It’s been a little over a week. The wounds have somewhat healed since the Green Bay Packers’ season came to an end. Personally, the Vikings playoff loss to the Giants kind of finished the healing, I think. Sure, Minnesota went further than we did. But all the years of watching them laugh at us for losing in the playoffs when we thought we’d get further, it’s just sweet irony. But back to the Pack. If there was one aspect that went well this season, it was the play of the Packers 2022 Draft Picks.
Earlier this season, after Week 11, I posted an article about the Packers 2022 Draft Picks’ progress at that point. Seven more games have been played since then with changes to the outlook on some players, and some others have stayed the same. I’ve decided that this time around, I’m going to give kind of an approval rating to each of them. If I believe they had a good, promising season, they will receive a green check ✅. If the verdict is still out on them, they’ll receive a dash ➖. If things are not looking good for them, they’ll receive a red flag 🚩.
Alright, I know what some of you might be thinking, what about the dumb personal fouls? Well, good thing I’ve already addressed that I believe Quay Walker will recover from them. So, if that’s your main concern, feel free to read my comments in that article.
Moving on to his actual play. Walker finished the season with 121 combined tackles, 1.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles. Not too shabby for a rookie that was thought of as a project player.
Walker was very disruptive at times, especially in some crucial short-yardage situations. His ability to burst through the line of scrimmage did not go unnoticed. Even if he wasn’t the one to come up with the tackle, there were many big plays where he was the first to the ball-carrier in the backfield and forced the big play for the defense.
Towards the end of the season, we began to see Quay Walker contribute to the pass rush. As I believed he might’ve been earlier in the season, he did this fairly well also. Walker also was noticeably a great open-field tackler. He had a few misses here and there, but the majority of the time, he made those tackles when needed.
Walker could be just a year or two away from being a major asset to this defense.
I believe Devonte Wyatt’s season turning out fairly ho-hum was due to lack of snaps. There were many games where Wyatt only logged around 4-5 snaps on defense. I wouldn’t necessarily call this due to Wyatt’s skill; it was mostly due to the already established veteran presence on the defensive line.
Wyatt logged 15 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. He was noticeable at times for beating his man on the offensive line to perhaps hurry the Quarterback a few times in the pass rush or disrupt the ball carrier a time or two.
Year two I think could bring some more opportunities for Devonte Wyatt and hopefully we’ll see some of the player he was in college as coaches give him more snaps and chances to show what he has.
Imagine if Christian Watson’s breakout didn’t wait until Week 10 but started at the beginning of the season. Unfortunately, we can blame injury for that. But Watson I believe, is the clear-cut Rookie of the Year for the Packers and could be their top receiver in the near-future.
Christian Watson finished the season with 41 catches for 611 yards and 7 TDs. He also ran for 80 yards and 2 touchdowns on 7 attempts. If Watson had been at week 10 and beyond form since the beginning, I think we see something in the neighborhood of 70 catches, 1000 yards, and say 12 touchdowns. Which would easily have been NFL Rookie of the Year numbers.
Heading into year 2 I’m hoping Christian Watson can stay healthy and show the rest of the league why he will be a Top 5 receiver for the foreseeable future.
Yikes. Well, Sean Rhyan didn’t really even see a snap on Offense. He was then suspended six games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. So, his rookie season practically didn’t even happen.
I gave Rhyan a red flag as the fact that he couldn’t crack a single snap despite the injuries on the O-line at the start of the season didn’t look good for him at all. Then add the PED issues and boy, he has an uphill climb ahead of him if he wishes to gain the favor of those calling the shots.
Romeo Doubs had an up and down rookie season. He missed a few games due to a high-ankle sprain, but showed promise as a receiver when he was on the field. Of course, he struggled with drops, but this seems to be almost a tradition with young mid-late round rookie receivers.
Doubs finished the season with 42 catches for 425 yards and 3 touchdowns. Average in the 4 games missed, and I think we would’ve seen something in the neighborhood of 600 yards and 5 touchdowns. Not a bad outlook on a rookie season.
