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Green Bay Packers 2020 NFL Draft Grade

The 2020 NFL Draft has come and gone, with 255 young men achieving their dreams and landing on NFL rosters. The Green Bay Packers made nine selections to attempt to improve on its 13-3 record that saw it land one game short of the Super Bowl. Let’s review their draft performance and hand out the Packers’ draft grade.

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CLICK HERE for Day 2 Packers Draft Review

brian gutekunst combine
Credit: AP Photo

Packers’ 4th-Round Draft Pick

Packers traded selection on Day 1 to move up from pick 30 to pick 26 to acquire quarterback Jordan Love.

Packers’ 5th-Round Draft Pick

Pick 175 — Kamal Martin, LB (Minnesota)

Green Bay finally addresses one of its needs, bolstering the inside linebacker position around free agent signee Christian Kirksey, albeit much later than initially anticipated. Martin was earned an Honorable Mention All-Big Ten nod in 2020, despite only playing in eight games. In those eight games, he notched 66 tackles, one sack, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. Martin is a willing tackler and will fill gaps to make tackles or force runners into the arms of teammates. Martin fell on draft boards due to slower play recognition and can take himself out of plays by misdiagnosing blocking schemes.

Martin was projected as a late round pick or undrafted free agent prior to being taken by Green Bay.

Packers’ 6th-Round Draft Picks

Pick 192 — Jon Runyan Jr., OL (Michigan)

Pick 208 — Jake Hanson, C (Oregon)

Pick 209 — Simon Stepaniak, OG (Indiana)

The sixth round brought a lot of beef to the team named for a meat packing company. One of the Packers’ main offseason goals has been attempting to replace LT Bryan Bulaga, who signed with the Los Angeles Chargers earlier this offseason. Prior to the draft, the Packers did sign former Lions tackle Rick Wagner. They have now added depth across the line with these three picks.

Jon Runyan, OL

The first pick of the round, Runyan is a dynamic player with versatility. Runyan split time in college at both guard and tackle and has athletic ability to be a jack of all trades, but a master of none. Beyond his physical ability, Runyan is incredibly smart pre-snap, is able to read defenses at the line and takes smart angles to his assignment. Scouting reports do list some concerns with mechanics, notably hand positions and slow lateral movements.

Jake Hanson, C

Hanson was a four-year starter with Oregon. Hanson is a workhorse who plays with confidence and speed to make the blocks he is assigned. Hanson’s biggest flaw is his size. By no means will he be confused for a running back anytime soon, but Hanson lacks the power and mass desired for an interior lineman. This leads to needing help at the point of attack in certain schemes. Hanson has also struggled with consistency with his snaps over the past couple seasons.

Simon Stepaniak, OG

The Packers tripled down on linemen late in the sixth round, taking Stepaniak at 209. Interestingly enough, when you combine the scouting reports of Hanson and Stepaniak, you have a nearly perfect player. While Hanson suffers as a drive blocker, Stepaniak thrives. Stepaniak has the power and mass that Hanson lacks, while Hanson has the speed and athleticism that Stepaniak needs.

Packers’ 7th-Round Draft Picks

Pick 236 — Vernon Scott, S (TCU)

Pick 242 — Jonathan Garvin, EDGE (Miami)

The final round saw the Packers go back to the defensive side of the ball, adding depth to two of the more established position groups on the team. Not to rub salt in the wounds of Packers fan, but this is the time of the draft to bolster these position groups, not the second round.

Vernon Scott, S

Scott is an athletic safety who can play the corner position as well. He became a full time starter in 2019 and finished fourth on the Horned Frogs with 44 tackles. Scott broke up seven passes and his lone interception of the season was a 98-yard pick six against Oklahoma standout Jalen Hurts. Scott should find the field on special teams, just like he did at TCU. His limited playing time makes him a gamble, but he could pay dividends based on his athletic ability.

Jonathan Garvin, EDGE

The Packers last draft pick of 2020 was used on Jonathan Garvin out of Miami. Garvin will ultimately find himself near the bottom of the depth chart, not necessarily because of a lack of skill, but due to Za’Darius and Preston Smith. Last season’s first-round pick, Rashan Gary, will also be ahead of Garvin. He will likely be called upon to replace Kyler Fackrell’s 13 tackles and one sack from 2019, after Fackrell left in free agency.

Garvin has Day 2 talent but, to this point, has lacked the effort to capitalize on his athletic potential. He can get upfield quickly and creates pressure on quarterbacks. When Garvin is on, he is on. In three years at Miami, Garvin had 106 tackles with 12.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. As mentioned, scouts thought Garvin was coasting at times. If Matt LaFleur and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine can tap into his potential in the pros and get him in the weight room, there is a role to be had for Garvin.

Aaron Rodgers
Credit: Mike McCarn/AP Photo

Packers Draft Summary

This was a head-scratching draft for the Packers. On one hand, this is a team that went 13-3 a season ago and reached the NFC Championship game just to be blown out by the 49ers. Yet, none of these picks really signal a win-now plan. On the other hand, much of this draft class seems to be building towards the future, loading up for LaFleur’s scheme and, in a way, mimicking the very 49ers team that ran them out of the playoffs.

Despite one of the deepest draft classes at wide receiver, one of the biggest needs of the Packers, Green Bay did not select a single one. There are some veteran free agents that Green Bay should consider taking a flyer on, including Taylor Gabriel, Demaryius Thomas and Rashad Higgins.

Packers Draft Grade

Ultimately, this draft class gets a C-.

There is a lot of potential that depends heavily on the development of these picks. However, playing time will be limited for most, if not all, of these players, which is rare for a single draft class. In three years, this class could receive an A, but could just as likely receive an F. Packers fans definitely have a right to feel frustrated after this draft class.

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