2022 NFL Draft overview: How the Packers helped themselves in all three phases

Early impact and needed depth being counted on from 11 selections

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The Green Bay Packers' 2022 NFL Draft class

GREEN BAY – Eleven draft picks are in the fold, and their individual futures are soon to be written.

For the Packers, every draft is a major investment in the collective future, with hopefully some short-term benefits as well.

Here's an overview of what the Packers accomplished the last three days in all three phases:

Offense

Three receivers and three offensive linemen. That's what the Packers brought in, and for good reason given the players lost at those positions in the offseason.

High second-round draft pick Christian Watson, whom the Packers traded up to select at No. 34 overall, is the headline addition to the offense in the wake of Davante Adams' and Marquez Valdes-Scantling's departures.

The North Dakota State star and FCS All-American has enticing size (6-4, 208) and speed (4.36), while also being the type of "complete" receiver – meaning he can block, too – that Head Coach Matt LaFleur can't wait to add to a room led by Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard.

"I watched one of his run-blocking reels … just to see the effort that he gave down in and down out in that aspect of the game," LaFleur said. "I mean, we can always use somebody like that, especially when you're talking about a 6-4 guy, he's over 200 pounds, runs a sub-4.4, so there's a lot to be excited (about) there."

Nevada's Romeo Doubs and Nebraska's Samori Toure are receivers taken in the fourth and seventh rounds, respectively, who put together highly productive college careers, and their additions will keep the competition for roster spots and playing time this spring and summer at the forefront.

"It's gonna start with just how they attack it and how fast they pick this up, and certainly we're gonna push them to be their best right away because that's what we need from them," LaFleur said.

As for the offensive line, which no longer has veterans Billy Turner or Lucas Patrick, the first two draftees – UCLA's Sean Rhyan in the third round and Wake Forest's Zach Tom in the fourth – are viewed as versatile enough to get a look at both tackle and guard (and in Tom's case, center as well).

General Manager Brian Gutekunst noted all three O-line picks, including Penn State's Rasheed Walker from the seventh round, will likely get a chance to compete at right tackle, the one starting spot most uncertain heading into 2022.

It's the third straight draft in which Gutekunst has selected three offensive linemen, reflecting a steady effort to keep the depth fortified whether for injuries or down-the-road considerations.

"I think it's always important to us," Gutekunst said. "We've kind of committed to that as we've gone along.

"From the 20-some years I've been with this organization, we've had two quarterbacks that we know we have to protect and that's kind of a high priority."

Defense

The unit playing its best football as last season ended got two first-round picks in Georgia's Quay Walker at linebacker and Devonte Wyatt on the defensive line.

The hope with both is for immediate impact alongside defensive leaders De'Vondre Campbell and Kenny Clark, respectively. Meanwhile, South Carolina edge rusher Kingsley Enagbare (fifth round) will be in the mix for a rotational role behind the starters. Seventh-round choices Tariq Carpenter at safety (Georgia Tech) and Jonathan Ford up front (Miami) are big-bodied players for their positions who add a level of physicality to the depth chart.

All told, with virtually the entire defense back minus Za'Darius Smith (who only played in two games last season anyway), and the Georgia duo coming on board from college football's far-and-away top unit, the Packers are counting on their solid defense to take another, perhaps major, step forward.

"I like the way that group is growing together," Gutekunst said. "It's a new season, and they've got to put in the work and the time and the chemistry and all the things that go with that, but I think the expectation level for that group is going to be high."

Added LaFleur: "You've got to recreate that magic that we finished with, and any year is never the same. We're excited about it. But again, nothing's guaranteed. You can't take anything for granted. You've got to work for it."

Special teams

The Packers' biggest sore spot is getting possible help in the return game from Watson and Doubs, while Enagbare and Carpenter have the body types of core players as new coordinator Rich Bisaccia begins his overhaul.

"We've got to change that," Gutekunst said of the annual struggles in the game's third phase. "We've got to get better there, so I think we're open to a lot of different things that maybe we wouldn't have done in the past."

Such as spending a seventh-round pick on a tweener like Carpenter, who at 6-3, 230 is either an undersized linebacker or oversized safety but whom Gutekunst characterized as "really, really physical."

Watson and Doubs might also be asked to use their speed on the coverage units, as Gutekunst pointed out the team has been "hampered" in the past by not having enough offensive players who could also help on special teams.

How it all fits together will be up to Bisaccia, whom LaFleur continues to praise, trusting his experience and NFL track record.

"It comes down to his vision for these guys and putting them through consistent drill work," LaFleur said. "It's going to be kind of a work-in-progress. I think we'll have a lot better feel once we get out on the field."

See the 11 players selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 2022 NFL Draft.

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