The 2022 NFL Draft is nearly upon us, and the Green Bay Packers will have a difficult decision to make with the 22nd overall pick. Whether or not that selection would help ensure Deebo Samuel catches touchdowns from Aaron Rodgers remained to be determined.
We apologize to San Francisco 49ers fans for the visual.
So, who should the Packers draft in the first round? As with our mock drafts, we picked players based on need and team fit. So, no, Green Bay probably isn’t using its first of two first-round picks on Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral. Also, all prospects are ranked alphabetically as opposed to preference or potential.
Based on consideration of the aforementioned prerequisites, we believe the Packers should target the following players with the 22nd overall pick.
Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
The external expectation is the Packers will either trade for Samuel or use one of their two first-round selections on a receiver. Why that would be the external expectation when Green Bay hasn’t selected a receiver in the first round since 2002 is further proof that no one ever truly knows what they’re talking about when the draft is involved.
Yes, that includes us.
So, let’s say the Packers decide to break from tradition and, at long last, add a receiver in the first round. Although there has been pre-draft hype of Olave going within the first 20 picks, we’re going to have him drop to Green Bay at No. 22. The 6-foot, 187-pound wideout totaled 175 catches, 2,702 yards, and a school-record 35 touchdowns in four seasons at Ohio State.
A second-team All-American selection in 2021, Olave would bring speed (he ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine), versatility, and strong route running to the Packers’ offense. If the Ohio State standout is on the board at No. 22, he should be the selection here.
Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
Although Utah’s Devin Lloyd is my favorite linebacker prospect in this year’s draft, Dean isn’t far behind. Perhaps more importantly, the 5-foot-11, 229-pound Georgia standout should be available when the Packers take the stage at No. 22. The former blue-chip prospect tallied 10.5 tackles for a loss, six sacks, two interceptions, six pass breakups, two forced fumbles, and a pick-six in 15 starts for the national champions a year ago.
Dean is a heat-seeking missile who thrives on contact and stuffing the stat sheet. Although I’m a massive fan of Olave, I would be extremely tempted to select the All-SEC linebacker here. Tough choice.
Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Burks steadily improved in his three seasons at Arkansas and set career-highs in catches (66), receiving yards (1,104), and touchdowns (11) for the Razorbacks last year. However, the explosive wideout only ran a 4.55 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, a speed that did not meet expectations.
“Big, smooth and natural, Burks possesses the versatility to operate from wherever you want and get to wherever you need no matter the competition,” Zierlein wrote, adding Burks is “a mismatch receiver combining size, strength and competitiveness.”
Is that enough for the Packers? We shall see … but the answer might be yes.
Zion Johnson, G, Boston College
Although Johnson sounds like he’d be a strange choice here, the Packers could absolutely use more reinforcements in the trenches. Green Bay released last year’s starting right tackle, Billy Turner, earlier this offseason. Lucas Patrick, who started at right guard the previous two seasons, signed with the Chicago Bears in free agency.
Could those moves create an opportunity for Johnson, who has experience at both guard and tackle? The 6-foot-3, 312-pound Johnson is an intelligent player, a two-time captain, and a brawler who has experience all over the offensive line. While we understand why so much of the pre-draft talk involves the Packers taking a receiver, there’d be no shame in selecting Johnson this early.