10 Quick Things: Round 1

Here are 10 things worth knowing after the first round of the 2022 National Football League draft:

1) Don’t blame general manager Brian Gutekunst for not drafting a wide receiver on Day 1. The consensus top four at the position (Drake London, Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, and Jameson Williams) were off the board after 13 picks, and it wasn’t worth trading up for Jahan Dotson or Treylon Burks. Also, there wasn’t a seventh player who deserved to be selected last night. As I’ve written many times in recent weeks, this was the wrong year for a team picking in the 20s to need a wide receiver.

2) Absolving Gutekunst of blame doesn’t change the fact that the Packers are currently worse off at wide receiver than every team in the league. And while you can be sure a pass-catcher or two will be drafted tonight, the chances of that player making a major contribution next season are pretty slim. You have to hope Gutekunst has a plan to improve the position for 2022 – whether that’s signing a free agent or trading for a proven veteran who doesn’t want a $100 million extension.

3) It’s really interesting to see what’s happening with star wide receivers around the NFL. Kansas City and Tennessee had no interest in paying over $25 million per year to Tyreek Hill and A.J. Brown while Miami and Philadelphia were more than happy to spend that amount. As they say, different strokes for different folks. Which way of doing business is right? Only time will tell, but I’ll put my money on the front offices that have won a combined 49 games in the past two seasons.

4) The Packers concluded the 2020 season with journeyman Christian Kirksey and undrafted free agent Krys Barnes starting at inside linebacker. They’ll likely begin next season with first-team All-Pro De’Vondre Campbell and newly-minted No. 1 pick Quay Walker starting at inside linebacker. It’s pretty amazing to see a team that undervalued inside linebackers for nearly two decades spend $50 million and a first-round pick on the position in the span of about six weeks.

5) I need to spend a lot more time watching tape of Walker. My first impressions are that he’s a terrific athlete who’s going to make an immediate impact versus the run but who needs plenty of work in man coverage. Fortunately, Joe Barry was long considered to be one of the best linebacker coaches in the league prior to being hired by Green Bay as defensive coordinator last year, and current inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti did a terrific job with Campbell last season.

In the top video, Walker (#7) chases down Alabama’s Bryan Robinson in a hurry and then gets the 225-pound running back to the ground with a beautiful form tackle. In the above video, Walker uses his hands poorly at the top of the route and allows a far less talented receiver (Alabama’s 245-pound  tight end Cameron Latu) to get separation. In the handful of Georgia games I watched, plays similar to these two showed up quite often.

6) I confidently mocked Devonte Wyatt to Green Bay three weeks ago but changed my mind at the last minute because I thought his age would scare off Gutekunst. Turns out it didn’t. The 24-year-old is a perfect fit for this defense. He can play anywhere along the line, and he should be an absolute terror alongside Pro Bowler Kenny Clark in the dime. Wyatt ran under 4.8 at over 300 pounds at the NFL Combine in March, and more importantly, he looks every bit that fast on tape.

7) Speaking of the dime, the Packers could roll out seven former No. 1 picks (Clark, Walker, Wyatt, Rashan Gary, Jaire Alexander, Eric Stokes, and Darnell Savage) in that package next season. Toss in a first-team All-Pro (Campbell) and a pair of Pro Bowl alternates (Preston Smith and Adrian Amos) and that side of the ball will arguably be the most talented in the entire league. Anything less than a top-5 finish in yards and points against would have to be considered a major disappointment.

8) I already received e-mails from multiple readers who insist the Packers will now be equipped to win in January with defense, so there’s no reason to be overly concerned about the wide receivers. I had to remind those good people that the Packers held San Francisco to 13 points (six not counting the blocked punt) and still lost in the divisional round because the offense could manage only a field goal in the final 54 minutes – and that was with Davante Adams on the field.

9) Some of the wide receivers who could interest the Packers today include Georgia’s George Pickens, North Dakota State’s Christian Watson, Alabama’s John Metchie, Western Michigan’s Skyy Moore, Cincinnati’s Alec Pierce, Purdue’s David Bell, and South Alabama’s Jalen Tolbert. Of this group, Pickens is the most talented, and Moore is probably the one most ready to contribute as a rookie, but will his lack of size (5-9 1/2, 191) keep him from being considered by Gutekunst?

