Since the College Football Playoff started back in 2015, the Green Bay Packers have only selected one player that’s played in the four-team playoff. There are plenty of prospects that will be playing today that could be on Brian Gutekunst’s big board.
Happy New Year folks. To kick off the year 2021 we get treated to the College Football Playoff. Ohio State against Clemson and Alabama squares off against Notre Dame.
There will be plenty of future NFL stars taking the field. This article is a viewer’s guide for Green Bay Packers fans. There won’t be names like DeVonta Smith or Patrick Surtain II listed on the list for the simple reason that they’ll be off the board by the time the Packers are on the clock.
With that, here are eight names to keep tabs on today. So crack open a beer or pour yourself a whiskey sour. Let’s dive in to see what prospects could be possible fits with the Packers.
Derion Kendrick, CB, Clemson
Kendrick came to Clemson as a wide receiver and has quickly taken to the cornerback position. During his first full season playing cornerback, he recorded two interceptions and five pass deflections.
This season he’s turned into a lockdown cornerback. According to Pro Football Focus, Kendrick has only allowed 105 yards in coverage In eight games this season.
Clemson CB Derion Kendrick in 2020 (@PFF_College)
0 catches allowed
5 forced incompletions
#1 PFF coverage grade
Kendrick was great in 2019 considering he was a WR in 2018, but now he is looking like one of top CBs in the country. pic.twitter.com/1IWtwJVWM0
— Anthony Treash (@PFF_Anthony) October 11, 2020
Kendrick has loose hips and is able to run stride for stride with receivers, staying in their hip pocket. As a former receiver, he shows great route recognition and does a great job of breaking on the ball.
The Packers will likely be in the market for a cornerback or two during the NFL Draft. Kendrick could be a player the Packers target in the first round to play opposite Jaire Alexander.
Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama
If the Packers select Barmore it would have to be in the first round, because he’s unlikely to slide to them in the second round. It would be a pick in which you’re betting on his intangibles and potential than production (much like Rashan Gary).
Barmore flashes, but he’s far too inconsistent snap-to-snap. He checks all the boxes with his size and athletic ability. Barmore plays with great leverage and when he’s dialed in he can be a disruptive force.
The Packers need to get Kenny Clark help along the defensive line. Barmore has all the tools in the shed to develop into a disruptive force playing alongside the wrecking ball that is Clark.
Amari Rodgers, WR, Clemson
Rodgers is a YAC machine. According to PFF, Rodgers averages 8.3 yards after the catch. He’s a load to bring down for cornerbacks. Rodgers is a home run threat, he has five touchdowns of 20-plus yards.
The Packers need to get playmakers to pair with Davate Adams. Rodgers could help bring the YAC attack back to Green Bay. Get the ball in his hands and let him work.
Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Olave has a Master’s degree in route running. He won’t wow you with his athletic ability, but he’s always open. He’s so smooth in and out of his breaks. Brian Hartline, the wide receivers coach for Ohio State has done a great job of preparing his pupils for the NFL.
Olave offers very little after the catch, but he could be the perfect complement to Davante Adams in Green Bay. With his ability to get open and his reliable hands, he would quickly earn the trust of Aaron Rodgers.
Alex Leatherwood, OL, Alabama
Leatherwood, like Carman, could play guard or tackle at the next level. That type of versatility has Gutekunst salivating at the mouth.
Leatherwood has some things he needs to clean up with his footwork and his pass sets. When he keeps his feet moving he’s as good as they come. There are times on tape where it looks like he’s moving in quicksand and gets overwhelmed with speed rushers.
Josh Myers, C, Ohio State
The Packers drafted Ohio State center, Corey Linsley in the fifth round during the 2014 NFL Draft. Now, seven years later the Packers could replace him with another Buckey. Myers is a two-year starter and is one of the best centers in college football.
Myers is an absolute mauler as a run blocker. He needs work in pass protection, but he’s been an anchor of an impressive Ohio State offensive line the past two seasons.
Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
Imagine a backfield combination of AJ Dillon and Etienne. Dillon would be the thunder and Etienne would be the lightning.
An offense with Aaron Rodgers under center, Davante Adams at wide receiver along a great offensive line, and a running back duo of Etienne and Dillon would cause many sleepless nights for defensive coordinators.
Dillon would wear on teams with his brute strength. Then enter Etienne would his game-changing speed and acceleration. Yeah, good luck.
The chances of the Packers selecting Etienne or slim to none. One would have to imagine if Etienne is on the board when the Packers are on the clock in the first round Gutekunst would think long and hard about adding the dynamic playmaker.
If Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams both walk in free agency, Dillon is going to need a running mate. Who better to pair with him than the best running back in the class?
Etienne is explosive and is a threat to take it to the house anytime the ball is in his hands. He possesses great vision and is a threat out of the backfield (98 career receptions).
It’s a crazy proposition. But if I had told you at this time last year that the Packers would trade up for Jordan Love in the first round and then take a running back in round two, you would’ve laughed in my face. Never say never.
Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
Notre Dame has become an offensive line pipeline and Eichenberg is the next product to come out of the South Bend assembly line.
Eichenberg checks off all the boxes. He’s got the size and length. He’s a wall in pass protection and shows a mean streak as a run blocker.
As a four year starter, Eichenberg is battle-tested. He’s a plug and play starter at right tackle. If the Packers opt to cut Rick Wagner and have Billy Turner be their starting right guard, Eichenberg could be a target for them in round two.