Don't Worry--the Packers Will Draft a WR this Year

To the shock of just about everyone, the Green Bay Packers didn't take a receiver in last year's draft. But don't worry, they will this year, given what 2022 looks like.

If we rewind to the conclusion of the 2020 NFL Draft, I imagine just about everyone out there was in complete shock that the Green Bay Packers went all seven rounds without drafting a wide receiver. 
 
Brian Gutekunst and Matt LaFleur were relying on the continued development of those already on the roster, and for the most part, they were right. Although there were a few hiccups, overall, this is a Packers' offense that finished first in points per game and first by DVOA.
 
As we look ahead to this year's draft, once again, receiver is a very popular selection in many mock drafts for Green Bay. Now, whether or not they take a receiver in Round 1, I'm not here to discuss that, and besides, recent history says they won't. But what I will say is that in this year's draft, the Packers will take a receiver--if not two.
 
While I hope that whoever they land can contribute right away, what the  Green Bay Packers really need to begin doing is restocking the wide receiver shelf for 2022.
 
When we think of positional needs that Green Bay has this offseason, receiver isn't even in my top-5 when looking ahead to the 2021 season. A few that come to mind include cornerback, offensive tackle, interior defensive lineman, edge rusher -- especially if Preston Smith is gone -- and running back. 
 
Green Bay is, after all, returning their top-3 receivers from last season--Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Not to mention that Devin Funchess could be back as well.
 
As it currently stands, the Green Bay Packers don't have any wide receivers under contract for the 2022 season. Now, of course, Adams will be back, but not everyone else will, which means it's time to add some new players to the mix. 
 
Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown are in the final year of their rookie deals. Funchess' one-year deal from 2020 carries over to 2021 if the Packers hang on to him. Allen Lazard is a restricted free agent and will be brought back on a one-year deal. And Chris Blair, Reggie Begelton, and Juwann Winfree were all signed to futures deals, which, you guessed it, is only for the 2021 season. 
 
In Gutey's three years as the GM of the Green Bay Packers, there has been some unpredictability with the moves he's made. Whether trading up in the draft, selections he's made or making four big free agent signings back in 2019. 
 
But what has been fairly obvious is Gutekunst's willingness to plan ahead. Right now, the interior offensive line is in flux a bit with the expected departure of Corey Linsley--but over the last two drafts, the Packers have selected Elgton Jenkins, Jon Runyan, Jake Hanson, and Simon Stepaniak.
 
Running back is similar, with both Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams' futures unknown, so Gutey spent a second-round pick on AJ Dillon in 2020. Green Bay has the option to move on from Preston Smith, in part because they have Rashan Gary, and while it doesn't look like Aaron Rodgers is going anywhere, the Jordan Love selection was Gutekunst trying to plan ahead once again.
 
I expect Green Bay to take a similar approach in this year's draft with the receiver position, given what 2022 looks like.
 
Who knows, maybe Gutekunst surprises us again, and I'm completely wrong. But his track record -- albeit a short one -- says otherwise. As far as what round they'll make that selection -- or selections -- your guess is as good as mine

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Born and raised in Green Bay, WI and I still call it home. After my family, watching the Packers, sharing my opinions on the team through my writing and interacting with other fans is my greatest passion. You can find me on Twitter at @Paul_Bretl. 
 

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5 points

Comments (50)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Packman60's picture

March 05, 2021 at 11:11 am

With 10 picks, I expect the Packers will pick 2 wideouts. One to potentially replace MVS if he has a breakout year and prices himself out of the Packers range or regresses and is not resigned for 2022 and a 2nd that can replace Ervin as the jet sweep, bubble screen guy for their offense and double as a dynamic returner for both kickoffs and punts. They could potentially have a bare cupboard at the position after the 2021 season unless they replenish their depth in this draft.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

March 05, 2021 at 12:38 pm

A WR that can either play in the slot or out of the backfield and return punts/kicks would be great, but unless that player is extremely pro ready I wouldn't expect them to do more than 1 or 2 of those things with any regularity this season. That would be worthy of a second round pick.

Outside of that I'm fine with a shotgun approach of late round and UDFA guys for WR and RB.

