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Players on the Packers’ Draft Radar

The 2022 draft is getting closer by the day and so is the Packers need at wide receiver. The Packers have now lost Davante Adams and MVS and the cupboard looks bare to fans of the Green and Gold. Their depth at offensive tackle has also been stripped with the free agent losses of Billy Turner, Ben Braden, Lucas Patrick and no activity to try and resign Dennis Kelly. Starting guard/tackle Elgton Jenkins is still healing from major knee surgery and it is obvious Bakhtiari had some setbacks with his recovery. Yes, wide receiver is a need, but don’t overlook offensive tackle as a critical must find in this draft.

Edge rusher will also be a need but not as high a priority due to the resigning of Preston Smith and emergence of Rashan Gary. So, with these major needs in mind, who would you like to see wearing a Packer uniform after the first two days of the 2022 draft are complete?

One caveat, there is no claim that this writer is a draft guru. I watch the Senior Bowl. I review articles and videos of practices leading up to the game and the other predraft bowl games. I watch the combine and read about pro days. None of that makes me an expert. It makes me a fan. Part of the fun of being a fan is trying to guess which players have the best potential to be game changers for the Packers. With all of the happy hours of games, combine, and pro days all but completed, I have a group of players I hope to see playing for the Green and Gold.

To be realistic I have taken the top wideouts off the board. A team that hasn’t drafted a receiver in round one in recent history seem unlikely to trade up for one and give up enough picks to move up to the top of the draft for one.

Mar 3, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; North Dakota State wide receiver Christian Watson (WO35) goes through drills during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Christian Watson WR North Dakota State
The why:
Measurables: legit 6’4”/208 lbs./10” hands/32.75 arms
Combine 40 time; 4.36
Production: 108 catches/2140 yrds. /14 TD’s.

Watson impressed coaches at the Senior Bowl practices and then has a huge 38 yard catch and run in the game. His film shows he blocks well for a college wideout, a requirement in NDSU’s run heavy offense. And he has proven he can play in the cold. He seems to have future #1 receiver potential. And, he looks good in Green and Gold.

I can’t see giving up a pick to moving up for one of the Ohio State receivers when Watson may be available at 22.

Cincinnati’s Alec Pierce (12) leaps by Notre Dame’s JD Bertrand (27) during the Notre Dame vs. Cincinnati NCAA football game Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, at Notre Dame Stadium

Alec Pierce WR Cincinnati
The why:
Measurables: 6’3”/213 lbs/9” hands/33” arms
Combine: 4.33 forty
Production: 2022 season, 52 catches/884 yrds./8 TD

Pierce came out in day one of senior bowl practice and won his routes. He high pointed catches and ran decent routes. His college tape (2 games and highlights) show a receiver who can win one on one high point balls. He has more route tree experience than Watson coming from a passing offense, but he seems to be a willing blocker. He also has played well in cold weather.

There are other big name wideouts with injury histories (Drake London- USC/Jameson Williams- Ala.) They may have great futures but if you can’t make it through a college season can you make a 20 game pro season? Both players had injuries that ended their seasons and recovery is still in progress. This fan passes.

Offensive Line

Mar 4, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Mississippi State offensive lineman Charles Cross (OL06) goes through drills during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Charles Cross Mississippi State

The why:
Tangibles: 6’5”/310 lbs./34.5” arms/hand 10.75”
4.95 forty/ 7.88 3 cone

Cross is projected by many as the third tackle off the board. He could go top 10. That would mean
At least the top first and second round pick and potentially a fourth round pick. If he is a top left tackle, he would be worth it. He has played against the best (Alabama and Georgia) and put up good tape. His biggest knock is a need to get stronger.

Mar 4, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Northern Iowa offensive lineman Trevor Penning (OL38) goes through drills during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Trevor Penning Iowa State
Tangibles: 6’6”/330 lbs./34.75” arms/10.25 hands
4.89 forty/7.25 3 cone

Penning has great feet and quickness for his size. He tested really well at the combine and impressed scouts at the senior bowl with the label “mean streak” connected to his run blocking. Unfortunately Penning is listed as the next best prospect behind Cross and could go around pick 15. That small difference between Cross and Penning in draft order may make Penning affordable in draft capital for the Packers.

The key to the choices should be the drop off in talent after these picks. Questions in draft circles increase when you get past Penning. There is still talent, but for these two positions the Packers may need an instant starter to be playoff bound. With four picks in the first two rounds, if this draft ends with the Packers nabbing a starting tackle and two sure handed speedy wideouts the draft will be a success for Aaron Rodgers and Packer fans.

