Thursday, April 28, 2022

NFL 2022 Draft - 1st Round Predictions

As you may have noticed, it's been pretty quiet around here since our last post. We predicted that the Packers would beat the Niners in the playoffs ... at Lambeau Field ... in January. Because.

But...not. (sigh) It was really a gut-punch, wasn't it, Packers fans? There just wasn't all that much to say. Yeah, there was that very brief Davante Adams drama. But other than that...meh.

Tonight, however, is a bit like Christmas for us fans. Not just in Green Bay but across the league. For it is the first round of the NFL 2022 Draft! Woo-hoo!!!

Green Bay Packers GM Brian Gutekunst looks as confused
as the rest of us going into the Draft.
(Photo by Sarah Kloepping/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)

What will Gutey do???

That is the question for the entire seven rounds of the Draft, isn't it? But it's especially so tonight. Armed with two picks — 22 and 28 — in the first round, and 11 overall, Packers GM Brian Gutekunst not only has a plethora of needs but an abundance of options. Thankfully, as you've no doubt read and heard countless times already, this draft seems deep in those areas of most need for the Pack, beginning with wide receiver.

After basically being forced to trade Davante Adams and losing MVS (you can spell it out if you wish) in free agency, the Packers find themselves in need of major help at receiver. While taking a flyer on veteran free agent Sammy Watkins to see if he can get back to early-career form, the Packers need at least a pair of dynamic young receivers to come out of this draft and make an almost immediate impact. You've seen the names bandied about: Chris Olave, Treylon Burks, George Pickens, Skyy Moore, Christian Watson, Jahan Dotson. These (or at least a few) are expected to perhaps be available at #22 when the Packers make their first selection ... assuming they don't trade up or down, of course. It's quite possible that Olave will go earlier and if Gutey thinks he is the guy, he could certainly attempt a trade of picks to move up to get him. On the other hand, pundits tend to think this draft is deep enough where the Packers won't have to do that to get a difference-making receiver.

In fact, there are arguments to be made that the receiver pool is so deep that the Packers can take a very good receiver with their second pick in the first round, #28, and use their higher pick for another area of need. Along these lines, we are really talking lines: offensive and defensive. You can never have too many versatile O-linemen available to protect your Hall of Fame quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, as we saw especially this past season. One name that surprisingly has been showing up here in a number of mock drafts is Central Michigan offensive tackle Bernhard Raimann. It's also the case that it would be most helpful to give Kenny Clark some assistance in the middle of the defensive line, or along the edges. If the latter, George Karlaftis is a name that pops up often.

The tricky thing with this draft in particular, as Packers Hall-of-Famer Mark Tauscher said this morning on his Wilde & Tausch radio program, "Nobody really knows." Amen. Yes, it's always fun to read through the seemingly endless mock drafts that are put out...especially the seven round ones...c'mon, really?...but this year there doesn't even seem to be a consensus number one pick. And top quarterbacks typically go in the first few picks...yet, apparently that won't happen here.

Our Prediction

We like Tauscher's take on things: "Nobody really knows." That includes yours truly.

So what will Gutey do? Our guess is he will stand pat with his #22 and #28 picks and take a wide receiver with one of the two while using the other for an offensive lineman or edge rusher (particularly if Karlaftis is available for the latter pick). We're not going to bother with names. Who knows? (We have hopes...but that's it.)

The Packers have a history of getting great receivers especially in the second round of drafts. So it wouldn't surprise us if Gutey looks to other needs which he sees as equally or more pressing than getting a first-round receiver. The fanbase will, of course, go nuts if the Packers don't draft at least one receiver tonight. Aaron Rodgers also might not be pleased. But, unlike the 2020 Draft, we have to believe that Rodgers will at least be aware of why the team made the decisions it did. Rodgers can make nearly any receiver a good one, and a good one a great one. It'll be OK. 

Channeling #12 from a few years ago, and applying to tonight and the subsequent rounds of the Draft: R-E-L-A-X.

And, as always, Go Pack Go!!!