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scullyitsme's picture

March 05, 2021 at 06:16 pm

Good one, mvs and his breakout year pricing himself off the packers. That’s hilarious

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flackcatcher's picture

March 06, 2021 at 04:12 pm

More accurate than you might like. The Packers might not be able to afford an upper mid-tier talent under their Cap next year. So yes, if MVS improves there is a decent chance he is gone in 2023.

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Packer_Fan's picture

March 05, 2021 at 11:27 am

I agree. This year we need to restock the wide receivers. But not first round. Perhaps 2nd at best. I see MVS taking a big jump this year. Lazard is probably close to his best. I would not keep Funchess. Hasn't played in 2 years and I would rather develop a couple of draft picks. But all of the FA signing is all predicated on extending Adams. He will demand top dollar and he has earned it. Then there is flexibility to restructure to get money and drop one or two players. I don't believe they will release P. Smith.

I thought Watt would be a good FA signing, but too costly and probably not enough time. But there are mid range DL that would be better than Lowry. And also a mid range CB. Heck, sign Veldheer to fill-in for Bak and depth.
For draft, I think OT and CB are the priorities, So Adams is the key. If they announce an extension before FA opening, then Gute can be aggressive. If not, tough times,

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Turophile's picture

March 06, 2021 at 11:11 am

A first round WR is a distinct possibility. Here is why.
It is not because the Packers are unhappy with MVS or Lazard, it's down to the Packers best receiver, Davante Adams.

The Packers have a very tight cap this year, so tight they have already said they will be making moves to push money into the future to give them enough money to manage now.

The Packers will lose some guys with contracts that are big now or might become big (probably Aaron Jones and almost certainly Corey Linsley) plus others like Kevin King. Already gone are Kirksey and Wagner. These moves help them get under the cap, but more is needed.

Adams contract ends after 2021, when, as arguably the top receiver in the NFL, he will be wanting something north of $22m pa to re-sign. The Packers have already got big contracts on the books like Rodgers, Bakhtiari, Z.Smith, P. Smith, Clark, Turner and Amos, and they will have less money in 2022 due to having pushing debt into the future. Fitting another $22m+ pa contract will be very, very difficuilt. In a normal year the Packers would (I think) find a way to pay Adams, but with the money restrictions we are living with, maybe not.

Given how the Packers have been drafting for future needs (Jenkins for Linsley, Love (eventually) for Rodgers, Dillon for Jones) it would be no surprise to me if they went early for a WR, as a replacement for Adams in a years time.

I'm not saying I like that future, I don't, but I can see it happening.

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realitybytez's picture

March 05, 2021 at 11:30 am

when looking at the number of starts as a measuring stick, gutekunst has one of the worst track records of any gm in his first three drafts. he's constantly picking guys that might turn out to be something someday. i don't trust him to pick anyone that will play more than a few token snaps in 2021 in this upcoming draft. when you use your first three picks in a draft to select guys who never play, you're losing the value of having a starting player at a relatively cheap rookie contract price for four (or five) years. it's downright foolish. and i really don't like having a fool for a gm.

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rodgersrules's picture

March 05, 2021 at 12:13 pm

Bingo. Gutekunst is a bust so far.

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Leatherhead's picture

March 05, 2021 at 12:25 pm

28-8.

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dobber's picture

March 05, 2021 at 02:01 pm

Starters (under contract) remaining from the TT era:
Offense:
Bakhtiari, Patrick, Adams, Rodgers
Defense:
Clark, Lowry

The roster has been mostly redone in just over two years...and the team hasn't had to go through anything that looks like a painful rebuild.

5 points
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ImaPayne's picture

March 05, 2021 at 12:28 pm

You bring up a sore point with me about draft and development. D & D is a good excuse to bypass the real talent at the top of round one ( moving up ) and instead move down to get guys who you can develop, YA FOR A LOT LESS MONEY.
Murphy keeps his job because he managers "cheap ball". The packers love 5th, 6th and undradteds who they supposedly can develop, but they never do for the most part.
I think Gutt is the worst GM in the league but Spielman or the Vikes is a draft genius and has stolen at last three drafts the the last 5 years. The Vikes only draft guys who can contribute now at a high level. Again this year unlike the pack they have very few needs and can go after the best player available and get talent.
St Brown was terrible at ND and Sternbummer had numerous concussions, some serious and were wondering why no contributions????

