Green Bay Packers first-round draft grades from national experts on Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt
National experts mostly liked the Packers going for Georgia linebacker Quay Walker and his college teammate, defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt, with the No. 22 and 28 pick in the 2022 NFL draft on Thursday. The obvious caution: What about a receiver for Aaron Rodgers?
Take a look at what national writers were saying about the picks.
USAToday: Both picks get a 'B'
Doug Farrar gave the Packers a B for both Walker and Wyatt
"There’s no doubt the Packers were looking at a receiver here after trading Davante Adams to the Raiders, but the value wasn’t there after an early run at the position, so Green Bay wisely chooses to upgrade their linebacker corps," Farrar wrote. "Walker, who can blitz, cover, and play off-ball, should be an excellent complement to De’Vondre Campbell, who really defined that defense in 2021.
"Wyatt is an amazing interior defensive lineman who brings Kenny Clark to mind, and when dealing with the Packers’ interior defensive line over the last few seasons, it’s been all about doubling Clark and singling everybody else. That changes now. Green Bay’s defense got a lot better with Wyatt and linebacker Quay Walker, and Aaron Rodgers has months to complain about no first-round receivers on Pat McAfee’s show."
Dougherty:The Packers still desperately need help at receiver after devoting two first-round picks to defense
ESPN: Kiper feels Packers make 'head-scratching' picks
Mel Kiper classified the Packers draft as the head-scratching variety.
"If you watch the Georgia film closely, you'd really struggle to understand why Walker was drafted before his teammate Nakobe Dean," Kiper wrote. "Walker was tough to evaluate; he didn't have the splash plays that Dean did.
"This is all about the Packers projecting Walker's potential, because he's 6-foot-4 and 241 pounds and ran a 4.52-second 40-yard dash at the combine. He has some talent, but I didn't see him put it all together in college. I have Walker at No. 43 overall on my Big Board, so this was a reach.
"Wyatt is a nice player, but Green Bay passed up North Dakota State wide receiver Christian Watson, which must mean the franchise thinks it can upgrade with a veteran for Aaron Rodgers to target. I thought Watson would have been a great fit."
The Ringer: Wyatt pick slightly better than Walker
Danny Kelly of The Ringer gave the pick of Walker a B and Wyatt a B-plus
"The Packers continue the increasingly funny troll job of Aaron Rodgers by using the pick they got in the Davante Adams trade to select a defensive player," Kelly wrote. "With the top-tier receivers all off the board, though, I do like this fit: Walker combines great size, range, and physicality and is an outstanding blitzer. This is a slight reach and Walker is relatively inexperienced as a one-year starter, but he fills a need for Green Bay and should contribute right away alongside De’Vondre Campbell.
"With the second of two first-round picks, Green Bay grabs my second-ranked defensive tackle in Wyatt, a highly athletic disruptor who bolsters the team’s interior line. Adding Wyatt to a group that already includes Kenny Clark, Jarran Reed, Dean Lowry, Preston Smith, and Rashan Gary gives the Packers a chance to field one of the deepest and most talented defensive fronts in the league."
NFL.com: Gives 'A' to both, but Rodgers one of the night's losers
NFL.com's Jeffri Chadiha included Aaron Rodgers as one of the night's big "losers."
"Yes, we understand there are still six rounds left, and that the All-Pro receiver the Packers just traded away (Davante Adams) was uncovered in the second round back in 2014," Chadiha wrote. "There also was a run on receivers earlier than expected, with five going in the first 16 selections. But let's not overlook the fact that Lions made a bold move in trading up 20 spots to draft (Jameson) Williams. Even though the Packers selected a couple of promising defenders from Georgia (linebacker Quay Walker and defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt), it felt like they missed an opportunity to do more with an offense that sorely needs to improve its weaponry."
However, his NFL.com teammate, Chad Reuter, gave the Packers an A grade for the first round.
"My grade reflects the value of the players selected, who will both be outstanding additions to the defense," Reuter wrote. "If the team had traded up into the top 12 to pick one of the top receivers, it would have cost a significant price — as evidenced by the Lions' swap with the Vikings on Thursday night. So, it was smart of Green Bay to hang tight and get the best value possible. If they don't land one of the top receivers in the draft on Day 2, though, it's going to be tough for Packers fans to swallow."
Pro Football Focus: Likes Wyatt better than Walker
The Walker pick was assessed as "poor" by the PFF staff, with Wyatt graded as "good."
"The Georgia off-ball linebacker isn’t a downhill player in the run game, and he was still more of a reactor than a playmaker," Anthony Treash wrote of Walker. "On the bright side, he does have an elite physical profile. Walker is so good at wrapping defenders up with his near 80-inch wingspan. Throughout his collegiate career, Walker missed just seven tackles on 138 attempts
"No Power Five interior defensive lineman earned a higher PFF grade in 2021," Treash wrote of Wyatt. "The former Georgia Bulldog was the most impactful interior defender in the Power Five. That carried through the Senior Bowl, where he led all at the position in win rate during the one-on-ones."
Yahoo!: A B-minus and C-plus
Eric Edholm gave the Packers a B-minus for Walker and C-plus for Wyatt.
"...Walker is a giant, stalking, athletically blessed future green-dot player whose instincts remain underdeveloped," Edholm wrote. "In time, he could be a monster, and the Packers have had a long-term vision with almost all their first-round picks under GM Brian Gutekunst
"In our mock, we had Wyatt going to Green Bay with their first first-rounder, so it just took a bit longer at this spot. Wyatt is a quick-off-the-snap defensive lineman who put it all together in his final season, projecting as a valuable energy piece and disruptor up front. In Green Bay, he’ll play multiple techniques and work into a starting role, likely as a 5-technique."
CBS Sports: Likes both, with Walker slightly better than Wyatt
Pete Prisco gave the Walker pick an A and Wyatt a B-plus.
"This is a heck of a pick," Prisco said of Walker. "He is a playmaking, speed linebacker who will give their defenses a nice complement to De'Vondre Campbell. I know they could have gone receiver here, but they can wait. Walker will be big time.
"(Wyatt) has a chance to be a special player. He had some character concerns, but he was productive on a good defense."
Fox Sports: More praise, liking Wyatt slightly more than Walker
Rob Rang gave the Walker pick a B-minus and Wyatt an A.
"The third of five Georgia Bulldog defenders to get selected in the first round, the Packers added speed, power and still-untapped potential with Walker, boosting an already fearsome defense," Rang wrote. "Walker going before Devin Lloyd was a surprise, but scouts across the league felt he had a real shot to crack the first round, earning him a spot on my Mock-Buster list.
"It is interesting that Wyatt ended up in Green Bay — or perhaps frightening for opponents — as when watching him at Georgia and the Senior Bowl, I had flashbacks to Jarran Reed, who signed with the Packers in free agency, and longtime Green Bay standout Kenny Clark. Stout at the point of attack and a developing pass rusher with quick hands and some slipperiness to him, Wyatt gives the Packers a terrific rotation inside.
JR Radcliffe can be reached at (262) 361-9141 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @JRRadcliffe.