The 2022 NFL Draft begins on Thursday, April 28th, and fans of the Green Bay Packers are at the edge of their seats. Not often do you see a supposed Super Bowl-contending team trade away a future Hall of Fame player a season after trying to trade away a different Hall of Famer the season prior, so there is a spotlight on what the Packers will do next. One of the more influential men behind these moves, general manager Brian Gutekunst, took to the podium today for his pre-draft Packers press conference.
While you can watch the 19-minute Packers press conference here, we will be going over the main takeaways below and discussing what it could mean for the upcoming 2022 Packers draft class.
Takeaways From the Brian Gutekunst Pre-Draft Packers Press Conference
Nothing is Changing on Special Teams
The Green Bay Packers special teams continues to be in the same terrible cycle. The organization doesn't invest in core special teams players. The special teams coordinator gets replaced, then the new unit still looks bad, rinse and repeat. Even the Packers media members are beginning to take notice, which is when you can really tell there's an obvious issue.
Gutekunst was asked how much he will prioritize special teams and if it would be any more than other years. The general manager answered, "not a lot different than most typical years." Great.
The media gave him another chance, asking if he looks at competition at each position before filling a need at special teams. Gutekunst responded by saying he wants players who can compete on either offense or defense rather than being specific special teams players, which is Green Bay's philosophical issue.
The Packers would rather draft a fourth linebacker, who could play six snaps on defense, be a special teams player by default despite having no special teams experience or knowledge. Special teams continues to be a unit that is an afterthought for the Packers, and it shows on the field.
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No First-Round Wide Receiver?
Is Brian Gutekunst trying to trigger every fan of the Green Bay Packers? A media member brought up how there have been some great rookie contributors at the wide receiver position recently. Gutekunst was quick to remind us of his philosophy of rookies not being large contributors. He views them as needing time to develop. Long-term investments.
Gutekunst was then asked of the challenges of hitting on receivers, then asked how well he thinks they have done at hitting on this position. The general manager talked about how hitting on tight ends is hard. He then says we know of the Packers' history of second-round wide receivers.
So, rookies are projects, but the Packers nail the second round. This sounds like we will not be seeing the Packers draft a first-round receiver. If we're going "all in," it sounds like a trade for a veteran makes sense, since a rookie would not be expected to contribute this season. However, if the Packers draft a wide receiver, it sounds like Gutekunst believes he cannot miss in the second round.
The ego is alarming, considering the draft classes he has put together. However, John Metchie III in the second round sounds pretty good too. Of course, it may sound even better as the second receiver the Packers have selected. Gute also reminded us how he likes these pro-ready systems. Yes, Brian, we know you like your Power-5 prospects.
Packers Selective With Pre-Draft Visits
Of course, this isn't unique to the Green Bay Packers. Teams get 30 official pre-draft visits where they can bring a 2022 NFL Draft prospect to Green Bay. Gutekunst spoke on how important those visits are to him. It helps to truly know a player, since they get to spend all day with the. The Packers emphasize culture fit possibly more than any other team, and knowing the person instead of just the players helps with making "culture selections," so it's easy to see why the Gutekunst and the Packers value these visits so much.
So, who did the Packers bring in? Let's take a look at the players.
- Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
- Tyquan Thornton, WR, Baylor
- George Pickens, WR, Georgia
- Romeo Doubs, WR, Nevada
- Velus Jones Jr., WR, Tennessee
- Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
- Samori Toure, WR, Nebraska
- Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington State
- Luke Goedeke, OT, Central Michigan
- Rasheed Walker, OT, Penn State
- Bam Olaseni, OT, Utah
- Darrian Kinnard, OT, Kentucky
- Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa
- Jean Delance, OL, Florida
- Jahmir Johnson, OL, Texas A&M
- Ed Ingram, OL, LSU
- John Fitzpatrick, TE, Georgia
- Drake Jackson, EDGE, USC
- Sam Williams, EDGE, Ole Miss
- Devonte Wyatt, DL, Georgia
- Perrion Winfrey, DL, Oklahoma
- Eric Johnson, DL, Missouri State
- Devin Atkins, DL, Fresno State
- Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
- Tariq Carpenter, S, Georgia Tech
- Gregory Junior, CB, Ouachita Baptist
- DeRon Bland, CB, Fresno State
- Jack Cochrane, ILB, South Dakota
- Kyron Johnson, LB, Kansas
So, if the Packers are looking to draft a wide receiver in the second round, it seems like they are targeting George Pickens, Christian Watson or Treylon Burks, if he falls.
Possible first-round Packers draft targets on this list include Treylon Burks and Devonte Wyatt. Of course, the Packers aren't only drafting from this list. Also, they have shown the tendency to reach in the first round before, and Gutekunst said he doesn't grade players based on rounds, so who knows who Green Bay will pick on Thursday.