Silver Lining of 2022: Rookie Development

There are few things for the Green Bay Packers to be happy about after their dreadful 2022-23 NFL season, even though they still technically have a shot at making the playoffs. With Aaron Rodgers showing significant signs of age and rust and the defense failing to live up to lofty preseason expectations, it is safe to say most things have gone awry for Green Bay this year – except for its rookie class.

The development of our rookie draft class has provided some hope for the future, one of the few things the fan base can hold onto moving forward. Regardless of who is at QB and who is running the defense for the Packers next year, the rookie class should be able to create a little excitement for what’s still to come.

Here are a few staples of the rookie class, headlined by two first-round defenders from Georgia.

Quay Walker & Devonte Wyatt

The first of two first-round selections, LB Quay Walker has amassed 95 total tackles, 0.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles across his first 13 career games. Pairing alongside DeVondre Campbell, Walker has helped shore up an area of the defense that has long been an eyesore.

When Campbell missed Weeks 9-12 with an injury, Walker stepped into the lead role and helped hold down the fort, showing he was the right choice at 22nd overall.

Devonte Wyatt has had a quiet rookie season, earning 10 total tackles across eight games. Drafted with helping Kenny Clark in mind, Wyatt is being brought along on a slow development track, so expect a bigger impact next year from the Georgia Bulldog defensive tackle.

Christian Watson & Romeo Doubs

Of the three rookie wideouts drafted by Green Bay in the most recent NFL Draft, both Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs have exceeded first-year expectations.

Watson was the highest-drafted WR of the bunch and his scoring streak of four consecutive games has helped turn a disappointing rookie season into one that inserted him into the Offensive Rookie of the Year race. 25 receptions, 401 receiving yards, and 7 receiving TDs, combined with 68 rushing yards and 2 rushing TDs encapsulate just how successful his first year was.

For Doubs, an injury has kept him out for the past four games, but his impending return for Week 15 against the Rams will be a much-needed impact piece back for the offense. His impact has been much quieter than that of Watson’s, but to have a fourth-round receiver come in and rack up 30+ receptions, 300+ receiving yards, and 3 TDs is impressive.

On the offensive side of the ball, definitely cannot forget about Zach Tom and how he looks like a future offensive line stud – just another middle-round OL that Green Bay helped turn into a solid starter.

Kingsley Enagbare

A fifth-round pick that surprisingly fell later than expected, LB Kingsley Enagbare looks to have a ton of future growth to his game and has been showing some of that already. With Rashan Gary needing a new contract soon, Enagbare has been able to showcase how he should earn the right to pair with him to form a young, solid edge pass rush.

26 total tackles, 4 QB hits, and 2 sacks in limited duty show how efficient he can be, which should translate into 5+ sacks in a larger role next year. Enagbare may be the best value selection of this entire draft class for Brian Gutekunst, a staple of what he has brought to the table ever since he took on the role of general manager.

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Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23

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