Since receiver Davante Adams was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders, the obvious response most Packers fans have had is stating that the team will finally have to spend one of their first-round picks on a wide receiver, something they haven’t done since Javon Walker in 2002. My question, though, is if the Packers can afford to wait until even 28th overall to take a receiver.
At the moment, the team’s top wideouts are Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Juwann Winfree and Amari Rodgers, a less-than-stellar group to say the absolute least. More importantly, every single team in the NFL knows that and will act on that information.
Let’s say the Packers go “best player available” at 22nd overall. What’s to stop teams trading up ahead of Green Bay at 28, 55 and 59 overall if they need a receiver and see value dropping? At what point do the Pakcers bite the bullet and address the position, despite “value?” With the position sticking out like a sore thumb on the roster, would you blame teams for leaping ahead of Green Bay, anticipating that general manager Brian Gutekunst will need to take a receiver to keep quarterback Aaron Rodgers happy?
Beyond the potential of getting lept, four of the five teams picking between 22nd and 28th overall have lost key receivers this offseason. The Arizona Cardinals saw Christian Kirk walk in free agency. Dallas Cowboys traded Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns. The Buffalo Bills released Cole Beasley while the Tennessee Titans let go Julio Jones.
The Packers have long taken the approach to let value fall to them in the draft, but after a 39-win run over three years that saw the team fail to make a single Super Bowl appearance, desperate times call for a change in plans. According to the consensus draft board, the second- through fifth-ranked receivers in the draft should be selected somewhere around the average of the 19th and 23rd overall picks. Now is not the time to get greedy.
The Packers should find their guy(s), take him 22nd overall and ensure there is some upside moving forward at the position. They should trade up if they need to. Just land one of the top-five receivers in this draft class and move on with the future of the team. Getting too cute for the sake of “best player available” could cost them “most impactful player to this roster.”