In the final installment of this series, we’re going to give letter grades to each of Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst’s draft choices from last year’s draft class. The grades take into account the player’s ability, the draft slot that they were drafted in and the compensation used to get to the pick — which is going to be important in the case of receiver Christian Watson.
It’s really early into the careers of the 2022 draft picks, but I would argue that this already has the makings of Gutekunst’s strongest draft class. Grabbing three legitimate contributors in the fourth and fifth rounds is always going to make a draft class look great, and that’s what the Packers got out of last year’s rookie class.
Follow along for a pick-by-pick breakdown and check out the previous four installments of this series, if you haven’t already:
- Part 1, 2018
- Part 2, 2019
- Part 3, 2020
- Part 4, 2021
22: Quay Walker, ILB, Georgia
Walker’s rookie season will probably be best remembered for his two ejections, but there were some positives in the up-and-down campaign. If he’s gotten his growing pains out of the way, the Georgia product’s final grade could be much higher than what I’m awarding right now. The foresight of drafting an inside linebacker before one of the worst inside linebacker classes in recent history is worth noting here, too.
28 Devonte Wyatt, DL, Georgia
You’ve heard me say this a lot in previous posts, but I think Devonte Wyatt should have played more snaps as a rookie. In total, he only ended up playing 23 percent of the defensive snaps last year and that’s including his stretch when Dean Lowry was out of the lineup. With Lowry and Jarran Reed now on other teams, Wyatt’s playing time should explode in 2023, which should give him plenty of chances to take the next step.
You could argue that Wyatt would be the second-best interior defensive line prospect in this upcoming class, behind his former teammate Jalen Carter, which is the same slot he was drafted in last year. I’m optimistic that Wyatt’s first season as a starter will trend in a positive direction.
34: Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
If not for the overpay of the trade-up for Christian Watson, I would have graded this selection higher. It’s not debatable that Watson became the focal point of the Packers’ offense starting with their game against the Dallas Cowboys — when Watson almost single-handedly torched defensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s Cover 1 defense. Watson was the team’s “man beater” in the second half of 2022 and that should continue as long as he’s running at near Olympic speeds.
92: Sean Rhyan, OL, UCLA
You never want to cut bait with a top-100 pick just one year into his career, but Sean Rhyan’s rookie season wasn’t anything to write home about. Despite being drafted in front of Zach Tom by nearly 50 selections, Tom quickly jumped ahead of Rhyan on the depth chart during training camp. Rhyan, at best, was the eighth offensive lineman on the Packers’ depth chart once all their players were healthy and should continue to float around that range going into 2023 — unless the team takes another lineman high in the draft. Rhyan never ended up seeing the field offensively during the regular season and ended his rookie year being suspended for PEDs.
132: Romeo Doubs, WR, Nevada
Romeo Doubs had about as good of a season as you could have asked from a fourth-round receiver last season. At one point, before his injury, he was on pace to have the most impactful Day 3 rookie receiver season since Marques Colston. His production slipped down the stretch, but there’s still hope that he can be a long-term answer as one of the team’s three receivers in 11 personnel sets.
140: Zach Tom, OL, Wake Forest
At the moment, I feel comfortable that Zach Tom can fill in comfortably at either tackle spot, which is not something you can say about a lot of fourth-round picks coming off of their rookie season. He’s still thin for the position, which means improving his anchor is going to be the key to him seeing the field, but I wouldn’t bat an eye if he pushed Josh Myers for the starting center job in camp, either. Based on the range that he was taken in and what he’s been able to flash on the field, this has the potential to be one of Gutekunst’s best value selections.
179: Kingsley Enagbare, OLB, South Carolina
This three-pick stretch of Doubs, Tom and Enagbare might be the best three picks, from a return on investment standpoint, that Gutekunst has made. At the time of his selection, Enagbare — who was mocked as high as the second round going into the 2022 draft — was considered one of the best players available in the class on a consensus level. The fifth-round pick developed into quality pass-rushing depth, something the Packers haven’t had in a while, and actually stepped in as a replacement starter when Rashan Gary went down with an ACL tear. If not for Enagbare, Green Bay would have a massive hole at outside linebacker going into the 2023 season.
228: Tariq Carpenter, SAF, Georgia Tech
I was actually pretty skeptical of this selection after watching Carpenter’s film post-draft. He wasn’t on the initial invite lists for either the Senior Bowl or the East-West Shrine Bowl last year and was only called up to the Senior Bowl from the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl after injuries to the position during the Senior Bowl’s week of practice. Carpenter was called a hybrid safety-linebacker but was clearly drafted to play special teams.
Carpenter ended up developing into a quality special teams player by around mid-season of last year and actually got on the field defensively in a few three-safety looks as a rookie. Rich Bisaccia: 1. Idiot blogger: 0.
234: Jonathan Ford, DL, Miami
This was another pick I was not a fan of and unlike Carpenter, Ford did nothing to dissuade me from my initial thoughts last May. Ford didn’t play in a single game last year, despite the fact that he was on the 53-man roster the entire season. The seventh-round pick appears to be the third-string nose tackle on the team going into 2023, too, behind Kenny Clark and TJ Slaton. I think there’s a really good chance that he’s on the roster bubble going into training camp this year.
249: Rasheed Walker, OL, Penn State
Like Kingsley Enagbare, Rasheed Walker was near a consensus “best player available” selection when the Packers turned his card in. Unfortunately, he was quickly passed up on the depth chart by undrafted rookie Caleb Jones in the preseason. Green Bay ended up picking up 2022 draft pick Luke Tenuta off of waivers, too, which only made a crowded offensive line room even more crowded for Walker. He was always going to be a project with rough edges to his game, but I think Walker is firmly on the roster bubble going into 2023. If Gutekunst drafts another tackle, that could push Walker off the 53-man roster for this upcoming season.
258: Samori Toure, WR, Nebraska
In the preseason, Samori Toure played well and earned his spot on the 53-man roster, despite not contributing much on special teams. In 11 games last year, he played 112 offensive snaps to just two special teams reps, which shows you where the team envisions his future. Even though he hasn’t been given many opportunities, I believe there’s optimism that Toure can potentially develop into a player who could push for more playing time during his rookie contract. At the moment, he should be considered the Packers’ third receiver going into the draft — which obviously could drastically change Toure’s spot on the depth chart.
Join the conversation by scrolling to the comments and let us know if there’s a grade you disagree with.