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The Green Bay Packers will go into the 2022 NFL draft with 11 picks and a great opportunity to address needs and build the foundation of the roster.
What does Brian Gutekunst need on offense, and how could he go about filling the holes during the draft?
Here’s a breakdown of the Packers’ needs and options at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end and the offensive line entering the 2022 NFL draft.
Short-term need: Low. The Packers have the four-time NFL MVP, a first-round pick, a third quarterback entering Year 2 in the system and a developmental fourth arm. This could easily be the four quarterbacks in training camp.
Long-term need: Moderate. Will Rodgers return in 2023? Is Love the long-term developmental answer? Things could change quickly here.
Depth of draft class: Poor. Dane Brugler of The Athletic ranks only five quarterbacks in the top 100 and 11 quarterbacks with draftable grades.
Chance of drafting position: Low. If the Packers add a quarterback, expect a college free agent.
Options: Skyler Thompson (Kansas State), Chase Garbers (Cal), Zerrick Cooper (Jacksonville State), Nick Starkel (San Jose State)
Samantha Madar/Green Bay Press Gazette -USA TODAY NETWORK
Short-term need: Low. The Packers are bringing back the team’s top four running backs from last season and should have a strong stable entering camp, especially if Hill is recovered from an ACL injury.
Long-term need: Moderate. Jones’ cap hit explodes to over $20 million in 2022, and Hill is coming back from a major injury. The Packers like having a running back pair, and there’s a chance Dillon will need a new partner in crime come 2022.
Depth of draft class: Decent. There are plenty of draftable players in the mid-rounds and into Day 3, and several college free agents look like intriguing players.
Chance of drafting position: Low to moderate. Using mid-to-late round picks on running backs makes sense almost every year, but it might be hard to squeeze a draft pick onto the roster given the current depth at the position.
Options: Pierre Strong (South Dakota State), Tyler Goodson (Iowa), Isaiah Pacheco (Rutgers)
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Short-term need: High. The Packers signed Watkins to a one-year deal, providing another veteran who knows the offense after playing for LaFleur in Los Angeles in 2017. Even with Cobb and Lazard back, this team still needs a true separator and deep threat at receiver.
Long-term need: High. Only Rodgers is under contract past 2022. The Packers must rebuild the long-term foundation of the receiver position in this draft.
Depth of draft class: Great. Brugler ranks 13 receivers in his top 100 players and 35 with draftable grades. Almost every year, the draft is full of capable wide receivers. This year is no different.
Chance of drafting position: Very high. The Packers could easily select 2-3 wide receivers in this draft, especially with five picks in the top 100. A combination of need and the quality of the draft class should give the Packers a terrific opportunity to add top talent at receiver.
Options: George Pickens (Georgia), Chris Olave (Ohio State), Treylon Burks (Arkansas), Christian Watson (North Dakota State), Alec Pierce (Cincinnati), Jalen Tolbert (South Alabama), Tyquan Thornton (Baylor), Kevin Austin (Notre Dame), Romeo Doubs (Nevada)
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On the roster (6): Robert Tonyan, Marcedes Lewis, Josiah Deguara, Tyler Davis, Dominique Dafney, Alize Mack
Short-term need: Low to moderate. The Packers are bringing back all their top tight ends from last season, although Tonyan is still recovering from an ACL injury. There’s a good mix of tight ends on the roster for this year.
Long-term need: High. Only Deguara is signed past the 2022 season. Tonyan has an uncertain future while coming back from a major injury, and Lewis will be 38 in May. It’s possible the Packers will need to find long-term replacements for both.
Depth of draft class: Decent. Brugler ranks five tight ends in the top 100 and 19 players with draftable grades. There’s not a sure-fire, can’t-miss prospect, but the depth in the middle rounds is good.
Chance of drafting position: Moderate. Getting a legitimate talent to develop makes a lot of sense, but the Packers also have five tight ends they really like already on the roster.
Options: Trey McBride (Colorado State), Greg Dulcich (UCLA), Jelani Woods (Virginia), Charlie Kolar (Iowa State), Jake Ferguson (Wisconsin), Daniel Bellinger (San Diego State)
(AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
On the roster (9): David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Jon Runyan Jr., Royce Newman, Yosh Nijman, Cole Van Lanen, Jake Hanson, Michal Menet
Short-term need: Moderate. Jenkins’ injury (ACL), the loss of Billy Turner and Lucas Patrick (free agency) and the uncertain future of Dennis Kelly (unsigned) create some issues, even if the Packers have a strong starting five with everyone healthy. There is a need for depth at offensive tackle. Where do the Packers want Jenkins to play long term (tackle or guard)?
Long-term need: Moderate. Along the offensive line, there’s always long-term need. Things change too fast.
Depth of draft class: Good. Brugler ranks 21 offensive linemen (tackle, guard, center) in his top 100, including nine offensive tackles. The depth into the middle rounds is strong.
Chance of drafting position: High. The Packers have made it a habit to draft offensive linemen every year, especially into Day 3. Expect the trend to continue.
Options: Tyler Smith (Tulsa), Zion Johnson (Boston College), Abraham Lucas (Wash. State), Zach Tom (Wake Forest), Cade Mays (Tennessee), Marquis Hayes (Oklahoma)