Green Bay Packer General Manager Brian Gutekunst has an unprecedented arsenal of top picks at his disposal for the 2022 NFL draft. Four picks in the top 59 selections, and seven in the top 140 give the Packer GM the ammo to negotiate draft moves up or down the board.The one thing they don’t have is a pick in the marque land of a top 15 pick.
While the Packers have the draft equity to move up, they would need to find a partner. The most likely partner would have been the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles held three first round picks, pick numbers 15, 16 and 19. While the Packers should be able find a potential starting wideout at 22 or 29, the likelihood of one of the top offensive tackles being there is doubtful.. Gutekunst has a history of trading up for the players he wants and moving from 22 to one of the Eagles slots was in play.
The reports that the Eagles were looking for additional picks in next year’s draft as trade compensation proved accurate as the Saints pounced on the Eagles 16th and 19th picks by trading their 2022 pick at 18 and a first in 2023 and second in 2024. If the Packers had jumped in with a similar package the Packers could have ended up with three first round picks, two of those picks in the middle of the first round. That elusive top tier offensive lineman would have been in target range. But trading future year’s picks would signal a new approach for Gutekunst. For all of Gutekunst’s departures from Ted Thompson’s conservative free agent and draft approaches, he has refused to include picks in future years in any trade deal.
Next year’s draft should have a deeper quarterback crop. With Jordan Love’s long term Packer tenure potentially compromised by Rodger’s new contract, and Rodgers now considering retirement after every season, having a first rounder could be crucial to the long term success of the Packers. But as Gutekunst found by drafting Love, long term plans tend to annoy current franchise quarterbacks who want the team to be “all in” for a championship. If Gutekunst had followed the “all in” strategy in 2020, the addition of Michael Pittman Jr, or Chase Claypool would soften the urgency of replacing Davante Adams. Since 2020, the Packer front office seems united in espousing the “all in” mantra. Perhaps the Packers still intend a move up the board. Perhaps the old Thompson trick of trading down for additional picks will be the 2022 Packer course. Either way, the chance to attain an additional first round pick in this draft is probably dead after the Eagles trade with the Saints. The Saints seem willing to gamble away the future for the present. The Packers strategy won’t truly be revealed until April 28th.