The Green Bay Packers did a good job of addressing their major areas of need in the 2022 NFL Draft. Prior to the start of the draft, the Packers biggest need was wide receiver and they added three of them in the starting with Christian Watson who they traded up to grab early in the second round. They needed to boost the offensive line depth and GM Brian Gutekunst selected three players starting with Sean Rhyan in the third round.

But the draft didn’t address all the positions the team was looking to fortify. Here is a look at the Packers biggest areas of need after the conclusion of the 2022 NFL Draft.

  1. Tight End

Of all the Packers needs entering the draft, tight end is the only area they did not address at all with a draft pick.

The Packers enter the 2022 season with some quality players at tight end but there are a lot of questions surrounding 2023 and uncertainty surrounding the players on the roster right now.

Robert Tonyan is the returning starter as the team’s top receiving tight end. He is coming off a season-ending knee injury and may not be ready to start the 2022 campaign.

The primary blocking tight end is veteran Marcedes Lewis. “Big Dog” will turn 38 later this month. He remains a strong blocker and a leader in the locker room and a reliable outlet receiver who is tough to tackle but he is no longer able to get downfield as a receiver.

Josiah Deguara is hoping to take a step forward in his third NFL season. If Tonyan is not ready for the start of the season, Deguara will likely take over as the top receiving tight end. Last season, the former University of Cincinnati star had 25 catches for 245 yards and two touchdowns.

Deguara is a reliable receiver but has yet to show the ability to stretch the field like Tonyan could when he was healthy.

Dominique Dafney and Tyler Davis provide blocking, depth and help on special teams.

The question is what happens in 2023? Tonyan is coming off an injury and is only under contract for this season. Lewis will be 39 by the start of the 2023 campaign and may retire. The potential loss of the team’s top two players on the depth chart leaves the Packers with a hole on their roster at that position.

Barring an extension with Tonyan and a step up by Deguara, tight end may be the team’s biggest need entering 2023.

  1. Safety

The Packers did not re-sign Henry Black who served as the team’s third safety last season, leaving the team with a need to fill entering the draft. The Packers did not address the safety position in the draft until the seventh round when they selected Tariq Carpenter out of Georgia Tech with the 228th overall pick.

The drafting of Quay Walker indicates the Packers may look to keep two linebackers on the field more often in 2022 which would mean fewer reps for the team’s third safety. With his size, Carpenter is more of a hybrid safety/linebacker which is consistent with that strategy.

But even with the additions of Walker and Carpenter, the Packers still lack depth at the safety position. If either Adrian Amos or Darnell Savage had to miss time with an injury, the Packers presently lack a player they would feel comfortable plugging into the starting lineup at safety.

Hopefully, this is an area that Gutekunst can address before the start of training camp. The possibility of a short-term answer at safety becoming available after June 1st is something the Packers may look into.

  1. Veteran Wide Receiver

The Packers drafted three wide receivers and signed another as an undrafted free agent (Danny Davis from Wisconsin). But most receivers struggle in their first NFL season and the highest drafted of the three, Watson, comes from a school that had a run-first offense and did not run complex route trees that are typical in the NFL. While his skills set is undeniable, he has a big adjustment ahead of him.

Are the Packers prepared to go into the coming season with Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb and Sammy Watkins as their only three proven receivers. Amari Rodgers will also make the roster, but is he ready for a bigger role? How much can the Packers expect from Watson and fourth-round pick Romeo Doubs in their rookie year?

There is no need to panic. There are still some players available via free agency and via trade and more veterans will be released after June 1. None of these players need to be stars, but a veteran player who can start on the outside and give Aaron Rodgers a reliable target to keep the chains moving would be a beneficial pickup before the start of training camp.


Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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