Green Bay Packers NFL Draft Picks & Grades 2022: Can Christian Watson Replace Davante Adams in the Green Bay Offense?
The 2022 offseason will always be remembered by Packers fans for the disappointing trade that sent Davante Adams, one of the best receivers in the NFL, to the Raiders. Green Bay was left with significant draft capital in return and a massive hole at the wide receiver position. As the AFC loads up on talent, the NFC is there for the taking, and the Packers needed a solid draft to get back into the hunt for the Super Bowl. This article will focus on a complete draft recap for the Packers with grades for their 2022 draft picks.
Green Bay Packers Draft Picks 2022
Round 1 No. 22 LB Quay Walker
Round 1 No. 28 DT Devonte Wyatt
Round 2 No. 34 WR Christian Watson
Round 3 No. 92 OT Sean Rhyan
Round 4 No. 132 WR Romeo Doubs
Round 4 No. 140 OT Zach Tom
Round 6 No. 179 DE Kingsley Enagbare
Round 7 No. 228 S Tariq Carpenter
Round 7 No. 234 DT Jonathan Ford
Round 7 No. 249 OT Rasheed Walker
Round 7 No. 258 WR Samori Toure
Overall Draft Grade: A-
In typical Packers fashion, they eschewed the wide receiver position in the first round despite their significant need. With their first two picks, they instead turned to the defense and added two of the leaders of the Georgia national championship defense from 2021. Quay Walker was a borderline first-round pick for me, and Devonte Wyatt is already 24 years old with some significant off-field concerns, so that the jury will be out on those two picks for now.
The Packers made up for not landing a wide receiver in the first round by making an aggressive trade up for Christian Watson and landing Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure on Day 3. Also, on Day 3, the Packers found some fantastic values in Zach Tom and Kingsley Enagbare, my two favorite draft picks of their entire class.
This class’s strength is on the offensive line, where Tom, Sean Rhyan, and Rasheed Walker all represent strong values with ideal positional versatility. Overall, this was a solid class, and Brian Gutekunst did an excellent job addressing positions of need without reaching on talent for the most part.
A look at the Packers’ top draft picks — Quay Walker (7), Devonte Wyatt (95) and Christian Watson (9) — from their first day of rookie minicamp. pic.twitter.com/9fMEjHS0c5
— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) May 6, 2022
Green Bay Packers Draft Grades 2022
Round: 1 Pick: 22 / Quay Walker, LB, Georgia
There was strong momentum for Quay Walker to be a first-round pick in the betting odds as we got closer to the draft, but I didn’t expect him to be the first linebacker off the board. Walker is a strong scheme fit with his elite coverage, dynamic closing speed, and consistent tackling to the Packers’ credit. At 6’4”, 241 lbs, Walker has prototypical linebacker size and length with elite athleticism to match in a 91st percentile 4.52-second 40-yard dash and 9.63 Relative Athletic Score (RAS) overall. Walker’s awareness and discipline will help him be an excellent zone coverage defender. However, I still have some concerns about his hip tightness and high-cut frame limiting his consistency in man coverage. With a nearly 80-inch wingspan, it’s no surprise that he’s excellent at wrapping up ball carriers with a career missed tackle rate of just 5%. With All-Pro De’Vondre Campbell on a team-friendly long-term deal and Walker joining him at linebacker, the Packers have a pair of standout playmakers at the second level.
Round: 1 Pick: 28 / Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia
Devonte Wyatt almost slipped to the second round due to reported off-field concerns, but the Packers will have done their due diligence enough to select him here. If Wyatt can stay out of trouble, he can be a great value with this pick. Wyatt was an electric pass-rusher on the championship Georgia defense with 24 total pressures last year, and he’s also an elite run-stopper with an 11.5% run-stop rate that ranked fifth among Power Five defensive linemen in this draft class per Pro Football Focus. Jordan Davis stole the show at the combine, but Wyatt’s elite 9.60 RAS and absurd 97th-percentile 4.77-second 40-yard dash were also impressive. In the Packers’ 3-4 base defense, Wyatt will likely start at one defensive end spot next to Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry. While Jarran Reed was added in free agency to fill that role, Wyatt’s explosive first step and excellent lateral movement presumably provide higher upside as a starter.
Quay Walker in jubilated disbelief when informed #Packers drafted Georgia teammate Devonte Wyatt with the 28th pick: "You say we picked Devonte Wyatt? Noooo. Oh man, that's crazy. It's a reunion! Dang, that's crazy. I'm probably going to cry again."
— Ryan Wood (@ByRyanWood) April 29, 2022
Round: 2 Pick: 34 / Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
While Christian Watson is an intriguing prospect, this was my least favorite pick of the Packers’ draft. First, the Packers paid a hefty fee in draft capital to move up to #34 as they sent their two second-rounders in exchange for this slot – that’s a surplus value of a third-round pick. Additionally, the Packers selected a receiver in Watson who, while an imposing athlete, is very raw. Watson will likely be asked to be Green Bay’s X receiver right away, and the jump from FCS competition to the NFL is a tall task for him. Watson is also an unpolished route-runner whose struggles with drops (13.3% career drop rate) won’t disappear overnight. To Watson’s credit, the upside here is immense – 6’4”, 210-pound receivers who run a 4.36-second 40-yard dash don’t grow on trees, and his 9.96 RAS was tied for the third-best of the last decade. However, the Packers need immediate contribution at the position as Aaron Rodgers is on the verge of retirement at any time, and Green Bay could have sat back and taken Skyy Moore, a more pro-ready talent, at #53 in addition to another player at #59.
