What the Packers can do on draft day, what they can't, and the ace up their sleeve
A look at league trends and GM Brian Gutekunst's history reveals much about what the Packers will and won't do during the 2022 NFL Draft.
The 2022 NFL Draft officially begins tomorrow. That means the end of mock drafts, critiques from anonymous scouts, and all the other hallmarks of draft season. Soon, the hundreds of college prospects will finally know their NFL homes and begin their professional careers.
Yet despite reaching the finish line, concrete information about the draft remains elusive. That holds true for the Green Bay Packers who, armed with four top-60 picks, could have the largest impact of any team this week. While the Packers have well-documented needs, their position in the draft order clouds their future.
But for those who want a better idea of how the Packers' next few days will unfold, some important guideposts do exist.
Forget the mocks, certain receiver types will go before Packers' top pick
Months of discourse about the incoming receiver class have come and gone. By this point, you've seen a handful of wideouts projected to go first among the group, sometimes in the top 10, sometimes not.
But while NFL decision-makers can have differing opinions on the wideout class, the league as a whole has a clear bent when it comes to evaluating the position: find the best fast guy.
For several years running, the college game has continually churned out deep receiver classes without a clear front-runner at the outset. Yet each time, a speedster has either become the first wideout off the board, gone in the top 10, or both. The 2019 draft saw deep threat Marquise "Hollywood" Brown (4.27 seconds in the 40-yard dash) led off for the receivers. The following year, Henry Ruggs III (also 4.27) surprised many by doing the same. Then last April, Ja'Marr Chase (4.34) became the first wide receiver off the board with fellow burner Jaylen Waddle (no 40) going one pick later, each hearing their names called before Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith.
While speed alone doesn't define a receiver, NFL teams willing to take one early in the first round lean very heavily toward the prospects who possess that trait in spades. It follows that unless the Packers plan to move up in the draft order, they can effectively wave the white flag on landing certain rookie wideouts.