The 2022 NFL Draft will be the fifth for Green Bay Packers GM Brian Gutekunst since he took over the position in 2018. The Packers have enjoyed success during that time, winning three straight division titles and earning three consecutive first-round byes in the playoffs.
The draft is vital to any NFL team and the Packers are no exception. With that in mind, here is a look at the best pick made by Brian Gutekunst in each round of the NFL Draft. The rankings are based on how these players performed with the Packers. Any success they had with other teams is not taken into consideration.
Round 7: LB Ty Summers
It was a close battle between Summers and Jonathan Garvin but Summers won out by a small margin. Summers has only started one game on defense in his three seasons with the team but he has become a regular contributor on special teams.
His best season statistically was 2020 when he had 39 total tackles. He also recovered one fumble in 2021 in the Packers 24-21 win over the Cardinals.
Round 6: G Jon Runyan Jr.
Runyan saw action in three games on offense as a rookie and did a good job when called upon. In his second season, the former Michigan star became a starter in Week 2 and never relinquished the left guard position.
Runyan is a better pass blocker than run blocker at this stage of his career but that fits in with the Packers offensive philosophy. He has toughness and football smarts as his father was also an NFL offensive lineman.
It will be interesting to see if Runyan starts again in 2022 especially after Elgton Jenkins returns to the lineup.
Round 5: WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling
Marquez Valdes-Scantling was never a consistent player, but in four seasons with the Packers, he provided the team with the speed to stretch a defense and the big-play capability that no other receiver could provide.
His best season was 2022 when he caught 33 passes and six touchdowns. He led the league among qualifying receivers with a 20.9-yard average per catch.
Eight of MVS’s 13 career touchdowns came from 40 yards or longer which shows his big-play ability. But he also only had a catch percentage of 49.8 for his career which illustrated his inconsistency.
Round 4: G Royce Newman
The Packers didn’t have a fourth round pick in two of Gutekunst’s four drafts so the only two candidates for this spot are Newman and J’Mon Moore who caught just two passes in his only season with the team.
Newman earned the starting RG spot as a rookie and while he struggled early, especially in picking up blitzes and stunts, he improved as the season progressed. Newman started 16 games and played in all 17.
The hope is he will take a step forward in his second season and be a fixture at guard for the next several years.
Round 3: TE Josiah Deguara
The third round has been a problem for the Packers in the last decade or so but Deguara has the most upside and production of the players Gutekunst has selected. Fellow TE Jace Sternberger is already gone while Oren Burks never contributed significantly on defense. Amari Rodgers still has potential but had a quiet rookie year overall.
Deguara missed most of his rookie season due to a knee injury but returned in 2021 and became the team’s primary pass catching tight end after Robert Tonyan was injured midseason. He finished with 25 catches for 245 yards and two touchdowns.
Matt LaFleur likes his versatility and the Packers are looking for more from the former University of Cincinnati star in 2022.
Round 2: OL Elgton Jenkins
The Packers have added a starter in Josh Myers and a quality running back in A.J Dillon, but their best second-round pick under Gutekunst is offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins. Jenkins is smart, strong, mobile and versatile. He can play all five offensive line positions and play them well.
He earned Pro Bowl honors in 2020 at left guard, then moved to left tackle in 2021 when David Bakhtiari missed the first 16 games of the season due to a knee injury. Jenkins was playing at a high level at tackle before he suffered his own season-ending knee injury against the Vikings.
Jenkins has the potential to be a perennial Pro Bowl player when he returns to the lineup. The Packers will have to decide what position he should be playing upon his return.
Round 1: CB Jaire Alexander
Rashan Gary, Darnell Savage and Eric Stokes are all starters, but Jaire Alexander is one of the elite cover corners in the league.
Alexander has outstanding speed and a level of confidence that is contagious. He doesn’t let the occasional mistake bother him which is a good quality for an NFL cornerback.
The biggest thing Alexander needs to work on is holding on to potential interceptions. If his hands and anticipation of the ball’s arrival were a little better, he could be the best in the game.
As it is, he earned Pro Bowl honors in 2020 despite intercepting just one pass all season. Opposing quarterbacks completed only 51.3 percent of their passes when targeting receivers covered by Alexander that season and had a quarterback rating of just 67.4 according to pro-football-reference.com.
Unfortunately, the former Louisville star missed 13 games this season with a shoulder injury. His return should provide a big boost for the Packers in 2022.
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