The Green Bay Packers head into the 2022 NFL Draft with wide receiver representing one of the team’s biggest needs. Fortunately, college football is a pipeline for receiving talent and the 2022 draft class offers plenty of options.
Green Bay can certainly identify and develop quality wide receivers. Donald Driver (7th round pick in 1999), Greg Jennings (2nd round pick in 2006), Jordy Nelson (2nd round pick in 2008), Randall Cobb (2nd round pick in 2011), Davante Adams (2nd round pick in 2014 are just a few of the draft picks who blossomed into stars.
Everyone knows the Packers’ organizational trend in recent years. The franchise, even with different general managers, hasn’t spent a first-round pick on a wide receiver since it selected Javon Walker with the 20th pick in the 2002 NFL Draft.
Times could be changing. With one of the worst receiving corps in the NFL, this Super Bowl contender needs reinforcements. Keeping that in mind, here are the best wide receiver targets for the Green Bay Packers.
Jameson Williams, Alabama Crimson Tide
- Jameson Williams stats (2021): 1,572 receiving yards, 15 touchdowns, 19.9 ypc, 352 KO return yards
- Jameson Williams 40 time: 4.39 (reported during Alabama career)
- Projected draft range: Top-20 pick
Jameson Williams should be the top wide receiver atop the Packers’ draft board. He’d be the best receiver available in the 2022 NFL Draft if he never suffered a torn ACL in the national championship game. He might not fully recover until November, but the talent is undeniable. This is a 6-foot-1 receiver with outstanding speed, capable of beating anyone deep.
Drawing comparisons to Will Fuller and DeSean Jackson, he’d be the home-run threat the Packers’ offense lacks. Plus, he is an explosive returner, can be a gunner on special teams and he’s adept at jet sweeps and turning screens into yards after the catch. The only potential downside, Green Bay likely needs to trade up to have a shot at Williams and he’d miss time in training camp to build rapport with Aaron Rodgers.
Treylon Burks, Arkansas Razorbacks
- Treylon Burks stats (2021): 66 receptions, 1,104 receiving yards, 11 touchdowns
- Treylon Burks 40 time: 4.55 seconds
- Projected draft range: Top-30 pick
Treylon Burks isn’t generating as much buzz in the draft as Garrett Wilson and Drake London, that’s fine. Green Bay wouldn’t have to trade up to land the star out of Arkansas. At 6-foot-2, Burks offers the size the Packers’ front office looks for at the position. He also brings enough athleticism to stretch a defense down the sideline.
There would be a clear plan with Burks for head coach Matt LaFleur. Arkansas used him at multiple spots, doing whatever it took to get him the football quickly. That’s because his size and strength make him like a freight train, able to run through arm tackles after the catch. He’s also capable of making contested catches in tight coverage and operating near the sideline. Burks could earn Aaron Rodgers‘ trust quickly.
Chris Olave, Ohio State Buckeyes
- Chris Olave stats (career): 2,702 receiving yards, 35 touchdowns in 38 games
- Chris Olave 40 time: 4.39 seconds
- Projected draft range: Top-30 pick
Chris Olave to the Green Bay Packers is one of the most popular selections in mock drafts. It’s easy to understand why. He doesn’t bring outstanding size to the table, at 6-foot and 187 lbs. he’d be on the smaller side of starting NFL receivers. However, Olave doesn’t need a big frame to win.
The 21-year-old ran crisp routes in college, routinely torching defensive backs who couldn’t contain how smooth he ran. He doesn’t offer the YAC ability that Burks brings to the table. Instead, Olave would provide Green Bay with a strong vertical threat. We’re also factoring in how quickly a player can earn the NFL MVP’s confidence. Given Olave’s strengths are his route-running, strong hands and ability to separate from coverage, that checks off boxes for Rodgers.
George Pickens, Georgia Bulldogs
- George Pickens stats (career): 1,347 receiving yards, 14 touchdowns in 24 games
- George Pickens 40 time: 4.47 seconds
- Projected draft range: Top-40 pick
George Pickens is one of my favorite wide receiver prospects in the 2022 draft class. He suffered a torn ACL in March 2021, months shy of playing in a season that would have provided him a chance to prove he is WR1 in 2022. He made an incredible recovery, returning on Nov. 27 and even making a big play in the CFP National Championship Game.
Pickens, unlike Jameson Williams, is now fully healthy. There’s no denying his size (6-foot-3) will help his standing on the Packers’ draft board. The 21-year-old’s performance at the NFL Combine puts him in the 93rd percentile for athleticism at wide receiver.
At his best, Pickens shows the ability to make contested catches and he can be a quarterback’s best friend because of his strong hands, physicality and athleticism. There are elements of his game that need to be refined, including his route-running, but the physical profile, mentality and athleticism make him a worthy pick in the 28-45 range. Notably, he did have a pre-draft visit with the Green Bay Packers.
Alec Pierce, Cincinnati Bearcats
- Alec Pierce stats (2021): 52 receptions, 884 receiving yards, 8 touchdowns in 14 games
- Alec Pierce 40 time: 4.41 seconds
- Projected draft range: Round 2
There’s a lot of buzz surrounding Alec Pierce in the final weeks leading up to the NFL Draft. A go-to target for fellow draft prospect Desmond Ridder, Pierce didn’t have the benefit of playing in a high-volume pass offense at Cincinnati. With that said, he made the most of his chances.
Related: 2022 Green Bay Packers mock draft
Pierce is another wide receiver who offers the size (6-foot-3) the Packers’ front office likes at the position. He also brings experiences on special teams, something that could prove useful given LaFleur’s plans to use some of his best athletes on special teams in 2022.
As a receiver, Pierce is very physical and consistently used his size and play strength to make tough catches in college. The ability to handle stronger cornerbacks is especially key at the next level where Pierce will be challenged by bigger, faster defensive backs.
There are present tools that can immediately make him a red-zone threat and a vertical target when the Packers want to throw deep. He might not be a No. 1 receiver, but he’d be a great addition to the Packers’ receiving corps if drafted in Round 2.
Jalen Tolbert, South Alabama Jaguars
- Jalen Tolbert stats (2020-’21): 146 receptions, 2,559 receiving yards, 16 touchdowns in 23 games
- Jalen Tolbert 40 time: 4.49 seconds
- Projected draft range: Rounds 2-3
A former two-star recruit, Jalen Tolbert had to prove himself at South Alabama and that’s precisely what happened. He dominated the competition, especially in his final two seasons, becoming one of the best receivers in program history. For those concerned about him beating up on the lesser competition, he also performed well against Tennessee and lit up the 2022 Senior Bowl.
At 6-foot-1, he brings the size and athletic profile to compete with the best. He’s advanced as a route-runner, a factor that allows him to make an impact in his first NFL season. Tolbert’s explosiveness not only allows him to create early separation at the line of scrimmage, it also enables him to beat teams down the sideline. He is drawing a lot of comparison to Marvin Jones and a WR2 drafted on Day 2 would be a great outcome for Green Bay.
Green Bay Packers draft targets – Wide Receivers
- Christian Watson, North Dakota State (Round 2)
- John Metchie III, Alabama Crimson Tide (Round 3)
- Skyy Moore, Western Michigan Broncos (Round 2)
- Velus Jones Jr, Tennessee Volunteers (Round 4)
- David Bell, Purdue Boilermakers (Round 4)