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.
Christian Watson WR North Dakota State
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.
Alec Pierce WR Cincinnati
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.
Charles Cross Mississippi State
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.
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.