Will Packers snag a smaller wide receiver in the 2022 draft?

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The 2022 NFL draft has a type at wide receiver, and it’s a growing type across the league. Small and fast is in. Will the Green Bay Packers find their next great wide receiver in a smaller body type?

Consider this: Of Dane Brugler’s top 20 wide receivers, 14 are under 200 pounds. Of the 35 with draftable grades, 21 are under 200 pounds. This is a draft of lanky or undersized receivers who can run like the wind. It’s one of the fastest classes of receivers ever, but also probably one of the smallest, at least weight-wise.

The Packers generally like bigger receivers. General manager Brian Gutekunst has drafted four wide receivers, and all four were over 200 pounds. Davante Adams, the team’s last top-60 pick at receiver, is 215 pounds. Height also factors in; the team simply hasn’t drafted many receivers 5-11 or under.

But here’s the good news for the 2022 draft class: smaller wide receivers are increasingly producing at top levels in the NFL.

Eleven wide receivers weighing under 200 pounds produced at least 1,000 receiving yards during the 2021 season. Eight weighed 185 or less.

Wide receiver

Weight

Receiving yards

Justin Jefferson

195

1,616

Tyreek Hill

185

1,239

Stefon Diggs

191

1,225

Tyler Lockett

182

1,175

Diontae Johnson

183

1,161

CeeDee Lamb

189

1,102

Darnell Mooney

173

1,055

Hunter Renfrow

185

1,038

Brandin Cooks

183

1,037

Jaylen Waddle

182

1,015

Marquise Brown

180

1,008

The draft class is filled with similar body types. Five potential first-round picks – Garrett Wilson (183), Jameson Williams (179), Chris Olave (187), Jahan Dotson (178) and George Pickens (195) – are under 200 pounds. Skyy Moore (195), Jalen Tolbert (194), John Metchie (187), Khalil Shakir (196), Danny Gray (186), Tyquan Thornton (181), Bo Melton (189) and Kyle Philips (189) are mid-round options under 200 pounds.

There are bigger receivers in the class. Think Drake London (219), Treylon Burks (225), Christian Watson (208), Alec Pierce (211) and David Bell (212). But they are in the minority.

The Packers need to get at least two wide receivers in this draft. It’s possible the team drafts a combination like Burks and Watson or Pierce, continuning the trend of bigger receivers in Green Bay. But it’s also likely the Packers will take a receiver weighing under 200 pounds from this class.

This is a small draft class at receiver, but smaller pass-catchers can still produce big numbers at the NFL level, especially in today’s pass-heavy game designed with rules protecting smaller players from big hits and over-physical play. If there was ever a year for the Packers to sway a bit from their comfort zone and grab a smaller playmaking receiver, this might be it.

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