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Bear's picture

March 05, 2021 at 01:39 pm

Ernesto what are you smoking? Spielman with Zimmer has only a .576 winning percentage. Looks like you have low standards if you’re going to compare that to LaFluers .778 winning percentage. Those Vikings drafted to contribute now sure forgot to contribute with .576 winning percentage.

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dobber's picture

March 05, 2021 at 02:00 pm

They've had to pretty much tear it all down. Spielman has never been able to find OL talent. If he could put a quality OL on the field, the Vikings would be SB contenders and would have been the last couple years.

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Irish_Cheesehead's picture

March 05, 2021 at 12:12 pm

Great observations and I think you are spot on with Gute’s approach. This is always an exiting, optimistic time of year! Looking forward to the draft!

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mnbadger's picture

March 05, 2021 at 12:16 pm

Pretty tough assessment, calling BG " . . .a fool for a gm" but we're all entitled to opinion. I'm glad you mentioned the games started by your draft picks as a metric, not sure how that can be applied with all of the variability - drafting at end of each round vs the beginning means two things. You choose a lesser player in each round for one and B, you probably have better players already on the team, which is why you pick so late. But if they can factor that all in, I 'd like to see the stat. WR is a need for the future, but get us large angry athletic men for the middle of our defense and an athletic, tough, versatile slot player. I agree with other posters, stop trying to return kicks and save the health of this player for offensive plays out of the slot or backfield, even wildcat in short yardage. GPG

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CheesyTex's picture

March 05, 2021 at 01:28 pm

Thank you, mnbadger.

It is indeed a pretty tough assessment to judge a nascent gm based "reasons" given.

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ImaPayne's picture

March 05, 2021 at 12:17 pm

Get rid of St Brown and Sternbummer. Both are not NFL caliber players. They've had more then there share of time to develop and havent.
Ya know when you dont have draft and development you tend to cut your losses sooner and thats a good thing.
Mike Zimmer cut a place kicker draftee after the guy missed three field goals. The analyst asked Zimmer, gee this is a young kid you just drafted why did you cut him and not let him develop and Zimmer replied "Were in the win now mode not the development mode".
He also knew Spielman has a list of stand by candidates that were already vetter and can make a call and get a new replacement in a week.

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Bear's picture

March 05, 2021 at 01:32 pm

Really a good guy to quote.....Zimmer has a fantastic winning percentage of .576 compared to LaFluer .778.

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Leatherhead's picture

March 05, 2021 at 02:44 pm

I was thinking the same thing, Bear. What has Zimmer done? What’s his record against LaFleur?

I know that using facts is a dirty trick, but when people start using the Vikings as an example of how to run a football organization.......it’s necessary.

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PhantomII's picture

March 06, 2021 at 12:21 pm

Vikings are missing an Elite QB that we have. I think they have drafted much better except for a few positions, QB especially.

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Leatherhead's picture

March 05, 2021 at 12:24 pm

No. We’ll address WR next year, not this year.

Who are we bringing back in 2022? Adams, MSV, Lazard and EQ are all in their final contract year. Some will be retained, and some will be replaced.

In 2022, not 2021.

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Guam's picture

March 05, 2021 at 02:35 pm

Spot on LH. With Adams, Lazard, MVS, ESB and Funchess on the roster, where do you stash the two draft choices? Draft choices will be sniped off the practice squad in a heartbeat by other teams and the Packers aren't carrying seven WRs in MLF's offense.

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Leatherhead's picture

March 05, 2021 at 02:51 pm

Exactly. And what about Begelton and Taylor? We’re going to spend a year developing them and then just throw them away so we can spend some draft picks at WR?

Last year’s receivers were awesome. Maybe we’ll get a whole season out of Lazard or ESB or Sternberger this time. Maybe MSV becomes a star.

We need more WRs like a hole in the head. Use our resources elsewhere.

