The 2022 NFL Draft is over, rookies have been signed, and their first minicamp has been wrapped up. So now we parse out which Green Bay Packers rookie will have the biggest impact in year one.
Which Packers Rookie Will Make an Immediate Impact
All offseason, the only thing you heard amongst cheeseheads was, “which wide receiver are the Packers going to select in the first round?” Would they stay where they were and select whoever fell to them or move up to nab the likes of Jameson Williams, Garrett Wilson, or Treylon Burks?
The answer was none of the above; instead, Green Bay opted to select a pair of high-octane Georgia Bulldog defenders, Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt. While this didn’t send shockwaves through the NFL as the Jordan Love pick did, the groans were still palpable. Packers fans let out a collective sigh of relief once they picked up Electric with a capital E wide receiver, Christian Watson, in the second round.
Will Christian Watson have the Greatest Impact?
While Christian Watson seems to be the clubhouse favorite as the Packer's breakout star, I’m not so sure. History shows Aaron Rodgers doesn’t target rookie wideouts often, even the likes of Jordy Nelson and Devante Adams had to pay their dues before cracking the rotation full time. Adams only caught 38 passes as a rookie, while Nelson hauled in 33. Both those guys became two of the best receivers in the league, but as rookies, they were entirely ignored by Rodgers.
What Watson has going for him, besides his explosive talent, is almost no competition. Saying Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard are solid but unspectacular might be giving them too much credit. Green Bay has no one else to be a deep threat, so even if his development isn’t where Aaron Rodgers would like to see it, expect to see Watson streaking down the field just to clear some space anyway.
He’s also versatile. It’s not often you see 6’4” receivers running sweeps and lining up in the backfield, but that’s how he was used quite often at North Dakota State. His level of athleticism is different for a guy his size. He’s still not my pick for Packers breakout rookie, though.
Which Rookie will Breakout for the Packers?
That honor goes to Devonte Wyatt; this man is a beast. It won’t necessarily show up on the stat sheet, but Green Bay picked up a true difference-maker with the 28th pick. Kenny Clark has been anchoring the center of the defensive line with almost no help lined up beside him. With the addition of Wyatt, teams won’t be able to double team Clark, which will free up Preston Smith and Rashan Gary on the edge.
Wyatt’s addition will create a domino effect of freedom amongst the Packer’s defensive front. He primarily lined up in the B-gap, but the few times he was moved over the tackle or into the A-gap, he was wildly successful there. Green Bay loves versatile defenders, and they grabbed another in Devonte Wyatt. Expect carnage from the Green Bay’s defense this season as the Packer's identity gets flipped.
Best 2022 Green Bay Packers Rookies
While Devonte Wyatt, Christian Watson, and Quay Walker were the sexy, high-profile picks, don’t be surprised to hear from Sean Rhyan and Zach Tom along the offensive line. Green Bay develops offensive linemen as well as any team in the league. Both guys had experience playing inside and outside during their time in college, and the Packers are in love with plug-and-play players in the trenches.
I expect Romeo Doubs and Quay Walker to take time to develop before they’re full-time role players, but overall, it’s an excellent draft class for the Green and Gold. Devonte Wyatt will be the early star amongst this year’s Green Bay Packer’s rookie class.