The 2022 NFL Draft is almost here and the Green Bay Packers will be very busy over the next few days as the Packers have 11 picks overall and four of the first 59 selections in the draft.
The Packers have a lot of work to do in the next few days. Wide receiver remains the team’s biggest need but there are other positions that need improvement and additional depth with an eye towards the future.
GM Brian Gutekunst is ready for the big events coming this week. Here are five bold predictions for the Packers for the 2022 NFL Draft.
- The Packers Will Make Multiple Trades
Gutekunst has made a trade in the first round in three of the four drafts he’s run for the Packers. In one of them, he traded back and then traded up in the same year. He has never had this much ammunition to engineer a big trade than he has this year.
In the past, Gutekunst has traded up to grab a particular player he’s been targeting and it netted him players like Jaire Alexander and Darnell Savage in the first round.
Whether Gute trades up or back or even trades some picks to get a veteran wide receiver, expect the Packers to make at least one trade in the first round and multiple trades during the draft to get the players the front office covets.
- The Packers Will Select an Edge Rusher During the First Two Days of the Draft
Edge rusher is a premium position in the NFL and the Packers have never hesitated to address when they felt they had the need. In 2019, the Packers signed Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith in free agency and then drafted Rashan Gary. That totally revamped and refortified the edge rusher position.
This year, the need isn’t that drastic, but there is a lack of depth behind Gary and Preston Smith. The Packers will add an edge rusher in the first three rounds of the draft with the goal of having him be a situational and rotational pass rusher as a rookie and eventually to become a starter off the edge once he gains experience and gets comfortable playing in the NFL.
- The Packers Will Add Two Defensive Linemen
The Packers have rarely emphasized the defensive line in the draft since they selected Kenny Clark in the first round back in 2016. Since then, the Packers have used only one pick in the first three rounds on an interior defensive lineman and that was Montravius Adams who never lived up to his potential.
Members of the coaching staff have indicated the Packers want to add someone who can get some pressure on opposing quarterbacks from the interior of the defensive line to help Clark.
Look for a possible defensive lineman in the first three rounds and likely for two defensive linemen overall in this draft.
- The Packers Will Add at Least Two Offensive Linemen Including One Early
With the departure of Billy Turner and Lucas Patrick, the Packers lost players who started a combined total of 26 games along the offensive line in 2021. It also greatly reduced the depth the team has at the position.
In addition to those departures, Elgton Jenkins may not be ready to start the season as he is coming off a major knee injury and David Bakhtiari was limited to one half of one game last year because of a similar injury.
The Packers will select a minimum of two offensive linemen in this year’s draft including one in the first three rounds. This will help reinforce the Packers in the trenches. Afterall, Aaron Rodgers can’t play at an MVP level if he doesn’t have enough time to throw the football.
- The Packers Will Add Three More Wide Receivers This Year
The Packers will pick a wide receiver in the first round of the draft and draft at least one more receiver and possibly two more later in the draft. This will address the team’s biggest need in the short-term with the hope of solidifying it over the long haul as well.
Gutekunst may also choose to acquire a wide receiver (or tight end) via trade or add another free agent to add to the room after he signed Sammy Watkins. Remember, more players will become available after June 1st when the salary cap hit goes down if those players are released.
Before the start of training camp, Gutekunst will address the wide receiver need in multiple ways. Whether Packers social media will be happy with it remains to be seen.
Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers
Click here for more great Packers coverage