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Nate-1980's picture

March 05, 2021 at 06:11 pm

What about Begelton and Taylor ?? What they had 2 catches and a lucky/random td last year, wow, amazing.. One dude from the cfl that isn’t fast enough, and one undrafted whatever..EQ has proven nothing, all three of those guy could get cut, and it really wouldn’t make a difference..MVS had a decent year, but it was very up and down, I’m pulling for him to get better, he no doubt is a good deep threat when he catches the ball..I’d rather replace all those guys( not MVS) with new prospects this year, not later.. Since everyone says rookie wideouts never do anything their rookie season( also not true at all these days)..Lazard started the year great, got hurt, then really didn’t do much the rest of the season.. Could he be a lowww end number 2, maybe, but still hasn’t proven that either..We have the MVP qb and this is what he gets ?? The time is now to replenish the WRs, and bring someone that has a legitimate chance to be a true number 2..

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Leatherhead's picture

March 05, 2021 at 06:48 pm

Such a bad group got 40 TDs ( most in the league) and had the highest yards per catch. Despite Adams, Lazard, and ESB missing time.

Taylor and Begelton were practice squad guys. How many catches should a practice squad guy get?

Adams and MVS were one of the top receiving pairs in the league.

While we’re replenishing the WRs , who starts at corner? Right tackle? Left tackle until Bakhtiari returns? Who carries the ball if Dillon gets hurt? Who’s replacing Linsley? Lots of places need replenishing before the WRs.

I have no idea what a legitimate #2 is to you, but I think MVS did a fine job except for the drops. He was a strong player for us in the Championship game.....I doubt any rookie would have done better, especially when he only gets targeted a couple of times a game.

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Nate-1980's picture

March 05, 2021 at 06:15 pm

What if, what if, this guy or that guy, been saying that for years, don’t have much to show for any what if’s..

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Guam's picture

March 06, 2021 at 08:25 am

Not sure I would call the Packer WR group awesome, but they are certainly good enough that the Packers were the #1 offense in the league. As you pointed out, the Packers have other holes to fill - use the draft choices to do that. Picking players that will see little playing time is not helpful to securing a SB.

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scullyitsme's picture

March 05, 2021 at 06:23 pm

Yeah, cause those guys are so good they have solid rosters spots, not. You people. The bromance is getting awkward

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Guam's picture

March 07, 2021 at 08:37 am

No one the Packers will draft on day three will unseat any of the existing WRs with the possible exception of ESB.

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PhantomII's picture

March 05, 2021 at 07:59 pm

It's MVS.

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4thandinches's picture

March 05, 2021 at 11:10 pm

You gotta remember that Rodgers doesn't throw to first year receivers unless they are elite. I don't think we can have Adams and, say ESB, plus 1 talented draft pick in 2022 and expect the offense to hum.

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dobber's picture

March 06, 2021 at 11:42 am

What WR did the Packers draft in the last 10 years who either entered the league as a high-end WR or didn't come in behind guys like Nelson, Cobb, etc.?

Packers will carry 5-6 WR in 2021 and they have 3 "guaranteed" makes (Adams, MVS, Lazard...assuming none get hurt) and a bunch of guys who either haven't distinguished themselves or don't carry long-term/expensive commitments. After those first 3, you find your best/most promising guys, let the rest go, and don't look back.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 06, 2021 at 07:56 am

If Adams is injured or goes to IR, who is your other go-to guy?

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Guam's picture

March 06, 2021 at 08:28 am

The offense worked just fine when Adams was hurt and missed games last year and the year before.

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CheesyTex's picture

March 05, 2021 at 01:08 pm

"Now, of course, Adams will be back..."

IMO that, like everyone else, GM's are in the dark about what the future holds for the NFL's financial future due to COVID and the "NBA effect" (think Laveon Bell, Deshaun Watson, etc.). In a perfect world, we'd see #12 and #17 bringing the Lombardi home several more times.

But my point here is that the Pack could be in cap hell again next year, the NFLPA could change, and even #17 could be a $ casualty.

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Leatherhead's picture

March 05, 2021 at 03:00 pm

I think if the Packers don’t make the Super Bowl this year we could see a big change.

Theoretically, you could save a ton by replacing Adams with a high draft pick like people want to do every year. We could trade Rodgers for picks AND save another bundle. We could be big FA players, like people want. It would be CHANGE.

Not advocating this, just pointing out that after 10 years with no trips to the Super Bowl in 10 years, people might want to try something different.

