The Green Bay Packers made 11 selections in the 2022 NFL Draft, starting with 22nd-ranked linebacker Quay Walker in the first round and ending with 258th-ranked wide receiver Samori Toure in the seventh round.
It’s time to break down the class. Better choices. Sleepers. Winners. Losers. Strategy. Let’s dig.
Here’s a look at the Packers’ 2022 draft class:
First choice: LB Quay Walker
Mark J. Rebilas – USA TODAY Sports
A first-round surprise, of course, especially after the Packers signed All-Pro De’Vondre Campbell to a $50 million deal in March. Walker is the Packers’ first off-ball linebacker selected in the first round since 2005. So why now? The Packers were blown away by Campbell’s impact in the middle of the defense last season, and the addition of Walker, a three-man player with similar size and speed to Campbell, will keep Joe Barry’s defense alive. in more basic and nickel packages, whatever. of location. For the first time in a very long time, the Packers have a menacing pair of inside linebackers to anchor the defense. Walker and Campbell, with their incredible length and speed, will control the action in midfield, especially behind big players like Kenny Clark and fellow countryman Devonte Wyatt. They’ll chase and tackle everything, an especially valuable attribute if the Packers continue to play more two-deep safeties in Barry’s scheme. While the position value may not be there, Walker is a 21-year-old elite athlete rising as a player after starting 15 games for one of the best defenses in college football history. Having another talent among inside linebackers could help take the Packers defense to another level.
Top Pick: DL Devonte Wyatt
(AP Photo/Michael Woods)
Wyatt is basically a clone of Quinnen Williams, who went No. 3 overall in the 2019 draft. The Packers got Wyatt at No. 28 overall, and they were surprised he was still around. Brian Gutekunst assumed he would have left at 28 after taking Walker at 22. In Wyatt, the Packers are getting a versatile disruptor who’s played every spot along the defensive line and has elite movement skills, making him a legitimate candidate to be useful and a valuable player right away. He’s physically ready to play right away, so don’t be surprised if he’s on the pitch as a rookie. In many ways, he’s the Rashan Gary of the defensive line; his production at Georgia (12.0 tackles for loss, 5.0 sacks in 25 starts) wasn’t overwhelming, but he’s an elite athlete with explosive traits for a man his size and his engine is still warming up . Athletics and effort/desire create a high floor for a prospect with as much talent as Wyatt possesses. Expect him to be a more productive pro. Even at 24, he is rising.
Sleeper’s Choice: OLB Kingsley Enagbare
Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) is sacked by South Carolina rusher Kingsley Enagbare (1)
This may turn out to be the best value choice of the draft class. Enagbare, a productive college player in a prime position, was widely considered a Day 2 pick. Athletic’s Dane Brugler ranked him the 69th best player. Athletic’s consensus board had Enagbare in the top 64. The Packers traded in the fifth round and took him to No. 179. Some concerns over his athleticism and a major hip injury suffered before his junior season reportedly could have contributed to its downfall. The Packers believe he’s more athletic than his test numbers, and his strip reveals a player who wins all the time as a rusher and has similar physical traits to Za’Darius Smith. Enagbare may not be a flexible pass-rusher, but he has rough hands and a physical, powerful style of play that matches what the Packers want in an edge rusher. As a rookie, he will have the chance to play snaps as the No. 3 rusher behind Rashan Gary and Preston Smith. In 2nd or 3rd year, he could be the starter against Gary. He has that kind of thing. Either way, taking Enagbare dramatically improved the Packers’ depth at an important position.
Most Intriguing Pick: OL Zach Tom
Reinhold Matay – USA TODAY Sports
There aren’t many certainties in the NFL Draft, but the Packers finding starters for the offensive line on Day 3 is one of them. Tom, the team’s fourth-round pick, could be next. He ticks all the boxes: college experience at left tackle, elite athleticism and multi-position versatility. The Packers believe Tom can play all five positions up front. He started the games at left and center tackle and then nailed the combine, giving him Elgton Jenkins vibes. Pass protection is its great asset; go back and watch the Florida State game in 2021. He removed first-round pick Jermaine Johnson from the contest. With just one pick, the Packers might have found a replacement for Billy Turner and Luke Patrick. That’s how versatile Tom could be at the top level. The Packers have a very specific type of offensive lineman they like, especially in the middle rounds, so it’s no wonder they keep finding gems. It won’t be at all surprising if Tom starts the games early in his career in Green Bay.
