The 2022 NFL Draft is just a few months away and while the playoffs lie ahead for the Green Bay Packers, it’s never too early to examine the Packers draft needs heading into 2022.
Obviously, these needs could change depending on players re-signing with the team, retiring or leaving via free agency. Major injuries could also play a role in the team’s overall needs.
Here are the top five areas of need for the Packers as of January 1, 2022:
- Tight End
The Packers have some talent here but a lot more uncertainty. Robert Tonyan’s contract is up and he is coming off a serious injury. The Packers are unsure if he’ll be back.
Marcedes Lewis remains a big part of the culture in Green Bay and he’s still a strong blocking tight end, but he’s also going to be 38 before the start of the 2022 season and it’s unclear if he’ll retire or return.
This area needs depth at the very least and maybe more depending on who returns and how much faith the coaching staff has in Josiah Deguara.
If Aaron Rodgers returns, this is not a need. But if the future Hall of Famer retires or demands a trade, the Packers will not have any experienced quarterbacks on their roster.
With Jordan Love already on the roster, it is highly unlikely the Packers draft a quarterback in round 1, but an early day three pick is possible for depth as is a trade or the signing of a veteran free agent to be Love’s backup and insurance policy.
- Defensive Line
The Packers don’t prioritize this position but the need here is clear. Kenny Clark is a Pro Bowl player but no other defensive lineman on the roster comes close. Help for Clark should be a day three priority for the Packers this year.
- Wide Receiver
Who will stay and who will go? Most of the Packers top players at this position are eligible to become free agents this coming offseason.
Can the Packers afford to keep Davante Adams? He has already said he wants to be paid as the league’s best receiver and if the Packers don’t pay him, somebody else will.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown, who were both drafted in 2018 are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents while Allen Lazard will be a restricted free agent.
This group includes the team’s top three receivers and it’s highly unlikely all three of them return. This will be a big need for the Packers in 2022 especially if Adams doesn’t stay in Green Bay.
The Packers have lots of cap issues and while technically both Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith are under contract for 2022, the way the team reworked their deals makes it highly unlikely the Packers can keep either player without negotiating a new contract with them that gives the team some cap relief.
That would leave Rashan Gary as the only premier edge rusher left on the roster. If either of the Smith brothers leave Green Bay, the Packers will need to add an edge rusher early in the draft. If both leave, edge may become the team’s top priority in 2022.
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