I hope to see big improvement from Romeo Doubs in year two. With a full offseason under his belt and the offensive scheme likely to go unchanged barring a few adjustments here and there, Doubs should be in good shape.
Zach Tom ✅
Zach Tom seemed to be pulled in to almost every single position on the offensive line his rookie season except for Center. Which I actually believe he would have excelled at as well. It was said before that Zach Tom could play it all coming out of college. The key word though is can he play it all, well? At the end of his rookie season, I think the answer is, yes.
Tom had a few bumps in the road here and there, but overall, he really was a solid offensive lineman. Rarely allowed a Quarterback pressure, and was pretty good in the run game as well paving the way for Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon a time or two.
Next year, I could see Zach Tom possibly starting at Right Tackle. We’re not quite sure where Yosh Nijman will end up as he heads into this offseason as a Free Agent. If David Bakhtiari is returning next season, there’s a chance the Packers could let Nijman walk. If not, then maybe they’ll re-sign him. Either way, I think Zach Tom could see himself starting on the Offensive line come week 1 next year.
There’s a legitimate chance that the Packers could’ve found a future star with the final pick in the fifth round. Kingsley Enagbare played with the tenacity you look for every down in an Edge rusher. He started out in mainly a rotational role, but after the injury to Rashan Gary, he became a starter.
Enagbare recorded 29 tackles and three sacks in the 2022 season. Also, a multitude of QB pressures that helped out the Packers secondary.
Next season is a little hazy in what we can expect. I would imagine Enagbare would have an increased role, but the question is, how much? Rashan Gary is the obvious staple on the edge if he is healthy. After Gary is Preston Smith. The question lays though, will Preston Smith be brought back next season. If he is, Enagbare could be back in a rotational role, but maybe a bit more increased. If not, he could be the starter opposite Gary. I feel either way like we’ll see some increased production. Big things are ahead for the OLB out of South Carolina.
The rookie season has been filled with Special Teams snaps just keeping a roster spot for Tariq Carpenter.
With these snaps, Carpenter logged 8 total tackles. Unfortunately, not much else. But that can be expected for a late round safety, that isn’t being hoisted into a spot on the defense.
Next year for Carpenter I kind of expect to see the same depending on the returning players. I imagine the starting roles are locked up. But if he shows some improvement early on, Carpenter could see some defensive snaps.
As of this time there’s nothing really to say on Jonathan Ford. No snaps logged, no stats, he was mainly a gameday scratch. Given the lack of snaps for a first round pick like Devonte Wyatt you have to imagine it’s more a depth decision than truly having to deal with skill. Nonetheless, Ford will hopefully see a rotational role next season.
Rasheed Walker, like Jonathan Ford, has no real example to go off. No snaps logged on Offense and he was occasionally a gameday scratch. Again, like Ford, he was likely a depth casualty. Next season, with the majority of the offensive line returning I think Walker will be competing for a backup role.
For being the fifth last pick in the draft, Samori Toure didn’t log too bad of a season. Most 7th round receivers might sit on the practice squad their first season or will only receive special teams snaps, if that.
Toure wound up with 5 catches for 82 yards and a touchdown. This seems small but it’s not a bad start for a guy that might not have made the team in August.
2023 for Samori Toure could go either way. He found himself at number 5 on the depth chart by the end of the season. Depending on who returns he could rise as high as 3, but if that’s the case, the Packers will likely sign a Wide Receiver or draft another. So Toure could find himself fighting for his roster spot yet again next year. Toure definitely bailed out Aaron Rodgers on his lone touchdown catch, which goes a long way on film. But it will take a strong camp and strong preseason to insure that continues.
From a rookie point of view, 2022 was a successful season. We have four picks that looked pretty good right away this season. A few more that look like they could turn it around next year already, and then some that could be long shots.
If the Packers wish to move into a younger direction in the near future. Their 2022 draft could certainly help pave the way.
Greg Meinholz is a 24/7/365 Packers fan. When he’s not spending time with his family, he can be found meditating in his Packers shrine with a good beer. You can follow him on twitter at @gmeinholz.