Green Bay Packers Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

Quay Walker, LB, Georgia – Round 1
Since losing Blake Martinez in free agency, the Packers have need some help at inside linebacker. De’Vondre Campbell was excellent for Green Bay in 2021, but they needed another interior linebacker to go with him. Walker ended up being the target for Green Bay’s first selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, and he should form a solid tandem with Campbell as soon as this coming season.

The 6-foot-3, 241-pound Walker is an advanced run defender entering the NFL. He has quality instincts and does a nice job of reading his keys to be in proper position. That understanding of blocking schemes and run designs allows him to flow to the ball to limit backs from getting to the second level. With his size and strength, Walker is capable of working off blocks while also being a consistent and forceful tackler. Walker could stand to improve his ability to shed blocks more consistently. In the NFL, Walker should be an asset as a run defender.

In pass coverage, Walker’s instincts and discipline are impressive. He never bit on play action or misdirection, which was a rare sight from a college linebacker, especially one coming from a conference that still features rushing attacks. Walker is able to read routes and moves well enough to execute zone coverage. He also has the skill set to do some man-coverage ability on tight ends. With his speed, size and athleticism, Walker should develop into a solid three-down starter in the pros.

The Packers have a wide-open depth chart with no experienced veteran slotted in, so Walker could be a plug-and-play starter. With good talent on the defensive line and next to him with Campbell, Walker could excel as offensive lines focus their attention elsewhere. Quickly in his pro career, Walker could be a solid starter for Green Bay.

2021: Josh Myers, C
2020: None
2019: Rashan Gary, DE
2018: Josh Jackson, CB
2017: Montravius Adams, DT
2016: Kenny Clark, DT
2015: Damarious Randall, DB
2014: HaHa Clinton-Dix, S
2013: Datone Jones, DE

Most Likely To Bust

Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia – Round 1
The Packers made a surprising pick by taking Wyatt late in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Typically, Green Bay has avoided players with massive off-the-field issues, but they did not do that with Wyatt. Other teams had removed Wyatt from their draft boards because of multiple domestic violence issues. Wyatt had a domestic violence arrest in 2020, and a lot of teams were not willing to roll the dice on him being reformed. He has serious off-the-field habits that could lead to him not panning out.

On the field, Wyatt has some concerns as well. The 6-foot-2, 307-pounder has functional size, but is not overly strong or fast. While he was a capable interior rusher for Georgia, Wyatt produced just 39 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 15 games last season despite seeing constant one-on-one blocks. With monster Jordan Davis next to him eating double teams, Wyatt was not as productive as he could have been. Additionally, Wyatt had other excellent athletes around him, including the No. 1-overall pick Travon Walker and other good edge rushers like Nolan Smith, Adam Anderson and more.

Wyatt has a good skill set, as illustrated by his combine workout, but he has on-the-field and off-the-field concerns that could lead to him not panning out in the NFL.

2021: Amari Rodgers, CB
2020: A.J. Dillon, RB
2019: Jace Sternberger, TE
2018: J’Mon Moore, WR
2017: Jamaal Williams, RB
2016: Kyler Fackrell, LB
2015: Ty Montgomery, WR
2014: Khyri Thornton, DL
2013: David Bakhtiari, OT

Potential Boom Pick

Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State – Round 2
After Davante Adams pushed his way to Las Vegas and Marques Valdez-Scantling left in free agency, the Packers were desperate for wide receiver help. Late in the top 10 and then in the teens, there was a big run on wideout prospects, and the Packers were very fortunate to land Watson after trading up in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft. In this analyst’s opinion, Watson was a better prospect than Green Bay’s first-round picks, Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt. The franchise, however, passed on Watson with those picks and were fortunate the Vikings were willing to trade in the second round to gift their division rival a potential No. 1 receiver for Aaron Rodgers.

For the NFL, Watson is a tall, strong, and has surprising speed for a big receiver. The 6-foot-4, 211-pound has the size to be a red-zone weapon and a size mismatch as a pro. He also possesses enough speed to generate separation and some surprising twitch for a tall, thick wideout. Watson can run well to work on defenses downfield and threaten them at all levels. He is a long-strider with a second gear and can explode in the open field due to the sheer speed to run away from defenders. That will be diminished somewhat in the NFL, but there is no doubt that Watson has above-average speed for a big wideout.

With his size and speed, Watson is a dangerous yards-after-the-catch receiver, and he showed that at the Senior Bowl as well. On end arounds and short receptions, Watson shows good vision and cutting ability to weave his way through the defense with a burst to accelerate into the open field. Watson is dangerous red-zone threat given his length, leaping ability, and strong hands. Similarly, he is very tough to cover along the sideline due to his size and body control.

The Packers have done extremely well at drafting wide receivers on Day 2 of NFL drafts, with recent history including Davante Adams, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Greg Jennings and more. Watson has a great skill set and has the a potential No. 1 receiver in the NFL. With Green Bay, he landed with one of the best quarterbacks in the league in Aaron Rodgers, along with quality talent elsewhere on offense. Coming from North Dakota State, Watson might need some developmental time. It would not be surprising if he starts to make strides late in his rookie season, and he could be a breakout player come 2023 and 2024. Watson could be a real boom pick for the Packers and continue their trend of landing elite receivers in the second round of NFL drafts.

2021: Eric Stokes, CB
2020: None
2019: Darnell Savage, S
2018: Jaire Alexander, CB
2017: Kevin King, CB
2016: Blake Martinez, LB
2015: Quinten Rollins, CB
2014: Carl Bradford, LB
2013: Eddie Lacy, RB

Future Depth Player

Zach Tom, OL, Wake Forest – Round 4
Every year, it seems like the Packers suffer some significant injuries on the offensive line and need to draw on their depth. Thus, Tom was a wise pick in the fourth round because he could have easily gone on Day 2. Tom could be a backup at tackle or center in the NFL, making him a valuable backup depth contributor for Green Bay. The Packers have two very good offensive tackles in David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins, plus 2021 second-rounder Josh Myers locked in at center. Tom could compete at guard, but he profiles as a capable backup at tackle and center. While Tom may not become a starter in Green Bay, he should be a nice backup who helps provide depth for injuries and rotational ability.

2020: Tedarrell Slaton, DT
2020: Josiah Deguara, TE
2019: Kingsley Keke, DE
2018: Equanimeous St. Brown, WR
2017: Vince Biegel, LB
2016: Dean Lowry, DE
2015: Brett Hundley, QB
2014: Jared Abbrederis, WR
2013: Johnathan Franklin, RB

Walt’s 2022 NFL Draft 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.

2022 NFL Draft Team Grade: A-. Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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