GREEN BAY, Wis. – It probably won’t be second- and triple-guessed like the decision to select Kevin King with T.J. Watt on the board in the first round in 2017, but the Green Bay Packers had their choice of the best centers in the 2021 NFL Draft. Against conventional wisdom, they went with Ohio State’s Josh Myers over Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey.
“I would have taken Creed,” one personnel director said.
Humphrey didn’t allow a sack in three seasons, according to Pro Football Focus, and scored a perfect 10 in Relative Athletic Score. Myers allowed six sacks as a two-year starter and didn’t test following toe surgery. Myers went No. 62 overall, with Humphrey going to Kansas City at No. 63.
“Personally, I think he was a pretty solid player but, in the scouting world, there were huge splits on him,” the personnel director said. “Some people thought he was a plug-and-play starter, tough, could fit in any scheme. And then there’s some people who were like, ‘That dude’s going to struggle. Stiff and plays high, not really a great pass protector.’ You probably could have got him a little later but, hey, if they think he’s going to be a starter, which I think he’s got a decent chance to be a solid starting center, then that’s not the worst value.”
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While the scouting director wondered if the Packers could have traded back a bit and landed Myers, the answer was perhaps not.
“Great pick. We were very much in the conversation with Josh,” said a scout from another team with a selection the top 70. “That’s a good pick. You lose [Corey] Linsley, this kid has the talent to step right in. I can see a similar career. Hopefully, a little more healthy. He could kick out to guard. Very smart, tough, physical. That’s a good pick.”
At 6-foot-5, Myers is unusually tall for a center. Jim Nagy, the executive director of the Senior Bowl, said Myers could play guard, too. The Packers haven’t committed to Myers playing either position, with coach Matt LaFleur saying only that he’d start his best five linemen.
“Depending on your scheme, some teams might look for a little more of a quicker, mobile athlete at that position,” Nagy said. “But he is big and strong enough to play guard. Sometimes, those smaller, more mobile guys are center only. With Josh, because of his size and his strength, he can play both. He’s a big, strong sucker, and sometimes those guys end up better at guard.”
With knowledge of Green Bay’s offensive system, the scout believed Myers would be the Week 1 starter at center.
“I think he can be a center in your scheme,” he said. “The thing that will help him is snapping the ball. He’ll always have that initial half-second. If you remember Alex Mack, he’s a similar-level athlete to Josh. Being at center gives you that little extra time to get an edge or reach someone, so he can certainly do it. At guard, you’re going to get a little bit more power from him, but I think he’s going to be best at center.”
After two strong seasons at Ohio State, Myers was slated to join Humphrey at the Senior Bowl. However, he had to back out due to the toe – an injury that required surgery after Myers played through it during the Buckeyes’ run to the College Football Playoffs national championship game.
“Strong, played a lot of football, smart, good feel for the game, anchors well,” Nagy said. “He’s a good football player. He’s a guy you draft to start. You draft that guy to plug him in and start him.”