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Projecting the Green Bay Packers Draft for 2022

The Green Bay Packers have a lot of holes to fill heading into the 2022 NFL season. With a star quarterback playing in the "back nine" of his career, the Packers need to find talent. Not only talented players but talented players that can contribute immediately. General manager Brian Gutekunst and his staff face the most crucial draft of their career. Today, we take the place of Brian Gutekunst and project the Green Bay Packers Draft for 2022.  
Packers Draft

The Green Bay Packers have a lot of holes to fill heading into the 2022 NFL season. With a star quarterback playing in the “back nine” of his career, the Packers need to find talent. Not only talented players but talented players that can contribute immediately. General manager Brian Gutekunst and his staff face the most crucial draft of their career. Today, we project the Green Bay Packers Draft for 2022.

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Projecting the Green Bay Packers Draft for 2022

The Packers have said they are in “win now” mode. For most, that would mean that they need to bolster their depth at certain positions. But in reality, Gutekunst and the Packers need to find instant contributors from this year’s Green Bay Packers draft class.

Gutekunst and the Packers enter this NFL Draft with the ammunition to do so.  The Packers have 11 selections heading into the NFL Draft, with four of them being in the first two rounds. That type of draft capital will allow if he wants, Gutekunst to possibly package several of them to move up. He has shown in past drafts, that if there is a prospect he covets, he will do so.

For today’s exercise, there will not be any trade projections. Instead, it is will be projecting the Green Bay Packers draft if they stand pat and keep all of their 11 selections.

First Round, 22nd Overall: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

There isn’t much doubt if Ohio State wide receiver Chirs Olave were still available at 22nd, the Packers would make him the pick. But reviewing all of the draft information that is available, it seems that Olave, along with the other top wide receiver prospects will be gone. There is a very strong chance that Gutekunst could make a move to move up and select Olave.

With all of the top-tier wide receivers off the board, the Packers turn to George Karlaftis. A young edge pass rusher makes sense for the Packers. Rashan Gary no doubt will be the Packers premier pass rusher for seasons to come. Opposite Gary, the Packers brought back veteran Preston Smith. Smith had a bounce-back season in 2021, but still, how long the Packers will keep him is a major question. Karlaftis would give the outside linebacker spot depth and they can groom him to eventually take over for Smith.

The big question is if Karlaftis fits the type edge of pass rusher that Joe Barry wants. Under former defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and outside linebacker coach Mike Smith, they liked their outside linebackers to be big, which Karlaftis fits into. If Barry is looking for a different body type, then Karlaftis might not be their guy. Still, Karlaftis is young and has the talent necessary to be a solid pass rusher, and could be a good fit for the Packers.

First Round, 28th Overall: George Pickens, Wide Receiver, Georgia

There has been a lot of talk from daily Packers podcasters saying that if the Packers select a wide receiver in the first round, that player will need to be the Packers number one wide receiver. That type of talk is a pipe dream. None, including Olave, of the top-tier wide receivers in this draft, have that type of ability. Yes, they have the ability to contribute, however, none of them possess the type of talent required to be a number one option. That is why Gutekunst should still be looking for a veteran through a trade. Still, the Packers wide receiver depth needs to be addressed.

George Pickens might be a surprise to some going in the first round. However, he has more than enough talent to be a contributor and a part of the Packers passing attack. Pickens has good explosion to his game and isn’t afraid to fight for the ball. He has good height, 6’3″, but will need to put on some weight (195 pounds). But he has the frame to do so. He also has an edge, something the Packers, on offense and defense, are in dire need of. He won’t become an instant star, but he will contribute in year one and develop into an even better pass catcher as the seasons go on.

Second Round, 53rd Overall: DeMarvin Leal, Defensive Line, Texas A&M

Many have wondered if DeMarvin Leal is an interior defensive lineman or an edge pass rusher. Honestly, he is both. He displayed while at Texas A&M that he is capable of playing both positions, and doing so so at a high level. The Packers need to start to spend some draft capital, higher than the fifth round, on interior defensive linemen. Leal would be a good fit and would immediately, especially on passing downs, be a contributor.

Second Round, 59th Overall: Trey McBride, Tight end, Colorado State

This year’s group of tight-end prospects isn’t as strong as in past NFL Drafts. However, Trey McBride sits at the top. He is an upper-level pass catcher. This past season, he caught 90 passes for 1,121 yards for Colorado State. However, he only caught one touchdown. He will need to show he can be a capable red-zone option. He won’t be confused with Mark Bavaro with his blocking prowess, but he isn’t afraid to mix it up.

