My thoughts on the Packers first round picks. So to start off, I was wrong. I never thought they would draft an off-ball linebacker in the first round. As we all know they haven’t done that since AJ Hawk. I thought there was a good chance they would draft one. I just didn’t think it would be in the first. Both players were on my Packers board. I will also have full scouting reports up for Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt tomorrow.
Obviously most people were surprised by the pick. There had been rumblings the last week or so that he would end up as the first linebacker drafted. But no one thought it would be to the Packers in the first round. Then yesterday we started seeing mock drafts with the Packers drafting him, and it was a number of “connected” people within the draft community.
It was thought that it might mean something. The Packers under Ted Thompson really had no value on linebackers. Brian Gutekunst seemed to follow this with only drafting Oren Burks in the 3rd round, and no other linebackers on day one or two. So, there is another threshold of Ted that he broke. He did stick to their athleticism thresholds though.
Now to Quay Walker as a player. He has some similarities to Eric Stokes in that he is super athletic, came out as a junior, and was seen as a player who is still a little raw and needs some work before he reaches his potential. He should team with De’Vondre Campbell to form a very highly athletic duo while he develops. I wouldn’t be surprised if he shared those duties with Krys Barnes early on. This will also allow them to use a lot more base defense, especially if he can show solid coverage skills.
He shows a lot of hustle on film, and is always around the ball. Those are good qualities to start with. He might even play special teams early on, where he could be a demon. This pick also puts a limit on how long Campbell will be in Green Bay. If Walker develops as hoped, then I don’t see Campbell being a Packer for more than two more years. Walker then takes over as a lead guy.
The Packers traded away one Devonte — or in this case, Davante — and draft another. Wyatt was always one of my favorite defensive linemen in this draft. He fit the Packers almost to a T, except of course the age issue. The former Bulldog can team with Kenny Clark to form an elite due that can both stop the run and rush the passer.
He also adds a complement to Clark as a pass rusher, with Wyatt winning with his explosion, speed, and agility versus Clark’s leverage, strength, and drive. Clark is seen as a “slow burn” pass rusher, whereas Devonte wins fast/quick. He immediately becomes the second-best defensive lineman on the roster. Early on he will probably rotate with Jarran Reed. That is something the Packers like to do. They like to bring their rookies a long slowly as the season goes.
Wyatt does have the off-field issues that popped up recently, even though they were from 2020 and were in the news. Some people just read the headlines and automatically assumed he beat his girlfriend or something like that. But if you read the report it wasn’t that type of thing.
Was he in the wrong? 100% and it should have never happened, but he didn’t hurt any one or point a gun at anyone. People do make mistakes, and the Packers tend to lean conservative when it comes to off-field issues with draft picks. So if they gave him the go ahead, I have full confidence in Gutekunst that it was just a dumb mistake made by a young kid. I also expect the Packers to have him on a “short leash” and told him as much.
While I personally would have drafted a Tyler Smith or a Jermaine Johnson over Walker, I understand why the Packers took him in the first round. Of course, I love the Wyatt pick and think he will have the bigger impact in year one and could even have a bigger impact in year two, as well. Walker will be the Packers future at inside linebacker with Campbell turning 30 soon and the Packers not usually keeping guys past 30. I won’t give this draft a grade. Its three years too soon, but I will say so far I like it!
Will they now be called the Green Bay Bulldogs? If they draft George Pickens tomorrow, they might!