We are officially less than two weeks away from the start of the 2022 NFL Draft and there are still numerous questions about the Green Bay Packers’ roster following a lackluster free-agency cycle. Armed with 11 picks in this year’s draft, general manager Brian Gutekunst will be more than prepared to make meaningful additions to the Packers’ new squad.
As it stands going into the draft, it’s no secret what the position targets will be on the top of the Packers’ board: Wide Receiver, Defensive Line, and Offensive Tackle. Looking at the Packers’ off-season departures from their roster, one of the main draft priorities has to be securing long-term depth and stability at key positions.
Beyond the three top position targets listed above, here are three more sleeper position targets worth keeping an eye on for Packers fans.
While the Packers’ safety room looks locked in place with established stars in Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage, it’s important to note that both players will be entering into the final year of their contracts in 2022 (barring a fifth-year option in 2023 for Savage). Adding a true over-the-top coverage safety will give defensive coordinator Joe Barry the outfield blanket he needs in the deep thirds, while also allowing Savage to play to his strengths at an “elite” level closer to the line of scrimmage. Outside of Amos and Savage, the only major current safety on the Packers roster is Vernon Scott who contributed only 22% of special teams snaps last season. Adding an impact safety into the mix will go a long way for the Packers this season from an insurance policy perspective and potentially gives special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia another player to build his unit with.
While the need for a safety is centered around creating depth at the position, the Packers’ need for a tight end is more about establishing a potential long-term answer at the position. This season, the Packers are set to return the same tight end room from last season consisting of Robert Tonyan, Marcedes Lewis, Josiah Deguara, Dominique Dafney and Tyler Davis. Tonyan is recovering from his torn ACL suffered in October, Lewis is set to turn 38 in May, and Deguara is the only player listed above who is under contract beyond the 2022 season. Tonyan, who is now expected to return by the start of the regular season, desperately needs to earn back the trust of the Packers organization. In the meantime, it’d be wise to add another tight end to the roster who could become a future weapon.
This position quickly jumped up the Packers’ draft needs list following the release of Za’Darius Smith. Given Gutekunst’s previous interest in the position during the draft, along with the need for a third option in the rotation, this seems like the easiest position at least one pick will be used on. After meeting with the media last week, new outside linebackers coach Jason Rebrovich stressed his interest in having “four legit players” that he could rotate on the edge. Currently, the Packers only have two legit players in Rashan Gary and Preston Smith. The best-case scenario for the Packers would be selecting an immediate third option within their first four selections and then using a late-round selection on a more developmental prospect. This will give Rebrovich his envisioned goal while setting the Packers up with a potential replacement for Smith down the road.