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Paul Edwards

Paul Edwards is a lawyer, victim advocate, writer, and long term Packer fan and Packer history enthusiast.

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23 Comments

  1. Mitch Anthony March 30, 2022

    Fan to fan, I like every one of the players you profiled. Cross and Penning will be long gone by the time GB sniffs the board at pick 22, unless they really want to move up to get one of them. As impactful as either could be, GB has been quite good at finding good O-line talent throughout the draft and finding those guys who could play across the line when needed. I have a bit more confidence with GB picking offensive linemen than most other positions right now.

    Watson might be a reach at 28 and likely not around at 53. If you covet Watson he could be a trade back in the first, trade up in the second type pick. Pierce could definitely be there at 53 or 59 and there’s a lot to like about him. I really agree with your assessment on him and I actually think he’s more play ready than Watson.

    Current “values” of picks if GB stays pat with their picks. (1) 22=780, 28=660, (2) 53=370, 59=310, (3) 92=132, (4) 132=40, 140=36, (5) 171=21.4, (7) 228=1, 249=1, 258=1. Just for reference, pick 10=1300 and pick 15=1050, so there would be some serious bundling to make any big move in the first to get one of those offensive line beasts. Not to say a trade up couldn’t involve a player but, whom? I just can’t see giving up much on the chance to get five players out of the first 100 taken off the board.

    Just because GB hasn’t taken a first round WR since the early part of the century doesn’t mean they can’t, or won’t. They might and they could and there is a lot of need to say they should. Rob? C’mon Rob, I always leaned toward agreeing with you these last few years.

    Thanks Paul.

    Reply
  2. Herm March 30, 2022

    The chance Gute will have a good draft is very small. The 2020 draft was hopeless and the 2021 draft had too many unforced errors. How does anybody select Josh Myers with Creed Humphrey on the board? Amari Rodgers in the 3rd round? This team needs a talent infusion not clever picks by somebody trying to be cute.

    Reply
  3. Tom M March 30, 2022

    I’m with you on this one Mitch. I don’t see either Cross or Penning making it to 22. Unless of course teams start over drafting QB’s. The only WR I’d take at 22 would be Chris Olave. It’s unlikely he’d still be on the board either. I don’t see a huge drop off from a WR taken at 22 vs 53 or even 59. If it were me, I’d take the best available pass rusher at 22 and groom him to replace Preston Smith. Much the was Gary did with ZaDarius. At 28, I’d take the highest rated Safety. Both Amos and Savage are FA’s after this season. Although Savage can be franchised. You can’t pay them both. OT would also be an option at 28. Then I’d double down on WR with picks 53 and 59. Go TE round three and OL depth in the later rounds. Josh Myers just needs to stay healthy. He’s every bit as good as Creed Humphrey. I don’t see Gutekunst trading up. If anything I see him trading back. With salary cap issues forthcoming, we’ll need lots of cheap labor that rookie contracts provide.

    Reply
  4. rebelgb March 30, 2022

    Tom your draft analysis pretty much mirrors mine. Like you the exception is Olave. If you can move up to get him with not a ton of draft capital spent, get him. He is a starter out of the gate. Otherwise you have it on the head: Pass rusher, Safety, then 2 WR’s. TE after or in place of one of the WR picks as i think its time TE become important to Rodgers.

    Reply
  5. Vijay Swearingen March 30, 2022

    Nice analysis and justification of pick usage based on value matching need here.

    Reply
  6. Howard March 31, 2022

    Thanks for the article Paul. I think there is a good chance the Packers would select Watson. I just think Watson is more of a player to get late in the second round or early third. A couple of knocks on Watson is he has a hard time tracking deep balls and drops. Sounds like a recent fifth round Packer receiver. Watson would give one thing LaFleur wants and I agree with, and that is a player that can stretch the field and keep two defenders occupied. I also would go with Olave at pick 22 if available. After pick 22 if the Packers do not get Olave I think Burks will be available at 28. Burks speed was not impressive at the combine so I would think he falls and maybe rightfully so. Burks did show well against SEC defenses and that is a plus. I thought the Deguara pick was the Packers thing to find a player like the 49ers Juszczyk. I would not be surprised to see the Packers take Burks at 28 to try and find a player similar to Debo Samuel. The speed receiver(s) could follow. See Watson. I also wonder how long Jameson Williams will last? Once he gets over the knee and that may not be during the 2022 season he would be a field stretcher. If someone takes Williams in the first good for them. I don’t think the Packers have that luxury.
    .
    I will not worry about the offensive linemen the Packers will take. I feel they need a couple and I trust them to get the right ones. There is no doubt in my mind the offensive line helped derail the Packers playoff chances the last two years. Injuries to Bakhtiari and others hurt badly. Add in the loss of some veterans through free agency and the Packers need to add a lineman or two in the early rounds. Since the Packers have a hard time with picks in the third round maybe an offensive lineman would be the fix. With that said I really believe the Packers need another interior D-lineman. If the right one was available in the first two rounds I think the Packers should pick one. I still believe there is nothing that makes a QB more uncomfortable than having the front three defenders crashing down on him while still keeping his eyes on his receivers being disrupted on their routes. Plus the Packers still have a problem stopping the run when needed.

