2022 NFL Offseason: Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Packers (Last Year: 13-4)

2022 NFL Season Preview:

Veteran Additions:
WR Sammy Watkins, DT Jarran Reed, P Pat O’Donnell.
Early Draft Picks:
LB Quay Walker, DT DeVonte Wyatt, WR Christian Watson, G Sean Rhyan, WR Romeo Doubs, C Zach Tom, DE Kingsley Enagbare. Packers Rookie Forecast
Offseason Losses:
WR Davante Adams, WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, OT Billy Turner, OT Dennis Kelly, G Lucas Patrick, OLB Za’Darius Smith, CB Kevin King, P Corey Bojorquez.

2022 Green Bay Packers Offense:
It was unclear if Aaron Rodgers would return to the team for the second consecutive offseason, but unlike last spring, the Packers didn’t have any uncertainty heading into the NFL Draft. That’s because they were able to re-sign Rodgers to a 4-year, $200 million contract. There was speculation that it wasn’t about the money with Rodgers, but that obviously was not the case, as Rodgers’ contract made it impossible for the team to retain Davante Adams. As a result, Adams was traded to the Raiders nine days later.

It’s obvious to state that Rodgers will miss Adams. This is not speculation. Not only was Adams dominant the past two seasons with 2,927 total yards and 29 touchdowns in that span; Rodgers had no one to throw to besides Adams in the playoff loss to the 49ers. Adams’ departure won’t mean anything against lesser teams, but it’ll make a huge difference against the better defenses in the NFL, especially given that the No. 2 receiver from last year, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, is gone as well.

With the top two wideouts gone, Rodgers will have to make the most out of the remaining corps, which is comprised of Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins, Christian Watson and Randall Cobb. Lazard is a pedestrian talent, while Watkins was an inconsistent producer, even with Patrick Mahomes while he was in Kansas City. Cobb is washed up. That leaves Watson, a second-round rookie. Watson is very raw, but possesses immense upside. He may be a great receiver eventually, but it could take him some time to develop, even with Rodgers at the helm.

With the receiving corps in shambles, Rodgers will have to rely more on his running backs as receiving threats out of the backfield. There was a sneak preview of his phenomenon during the playoff loss to the 49ers when Aaron Jones caught nine passes. It’s likely that Jones’ receptions will increase this year, while power back A.J. Dillon picks up more of the workload on the ground. Dillon is the superior pure runner, while Jones is much better at catching passes, so this strategy will work.

Jones, Dillon and Rodgers will get much better blocking this season because left tackle David Bakhtiari will be returning from injury. Now another year removed from the torn ACL he suffered at the end of the 2020 campaign, Bakhtiari will be able to take the field and reprise his role as the blind-side protector. He’ll be bookended by Sir Elgton Jenkins, who did a terrific job of filling in for Bakhtiari last year.

2022 Green Bay Packers Defense:
Given the departures of Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, the Packers were expected to use at least one of their first-round picks on a receiver. Aaron Rodgers told the front office that he wanted them to trade up for Treylon Burks. Instead, Green Bay used the two selections on defensive players.

The first prospect chosen was linebacker Quay Walker, who fills an important role in Joe Barry’s defense. Walker is a highly athletic player with major upside. Linebacker has historically been a weak position for the Packers, at least until last year when De’Vonre Campbell enjoyed a Pro Bowl season. Campbell is back with a new contract, but there wasn’t a very viable option to have next to him before the Walker pick.

Green Bay’s second defensive pick was used on Devonte Wyatt, who will start alongside Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry on the defensive front. Like Walker, Wyatt is extremely talented, but he has some major off-the-field issues. It’ll be difficult for him to remain clean after multiple domestic violence incidents, but if he can turn his life around, he’ll provide the team with a huge upgrade next to the spectacular Clark. Lowry, meanwhile, is a quality pass rusher, but tends to get abused in run support.

Speaking of the pass rush, the Packers possess two terrific edge rushers. Rashan Gary and Preston Smith combined for 18.5 sacks last year. There’s some question about depth behind them now that Za’Darius Smith is gone, so the Packers could be counting on fifth-round rookie Kingsley Enagbare if one of them were to get hurt.

