’With the 29th pick, the Green Bay Packers select:’ Experts predict Packers first round pick in 2021 draft

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — After an NFC Championship loss to the future Super Bowl champions and some key player departures, the Green Bay Packers will have quite a few positions to fill in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Green Bay has 10 picks this year, including the 29th overall selection.

Draft experts across the country are looking at some of the needs for the reigning NFC North champions.

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The Packers will have to rebuild the middle of their defense after losing inside linebacker Christian Kirksey, who was third on the team in total tackles, to free agency.

To fill that void, CBS Sports writers Cody Benjamin and Josh Edwards both predict that Green Bay will focus on defense in the first round by drafting linebacker Zaven Collins out of Tulsa.

During his junior season with the Golden Hurricane, Collins racked up 54 total tackles, including 36 solo along with four sacks, two forced fumbles, four interceptions and two defensive touchdowns.

As for the secondary, Green Bay is shopping for another cornerback, despite signing Kevin King to a one-year deal.

The Packers could possibly trade up in the draft to snag Northwestern cornerback Greg Newsome II, according to NFL draft analyst Chad Reuter. Newsome reminds Reuter a lot of current New Orleans Saint Marshon Lattimore.

For skilled players, the Packers seem to be set in their backfield after resigning running back Aaron Jones and drafting A.J. Dillon in 2020, although Jamaal Williams went to Detroit in free agency. But adding another receiver to compliment Davante Adams could be a high priority for the green and gold.

In the ESPN mock draft, Rob Demovsky picked the Pack to take Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman. The 21-year-old spent three seasons with the Gophers before announcing he would enter the draft. Bateman had a breakthrough sophomore season where he caught 60 passes for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Another Big Ten receiver the Packers could consider is Purdue speedster Rondale Moore, as Pro Football Focus predicts he will be taken by Green Bay in the first round.

Moore had a breakout freshman campaign with the Boilermakers. He caught 114 passes for 1,258 yards for 12 scores. He also added two rushing touchdowns that season. Moore’s sophomore and junior seasons were cut short due to lower leg injuries.

Sticking with a receiver in the first round, NBC Sports believes Green Bay could trade up to the 21st spot to snag Kadarius Toney from Florida. In his senior season with the Gators, the six-foot senior snagged 70 receptions for nearly 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The offensive line is looking to rebuild after losing guard Lane Taylor and center Corey Linsley in free agency. All-pro left tackle David Bahktiari also will miss significant camp time as he recovers from a torn ACL. CBS’s Pete Prisco believes center Creed Humphrey from Oklahoma will be the Packers first-round pick.

The first round of the 2021 NFL draft will be Thursday, April 29 on ESPN. The second and third rounds will happen on Friday and rounds four through seven will be on Saturday.