2022 NFL Combine: 3 Positions the Green Bay Packers Should Watch

They say that hope springs eternal in baseball because spring training is the only time that everyone feels that they have a championship squad. The NFL’s equivalent of eternal hope would be the NFL Draft, and the start of that process is the NFL scouting combine. That’s where high-level executives and scouts from the Green Bay Packers currently find themselves.

There are several key position groups general manager Brian Gutekunst and his scouts will want to keep an eye on.

We’ll break them down below.

The Green Bay Packers need to draft a wide receiver or two

Jahan Datson, Potential WR target for the Green Bay Packers
Jahan Dotson #5 of the Penn State Nittany Lions runs for a touchdown after making a catch against the Maryland Terrapins | G Fiume/Getty Images

There’s potentially not a bigger hole on the roster than wide receiver this offseason. Some of that, of course, depends on what the Packers can do with their salary cap and current free agents. It seems more likely than not, though, that they’re going to need to restock the wideout room, and the draft is a great place to start.

Davante Adams is a free agent, and the Packers are going to do everything they can to get him back. He reportedly wants $30 million a year, though, so he won’t come cheap. Marquez Valdes-Scantling is a free agent as is Equanimeous St. Brown. Allen Lazard will be a restricted free agent, meaning the Packers have the right to match any offer sheet sent his way, but he’s built himself up from an undrafted free agent and practice squad player to one of the more steady wide receivers in the NFC. There’s a chance that he’s priced himself out of Green Bay’s market.

Either way you look at it, and especially considering the lackluster showing from Amari Rodgers in his rookie season, the Packers need to spend a high draft pick on a wide receiver. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to take a first-rounder, but snagging a wide receiver in rounds one or two makes a ton of sense.

Targets: Drake London, USC; Treylon Burks, Arkansas; Jameson Williams, Alabama; Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky; Jahan Dotson, Penn State

The Packers need to restock the pass-rush

The NFL is a passing league, which means there will always be a premium on three specific positions: quarterback, offensive tackle, and edge rusher

There’s a decent chance the Packers part ways was Za’Darius Smith this offseason in order to save $15.2 million on the salary cap. Even Preston Smith could be cut, saving the Packers $12.4 million. Even if he’s not, he’s had a history of inconsistency in Green Bay.

Rashan Gary has all the makings of a budding Superstar. He’s coming off at 9.5 sack season and looks to be trending up. Outside of Gary, there are no sure things on the roster, though. Jonathan Garvin and Randy Ramsey are glorified practice squad players who can pitch in as depth pieces but nothing more. Whitney Mercilus is aging and coming off an injury.

Even in a hypothetical world where both “Smith Bro’s” are back, you can never have enough depth when it comes to getting after the quarterback. Nobody should blink an eye at the thought of the Packers taking an edge rusher in the first round. Barring a trade, they currently have pick No. 28.

Targets: Nakobe Dean, Georgia; Damone Clark, LSU; Jermaine Johnson, Florida State; Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State

The Packers could use a sure-thing at tight end

 Jalen Wydermyer, Potential TE Target for the Green Bay Packers
Texas A&M Aggies tight end Jalen Wydermyer (85) heads upfield after a short reception during the game between the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field | Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Robert Tonyan Jr. is going to be a free agent, and sure, the Packers may be able to re-sign him on the cheap because he’s coming off a significant injury. That’s also a reason for Green Bay to consider letting him walk, though. Marcedes Lewis is going to be 39-years-old and he’s in the final year of his contract. Green Bay spent a third-round pick on Josiah Deguara, but he’s far from a sure thing. He’s shown flashes of being the Kyle Juszczyk-light player that Matt LaFleur apparently hopes he’ll be, but he’s struggled with injuries as well as consistency.

There’s no doubt that LaFleur’s offense shines when he’s able to utilize multiple tight ends. With that said, even if Tonyan comes back and Deguara takes a step forward in 2022, there’s no reason why the Packers shouldn’t consider taking one of the better tight ends in the draft.

Targets: Jalen Wydermyer, Texas A&M; Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina; Cade Otton, Washington

Stats courtesy of ESPN and Pro Football Reference. Contract information via Spotrac

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