The Green Bay Packers Failed Miserably On Day One Of The NFL Draft

Boom. Bang.

Thump. Whack.

The blows began with the eighth pick in Thursday’s NFL Draft. And they never really stopped.

The Green Bay Packers — who need wideouts like humans need water and air — watched four wide receivers get drafted between picks No. 8 and 12. By the time the 18th pick was in, six wideouts were off the board.


Meanwhile, Green Bay sat with pick No. 22 … and sat … and sat.

If the Packers hope to win a championship any time soon, they needed general manager Brian Gutekunst to be remarkably bold Thursday and find a potential No. 1 receiver. Instead, he was as quiet as a church mouse, and Green Bay is now left with its worst collection of pass catchers since Randy Wright was throwing to Phil Epps and Walter Stanley in the mid-1980s.

Gutekunst and the Packers eventually drafted a pair of Georgia standouts — linebacker Quay Walker with the 22nd pick and defensive end Devonte Wyatt with pick No. 28. And both might wind up being terrific players.

But the Packers didn’t need a linebacker or a defensive end if they hope to catch the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams or Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2022. Green Bay, in a “win now” mode with Aaron Rodgers in his final years, needed receivers.


And by watching others wheel and deal to eventually pluck the best wideouts, Gutekunst blew his best chance to replenish his team’s greatest weakness.

“I think it’s a pretty good receiver class,” Gutekunst said last week. “I think the last few have been pretty deep, and I think this one is another one.

“But history still kind of shows that for all rookies, not just wide receivers, but for all rookies, it takes time. This is a hard league.”

It became a lot harder for the Packers after Thursday’s first round.

The Packers entered the night with needs on the offensive line, defensive line, outside linebacker and tight end.

But nothing came close to the Packers’ gaping hole at wide receiver after they traded All-Pro Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders last month.


Last season, Adams accounted for 34.3% of Green Bay’s receiving yards. He also had 30.6% of the Packers’ receptions and 29.7% of their targets.

Adams’ departure left the Packers with a current quartet of Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins, Randall Cobb and Amari Rodgers — a foursome that’s anything but fearsome.

Lazard was undrafted coming out of Iowa State due to a lack of explosiveness — something that certainly hasn’t changed. Watkins, signed off the street last week, had career lows in receptions (27), yards (394) and touchdowns (one) in 2021.

Cobb, set to enter his 12th season, hasn’t played a full year since 2015. And Rodgers was dreadful as a rookie in 2021.

But Packer Nation had hope, lots of hope as Gutekunst entered the weekend with enough ammunition to battle Rambo.


The Packers had two first- and two-second round picks for the first time since 1967, meaning Gutekunst could have maneuvered his way around the board. Instead, he sat quietly while many of his peers were far more aggressive.

Most predicted there would be a run on wide receivers in the middle of the first round, and that was certainly the case.

Atlanta was the first to jump in the pool and took USC
standout Drake London at No. 8. The Jets selected Ohio State star Garrett Wilson at No. 10, then the Saints traded up to No. 11 and took Ohio State’s Chris Olave.

The Lions traded with Minnesota, jumped up 20 spots to No. 12 and took Alabama speedster Jameson Williams. Penn State’s Jahan Dotson went 16th to Washington and Tennessee selected Treylon Burks of Arkansas at No. 18.


By the time Green Bay’s pick arrived, the wideout group had been picked over like a department store on Black Friday.

So Gutekunst did his best to recover and might have found himself a pair of future standouts.

The 6-foot-4, 241-pound Walker is a speedy, playmaking linebacker who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.52 seconds at the NFL Combine in February. He posted career-highs in tackles (67), tackles for loss (5.5) and pass breakups (3.0) at Georgia last season and could be a nifty complement to De’Vondre Campbell.

The 6-foot-3, 304-pound Wyatt began his career at Hutchinson Community College, then transferred to Georgia in 2018. Wyatt was primarily a back-up his first two years with the Bulldogs, moved into the starting lineup as a junior and had a breakout senior season.


In 2021, Wyatt had 39 tackles, seven for loss with 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in 14 starts. Then he ran the 40-yard dash in a blazing 4.77 seconds at the NFL Combine, one of the fastest times by a defensive lineman.

The additions of Walker and Wyatt could give Green Bay a top-five defense in 2022. What remains a mystery, though, is who will catch the ball from Aaron Rodgers.

During the Packers’ 30-year run of success, Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre and now Rodgers have always been blessed with standout wide receivers.

Sterling Sharpe. Robert Brooks. Antonio Freeman. Donald Driver. Javon Walker. Greg Jennings. Jordy Nelson. And most recently Adams have all played the role of No. 1 wideout with aplomb.

Today, though, the Packers have a roster littered with No. 3 and 4 wideouts. That’s not the recipe for success in the NFL.


And Green Bay’s best opportunity to add the right ingredients might have come and gone Thursday night.