Must follow position: Take your pick!
Joshua L Jones
There will be much to follow in the years following this project. The Packers drafted linebacker Quay Walker and defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt from Georgia; the Eagles drafted linebacker Nakobe Dean and defensive lineman Jordan Davis from Georgia. Who has the best pair? The Packers also traded aggressively in the second round to take Christian Watson. Six different receivers went later in the second round, four of them (Tyquan Thornton, George Pickens, Alec Pierce and Skyy Moore) in the 50-54 range. Did the Packers pick the right receiver? It will be easy to compare what the Packers have accomplished in the first two rounds with other NFL teams.
Biggest winner: Joe Barry
Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry
The Packers added two more first-round picks on defense and more competition at all levels of defense for Barry, who will enter the 2022 season with huge expectations to lead one of the most talented defenses in the NFL. The investment on the defensive side has been substantial. Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt give the Packers seven first-round picks on defense. Adrian Amos and Preston Smith were high priority free agent signings. De’Vondre Campbell and Rasul Douglas have signed new agreements. This defense is brimming with talent and playmakers. It’s Barry’s job to put all the pieces together and put the Packers in the top five in points allowed and help fuel a Super Bowl run. Brian Gutekunst has filled all the holes in the defensive roster, and all three tiers now look solid. If Walker and Wyatt are stallions and Kingsley Enagbare can provide something as a third rusher, the Packers defense should be one of the best in football in 2022 and beyond. This group is full of young talents. Barry should be positively stunned by the potential of his defense.
Biggest Loser: Fringe Member Types at WR
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
For the likes of Malik Taylor and Juwann Winfree, the path to the 53-man roster just got a whole lot more complicated. After signing Sammy Watkins to a one-year deal, the Packers took three draft receivers, including two (Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs) in the first four rounds. If we assume that Watson, Doubs, Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb and Amari Rodgers are roster locks, and that Watkins is likely likely to make the roster, there simply aren’t many spots left on the roster up for grabs. Taylor and Winfree (and Rico Gafford and Chris Blair) will need to excel on special teams to have a chance of making the 53-player Week 1 roster. The Packers needed to up the level of competition and talent at wide receiver, and the last three days have accomplished the task.
Strategy Breakdown: Triple in Multiple Positions
Nevada’s Romeo Doubs catches a first-half touchdown pass against Utah State on Thursday.
The Packers drafted three wide receivers and three offensive linemen, continuing Brian Gutekunst’s trend of using multiple picks at specific positions in a single draft. After rounding the receiver in the first round, Gutekunst got Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure on Days 2 and 3. All three receivers traveled to Green Bay ahead of the draft. Watson and Doubs add serious speed and vertical ability as receivers, ticking off the need for Matt LaFleur’s offense after losing Marquez Valdes-Scantling. If all goes well, Watson and Doubs could be future No. 1 and 2 receivers. The offensive line needed reinforcements after losing Billy Turner, Lucas Patrick and Dennis Kelly this offseason, Gutekunst took three on Day 2 and 3. Sean Rhyan and Zach Tom could compete to start at right guard or even right tackle right away as rookies. Rasheed Walker is a very promising choice with the potential to be a future tackle starter. By taking versatile players, the Packers were able to address the need for depth along the offensive line.
It will take years to really assess the draft class, but the immediate reaction here is that this could be Gutekunst’s best draft since taking over as the Packers’ GM in 2018. He got a potential linebacker from the Pro Bowl and a defensive lineman, added starting level talent. both on the offensive and defensive lines, completely reloaded the level of competition at the receiver and perhaps found some late-round interceptions at the edge of the rusher and offensive tackle. All pre-draft requirements have been addressed. Elite athletes have been found. No one will ever replace Davante Adams, but the draft has provided some intriguing replacements for the remainder of the offseason’s starts. The Packers emerge from this draft with a bigger, faster and more talented roster on both sides of football. There are no obvious weaknesses left on defense, and offense has added what could be fundamentals at receiver and offensive line, with the two biggest weaknesses coming into the draft. Rich Bisaccia will be happy too. He got two new returning options (Watson, Doubs) and a few likely core special teams, including hybrid safety/linebacker Tariq Carpenter. Best part of the class? The Packers have had as many as seven future starters, and a handful are expected to be starters or immediate contributors. A Super Bowl contender has improved for 2022, and the roster should look even more stable in the long run.