Round: 3 Pick: 92 / Sean Rhyan, OT, UCLA
I have Sean Rhyan listed as a tackle in this article because that’s where he played for UCLA, but he’s likely a candidate to kick inside at the next level. Nonetheless, the Packers covet that positional versatility, and his Power Five pass-protecting experience as a three-year starter will help boost his transition into the NFL. Rhyan is an excellent athlete whose 8.17 RAS stands out, and his 98th-percentile 11 1/8” hands will increase his ability to hold strong on the interior of the offensive line if he plays there. Rhyan’s technique still needs further refinement, but he has come a long way as he allowed just 13 pressures on 451 pass-blocking snaps last year (2.8%) compared to 37 pressures on 513 pass-blocking snaps as a freshman (7.2%). That year-over-year progression is very promising.
Sean Rhyan: 1 sack allowed since 2020
Zach Tom: 92.1 Pass Blocking Grade in 2021 (1st among P5 Tackles)
— PFF College (@PFF_College) May 6, 2022
Round: 4 Pick: 132 / Romeo Doubs, WR, Nevada
Hot take time – the Packers might get more production out of Romeo Doubs this season than Christian Watson. While Watson took until his third collegiate season to score his first touchdown, Doubs scored a touchdown on his first collegiate touch. All Doubs did at Nevada over the last two seasons was rack up 140 catches for over 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns. Doubs may not be the athletic freak that Watson is, and he doesn’t have nearly the same upside, but his ability to consistently gain separation downfield should translate.
What if Romeo Doubs ends up having a better NFL Career than Christian Watson? pic.twitter.com/C3ChDCwB1Z
— David Mendelson (@DMendy02) May 5, 2022
Round: 4 Pick: 140 / Zach Tom, OT, Wake Forest
The Packers continued to crush the fourth round with this pick as I saw Zach Tom as a Day 2 talent, and he went off the board almost 40 picks after Day 3 kicked off. Tom earned the highest pass-blocking grade in the FBS last season per PFF. While many believe he should kick inside at just 6’4”, 304 lbs, his elite athleticism (9.59 RAS) and high-level pass-blocking production suggest he can stick it out at offensive tackle. Tom could become one of the best values of the entire draft class, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes a longtime starter for Green Bay.
Round: 6 Pick: 179 / Kingsley Enagbare, DE, South Carolina
The Packers got another excellent value here as they continued to crush it on Day 3. Kingsley Enagbare was an absurd value in the sixth round, and I can’t fathom why he was still on the board. The South Carolina edge was one of the most productive pass-rushers in college football, and his 25.9% pass-rush win rate was the third-best in this entire edge class last year (minimum 100 snaps) per PFF. Enagbare is a challenging combination of an undersized player who is a mediocre athlete. Still, the productivity speaks for itself, and I thought he’d be off the board sometime on Day 2.
The Green Bay Packers pick South Carolina Edge Kingsley Enagbare at No. 179 overall.
92.5 pass rush grade (highest by an SEC Edge in 2021, highest since 2018) 💢 pic.twitter.com/N8xWl3cykZ
— PFF College (@PFF_College) April 30, 2022
Round: 7 Pick: 228 / Tariq Carpenter, S, Georgia Tech
While Carpenter is listed as a safety here, the Packers reportedly plan to play him at linebacker, where he can utilize his size and physicality in a full-time role in the box. Carpenter combines an aggressive playstyle with an elite 4.52-second 40-yard dash, 39-inch vertical, and a 141-inch broad jump that would be the best for any linebacker in the combine era. Carpenter will be a key special teams contributor with those attributes, and he can find a role on the defense with that blend of size and speed.
Round: 7 Pick: 234 / Jonathan Ford, DT, Miami
Jonathan Ford has the size of a traditional two-gapping nose tackle at 6’5”, 333 lbs, but nothing stands out on tape or with his athletic testing. Even his bench press was underwhelming – you’d expect someone his size to put up more than 24 reps. Ford tested with a 3.54 RAS, and his 5.49-second 40-yard dash was that of an undrafted free agent. At 24 years old, that lackluster athleticism isn’t improving overnight, and I find it hard to imagine Ford carving out a fundamental rotational role for Green Bay.
Round: 7 Pick: 249 / Rasheed Walker, OT, Penn State
Rasheed Walker is yet another player the Packers scooped up that I thought could be gone two rounds earlier. The Penn State product struggles to sustain blocks, and his 2021 season represented a step backward as he allowed 26 pressures on 458 pass-blocking snaps (5.7%) per PFF after allowing just 14 pressures on 383 pass-blocking snaps (3.6%) in 2020. However, with a 6’6”, 313-pound frame and intriguing movement ability, Walker has enough to be a high-upside developmental tackle. For Green Bay, a team that constantly finds diamonds in the rough on the O-line, that’s highly promising.
Round: 7 Pick: 258 / Samori Toure, WR, Nebraska
The Packers’ final draft pick Samori Toure had an excellent career at Montana before transferring to Nebraska for his senior season. At Montana, he broke the program record for receiving yards in a season with 1,495 on 87 catches and 13 touchdowns. He handled himself well in the transition to the Big Ten, and he’s also a skillful kick and punt returner, so there’s a strong chance he makes the final 53-man roster. It’s hard to ask for more than that with the 258th pick.
My 1st thoughts on Samori Toure – how the hell did he last until the 7th round?!
Toure averaged nearly 20 yards per catch in 2021 with 898 yards & 5 TDs.
He's a lethal deep threat with above average route running ability. Lafleur is going to LOVE having this guy in his offense. pic.twitter.com/wVBzxZxsuE
— Eli Berkovits (@BookOfEli_NFL) May 4, 2022