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Inbox: Packers wanted options and found them in this draft

As Quay Walker develops, the ways in which Green Bay can use its linebackers are endless

Packers WR Romeo Doubs
Packers WR Romeo Doubs

Kevin from New Milford, CT

I just saw a social media post regarding Christian Watson being selected in the second round. The last four Packers WRs taken in that round were...Greg Jennings (2000), Jordy Nelson (2008), Randall Cobb (2011), and Davante Adams (2014). Pretty darn good company!


Scott from Palos Park, IL

There has been some chatter about GB lacking depth at safety. Does having two ILBs who you can keep on the field for three downs address that to some extent?

We learned last season how much Joe Barry favors two inside linebackers in passing situations, so the decision to draft Quay Walker makes sense. Really, the only thing the Packers must figure out is who'll play the second inside corner spot in the dime (vacated by Henry Black). Keisean Nixon, Shemar Jean-Charles, Vernon Scott, Shawn Davis and possibly even Tariq Carpenter will have a crack at it.

Jason from Austin, TX

Insiders, I was fine with the Packers giving up the two second-round picks to move up and get the Christian Watson. Among the other reasons mentioned already, I thought they moved up because they didn't want a repeat of the 2020 draft when there were two WR waves, both happening before the Packers made their first- and second-round picks. It already happened this draft in the first round and could have happened early in the second round. They had a guy they liked, and they got him. I like it.

The Packers had all the draft capital they needed to do anything they wanted in the second round – and that's what they did. It was only a matter of time before Watson was getting picked. From an athleticism standpoint, he was more like those six receivers who were taken in the top 18 than the six who were drafted after him in the second round. If the Packers felt like Watson was the pick, then he was the pick. Period. End of buffet.

Sam from La Mesa, CA

Would you have been happier if one of the first six receivers taken was still there at No. 22 and was taken by the Pack? I am ecstatic with this draft. I think the increase in physicality defensively will be quite noticeable. Add to that we shored up the O-line and have three promising receivers coming in? Awesome.

To be honest, I would've taken Watson over a few of those guys. That's not to say those six won't be impact players. Several undoubtedly will be. But Watson fits this offense perfectly. This is the right scheme to unlock his potential.

Cam from Pekin, IL

How did someone with the talent of Christian Watson end up at North Dakota State? Does that person understand NDSU is the perennial national champion in the FCS? Does that person know NDSU has beaten several FBS teams? Does that person know Billy Turner came from there too? I've lost track of the number of stars who have come from the FCS level, particularly the MVFC. By the way, Ken Anderson played for a DIII program, Augustana. Jeremy Chinn came from the MVFC, and finished second in Defensive ROY voting.

This is the perfect chance for me to repeat one of my all-time favorite stories. It was when I was covering preps at the Press-Gazette and we had an area football player commit to NDSU. He received some looks from Wisconsin and other FBS programs but committed to NDSU early in the process. Why? "Because I want to play for championships," he told me. "Why do I want to play in the Sugar Bowl? I want to win a national championship." I snickered at the remark at the time, but there was iron in his words. It's true. Because kids want to win. Just ask Carson Wentz and Trey Lance. So, when a super-talented 5-foot-9 recruit gets overlooked, you best believe a top-tier FCS program like NDSU is going to call. Because sometimes that kid grows seven inches in four years and becomes a second-round pick. Oh, and the kid I mentioned? He won four national titles. Touché.

Chun from El Monte, CA

I am really excited with the Quay Walker pick. Joe Barry has a great track record with developing great ILBs and they all succeeded in his systems. It's no coincidence that our ILB core excelled when Joe Barry came on board. This defense should be exciting.

I didn't study Walker that much until my former colleague Pete Dougherty mocked him to the Packers in the first round. But with Walker's size, I immediately began to envision him and De'Vondre Campbell standing in the middle of that defense. It's an imposing duo. Campbell brings a sideline-to-sideline element the Packers haven't had at inside linebacker in years. As Walker develops, the ways in which Barry can use those two linebackers are endless.

Kelly from Stoughton, WI

Obviously, no one knows how it will shake out but who are you most excited to see develop out of this draft class? For me it has to be Devonte Wyatt and Kenny Clark playing together. Man, I hope they both stay healthy. However, three WR that could develop into real playmakers is intriguing. Which reminds me, with three WR selected, who has the inside track on No. 88?

I'm with you. Clark and Dean Lowry are a great team but there's been so much movement around the two stalwarts. Frankly, the Packers haven't had a D-lineman this young and talented next to Clark and Lowry. The faster Wyatt comes along, the more one-on-one opportunities it's going to create for everyone else up front.

Bill from Madison, WI

Elgton Jenkins was drafted to play center and started at guard before moving to tackle last season as there was a need at left tackle. Is it a forgone conclusion that Royce Newman cannot be considered for the RT position?

Just to be clear, the Packers didn't draft Jenkins to play center. He started two years there at Mississippi State but wasn't beholden to that spot. So, no, it's not out of realm of possibility Newman gets a shot at right tackle. That's where he was lining up during last year's offseason program.

Jeff from Ripon, WI

Has it ever happened before that the teams in the same division trade twice in the draft?

I couldn't give you an accurate number, but it has to be rare. I couldn't even tell you the last time the Packers made a draft-day trade with a team in the division.

Bill from Somers, NY

My biggest concern is tight end. Robert Tonyan might not be ready after surgery and none of the rest are top level. Will they add a player through a trade or free agency?

