What Should the Packers Do in the 2022 NFL Draft?

With the news that Aaron Rodgers has signed a bumper four-year deal in the range of $200 million, Green Bay Packers fans can look forward to the 2022 NFL Draft knowing that they are set to compete for a Super Bowl next season and beyond. The Packers are currently +800 to win Super Bowl 57 according to NFL betting markets, putting them behind only the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs, but a strong draft could set them apart from those two franchises. A few big acquisitions in the upcoming draft could set them up for success, and this article looks at players that can make an immediate impact in the positions of need on the Packers roster.

Wide Receiver

The Rodgers contract has freed up some cap space for the Packers, and some of that money immediately went on franchise tagging star wideout Davante Adams. Even with Adams returning, the wide receiver room currently looks threadbare, with Randall Cobb, Amari Rodgers, Juwann Winfree and Allen Lazard the only other rostered receivers as Marquez Valdez-Scantling has hit the open market. Heading into the draft, this looks like a position the Packers will have to target with one of their first picks, and probably pick 28 in the first round. Many mock drafts have the Packers taking Treylon Burks out of Arkansas with their first pick, and he seems like a perfect fit for the Matt LaFleur offense. Burks is 6’3” and 225 pounds and uses that size to his advantage both as a blocker and at the catch point. A big red flag for Burks however is his performance at the Combine. His 4.55 40-yard dash time is concerning but not a deal breaker by any means, but his performances in the vertical jump and three-cone drill were eye-catching for all the wrong reasons. His 33-inch vertical placed him in the 20th percentile all-time among receivers, and his 7.28 second three-cone was only good enough for the 8th percentile all time in his position. 

If Burks’ combine performance made him undraftable in the Packers eyes, they could turn to Alabama standout Jameson Williams. Williams tore his ACL in the National Title game and will miss some time in the 2022 season, but his tape is electrifying. He is a true speedster on the boundary and showed huge big-play ability for Alabama, but pairs that with silky route-running underneath and huge YAC potential, making him a versatile playmaker in any offense. Had Williams not torn his ACL, it’s almost certain he wouldn’t be available at pick 28, and could be an absolute steal for the Packers if they take him with that pick.

Defensive Linemen

There is no doubting that the Packers’ Defensive Line depth is a huge worry going into the 2022 season. Kenny Clark is a solid veteran, Dean Lowry showed huge improvements last season and T.J. Slaton showed flashes as a rookie, but outside of that it looks pretty barren. It’s clear that this is a position that the Packers need to attack either in free agency or the draft, and if they choose to go the draft route, George Karlaftis out of Purdue could be an interesting option. His 2020 season was cut short due to injury, but in 2019 and 2021, Karlaftis was a threat against everyone he played, totalling 109 pressures and 13 sacks. He loves to get after the quarterback using raw power, and has shown he is also capable of being a stout run defender on the edge.

If the Packers feel they would be better off targeting an interior Defensive Lineman with their first round pick, Devonte Wyatt from Georgia could be an option. Like his fellow Georgia defensive standouts, he tested incredibly well at the Combine and showed he is an exceptional athlete. In his final three seasons at Georgia, he recorded 63 pressures including four sacks, all of which came in their National Championship winning 2021 season. On top of that, Wyatt also shone while defending the run, and was one of the highest-graded interior run defenders this past season according to PFF. Logan Hall out of Houston could also be in play here, who had his best year in 2021, recording 29 pressures, six sacks, and 25 stops.

Offensive Line

General Manager Brian Gutekunst has made it clear that he values depth on the Offensive Line since he took the job in 2018, taking at least one lineman in every draft he has overseen. It seems likely that the streak will continue, due to this year’s draft class having great depth, particularly at tackle. If they are looking for someone to play at Right Tackle straight away and then potentially take over from David Bakhtiari on the left when he retires, the Packers could target the position in the first round. Minnesota tackle Daniel Faalele could be the most intriguing prospect of the entire draft, mostly because human beings don’t usually come in his size. At 6’8”, 387 pounds, the giant weighed in as the heaviest player in Combine history. He is technically raw, but his size, surprisingly quick feet, athleticism and nimbleness will certainly interest teams.

Zion Johnson from Boston College is another name that has been talked about for the Packers, and his versatility would be extremely valuable. By the end of his college career, he finished his career with 30 career starts, 18 of which coming at left guard and 12 at left tackle. Scouts view Johnson as a plug and play prospect at guard or tackle, which could make him an interesting prospect to look out for in the first or second round for the Packers. Another player with guard/tackle versatility that the Packers could go for is Darian Kinnard out of Kentucky, who had 39 career starts in the SEC for the Wildcats. Scouts see Kinnard as a player who can start at right tackle right away, or kick inside to guard. 

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