10) It should be noted that Wyatt is the second defensive lineman acquired by Green Bay this offseason with a domestic violence arrest in his past. And while neither Wyatt nor Jarran Reed was charged, it’s certainly not a great look for the organization. Unlike Reed, Wyatt didn’t put his hands on the woman involved in the incident, but he reportedly kicked and damaged her door before being confronted by the police. It’s unlikely the late Ted Thompson would’ve welcomed either player.


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POLL: The Packers' first pick in the draft will be at which position?

Michael Rodney

Packers Notes is the creation of Michael Rodney, who has been writing about the Green Bay Packers for over 30 years. His first blog, Packer Update, hit the internet in 2004. Before becoming a public educator, Rodney worked as a journalist for a couple of newspapers in his home state of New Jersey and covered the Philadelphia Eagles for WTXF-TV. He's had numerous articles on the Packers published, and he's been featured on both television and radio over the years.

5 thoughts on “10 Quick Things: Round 1

  1. Thanks, Michael. When London went to ATL it was clear that a WR wouldn’t be a feasible choice for a trade-up or drop to 22. Disappointing. I wondered if Gutey – who got really jumpy with Love and Savage – would get jumpy last night. Hoping he gets jumpy tonight to make sure he gets Pickens, Watson, or Pierce. For now the Pack look like a team that could get into a lot of low scoring games, a la the playoff game. With Bisaccia hopefully they’re not giving up any ST touchdowns.

    Wyatt and Walker both sound good from what I’ve seen and read. Here’s a scout’s take, courtesy of McGinn, on Wyatt: “Probably the best D-lineman. He’s got everything. He’s really stout, very strong, can hold a double, dominate a single. He’s got rush skill for a big guy. He can play 3-technique and 1-technique in a 4-3 and multiple positions in a 3-4.” Coming off his best year in every statistical category. “Physically, he’s the best of these guys,” another scout said of this class of defensive linemen. “He’s as good as Geno Atkins. Three-technique. Holy f—, is he talented. He can do whatever he wants. Love that dude.”

    Chris Simms raved, pre-draft, about both guys:
    Start at 14 min. on this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcSHmTh-0wo&t=1169s

    Start at 17 min. on this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMQa3Mogc4U&t=1449s

  2. I’m curious why WR wasn’t a feasible choice. Both New Orleans and Detroit traded up to draft Olave and Williams. If those teams were willing to pay the price to trade up, why weren’t the “all in” packers who are in desperate need for WR help?

    Hopefully these guys help make the D dominant. But in a league where good offense consistently moves the ball on good defenses, it’s troubling that GB is on plan C or worse for WR in an all-in year.

  3. I don’t think it would’ve been worth the price to move up to 11 or 12 just to get Olave or Williams. I’m OK with Gutekunst staying at 22, but what I’m not OK with is him ignoring wide receiver in the 2019 and 2020 drafts and then missing on Rodgers last year. He put the Packers in this position, and now he better find a way to make things better.

  4. there already has been a lot of talk about the Packers first selection.. an off-ball LB.. it will likely be a topic throughout the year. that said, for the first time in a long, long time, i am optimistic about the D-line.. it looks fierce now. and, i do agree with the sentiment that good defenses translate well in the playoffs.

    about WR:

    i think that there are more receivers that the Packers can take than most media outlets are willing to report. i finally saw Erik Ezukanma’s name attached to a 3rd round selection in Lance Zeirlein’s mock draft today. i never understood why the media hasn’t put his name out there.. big body with ball skills, YAC skills, athleticism and a team captain. and, i like Bo Melton and Tyquon Thornton, and maybe Kevin Austin, Jr. and.. there are some TEs who can catch balls.. although it takes a while longer for them to know an offense. even if the Packers get only one pass catcher in say the 3rd round this evening.. Day 3 can still offer hope. it is going to take a village to replace Davante Adams production.. but, the Packers still have lots of picks to use. and, free agency and trade options still exist after the draft.

    1. I think Gute made the investment in an off-ball LB is because GB realized that their defense didn’t work when they didn’t have Campbell on the field. I look at Quay as the exact same situation as drafting a very young, but talented Rashaan Gary a few years back. Right around the time Quay is hitting his stride, Campbell’s age and price tag will both be too high. (same thing that happed with Za’Darious Smith)

      My favorite pick in this draft was Devonte Wyatt. The Packers run D has been a joke the past few seasons. The DL just doesn’t work with Clark off the field. Dean Lowry is a highly paid “JAG”. They’d be better off re-signing Lancaster to eat a handful of run-down snaps and cutting Lowry if he won’t cut his pay in half.

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