While the Packers added talent throughout their front seven, they didn’t use a resource to bolster their secondary. That’s because they didn’t need to do so. They possess a very talented trio of cornerbacks, including Jaire Alexander, one of the best in the business. They used a first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on Eric Stokes, who enjoyed a strong rookie campaign. There’s also Rasul Douglas, who transformed from journeyman into a sudden star for Green Bay.

The two starting safeties from last year will return as well. Adrian Amos enjoyed a stellar 2021 campaign, though the same can’t be said of Darnell Savage. It’s unclear if Savage dealt with some undisclosed injury because he was much better in 2020. Perhaps he’ll bounce back this year.

2022 Green Bay Packers Schedule and Intangibles:
Green Bay is 158-54-2 at home since 1992 – the year Brett Favre first became a Packer. Aaron Rodgers continued the tradition; he’s 84-17-1 as a host the past 13 years. He was 8-0 last season until the 49ers won at Lambeau.

Mason Crosby was perfect in 2020, but struggled last year, going 25-of-34, though he was 3-of-4 from 50-plus.

Green Bay signed new punter Pat O’Donnell this offseason. O’Donnell wasn’t very good last year, but he won’t be punting as much as he did in Chicago.

The Packers had poor special teams in 2020, surrendering one touchdown while scoring none themselves.

Green Bay has an easy schedule. Not only will it get to beat up on the NFC North teams; it also gets to navigate through the NFC East.

2022 Green Bay Packers Rookies:
Go here for the Packers Rookie Forecast, a page with predictions like which rookie will bust and which rookie will become a solid starter.

2022 Green Bay Packers Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
Offensive Line
Running Backs
Defensive Line
Special Teams

2022 Green Bay Packers Analysis: The Packers are lucky they play in a soft division. They have some major questions at receiver, and they could have problems blocking. Their defense may also have issues stopping the run. However, Aaron Rodgers is still quarterbacking the team, so it’s very likely that Green Bay will be celebrating another NFC North championship come January.

Projection: 12-5 (1st in NFC North)

2021 Projection: 11-6. 2021 Actual Result: 13-4.
2020 Projection: 7-9. 2020 Actual Result: 13-3.
2019 Projection: 12-4. 2019 Actual Result: 13-3.
2018 Projection: 11-5. 2018 Actual Result: 6-9-1.
2017 Projection: 11-5. 2017 Actual Result: 7-9.
2016 Projection: 12-4. 2016 Actual Result: 10-6.

NFL Draft Team Grade: A- Grade

Goals Entering the 2022 NFL Draft: The Packers almost have to address their receiving corps, right? There are no excuses this time, as Green Bay has two first-round picks in a class that features some talented wideouts. Otherwise, Green Bay must fill needs in the trenches on both sides of the ball.

2022 NFL Draft Accomplishments: Aaron Rodgers must not have been a happy camper after Thursday night. The Packers, once again, failed to address their massive hole at receiver. They spent two selections on defensive players instead. However, the top six receivers in this class were all off the board until No. 18. The Packers probably should have traded up for Treylon Burks – Rodgers’ preferred target – but perhaps this just wasn’t possible.

The best the Packers could’ve done at receiver with Burks and Jahan Dotson off the board was Christian Watson at No. 22. Rather than picking him there – or at No. 28 – they obtained him in the second round. Watson was a steal there; he’s an extremely athletic receiver with massive upside. Rodgers should be able to make great use of him, as well as fourth-round rookie Romeo Doubs, who was a nice value where Green Bay picked him.

Green Bay’s front office also addressed Rodgers’ blocking, which was crucial. Sean Rhyan and Zach Tom could both provide major upgrades in the interior of the blocking unit, though Tom may play tackle. These picks, along with the Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt choices that will bolster the defense, means that the Packers walked away from the 2022 NFL Draft with a very strong class, despite things looking bleak after Thursday night. My only complaint was that the Packers didn’t trade up for Burks, as Rodgers requested.

