The Green Bay Packers made 11 picks in the three-day NFL Draft, including two in the first round and four in the seventh round.
Much of the work done by General Manager Brian Gutekunst has been well received nationally.
There was a lot to like about the draft class in general. The Packers got bigger and faster overall and better and deeper in several key positions, added more top tier defense and gave special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia some shiny new toys.
Here are five things to love and four things to question about the Packers’ 2022 draft class.
Love: Investment at wide receiver
No position on the roster needed competition more than wide receiver, so the Packers selected three intriguing receivers from an 11-man class. No, there was no first-round receiver for the first time in 20 years. But the Packers got Watson – a almost perfect fit for Matt LaFleur – at No. 34 overall, representing the highest selection to that position since Javon Walker in 2002, and added two more on Day 3, including Romeo Doubs in the fourth round. Watson is a alien athlete and has as many advantages as any receiver in the class; Doubs quietly produced back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons as Carson Strong’s top target. There’s a chance they’ll be the future No. 1 and No. 2 at receiver. Given their speed, both could contribute immediately as deep threats. Seventh-round pick Samori Toure was an All-American in Montana before moving to Nebraska and leading the Big Ten in yards per strike in 2021. He’ll have a chance to stick it out. This position was long overdue for a big investment, but there’s no better time than now.
Question: Place value at 22
(AP Photo/John Amis)
The Packers discovered just how much of an impact a great inside linebacker can have when De’Vondre Campbell produced an All-Pro season in 2021. But it’s still fair to wonder if it’s really worth spending a pick of first-rounder on an off-ball linebacker after giving Campbell a $50 million contract, even though Quay Walker is an elite athlete and could be a dominant player against the run. To make the selection worthwhile, Walker will need to be very capable and disruptive in the passing game. There’s not a good hit rate for inside linebackers late in the first round, and teams found a lot of value on Days 2 and 3. Campbell, for example, was a fourth-round pick. Recent All-Pros: Fred Warner (third round), Darrius Leonard (second round), Bobby Wagner (second round), Demario Davis (third round), Lavonte David (second round), Eric Kendricks (second round). The Packers are hoping having two elite linebackers on the field will take defense to another level, but it’s still a gamble.
Love: potential impact in 2022
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The Packers entered the 2022 draft with a strong overall roster, but Gutekunst still found players who could be instant impact contributors. Quay Walker is an expected starter at linebacker. There’s no reason Devonte Wyatt can’t start or play a lot of snaps right away down the defensive line. Christian Watson and Roméo Doubs will have big opportunities at receiver and in special teams as returners. Both Sean Rhyan and Zach Tom should have the chance to compete for the starting spot at right guard, or even right tackle, while also providing key inside depth along the offensive line. Kingsley Enagbare is good enough to step into the No. 3 outside linebacker role immediately. Even on a Super Bowl-contending team, there could be 4-5 starters or big players in 2022 from this rookie class.
Question: Big trade
(AP Photo/Dill Butch)
The Packers gave up a ton of draft capital to move up 19 spots and take Christian Watson to 34th in the second round. By about any business value graph, the Vikings won the case with a landslide victory. The Packers had to get aggressive due to a massive need for receivers and first-round receivers, and the Vikings weren’t going to give Brian Gutekunst an NFC North cut. If Watson becomes the team’s next second-round stallion at receiver, the cost to mount won’t matter. But the Packers are really banking on their assessment of Watson. Keep in mind that several receivers went off the board right around their original No. 53 pick, including Alec Pierce and George Pickens. Instead of taking two players with premium second-round picks, the Packers only got one. That’s a big risk in an event as uncertain as the draft.
Love: strengthen the line of scrimmage
Mark J. Rebilas – USA TODAY Sports
Brian Gutekunst understands the value of investing along the offensive line to ensure his NFL MVP quarterback stays protected. He made three more picks on offensive linemen, including two in the first four rounds. There was a big need after losing Billy Turner, Lucas Patrick and (probably) Dennis Kelly this offseason. The Packers have now picked three offensive linemen in three straight drafts dating back to 2020 and 11 overall since Gutekunst took over. Will Sean Rhyan or Zach Tom emerge as the next midterm pick to become a starter? They are both athletic and versatile, fitting into the mold of the team. Seventh-round pick Rasheed Walker has the profile of a late-round steal. Offensive line depth will always be an asset for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers if Gutekunst continues to make it a priority. And the draft wasn’t just an investment on the offensive side; the Packers also got a penetrator (Devonte Wyatt) and space obstructor (Jonathan Ford) for the defensive line. Good football teams win the line of scrimmage, and the Packers are better up front on both sides coming out of the draft.
Question: No tight ends
Mark J. Rebilas – USA TODAY Sports
The Packers have five tight ends they really like in Robert Tonyan, Marcedes Lewis, Josiah Deguara, Dominique Dafney and Tyler Davis, but it was still somewhat of a surprise that Gutekunst didn’t add a development option to the mix. Tonyan has just injured his knee and has a one-year contract. Lewis will turn 38 and has a one-year contract. Deguara is a bit of an unknown after two seasons. Gutekunst mentioned really liking Davis, so maybe he’s the development guy in the room. This could be a position where the Packers invest more in veterans (see: more developed) than draft picks, which is a defensible strategy given how difficult tight ends are for young players.
Love: day value 3
The Packers had a great draft Saturday. There’s a lot to love about Romeo Doubs and Zach Tom as fourth-round picks, and fifth-round Kingsley Enagbare and seventh-round Rasheed Walker were two of the best values in the entire draft. Many thought Enagbare and Walker would be the Day 2 picks. Tariq Carpenter is an elite athlete and hybrid defender who could be terrific on special teams. Jonathan Ford is a massive human being with rare height who played a lot of football in Miami. Samori Toure was productive as a big-play threat no matter where he played, and he looked like a real player at the East-West Shrine Bowl. The Packers could get a lot of value from the seven players they picked between Rounds 4-7.
Question: No cornerback
Mark J. Rebilas – USA TODAY Sports
The Packers are rock solid in the top three at cornerback, but depth is a question mark and Gutekunst added no competition here in the draft. Was it a vote of confidence in 2021 fifth-round pick Shemar Jean-Charles and free agent signing Keisean Nixon? An injury to Jaire Alexander, Eric Stokes or Rasul Douglas and the complexion of the cornerback room would change in a hurry. It still seems unlikely, but maybe the Packers will bring Kevin King back at some point. As a fourth cornerback, King could be a valuable player.
Love: Additions to Special Teams
(AP Photo/AJ Mast)
The Packers prioritized special teams for Rich Bisaccia in this draft. Christian Watson was an All-American kickoff returner at North Dakota State and has the skills to handle the job right away as a rookie. Romeo Doubs returned 39 punts for Nevada, including one for a touchdown. The Packers need the spark in the rematch. If he makes the roster, Tariq Carpenter could be a core part of the special team. He has the size and the athleticism to play every unit. As a likely backup rusher, Kingsley Enagbare is expected to play in multiple special teams groups, and don’t be surprised if Samori Toure makes the team an all-purpose special team that can cover kicks and punts. release and send them back. , also. Even Quay Walker, the Packers’ first-round pick, could contribute to teams right away. The third phase arrow points in the right direction.