1 points
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Fabio's picture

March 05, 2021 at 04:39 pm

"But what has been pretty obvious is Gutekunst's willingness to plan ahead. Right now, the inside line is shifting a bit with Corey Linsley's expected departure - but in the last two drafts, the Packers have selected Elgton Jenkins, Jon Runyan, Jake Hanson and Simon Stepaniak.
Running back is similar, with Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams' unknown future, so Gutey picked AJ Dillon in 2020. Green Bay has the option to move on to Preston Smith, partly because they have Rashan Gary, and even if it doesn't seem like it. that Aaron Rodgers is going nowhere, Jordan Love's selection was Gutekunst trying to plan once again.
I expect Green Bay to take a similar approach in this year's draft with the position of the receiver, given what 2022 will look like. "

The only mistake (or let's hope a second Rodgers-style theft) is in fact the editorial staff of Love. Perhaps it would have been the case to write a WR (jefferson?) Or an ILB (even if in this case the choice would have fallen on Queen who did not have a good season)
The choice of WR in the first round again takes away the possibility of covering obvious holes .....
Greetings from Italy
GPG

2 points
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stockholder's picture

March 05, 2021 at 10:02 pm

Every Draft Guru said he needed to draft one last year. Of Course he'll draft a Wr. So why this year? Money! Im planning on Another Bench warmer. TT said the biggest draft mistakes are made in drafting Wrs, We saw the same moves by TT.. Remember Javon Walker? Goodbye if you want money. Gute tried to cripple Rodgers last year. Chemistry doesn't mean anything to Gute. It didn't with TT. Rodgers days are numbered.

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4thandinches's picture

March 05, 2021 at 11:20 pm

By all accounts the locker room the last couple of years has been stellar. No chemistry problems. Also, Gute is absolutely not trying to cripple Rodgers. Just saying.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

March 06, 2021 at 08:47 am

Hey Knock. I’ll save everyone the trouble of looking my predictions up. Last year I predicted 19-0. The year before, 19-0. Next year, I predict 19-0.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

March 06, 2021 at 08:50 am

Hey Knock. I’ll save everyone the trouble of looking up my predictions. Last year I predicted 19-0. The year before, 19-0. This year I will be predicting 19-0 (20-0 if it is a 17 game season).

1 points
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dobber's picture

March 06, 2021 at 11:50 am

You have to go all the way back to Walker? I don't think you're remembering the Walker case very clearly.

1 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

March 06, 2021 at 08:00 am

I'd like to see CHTV have a thread each year dedicated solely about each poster's desires and predictions for the Packers NFL draft. Each year these threads are kept in a folder on the main page for easy fact checking. I have seen so many posters say one thing and then down the road change what they say about who they wanted. Be a nice quick fact checker. Particularly for those calling Gute a fool, or that he is awful at drafting. It gets so tiresome!

1 points
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PhantomII's picture

March 06, 2021 at 12:25 pm

Yea, Maybe Gute can access it and hire one of us to be a scout.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

March 07, 2021 at 08:05 am

Funny you say that! I once thought the same thing.

I actually went down this path once Phantom and applied to be the Vice President of Football Operations when Wolf was running the show. I have a beautiful rejection letter from Ron on Packer letter head that I have framed in my office.

I still shake my head and wonder how many more Lambeau trophies the Packers could have had. On top of that the NFL then puts the guy in the NFL Hall of Fame!

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PatrickGB's picture

March 06, 2021 at 11:03 am

I am going to go out on a limb and predict that the Packers draft a WR. I am just not sure in what round it will happen.

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dobber's picture

March 06, 2021 at 11:52 am

Packers haven't drafted a WR ahead of Rd. 4 since 2014 (Adams), and haven't drafted any WR since 2018 when they took 3. I agree in that I think it's a safe bet they take at least one this year.

2 points
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flackcatcher's picture

March 06, 2021 at 04:36 pm

Lots of folks loudly proclaiming that Gute must draft a WR last year too. Remember what his first pick was. A reminder: There is one guy who makes the picks. His name is Brian Gutekunst, he is the Vice President of Football Operations and is General Manager of the Green Bay Packers, not some random guy name 'Flacky' on a fan football blogging site. That is all...

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Windshieldrepair's picture

March 08, 2021 at 07:28 pm

Having another playmaker is just going to help Rogers. I think you have to look very hard at picking up another WR in the draft.

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