Almost every expert agrees that the Green Bay Packers biggest need entering the 2022 NFL Draft is at wide receiver. With Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling both set to play elsewhere this season, the team lacks a true number one receiver on their current roster.
But what is the best way for GM Brian Gutekunst to maximize the team’s receiving corps for 2022? The Packers have several options and approaches they can take to fill the need at receiver while still having enough picks to fill the rest of the team’s needs.
Here is a look at the options the Packers have entering the 2022 NFL Draft to fill their needs at receiver for the coming season and beyond:
Option 1: Stay at 22 and 28
There are five or six wide receivers who are likely to be selected in the first round of the draft this season. Depending on how the draft board falls, one or more of them could still be on the board when the Packers select at 22.
The big question is which players will still be available and how do they fit the Packers needs? The one thing Green Bay doesn’t need is a slot receiver. Randall Cobb is the slot receiver of the present with Amari Rodgers set as the heir apparent.
The other question is whether a player who has the potential to be a true number one receiver will still be available by the time the Packers pick at 22. That remains a big need for the Packers.
So, if Gutekunst sees the board and sees a receiver he has targeted is likely to be available at 22, he will likely keep that pick and draft a receiver and another position player with those two selections.
Option 2: Trade Up
If there is a run on receivers early (and it’s possible in the early teens depending on which teams trade up), or if Gutekunst has a specific receiver in mind who he feels is head and shoulders better than the other players available, Gute could trade up to try to grab that player.
The Packers have two first-round picks and two second-round picks and 11 picks overall. They have the ammunition needed to trade up. If necessary, Gutekunst could also trade a pick in next year’s draft although that is less likely in this scenario because of how many picks the Packers have this year.
The big questions are how far do the Packers need to move up to get the receiver they want and at what cost? Gutekunst doesn’t want to overpay for the receiver he covets, but he can’t come away empty-handed either.
Option 3: Trade For a WR1
There are still some talented and unhappy wide receivers who are rumored to be available via trade. Deebo Samuel of the 49ers is the biggest name out there. DK Metcalf of Seattle may also be available since the Seahawks are in rebuilding mode.
Again, the Packers should not overpay for this trade. Some of the proposed trades on social media regarding Samuel include three very high picks and Amari Rodgers which is absurd.
The Packers should not pay more for a new receiver than the Raiders paid the Packers when they acquired Adams and that is a first round and second round pick. If they trade for Samuel, the Packers must also be permitted to work out a contract extension with the receiver before the trade is finalized as giving up two high picks for a one-season rental of a star receiver is not a good deal.
There are other veterans who have not been getting a lot of headlines who could also be available via trade before or even after the draft. Don’t overlook this as a way to add talent to the receiver room especially in the short run since most rookie receivers do not become impact players in their first NFL campaign.
Option 4: Free Agency
The Packers could also add another receiver in free agency before the start of training camp. They already signed Sammy Watkins which gives them some additional talent and depth heading into the new season.
Remember, after the draft and especially after June 1, there will be more players being released by teams for cap purposes. So, while there may not be any marquis names out there right now, some additional players will likely become available in a little more than a month.
Again, these players are more likely short-term options, but they can give the Packers options while they wait for draft picks to be comfortable taking on a larger role in the offense.
Keep in mind that the Packers front office is likely to utilize a combination of these methods. They could draft a wide receiver in the first round, another in the third round and then add a free agent after June 1. Or even trade back to get more picks and add two receivers in the second round and then trade for a receiver.
The key is to fortify the receiver room with enough talent to make a Super Bowl run this year and to give the team enough young talent to keep the offense playing at a high level beyond 2022. Gutekunst has a lot of work ahead of him and none of it will be easy. The future of the Packers will depend on how well he does.
Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers
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