Recently, Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy stated that this year’s NFL Draft will be “interesting” for the Packers. While it should be interesting, it also better be a productive one for the Packers. Heading into this year’s NFL Draft, the Packers find themselves in a situation they have not faced in a long time. That being that they have a lot of holes to fill, holes that require instant help. On the top of the list for the Green Bay Packers draft is the position of wide receiver.
Wide Receiver will be Number One on the Green Bay Packers Draft Needs List
There are a lot of Packers fans that believe that general manager Brian Gutekunst can do no wrong. Many have claimed that he is a “beast” and that every personnel move he makes is the right one. To his credit, Gutekunst has done a lot of good things when it comes to the Packers roster. However, when running the Green Bay Packers draft, he has made some questionable decisions. Or, in the case of the wide receiver position, it is the moves he has not made.
Since taking over as the general manager in 2018, Gutekunst has only selected four wide receivers in the Green Bay Packers drafts. Three of them, J’Mon Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Equanimeous St Brown, were selected in 2018. All three of them are no longer on the Green Bay Packers roster. Moore, the highest selection of the three, lasted only one season before being cut. In last year’s NFL Draft, Gutekunst selected Amari Rodgers in the third round. In his rookie season, Rodgers caught only four passes. Entering his second season, more will be expected out of the former third-round pick.
Heading into this year’s NFL Draft, Gutekunst faces some urgency in replenishing the Packers wide receivers group. This off-season, Gutekunst and the Packers shipped star wide receiver Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders. While Gutekunst received the Raiders first and second-round picks for this year, losing one of the best wide receivers in the NFL is a massive blow to the Packers offense. Along with Adams departing, the Packers also lost Valdes-Scanting and St. Brown in free agency. If the season were to start today, the Packers top three wide receivers would be Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and Juwann Winfree.
Loaded with Draft Ammunition
Gutekunst’s hand might be forced when it comes to the path he chooses to replenish the Green Bay Packers wide receivers group. The list of available free agent wide receivers has been picked over. He could still sign a wide receiver, but it will have to be at the right price. Salary cap “wizard” Russ Ball has his work cut out for him. The Packers salary cap is strapped, so the would-be free-agent signee would need to come at a very discounted price.
The Packers still might try to trade for a wide receiver, someone like D.K. Metcalf. They have the draft picks to make a trade. However, from all reports, it seems that Gutekunst, most likely because of the salary cap mess the Packers have, would rather rebuild wide receiver through the NFL Draft.
If Gutekunst focuses on rebuilding the position through the 2022 Green Bay Packers draft, he has the ammunition to do so. In this year’s NFL Draft, the Packers have 11 draft picks. With the Adams trade, they have four picks in the first two rounds. With those picks, many have speculated that the Packers will not only select one wide receiver in the first two rounds but maybe even two. Gutekunst has a golden opportunity to bring in some quality young wide receivers. Something the Packers have needed for years.
Names to Watch for the Green Bay Packers Draft
It is a good year for the Packers to have a need at wide receiver. This year’s group of wide receivers in this year’s NFL Draft is a good one, especially at the top. Gutekunst will have a lot of options. He could package some of the Packers picks to move up and select one of the upper-tiered wide receivers. He also could just stand pat and take the best wide receiver that falls to them with either the 22nd or 28th pick.
One wide receiver that has been linked to the Packers is Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave. Olave has drawn a lot of attention leading up to the draft. He is an explosive pass catcher but he also is a very polished route runner. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers demands excellence from his wide receivers. He requires his pass catchers to run good routes and be in the right spot at the right time. Olave has that type of ability, which makes him a good fit for the Green Bay Packers offense.
Another possible option who could be available when the Packers are on the clock is Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks. Burks, similar to Olave, is another polished route runner. He played in one of the best college conferences, the SEC, and put up big numbers. He does not have top-end speed, which might make him available when the Packers draft at 28.
If the Packers are looking for a great athlete with a lot of upside, North Dakota State wide receiver Christian Watson might intrigue the Packers. Watson impressed scouts at the Senior Bowl as well as the NFL combine. This past season, he caught 43 passes for 800 yards with seven touchdown receptions. Watson is a great athlete, which stood out while at North Dakota State. But he will not be able to outrun and outjump everyone in the NFL like he did at North Dakota. He will need time to develop, and with the Packers in need of wide receiver help immediately, they might not have the time.