Identifying Packers "type" receivers in the 2022 NFL Draft, part 1
What are the names Packers fans should have an eye on who fit the historical mold Green Bay's front office likes in a wide receiver? We dig into the 2022 draft class to find them.
This is Part 1 of a two-part series on the wide-receiver position in the upcoming 2022 NFL draft, where we expect GM Brian Gutekunst to attack the receiver position aggressively following the trade of Davante Adams. We give you the “what” and the “why",” today. On Friday, you’ll get the “who,” as is in who fits the mold and projects most favorably the NFL.
We know what a Packers receiver looks like: he’s big, relatively fast to fast, and can change directions with ease. The combine, an exercise some will tell you is a show for TV and not useful for player evaluation, helps quantify those traits so they can be more objectively compared player-to-player. In short, the combine absolutely matters. And Green Bay’s front office has made that clear over the years with their consistency in how they look at receivers they draft. So what does that mean in the 2022 class, a vital step in a post-Davante Adams Packers offense? When it comes to Packers’ types, what is an otherwise deep receiver class, shrinks considerably.
The prototypical receiver meets four criteria: they’re at least six feet tall or very close to it, at least 190 pounds and preferably over 200, they run a 4.56 or faster and boast a 7.08 3-cone or better. In short, they’re big and athletic, a pretty good standard for guys who have to make plays on the football against the most athletic defenders on the field every play.
A slew of players at the combine did not run 3-cones, so we have incomplete data on them but in terms of size/speed, the players who fit this bill, or at least have no disqualified themselves from doing so are as follows:
Drake London, USC — Hasn’t tested at all
George Pickens, Georgia
Christian Watson, North Dakota State
Jalen Tolbert, South Alabama
Romeo Doubs, Nevada — Hasn’t tested
Braylon Sanders, Ole Miss
Velus Jones, Tennessee
Isaiah Weston, Northern Iowa
Kevin Austin Jr., Notre Dame
Erik Ezukanma, Texas Tech — Hasn’t run the 40
Ten players do not exactly scream “flush with talent,” in a draft the professional analysts are telling us is deep at receiver. Why? Many of the top prospects don’t fit Green Bay’s “type.” Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson is too small, while Arkansas standout Treylon Burks didn’t test explosively. Wilson’s former teammate at Ohio State before transferring, Alabama stud Jameson Williams came in well underweight, and guys like Penn State’s Jahan Datson, Kentucky’s Wan’Dale Robinson, and Memphis’ Calvin Austin were never going to be big enough.
There’s one name Packers fans are fawning over who also did not make the above list and there are also a group of guys who the front office might be willing to fudge the standards a bit because they’re so close (again, we are assuming we have the standard more or less correct, but the exact cutoff if one exists, is not publicly known).