NFL Draft Individual Grades:

22. Quay Walker, LB, Georgia – B+ Grade
I had Quay Walker going to the Packers in my mock draft, but I’m shocked they selected him on Jermaine Johnson. Still, Walker is a solid pick. He’s a very athletic linebacker who will fit extremely well right next to De’Vondre Campbell. The Packers value linebacker very highly in their scheme, so I like this selection.

28. DeVonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia – C Grade
If you want to talk character concerns, DeVonte Wyatt certainly has a worse problem with it than Jermaine Johnson. Wyatt has been removed from numerous boards for repeated domestic violence. I don’t know how the Packers could spend a first-round pick on someone who could easily be suspended repeatedly throughout his career. The talent is obviously there, but this is so risky.

34. Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State – A Grade
Why are the Vikings giving talented receivers to other teams in their division? Christian Watson is a nice bargain at No. 34, as I expected him to go in the first round, potentially as high as No. 22. Aaron Rodgers has to be thrilled with his new, extremely talented wideout.

92. Sean Rhyan, G, UCLA – B+ Grade
Aaron Rodgers may have been frustrated heading into Friday night, but he must be much happier now. After the Packers finally obtained a receiver, they managed to acquire a much-needed upgrade on the offensive line in Sean Rhyan. I had Rhyan slotted at No. 89 in my mock, so I like the range.

132. Romeo Doubs, WR, Nevada – A- Grade
Aaron Rodgers has to be thrilled that his team is picking another receiver. Romeo Doubs had some great pre-draft workouts at the Senior Bowl to put himself on the map, and I liked him in this range. He obviously potentially fills a huge need.

140. Zach Tom, OT/C, Wake Forest – A+ Grade
I love the value and the need, as well as the player. Zach Tom is a versatile offensive lineman who can basically play tackle and center. The Packers had to find some better blockers for Aaron Rodgers, and Tom seems to qualify. I had him slotted in the third round consistently, so it’s nice that Tom was available at this juncture.

179. Kingsley Enagbare, DE, South Carolina – A- Grade
The Packers were looking for edge-rushing depth after losing Za’Darius Smith this offseason. Kingsley Enagbare, who was a quality pass rusher at South Carolina, should be able to fill that need. I had him a round earlier than this.

228. Tariq Carpenter, S, Georgia Tech – B+ Grade
I mocked this exact pick to the Packers in the seventh round. This fit makes sense, as the Packers needed to address their secondary depth. Green Bay showed interest in Carpenter, so they got their man.

234. Jonathan Ford, NT, Miami – B Grade
The Packers were looking for a monstrous nose tackle to help them stop the run, and Jonathan Ford will definitely help in that regard. He makes sense at this selection in the seventh frame.

249. Rasheed Walker, OT, Penn State – A+ Grade
Another great value pick. I had Rasheed Walker in the fourth round. He never quite lived up to his potential, but he has great upside and perhaps could become a solid pro with good NFL coaching. I love this gamble for the Packers, who needed offensive line help.

258. Samori Toure, WR, Nebraska – A- Grade
I like this as a value pick as well, though a bit less so. Samori Toure became a known name in March when he thrived in his pro day. He has nice upside, so perhaps Aaron Rodgers will be able to turn him into a viable NFL receiver.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Season Summary:
It was yet another disappointing playoff ending for Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay fans can now enjoy another summer of wondering whether or not Rodgers will return to the team.

Offseason Moves:
  • Packers sign WR Sammy Watkins
  • Packers sign DT Jarran Reed
  • Raiders acquire WR Davante Adams from Packers for draft picks
  • Packers sign P Pat O’Donnell

    Team Needs:
    1. Wide Receiver: The Packers would have Tee Higgins, Chase Claypool, Michael Pittman or Brandon Aiyuk had they not wasted a pick on No Cookie Jordan Love. Instead, Aaron Rodgers was only able to complete passes to two players in the playoff loss to the 49ers. Signed Sammy Watkins

    2. Tight End: Rodgers also needs a much better tight end at his disposal. Re-signed Robert Tonyan

    3. Two Linebackers: Only one linebacker will be needed if De’Vondre Campbell re-signs. Nevertheless, Green Bay must bolster the middle of its defense.