    Reply
  7. Tom M March 31, 2022

    If Gutekunst wanted to move up three or four spots and only give up a 4th the way he did to draft Jordan Love then that seems reasonable to me. But he really needs to hit on 4 of his 5 top picks for future salary cap considerations. And while higher picks are no guarantee for success, it does increase your odds. You don’t want to fall in love with a player and give those picks away. It seems likely two of those picks go WR. If you draft a WR at 22 and then at 59, you run the risk of a second round pick out performing your top pick. While if you use two second round picks or a second and a third on a WR the difference isn’t so great. In Gutekunst’s first draft he drafted J’Mon Moore(4th), MVS (5th), and EQ(6th). I’m sure his thinking was if I hit on one that late in the draft, that’s a win. And that’s what he got with MVS. While everyone had such high hopes for Amari Rodgers and he was a disappointment and the only WR drafted. I think Gutekunst has to hedge his bets with multiple picks at WR. When they come depends on how his board falls.

    Reply
  8. stevebooth8739 April 1, 2022

    If Christian Watson is a “hit” in this draft, most folks will not care if he was a first or second round pick. In my view, Gutekunst is a pretty savvy GM. He’s hit on a lot of his upper round picks… far better than Thompson and perhaps Wolf. Everybody is going to have stinkers. It’s the nature of the beast. Jenkins was a huge find. Savage still doesn’t look like a bust.

    Reply
  9. Tom M April 1, 2022

    If you look back on Ron Wolf’s drafts, he seldom hit on 1st round picks, save the trade for Favre. He did his best work in the mid rounds. While Ted, after drafting Rodgers, was always chasing defensive players early. His second best draft was the BJ Raji / Clay Matthews draft. He also did very well with second round WR’s. Jennings, Jordy, and Adams come to mind. While James Jones and Jermicheal Findley were selected in the 3rd round. Perhaps his best late pick was David Bakhtiari. You almost never find pro bowl left tackles in the 4th round. Mike Sherman is the poster boy on why you shouldn’t be too cavalier with your draft picks. He traded up for Javon Walker and Robert Ferguson as well as others. Neither player worked out. Poor drafting led to a 4-12 season and the Ted Thompson hiring as GM. Christian Watson is another of a handful of WR’s I like as well. And I agree. Gutekunst is a far better GM than he’s given credit. Too often he’s the scapegoat for Rodgers failings. Gutekunst has already fixed the CB position for years to come with Alexander and Stokes. After Ted spent draft after draft trying to replace Sam Shields and Tramon Williams.

    Reply
  10. PF4L April 2, 2022

    Tom M March 31, 2022
    In Gutekunst’s first draft he drafted J’Mon Moore(4th), MVS (5th), and EQ(6th). I’m sure his thinking was if I hit on one that late in the draft, that’s a win.
    .
    Gee..that same statement was just made……years ago.
    .
    Thanks Barney
    ********************
    “After Ted spent draft after draft trying to replace Sam Shields and Tramon Williams.” – Princess
    .
    Or..in a different perspective.
    Teds undrafted free agent signing WINS
    Maybe…one day we’ll talk about Gute’s successful undrafted free agent signings.
    .
    Yes…Ted chased corners in his later years of illness…..
    .
    Now, how did Gute replace Jordy Nelson in/after 2018?
    Jimmy Graham?
    Drafting receivers?
    Scoring on Devin Funchess?
    Drafting Amari Rodgers?
    It seems to me (4 years later)…..Gute is still chasing that.
    ************
    Princess…you want to compare Gute against Ted?
    That’s an insult.
    So far….Gute isn’t even in Ted’s league.

    ****************
    “Gutekunst has already fixed the CB position for years to come with Alexander and Stokes.” – Princess
    .
    Yes…during the same time he ignored wide receiver and and felt Jordan Love was a better option sitting on the bench than helping his team on the cusp of going to the Super Bowl.
    .
    “The drafting of Jordan Love was made in the best interest of the Green Bay Packers.” – Gute
    .
    How’s that working out sweetheart?

    Reply
  11. Savage57 April 4, 2022

    This is what a dying website looks like.

