It has been a week since the Green Bay Packers extended their NFL Draft record of not selecting an offensive skill position in the first round another year, making it since 2002 when the Packers took Florida State’s Javon Walker at pick 20.
Instead of looking at the fact that Green Bay may have missed an opportunity to get an immediate playmaker in the first round, what they did accomplish was fill holes on the defensive side of the ball by adding two studs that should play an immediate role in Joe Barry’s defense in the 2022 season and beyond.
Green Bay had two first-round picks during this year’s draft, 22 and 28. Many fans and analysts believed that the Packers would be selecting one of the top wide receiver prospects, but one thing we know about how the Packers draft, we can never predict anything.
With the Packers’ first selection, they took Quay Walker, linebacker from the University of Georgia.
Walker is an athletic freak, standing at 6-foot-4, 241 pounds. He ran a 4.52-second 40-yard-dash (the sixth fastest amongst linebackers at the NFL Combine). He was seen as a potential round two pick. Green Bay pulled the trigger, taking Walker as the first linebacker off the board at pick 22.
Walker had a very impressive collegiate career. Green Bay is adding a secure tackler alongside All-Pro De’Vondre Campbell. Walker finished his career at UGA with 79 solo tackles, 11 for loss, and five sacks.
While the stats may not seem as good as other linebacker prospects from this year’s draft, something Walker has that other don’t is experience. He played in 37 games during his four-year tenure at UGA and won a National Championship in 2021 being a part of one of the best college defenses in recent memory.
On top of selecting Walker in the first round, Green Bay decided to double-dip into Georgia’s National Championship defense by selecting defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt just six picks later at No. 28.
This selection may be the better of the two solely based upon stats and athleticism. Wyatt was the fastest defensive tackle at the combine, clocking a 4.77 40-yard-dash at 6-foot-3, 304 pounds.
Someone with those measurements should not be able to move fluidly and quick like Wyatt does.
Wyatt’s stats and playtime at UGA show that he has what it takes to be plugged right into the Packers’ starting defensive line come Week 1.
He played in 42 games and amassed 49 tackles, 12 for a loss, and five sacks over his four-year tenure at Georgia. Accomplishing this while being the number two defensive tackle on the roster is very impressive and good news for Packers fans seeing as he will play a similar role in Green Bay with Kenny Clark being his mentor.
The only knock on Wyatt is age. He is entering the NFL at 24 years old. For perspective, Kenny Clark, who was drafted in 2016, is 26 years old and going into his seventh season in the NFL.
Wyatt is entering the NFL during the beginning of his prime and is only two years younger than his new teammate, who has been playing for six years.
Even though the Packers did not select a wide receiver with either of their two first-round selections this year, they stocked up on what was already a top-10 defense in 2021, making what looks to be one of the best defenses in the NFL this coming season.
If Joe Barry can replicate his success from last year, there is no reason why the Packers should not have a championship-caliber defense in 2022 after these acquisitions.
Both Walker and Wyatt are continuing to play together in the pros after sharing the past four years together at UGA.
After giving these picks a week to sit with me, I can easily say that these were the best options for Green Bay at the time. The team didn’t risk moving up and giving too much draft capital to select a wide receiver.
They were patient. They sat and let two of the best defensive prospects from one of the best college defenses ever fall to them. Although this is all speculation on how these new Packers will perform, it sure is exciting just thinking about this new draft class.