The Packers feel fine about their situation at tight end, especially with Tonyan making significant progress in his return from the ACL injury. In addition to returning Marcedes Lewis, Josiah Deguara and Dominique Dafney, I thought Brian Gutekunst's comment on Tyler Davis was telling. "I think we might have found something there." I liked what I saw from Davis, too. He made a few plays last season and has ideal size at 6-4, 252.

Jeff from Indian Lake, NY

Hey guys, now that the draft is over what do you think of this year's UDFA haul? Anyone in particular to keep an eye on? I love the Tyler Goodson signing. My late grandmother was born and raised in Iowa, so I've always been a big Hawkeye fan. He's a tough runner with some speed and agility to go along with a pretty good set of hands. Could see him in the mix for the third RB spot with Hill and Taylor.

The first two things I look for when the UDFA list comes out are top college performers and college free agents who were signed at positions not addressed in the draft. In that regard, Goodson checks both boxes. As a smaller back, he'll have to prove himself in pass pro but Goodson was a multifaceted playmaker for the Hawkeyes. He's one to watch, especially with Kylin Hill working his way back from the ACL. The Packers also picked up Indiana's Caleb Jones, a three-year starting tackle who goes 6-9, 370 pounds.

Take a look at Packers WR Romeo Doubs during his college career.

KJ from Cheyenne, WY

Wes, thanks for the shout out for being lucky to pick Quay. I also picked Doubs, but not in the fourth round...I'm hoping that our scouts/GM are smarter than I and we got the steal of the year! And yes, I enjoy being wrong in my free time, just ask my wife! I'm also looking forward to seeing Samori Toure play, as I watched him with the Montana Grizzlies. He should help out our STs, even though I wanted Velus Jones.

All the headlines centered on Watson, but Doubs was a nice find in the fourth. He dominated against the MWC and his 6-2, 200-pound size is vintage Packers. Green Bay isn't going to hit on every pick, but it has a decent track record when overloading on a position in a single draft. They went with three Day 3 picks in 2018 and found Marquez Valdes-Scantling. In 2017, Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams both stuck. They obviously took three in 2014 and landed Adams. The Packers wanted options and found them in this draft.

Dan from Royal Oak, MI

With all the GB receiver talk, Malik Taylor and Juwann Winfree seem to be the forgotten men in the room. I think we will need at least one of those two to become a solid contributor this year, no?

I can't wait for camp. There have been some good summer battles over the years, but I don't think we've ever seen anything quite like what's going to happen at receiver with six veterans with NFL experience and three draft picks all competing for spots and starting roles.

Chase from Fort Leonard Wood, MO

Good morning team. Does any NFL team have six first-round draft picks playing defense? Because last year the Georgia Bulldogs did. Thanks.

And the Packers are now up to seven first-rounders because of the three Bulldogs they've added over the past 12 months.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

What's the most surprising position the Packers didn't draft? For me it's cornerback. We always hear a team can't have too many, and I can't remember the last time a Packer GM didn't pick at least one. Do you think that's because Gutey feels really good about his top three plus addition of Nixon?

I'm cool with it. The Packers have three established guys who can play perimeter in Jaire Alexander, Rasul Douglas and Eric Stokes. Inside, they can use corners or safeties in the nickel and dime role. They have plenty of options there.

Tom from Phoenix, AZ

Good morning guys, as noted by some of the readers, the Packers didn't find a cornerback in the draft whose draft grade wasn't commensurate with pick number. Do you think that still leaves the door open for Kevin King? Last year he signed an incentive-laden contract with the Pack and played admirably when Alexander got injured and before Douglas came on board. Who knows, maybe he could have a Rasul kind of year if given another opportunity in Barry's defense and for a song of a deal too.

If you couldn't tell by the number of players who have returned to the Packers over the years, the door never closes in Green Bay. I still think King has been the victim of a lot of bad luck and circumstances, but as second-round picks go, he's been a fine player. I do hope King gets another chance to prove himself, whether it comes in GB or elsewhere.

Connor from Grand Rapids, MI

Hello, you guys mentioned before the draft about looking for the Packers to draft a S in the middle rounds since we don't currently have one under contract for 2023. How is Carpenter in relation to filling that need? Thanks.

I don't want to fall into a habit of just comparing every draft pick to a past Packers player, but Carpenter reminds me a lot of Sean Richardson. Before the two neck injuries, Richardson was one of the Packers' best special-teamers in addition to occasionally playing as a box safety. That's what I see in the 6-3, 230 Carpenter. He made a lot of tackles during his five seasons at Georgia Tech.

Justin from Canton, NC

Good lord. Could you imagine your middle-school team having to block T.J. Slaton and Jonathan Ford?

No, nor do I want to think about it.

Beto from Gills Rock, WI

Since losing the last home playoff game, how has the Pack improved the special teams? We know they have a "new" coach and punter/holder, but do you think they have addressed the coverage players enough to make a difference? Also, thank you for the II column!

Signing Keisean Nixon was a good starting point. Rasul Douglas could possibly help out, too. But pretty much every non-lineman the Packers drafted could factor into teams. At the end of day, it's also going to be up to the returning veterans to step up on the coverage units, too.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, when can we expect a great follow-up story from you on the Mason Crosby/Pat O'Donnell bunkbed-building video adventure?

Oh, it's coming. I've said this before but I heard nothing but good things about Pat O'Donnell from the folks in Chicago. It comes as no surprise to me he and Crosby have hit it off so well.

Joe from Swansea, IL

Morning, II. Wondering what carries more weight with you, mock drafts or instant report cards after the draft? How can a draft be evaluated before a down is played? Guess the "experts" need to get their page views somehow…

They're good for one thing and one thing only…going back a year from now and looking at how wrong everyone was.