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Green Bay Packers 2022 NFL Draft Progress Report

The Green Bay Packers found some instant-impact performers from their 2022 NFL Draft class, led by Quay Walker and Christian Watson.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers’ 11-man draft class arrived with high hopes for some sudden impact. So far, so pretty good.

Linebacker Quay Walker has been a Day 1 starter, the receivers have combined to catch nine touchdown passes and offensive lineman Zach Tom’s versatility has been as-advertised.

Here’s a progress report through 11 weeks.

First Round (22nd overall): LB Quay Walker

All photos in this story are from USA Today Sports Images

All photos in this story are from USA Today Sports Images

In 2017, the Packers could have selected outside linebacker T.J. Watt. Instead, they got cornerback Kevin King. With their choice of the top centers in 2021, the Packers could have picked Creed Humphrey. Instead, they went with Josh Myers.

This year, the Packers had their choice of the top off-the-ball linebacker prospects. They could have selected Utah’s Devin Lloyd. Instead, they took Georgia’s Quay Walker.

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Lloyd was a consensus All-American following a spectacular senior season of eight sacks, 22 tackles for losses, 110 total tackles, four interceptions and 10 passes defensed. During his final three years, in which he played all 33 games, he piled up 249 tackles, 16.5 sacks, 43 TFLs, five interceptions and 13 PBUs.

Walker was a first-time starter as a senior, when he had 1.5 sacks and 5.5 tackle for losses among his 67 tackles. In 52 career games, he broke up three passes (all as a senior) and had zero forced fumbles or interceptions. What Walker had was elite athleticism with a 4.52 in the 40 at 6-foot-3 3/4 vs. a respectable 4.66 in the 40 at 6-foot-2 3/4 for Lloyd.

While Ted Thompson botched Watt vs. King and Gutekunst perhaps botched Humphrey vs. Myers, it’s hard to quibble with the early returns on Walker vs. Lloyd.

Walker leads the entire rookie class with 82 tackles. He has added three passes defensed and two forced fumbles and, according to Pro Football Focus, missed seven tackles. Lloyd is second among linebackers and third overall with 72 tackles. He has made more plays on the ball than Walker with two interceptions and seven passes defensed but has missed 13 tackles.

Walker’s game has grown the past few weeks with veteran starter De’Vondre Campbell out with a knee injury. Having taken over the communication and every-down roles, he is coming off back-to-back strong performances.

“With my accent and how country it is, sometimes they don’t understand me,” Walker said before the Detroit game. “That’s about it. The calls, I try to say as best as I can and try to slow it down a little bit and get it out. But my accent sometimes makes it hard for people to understand me. That’s the only negative I have about me having the green dot is my accent. It’s hard for people to understand what I say sometimes because my words slur a lot from being Down South.”

The NFL has kept tackle data dating to 1987. The Packers’ rookie record for tackles was set by A.J. Hawk with 121 in 2006. Walker’s on pace to get 127.