    4. Defensive Tackle: The Packer run defense was a weakness last year. An upgrade is needed in the trenches. Signed Jarran Reed

    5. Right Tackle: Green Bay can do better than Billy Turner at right tackle.

    6. Punter: Corey Bojorquez is an impending free agent.

    7. Special Teams: The Packers’ miserable special teams ended up costing them a playoff victory.

      Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

    2022 NFL Free Agent Signings:
    1. Sammy Watkins, WR, Ravens. Age: 29.
      Signed with Packers (1 year, $4 million)

      Time is running out for Sammy Watkins to meet expectations. He’s great in some games, but disappears in many others.

    2. Jarran Reed, DT, Chiefs. Age: 29. — Signed with Packers
    3. Pat O’Donnell, P, Bears. Age: 34. — Signed with Packers

    Green Bay Packers Free Agents:

    Salary Cap: TBA.
    1. Davante Adams, WR, Packers. Age: 29.
      Franchised by Packers

      Davante Adams is arguably the best receiver in the NFL. He’s been insanely productive over the years, even when playing without Aaron Rodgers. He’s the top overall free agent in the 2022 class.

    2. Za’Darius Smith, DE/OLB, Packers. Age: 29.
      Signed with Vikings (3 years, $42 million)

      Za’Darius Smith is one of the top edge rushers in the NFL when healthy. He missed all of 2021, but he should be back this upcoming season. He recorded 25 sacks in the two years prior to 2021, but was cut because of his massive cap figure.

    3. De’Vondre Campbell, LB, Packers. Age: 29.
      Re-signed with Packers (5 years, $50 million)

      The Falcons and Cardinals had to be shocked by what De’Vondre Campbell did in 2021. Campbell had been mediocre at best for them, yet he emerged as one of the better linebackers in the NFL for Green Bay. It’s unclear if this was a fluke, so we’ll have to see if Campbell can replicate his great play in 2022.

    4. Rasul Douglas, CB, Packers. Age: 27.
      Re-signed with Packers (3 years, $21 million)

      Rasul Douglas was seen as a mediocre journeyman cornerback, but he played very well for the Packers. It remains to be seen if this was a fluke.

    5. Billy Turner, OT/G, Packers. Age: 30.
      Signed with Broncos

      The Packers overpaid Billy Turner a few years ago. Financials prompted this release, but Billy Turner is a solid offensive lineman who can play both right tackle and guard.

    6. Kevin King, CB, Packers. Age: 27.
      Kevin King has gotten lots of flak for his horrendous performance in the NFC Championship against the Buccaneers, but he was playing hurt. King has some talent, and he’s still relatively young.

    7. Corey Bojorquez, P, Packers. Age: 25.
      Signed with Browns

      Corey Bojorquez is a mediocre punter, but he’s young so his numbers could get better.

    8. Dennis Kelly, OT, Packers. Age: 32.
      Signed with Colts

      Dennis Kelly has been one of the best swing tackles in the NFL over the years. He could probably start for the next year or two.

    9. Robert Tonyan, TE, Packers. Age: 28.
      Re-signed with Packers (1 year)

      Robert Tonyan was a big producer in 2020, but struggled to produce this past season until he suffered a torn ACL.

    10. Lucas Patrick, G, Packers. Age: 29. — Signed with Bears (2 years, $8 million)
    11. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Packers. Age: 27. — Signed with Chiefs (3 years, $30 million)
    12. Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Packers. Age: 32. — Announced retirement
    13. Chandon Sullivan, CB, Packers. Age: 26. — Signed with Vikings
    14. Tyler Lancaster, DE/DT, Packers. Age: 26. — Signed with Raiders
    15. Oren Burks, LB, Packers. Age: 27. — Signed with 49ers
    16. Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Packers. Age: 25. — Signed with Bears

    NFL Free Agent Tracker:
    QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades | FA Rumors

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