    Reply
  12. Deepsky April 4, 2022

    I don’t think the Packers will take a receiver in the first round even though they need one. The Packers know that defensive lineman and edge rushers go early, so they’ll probably take a player like that with their first pick. Offensive lineman too, I don’t see them taking one in the first round. They’ll take a corner or safety or, yeah, a QB. Get ready for it, you know it’s coming. It will be another head scratcher like every year. I could then see them loading up in receivers and offensive lineman.

    Reply
  13. PF4L April 4, 2022

    Savage57 April 4, 2022
    This is what a dying website looks like.
    .
    I’m almost speechless.
    That is one of the smartest things ever written in here.
    .
    Sometimes we don’t realize how good we had it here, until it gets a new owner.
    .

    Reply
  14. Deepsky April 5, 2022

    Since 1970, the Packers have had two rookie receivers make an impact. Sterling Sharpe and James Lofton and neither of those guys broke a 1000 yards as a rookie. Those guys were top 10 picks, which the Packers don’t have. Of the first and second round pick receivers since 1970, there were a few contributors like Cobb, Adams and Nelson, but none of them broke 500 yards. First round pick Javon Walker only had 300 yards. And there are a bunch of busts like Barry Smith, Robert Ferguson and Derrick Mayes.

    The draft will not solve the Packers receiving problem. They need to trade for a receiver if they hope to get back anywhere near what they had with Adams.

    Reply
  15. PF4L April 5, 2022

    Deep…i think part of the reason rookie receivers don’t/didn’t excel in their first season with the Packers is the fact that the team already had capable and productive #1 and #2 receivers when they joined the team.
    They had to work their way in, they aren’t going to get a lot of targets when you already have a talented receiver room.
    .
    This season is way different, …way different.
    Anyone that has talent and comes in, learns the offense, builds rapport with Rodgers, can and will be productive in their rookie season.
    If i’m a high pick receiver drafted by the Packers….i’m in heaven.
    I have Aaron Rodgers throwing to me on a team with depleted talent at my position.
    Rodgers can make careers for a receiver.
    .
    This season…Rodgers knows he’ll have new faces at receiver.
    He knows he has to rely on them more than ever before in his career.
    If the receivers coming in have talent, can run routes, have good hands, etc….
    The sky’s the limit, they will get their targets.
    .
    But….keep in mind.
    These are players (if drafted), new to the NFL, a team, and a new playbook.
    Only a small percentage of receivers drafted actually excel in their first season.
    The 1st round of the 2020 draft produced high performing receivers (as advertised pre-draft).
    .
    The Packers had different plans in that 1st round, and here the Packers are today….scrambling to put the pieces back together concerning receivers.
    .
    Three things happened in the Adams trade.
    .
    1) The Raiders got better
    2) Adams….got paid
    3) The Packers are trying to pick up the pieces, and figure out how to rebuild the passing game in a short amount of time.

    .

    Reply
  16. Dean April 5, 2022

    College programs today in general have more “pro like” passing happy offenses. That is part of the reason your are seeing more receivers making an impact in their 1st year. Plus as PF4L points out the packers have no clear #1 or #2 WR currently, not counting RBs.
    .
    Having said that, I do think GB will have to pick up a veteran WR or 2 — Gute hit grand slam home runs last year with veteran pickups at LB and CB.

    Reply
  17. Deepsky April 6, 2022

    PF4L…. I agree that a big reason that these rookie receivers didn’t have big numbers is because the Pack already had good receivers at the time. Also, a big reason for ANY receiver having success with the Packers is because they have/had great QBs for the last 30 years. But think of the stress on a kid having to replace what some are saying is the best receiver in the league. Plus, if Rodgers plays true to form, if a rookie drops a couple passes, the balls aren’t going his way any longer.

    I’m hoping the Packers draft a tall, fast receiver because they need someone who can stretch the field more than they need a receiver to replace Adams. Rodgers won’t have to go to him every series, he just has to hit him a few times a game and he would have bigger impact than his production might suggest.

