GREEN BAY, Wis. – Two members of the Green Bay Packers, one on each side of the ball, were projected to be selected to the NFL’s All-Rookie Team by NFL.com draft analyst Chad Reuter.
Starting with the defense, Reuter chose linebacker Quay Walker, the first of the team’s two first-round draft picks and the 22nd selection overall.
“The Packers needed a strong inside presence next to All-Pro De'Vondre Campbell,” Reuter wrote. “Walker's ability to stand up to blockers in the run game as well as sprint to the sideline to cover running backs and tight ends, limiting big plays, will solidify the team's second-level defense. Don't be surprised if he works in tandem with Rashan Gary and Preston Smith to secure a handful of sacks, too.”
Gary’s early impressions were positive as Walker got some first-team reps.
“Big, fast, strong, explosive,” Gary said. “First time seeing him, and one thing I challenged Quay with is you’re in the backer spot, be confident. Yell the calls. Because if you’re confident, we’re all confident. But he’s been doing a hell of a job, picking up the plays and filling up where the guys have to fill up.”
Moving over to offense, Reuter chose Christian Watson as one of two receivers. The path to being an early contributor is obvious following the offseason trade of Davante Adams and free-agent departure of Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
“The Packers needed a big-play threat at receiver,” Reuter noted.
General manager Brian Gutekunst traded two second-round picks to Minnesota to move up to No. 34 overall to select the son of former Packers draft pick Tim Watson.
Watson dropped too many passes at North Dakota State, and dropped a couple during the first couple practices open to reporters, but seemed to finish the offseason on a high note.
“I think I still have a long way to go in terms of being the player I want to be, and playing at the level I want to play at,” he said. “I’m definitely adjusting though, each and every day – just taking it one day at a time and continuing to get better at one thing every day. I definitely feel I’m coming along great.”
Sticking in the NFC North, the Bears and Lions had one pick apiece while the Vikings had none.
In Offensive Rookie of the Year odds at FanDuel Sportsbook, Watson is +800 to win. That’s the fourth-shortest odds behind only quarterback Kenny Pickett (+500) and receivers Drake London and Treylon Burks (+700). For Defensive Rookie of the Year, Walker is +900 to win. That’s also the fourth-shortest odds, behind Aidan Hutchinson (+500), Kayvon Thibodeaux (+550) and No. 1 overall pick Travon Walker (+600).
In an interesting side note from Reuter, of the 22 All-Rookie selections on offense and defense last year, 14 were taken in the first round and seven in the second round. The exception was Chiefs guard Trey Smith, a first- or second-round talent who plunged to the sixth round because of health concerns.
NFC North Insiders
Get ready for the 2022 NFL season with our 12-part NFC North Insiders series, with stories running every Saturday and Sunday until training camp. Next week: The best- and worst-case scenarios for the Packers’ and their divisional rivals.
Part 3: Most overrated player for each team.
Part 4: Most underrated player for each team.