The Packers do have Robert Tonyan returning. However, he is recovering from a season-ending knee injury. Tonyan is the only pass-catching option, who is a true tight end, on the Packers roster. Former 2019 third-round draft choice Jace Sternberger was supposed to be the long-term answer at tight end.  But Gutekunst badly whiffed on him which leaves the Packers with a hole on their roster. McBride should be a contributor, and he very well could be the best out of the Green Bay Packers draft.

Third Round, 92nd Overall: Alec Pierce, Wide Receiver, Cincinnati

In the recent interview with Daniel Parlegreco of DTP Draft Scout, Parlegreco discussed the idea of Alec Pierce being a part of the Green Bay Packers draft. He loved the idea of Pierce playing in the Packers offense. He believes that Pierce has some of Davante Adams attributes and could help fill some of what Adams did in the Packers offense.

Many will compare Pierce to Jordy Nelson, just because they look similar. But that is a lazy comparison. Nelson was an unbelievable route runner, even early in his career. Pierce needs to develop better route-running skills. However, Pierce has something you can’t teach, size and speed. It will be up to wide receivers coach Jason Vrable to show how good of a wide receivers coach he truly is now that Adams is gone. If he can develop Pierce, then he will have truly earned that promotion of pass game coordinator and show naysayers he can actually develop wide receivers.

Fourth Round, 132nd Overall: Joshua Jobe, Cornerback, Alabama

If you were to go off of physical build, Joshua Jobe would be a first-round draft choice. Jobe has the physique of a star NFL cornerback. But after a very disappointing 2021, he saw his draft stock plummet. With Rasul Douglas re-signing, last year’s first-round pick Eric Stokes expected to make a jump in his second season, and Jaire Alexander coming back from injury, the Packers have good depth at cornerback. Still, in the NFL, you can’t have enough cornerbacks. Jobe has the tools to be a good corner and being teamed with Jerry Gray, one of the best cornerback coaches in the NFL, he might have a chance to eventually be a contributor. At the very least, he could be a contributor on special teams.

Fourth Round, 140th Overall: Luke Goedeke, Offensive Tackle, Central Michigan

The Green Bay Packers have a history of selecting college offensive tackles and cross-training them for other positions. Luke Goedeke would fit in perfectly if new offensive line coach Luke Butkus continues that trend. Goedeke started his Central Michigan career at tight end, before finding a spot at tackle. He played well at right tackle, something he might be able to do in the NFL. But it appears his best position would be at guard. Royce Newman, a rookie for the Packers in 2021, started at right guard last season. But he had some struggles and it isn’t a sure thing he will be the starter in 2022. Goedeke could battle him for the spot.

Fifth Round, 171st Overall: D’Marco Jackson, Inside Linebacker, Appalachian State

D’Marco Jackson is another prospect that was brought to our attention by Daniel Parlegreco. Parlegreco brought up Jackson when asked about special teams prospects. Parlegreco raved about Jackson’s ability on special teams. With Rich Bisaccia brought in to fix special teams, Jackson would be a great fit. But he isn’t just a good special teams player. Jackson has the ability as an inside linebacker as well. Last season, he had 119 total tackles, five passes defended, six sacks, one forced fumble, and one interception. Jackson would be expected to stand out on special teams, but he might turn out to be a capable inside linebacker as well.

Seventh Round, 229th Overall: Velvus Jones Jr., Wide Receiver, Tennessee

As Parlegreco stated, it appears that Velvus Jones Jr. might get over-drafted because of his ability to return kicks and punts. However, a lot of mock drafts have him all over the board, from the third round to the seventh round. There is a strong chance that he will be long gone before this pick, but there is a slight chance he will still be available. Jones doesn’t have much chance to develop as a receiver. However, he can return punts and kicks, something the Packers really need at this moment. They can’t chance Amari Rodgers returning punts and kicks next season. If Jones is still available, they should jump at the chance to select him.

Seventh Round, 250th Overall: Christopher Allen, EDGE, Alabama

When you get to the seventh round, you are looking for special teams contributors or prospects that might end up on the practice squad so you can develop them. Christopher Allen fits into the second category. He had his two last seasons at Alabama cut short by injury. But the former high national high school recruit has some skills to work with and develop.

Seventh Round, 259th Overall:  Tariq Carpenter, Safety, Georgia Tech

Linking Tariq Carpenter to the Packers is pretty simple since he came in for a predraft visit. Carpenter is expected to be a special teams contributor and a good one at that. While he played safety at Georgia Tech, he could shift to a dime linebacker at the NFL level. Similar to former Gutekunst draft pick Oren Burks was expected to be but failed to do so.

Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images


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