    Reply
  18. Tom M April 8, 2022

    Stat whore, I mean MVP, Aaron Rodgers doesn’t need WR’s to pad his already HOF career. What he needs is SB wins. If your counting on little Erin in the playoffs, prepare to be disappointed yet again. The Packers are very close to an elite defense. If I’m Gutekunst I use picks 22 and 28 on an OLB and a DT. Then use my second round picks on WR’s and a 3rd on TE. Then tell the 50 million dollar man to make it work. In the twilight of his career, Brett Favre had no problem handing the ball off to Ahmad Green and should have won a SB doing so. Old man Rodgers can do the same with Dillion and Jones. The year after Sterling Sharpe retired Ron Wolf drafted Robert Brooks and Chewy and Favre’s stats, don’t piss yourself ladies, actually went up. We’ll be just fine at WR. Don’t you fret PF4L. You want an example of a Brian Gutekunst FA find PF4L? I’ll give you one. Yosh Nijman. There are very few that can play tackle in the NFL. They’re almost always drafted in the first or second round. Ted found Bakhtiari in the 4th, Wolf found Tauscher in the 7th, and Gutekunst found Nijman as an UDFA. That puts Gutekunst in pretty good company. Not to mention the fact Gutekunst has actually fixed the defense. “Oh, but the WR position has suffered,” you say. That didn’t stop tinker bell from winning back to back MVP awards. So don’t start that crap.

    Reply
  19. Tom M April 9, 2022

    When is the last time the Packers had an elite defense? In 2010 and 1996 the defenses were very good but hardly elite. 1974 came close but was wasted on Scott Hunter who couldn’t play QB. After the playoff loss to the 49ers, Pete Dougherty reported there was internal discussions within management that Aaron Rodgers couldn’t win the big game. What good is it to have stats and win awards if you can’t win a SB? What good is it to have a young innovative HC if all your diva QB wants to do is force everything to his buddy? The playoff game against the 49ers was lost the minute AJ Dillion suffered the rib injury. At that moment it was all on Rodgers to carry the team. He didn’t need to do much. A couple of 1st downs here, perhaps a FG there, and that was it. No one was asking him to overcome a two TD deficit. He couldn’t do it. It seems to me Brian Gutekunst is taking a different approach here. He’s focused on the defense by signing Jared Reed and resigning Rasul Douglas and De’Vondre Campbell. What Gutekunst is telling us is this: let’s run the football, play defense, and force his diva QB to actually run MLF’s offense now that Adams is gone. Essentially he’s paying Aaron Rodgers 50 million to be a game manager. It’s no longer about Rodgers pretty stats. You don’t have to be the hero Erin, because you can’t. And no one wants to know how smart you think you are. Just run your HC’s offense. Then let the defense and the run game do the rest. He may not have the prettiest stats this year but if this formula works and we actually make it to a SB, no one will care.

    Reply
  20. Cheese April 9, 2022

    If you think Gute’s plan is to pay Rodgers $50mil to be a game manager then maybe Gute should be shown the door. If all he needed was a game manager then move onto Jordan Love. Gute’s a big boy, tell Aaron it’s time to go. Yet, Gute is the one who decided to give Rodgers an extension after trading up to draft a QB in the first round just two years ago. Talk all the crap you want about Rodgers, but it is Gute that thinks Rodgers is the best option for the team moving forward, even at $50mil a year, otherwise Gute wouldn’t have done it. If you don’t agree with the move that’s fine, but Rodgers can’t force the front office to keep him. Obviously there’s a reason why they’re not going with Jordan Love.

    Reply
  21. PF4L April 9, 2022

    Why are you so angry Tommi?
    .
    Josh started 8 games, gave up 3 sacks.
    Pro rate that into 16,17 games Princess.
    .
    Although he may be competent as a back up for now, he’s not a break out UDFA signing.
    Nobody is mistaking him for making the impact of a Ryan Grant, Shields, or T Willy.
    All signed in Teds first 5 seasons.
    .
    But yea Princess….Gute is good also.
    .
    Now…what are we doing with Jordan Love?

    Reply
  22. PF4L April 10, 2022

    Tom M April 9, 2022
    After the playoff loss to the 49ers, Pete Dougherty reported there was internal discussions within management that Aaron Rodgers couldn’t win the big game.
    .
    So…in turn…the Packers gave Rodgers 50 million a year?
    .
    Makes perfect sense to me.
    Chalk another one up for Packer management, or Tommi logic
    ******************
    Tom M April 9, 2022
    When is the last time the Packers had an elite defense?
    .
    Gee Princess…i don’t know
    The Packers only spent the last 11 of 12 1st round picks on defense.
    Then, the one time they spent a 1st round pick on offense, they pick a player to ride the bench for years, and threw away a 4th round pick, to do so.
    Lest we forget signing 3 defensive free agents for over 140 million, then spending a 12th pick player to ride the bench for 2 years.
    Chalk some more wins up for Packer management!!
    .
    Maybe…the reason we haven’t had an elite defense is……because it’s Rodgers fault?
    I’m pretty God … sure Rodgers is the reason why special teams has sucked for a decade.
    What say you Princess?

    Reply
  23. PF4L April 14, 2022

    Yea..lol….that’s about what i figured.

    Reply

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