The Green Bay Packers will enter the 2022 NFL draft with 11 picks, giving manager Brian Gutekunst plenty of ammunition to add talent and fill the gaps in his squad.
The draft is usually more about long-term roster building than finding instant answers. Most rookies struggle early in their careers and require time to develop and progress in the NFL.
Fortunately for Gutekunst and the Packers, the roster has only one major concern: the wide receiver position.
However, the Packers could target several position groups in the draft based on the current structure of the team and potential roster needs:
#1. Wide Receiver
The wide receiver position is their first and most important need and this Thai news site ranks the 6 best of them. Veterans Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb have returned to the Green and Gold for another season. Sammy Watkins, a veteran, was also tied to a one-year agreement by the franchise.
However, the biggest move was trading Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders.
The club should target a talented wide receiver in the first or second round. If they accomplish so, they’ll be able to beat teams by a committee rather than relying on a single great wide receiver, which became predictable in the playoffs.
The starters, Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage are back, but this is a lingering issue. Amos is 29 this month and enters the final year of his contract in 2022, and if the Packers don’t take up his fifth-year option for 2023, Savage will enter a contract year. Only Vernon Scott is under contract through 2022 at safety, and he played only 17 total snaps on special teams the entire season. The designated third safety who played over 300 snaps, Henry Black, was not offered an exclusive rights tender and is not likely to return. A flexible safety who could take Black’s snaps in 2022 and maybe move into a starting spot in 2023 should be a top objective.
#3. Defensive Line
After drafting TJ Slaton in the fifth round last year and signing veteran Jarran Reed, the Packers should have at least four defensive linemen in 2022. Dean Lowry is coming off his greatest season, while Kenny Clark is a perennial Pro Bowler. Only Clark and Slaton are under contract through 2022, and there’s no guarantee that Reed will rebound from a disappointing season in Kansas City or that Lowry will continue to produce as a pass rusher. It makes sense to add another young and skilled big man to the lineup for 2022 and beyond.
#4. Tight End
Robert Tonyan, Josiah Deguara, Marcedes Lewis, Tyler Davis, and Dominique Dafney all returned to the series. The draft is about assembling a long-term roster, and there is an obvious future need here. Tonyan is coming back on a one-year deal after ACL surgery, Lewis turns 38 in May, but his contract runs out soon. Dafney and Davis are also on one-year contracts. Deguara, a more traditional H-back, is the lone tight end tied up for 2023. The Packers have a history of signing veteran tight ends, but selecting a prospect who can grow in the system for a year is essential. The fact that Jace Sternberger was missed in 2019 necessitates keenly looking into the position.