The Green Bay Packers are 11 games into their 2022 season. It definitely has not gone as planned so far as they find themselves with a 4-7 record. Many fingers can be pointed in each direction, but we likely will only be able to speculate as to where everything went wrong. In these rough times as a fan, I always try to be an optimist. I look for what we might be able to still hang our hats on. This year, I see this as being the Packers 2022 Draft Picks.
Though this season’s hopes might be fading, the youth of this team might be promising for seasons to come. Where sometimes you might only see 2-3 rookies contribute their first year, I’d give an argument for at least seven of the Packers’ 2022 picks, showing some light at the end of the tunnel.
When Quay Walker was drafted, all signs pointed to an average Ted Thompson/Brian Gutekunst “freakish athlete” signing. Quay is built like a linebacker but has speed like a Defensive Back. Many were saying that he would be a project player much like Rashan Gary was his first few seasons. This might be true, but Quay Walker has already made his mark on this team in year 1. He currently leads the team with 80 combined tackles, and he’s forced two fumbles. Many of his tackles have come in crucial situations. Walker has found his way to the ball carrier numerous times behind the line of scrimmage on short yardage plays, and though he’s only registered 0.5 sacks, he’s found a way to be disruptive in the pass rush as well. I’ve longed for the day where the Packers have a perennial All-Pro Inside Linebacker, and I feel like Quay Walker could develop into just that over time.
Devonte Wyatt’s situation has been a bit of a mystery to me. He’s received heavy criticism based on his stat line, but yet the sample size has been very small, and honestly, promising at times. Yes, he has only logged 8 total tackles this season. But that’s on only about 10 snaps per game on Defense. When I reported on Wyatt’s drafting back in April, I predicted that he has no pressure to produce immediately. Which if you’re a Packers coach or GM, this is true. But if you’re a fan, you want to see what’s going on with the guy taken in the first round. Even though I said he shouldn’t be pressured into producing right away, I think he deserves more than 14 or less snaps per game. Wyatt has shown some skill in the pass rush so far and ability to get in the backfield quickly as shown below.
Devonte Wyatt has the power, and the speed to get into the backfield and be disruptive. Much like said in the tweet, I’m begging the Packers to give Devonte Wyatt more snaps. We invested the pick in him, I think it’s time to show what he has.
I could not be happier with how these last two games have gone for Christian Watson. If I wrote this article 8 days ago, I would’ve seemed like a delusional apologist just trying to stay optimistic that the pick of Watson would not be a regret. To every doubter, I would simply respond that Watson has just had a “tough luck” start to the season, he’ll have his chance, and I would be laughed at. Now Watson has five touchdown catches, and one rushing touchdown. This might be early, but he could be on his way to becoming the Packers #1 receiver. Even outside the touchdown plays, Watson has shown an ability to get open on almost every passing play. While many rookies may have decided to pack it in for the season given the situation, Christian Watson has said no. He will not go down that easily. In the last 30 years, the Packers have always seemed to have some good or great receivers, hopefully Watson is on his way to becoming yet another.
We don’t have too much to say about Sean Rhyan at this point. He hasn’t seen the field. He hasn’t really turned heads quite yet. When I attended the Packers matchup against the Cowboys last week, I noticed #75 on the sidelines waiving a towel, trying to get the crowd into the game while the Packers were on defense and thought to myself, oh yeah, that’s Sean Rhyan. One can perhaps argue that the opportunity isn’t quite there for him yet. Jon Runyan has been solid at the guard position, and now Elgton Jenkins has returned there as well. Perhaps he’s a victim of the depth chart. But with fellow rookie Zack Tom, who’s naturally not a Guard getting the knod at times and not Rhyan, it’s a little concerning. Here’s to hoping Sean Rhyan just needs a little more time to adjust and could snap the Packers rough record in the 3rd round.
In training camp, Romeo Doubs undoubtedly looked the part of a future star. He was just making big play after big play and had many buzzing about his potential. Fast forward to this time in the season, and it’s not a bad start. Doubs has 31 catches for 314 yards and 3 touchdowns. While Doubs has struggled with drops occasionally, I have every confidence that he’ll get it together. He showed against Buffalo that those highlight reel catches weren’t just for Training Camp practice, and they can show in prime time. He’s ready to be a big contributor, but just needs a little more polishing. Unfortunately, he’s currently out with a high-ankle sprain. But when he returns, the combination of Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson could be very exciting to watch.
Entering the season, Zach Tom showed a lot of talent as essentially a swingman on the Offensive line. He was advertised that he could play it all. Since then, he has done just that. Due to injuries, Zach Tom has seen time this season, and I’d say he’s done pretty decently as a rookie. Starting games at Tackle and Guard he’s had his ups and downs. If you were to ask me, I’d say he might be better suited for Tackle so far. He’s allowed zero pass rushes as a tackle. His performance as a Guard has not been as good, but he of course could develop at that position if needed. If you ask me, I think Zach Tom could be our starting Tackle of the future, and so far, he deserves every bit of that opportunity. He’s a heck of a pass blocker, and has he matures, he can only get better.
He may not have the draft position. But Kingsley Enagbare reminds me a bit of Rashan Gary in the development sense. He has the explosiveness that could make him a force in the pass rush, but he needs some work. So far this season he has 17 tackles and 2 sacks. Thrusted into a starting position somewhat due to the injury to Rashan Gary, he could get more snaps, but the development is still needed. It will be interesting to see if Kingsley Enagbare could become the option to play opposite Rashan Gary whenever Preston Smith‘s time in Green Bay is over.
So far, Tariq Carpenter has been better suited for Special Teams work. Which is honestly all you can ask of a 7th round safety when the starter and backup roles are essentially filled. Carpenter hasn’t shown any “wow” factor quite yet. But he also hasn’t shown anything that would hurt his value as well. Hopefully he will develop into a force with time.
Unfortunately, Jonathan Ford really has no sample size to go off of. He hasn’t logged many snaps, no tackles, no stats at all. But he’s still on the 53-man roster, so that tells he still has the coach’s favor. There’s a chance he’s a victim of Defensive Line depth and he’s not being moved to the Practice Squad because the Packers are worried to lose him. Either way, there’s no verdict to be had on Ford. He’s a 7th round pick that is at least on the team.
Rasheed Walker seems to be a bit of a repeat of my previous words on Jonathan Ford. No sample size to go off of. But Walker has been impactful enough in practice to be protected on the 53-man roster. Honestly, we don’t want him to get any work in during a game. Unless of course that means we have our goals met and there’s nothing left to play for. But Walker seems to be another prospect that we’re insuring we can develop under the roof of 1265 Lombardi Ave. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Given any other season of the last 10 or so years, and Samori Toure might be sitting on the Practice Squad. It’s been pretty rare recently that a late 7th round receiver on the Packers makes the 53-man roster. But boy, I’m glad he did. Toure has shown that he’s not exactly a slouch to put on the bench. It took him until week 8 to show out, but his 37-yard touchdown was that of beauty. He showed awareness to bail out his Quarterback and get open for the big play. Hopefully Toure can keep it up.
Even though we’re only a few games passed the halfway point of the season, I feel like we’ve gotten a decent look at most of our rookies. Whatever happens after this year, I think we could be in good hands to continue success.
Greg Meinholz is a lifelong devoted Packer fan. A contributor to PackersTalk as well as CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter at @gmeinholz. for Packers commentary, random humor, beer endorsements, and occasional Star Wars and Marvel ramblings.