which direction the Packers will go in during the draft, but based on how the board fell in the simulator, here are my final predictions of the offseason.

Round 1 (29): Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

Tulsa’s Zaven Collins can be exactly what the Packers are missing in the middle of their defense. A game-changer, Collins made an impressive four interceptions last season, two of which he returned for touchdowns. One was a 96-yard return.

Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network wrote that “Collins is a true three-down defender who should quickly break into a starting lineup”.

Collins would immediately be the Packers’ best inside linebacker, ready to start each week.

Round 2 (62): Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State

The Packers still land one of the best cornerbacks in the class in the second round.

Some have pointed out that Samuel’s size and RAS (Relative Athletic Score) don’t meet the criteria the Packers tend to go for, but he’s simply too talented to pass up in the second round. Looking beyond all of that, Samuel is a very talented cornerback who can make an immediate impact in Joe Barry’s defense.

According to Pro Football Focus, he forced 30 incompletions in his career, fourth-most among draft-eligible defensive backs.

Round 3 (92): Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis

I know, I know. Why a running back as early as the third round?

I don’t look at drafting Kenneth Gainwell as just adding another running back. Instead, he’s a player who can help the Packers offense in so many ways. Not only is he an explosive runner, but he’s also a great pass catcher.

We saw with Tyler Ervin how a versatile offensive player can be used creatively in Matt LaFleur’s scheme to open up this offense. Gainwell can do all of that and more. In the backfield, lined up in the slot, on jet sweeps, you name it. Gainwell can do it all and help this offense reach another level.

In his last season back in 2019, Gainwell had 2,069 yards and 16 touchdowns from scrimmage.

LaFleur loves to have depth at running back. Gainwell would provide that, while also making wide receiver a much lower need as he can be effective in the slot.

Round 4 (135): Osa Odighizuwa, DL, UCLA

This felt like great value in the fourth round as I could see Osa Odighizuwa going earlier. The defense gets more help here. Odighizuwa would immediately compete for snaps and could be a starter early on.

Round 4 (142): Patrick Jones II, EDGE, Pittsburgh

Again, good value here in the fourth. While not a major position of need now, there’s no guarantee Preston Smith will still be part of the Packers’ plans beyond 2021. Strengthen the depth at edge rusher now with a player who could eventually see his role increase.