Packers.com consulted more than a dozen mock drafts from reputable national outlets and compiled a list of players most frequently mocked as draft selections in the bottom third of the first round (picks 20-32).
Between now and draft day, when the Packers are slated to select at No. 29 overall, those players will be profiled with thumbnail sketches in a new series entitled “Draft Digest.”
Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
Key stats: Registered double-digit pass breakups each of the last two seasons, including 10 in just six games in 2020.
College honors: Named third-team Associated Press All-American and first-team All-Big Ten last season.
Background: Newsome projects as a starting boundary corner in the NFL, but the question is how soon, which is why predictions on his draft selection range from late first round to Day 2. His fluid athleticism and coverage skills in multiple schemes are attractive traits that he’s displayed, and improved upon, since becoming a starter back in 2018. The knocks? Injuries have limited his playing time each of the last three years – including a groin injury that kept him out of last year’s Big Ten Championship vs. Ohio State, a potential showcase for his talents – though no injuries have been major. His lean build also raises questions how he’ll hold up over a long NFL season, and he had just one interception in his college career. Doubts about his speed diminished when he reportedly clocked a 4.38 in the 40 at Northwestern’s pro day (he also posted a 40-inch vertical). The Chicago native went to college close to home, though he spent his high school career at the IMG Academy in Florida.
Potential fit with Packers: Green Bay’s future at the corner position is a bit up in the air, with two of their top three – Kevin King and Chandon Sullivan – as of now on one-year contracts for 2021. That puts cornerback squarely on the radar for a significant draft investment, and a player like Newsome could learn the pro game as a depth and sub-package option during his rookie year before taking over as a starter down the road. The top half-dozen or so cornerbacks in this draft are an impressive group, but it’s hard to say who might be available at the end of the first round or even slide to the second. Newsome was once considered a sleeper in this draft, but not anymore. Analysts say his film showed he’s not relegated to one specific type of coverage scheme to be effective.