After drafting Georgia inside linebacker Quay Walker and fellow Bulldog defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft, the question on everyone’s mind is when the Green Bay Packers finally address the wide receiver position. After Day 1 of the draft, general manager Brian Gutekunst stated that the team was not pigeonholed into taking one on Friday.
With three picks to make between the second and third rounds, where else could the Packers go with their picks? To better explain all of the options that Green Bay has left on the table, let’s take a look at where the Packers’ top needs stack up as position groups after the first 32 picks of the draft.
Georgia wide receiver George Pickens lingers. Pickens, a first-round talent on film, is a gifted receiver who some NFL evaluators don’t seem to be too high on because of his character, per reports over the last week or so. On Sunday, Pickens was a passenger in a car crash at 4 a.m. with a current Bulldog behind the wheel, which might have been enough to push some over the edge. Would Green Bay take the “risk” on Pickens? At this point, who knows.
Other options include North Dakota State’s Christian Watson, Cincinnati’s Alec Pierce and Baylor’s Tyquan Thornton, if the team wants to add high-flying speed to their army of big, but slow, wideouts. Like Pickens, both Watson and Thornton visited the Packers this past offseason.
There is legitimately special talent still available on Day 2, relative to what most edge defender boards typically look like after the first round. Penn State’s Arnold Ebiketie, Kentucky’s Josh Paschal, USC’s Drake Jackson and Minnesota’s Boye Mafe all could contribute in Year 1 as pass-rushers. Jackson, whose weight has fluctuated between 240 and 270 pounds while with the Trojans, was brought on a visit to Green Bay as part of the Packers’ 30 allotted visits. This also doesn’t include Michigan’s David Ojabo, who was considered a potential top-10 pick before tearing his Achilles tendon at the Wolverines’ pro day.
One of the reoccurring themes of this draft is talent evaluators saying there is more Day 3 talent available this year than in most draft class and that it could spill over into undrafted free agency. Because of that, there looks to be a lot more opportunities for the Packers to strike a gem on Saturday, relative to the cost, than Friday. Two names to highlight for Friday, though, are Washington State tackle Abraham Lucas and LSU guard Ed Ingram, who the team brought in for visits. There is the off chance that Green Bay, a team very strict about their offensive line criteria, could surprise with a selection like Wake Forest’s Zach Tom on Day 2.
I would be pretty shocked if the Packers didn’t look for an inline (Y) tight end in the third round of the draft. While they only have one pick in the round, there is the potential for the team to move around the range in which the non-Trey McBride tight end run is set to begin. With Marcedes Lewis deep into his career and Robert Tonyan returning to the team on his second-straight one-year deal, names that will be bounced around for Green Bay are Virginia’s Jelani Woods, UCLA’s Greg Dulcich, Ohio State’s Jeremy Ruckert and Washington’s Cade Otton. If the team can’t bring in one of them in the third round, go ahead and highlight, circle and underline Wisconsin’s Jake Ferguson as a potential target on Day 3.
The Athletic’s Arif Hasan manages a consensus draft board every season, noting the variance of player rankings and splitting rankers between “forecaster” and “evaluator” categories. He tweeted the top remaining players in this class, based on the consensus rankings, which we have linked below.