What the Packers' top-30 visits reveal about their draft plans
From the Packers' top-30 visits, we can deduce which players and positions they covet in the 2023 NFL Draft (and which ones they don't).
In less than two weeks, the football world will descend on Kansas City for the 2023 NFL Draft. At this stage of the process, teams have all but finalized their boards and made most of the important determinations about their plans for draft day. But the nature of that preparation -- which prospects does a particular franchise covet, how does the depth at one position group stack up against another, and so forth -- remains largely unknown outside of the league's war rooms.
Not so for the Green Bay Packers, at least in a certain sense. While those outside of 1265 Lombardi Ave. don't have access to general manager Brian Gutekunst's draft board, the team has signaled some important details about how the personnel department views the incoming rookie class. Those details provide a valuable lens through which to view what the Packers do later this month.
And the biggest piece of intel Green Bay has offered comes in the form of "top-30" visits with the prospects. Each club has its own approach to these meetings, and not all the teams use them on players they expect to draft. Some will even schedule rookies they don't intend to draft just to throw the rest of the league off the scent.
The Packers take a more straightforward approach. Time and time again, they build the majority of their draft classes out of rookies who took these official meetings. Of the 30 prospects who took top-30 visits in Green Bay last year, six ended up part of the team's draft class. Three others ended up on the 90-man roster and/or practice squad at some point during 2022.
All of which underscores an important point: If the Packers meet with a prospect, they almost certainly will consider drafting him.
With that in mind, what insights can one glean from Green Bay's top-30 visits this year?
The Packers don't love the wideouts in this class
A year ago, the Packers badly needed to restock their receiving corps and the entire league knew it. Davante Adams, fresh off his second consecutive first-team All-Pro nod, refused to sign an extension or play under the franchise tag. By March, he had successfully pushed for a trade to the Las Vegas Raiders, leaving the Packers with Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb as their top returning players at the position.
With that as the backdrop, the Packers did their homework on the 2022 rookie wide receivers. By the end of the draft process, they had used nearly a quarter of their top-30 visits on wideouts, including meetings with all three of their subsequent picks at the position: Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, and Samori Toure.