8 recent Packers draft picks with opportunity to play more in 2022

Rookie draft picks generally hog the spotlight, but here’s a truth in the National Football League: A big chunk of improvement on a year-to-year basis comes from the development of draft picks from years prior.

The Green Bay Packers will be expecting more from a few members of the 2020 and 2021 draft classes in 2022.

Here are eight recent draft picks with an opportunity to play more and provide more impact this season:

TE Josiah Deguara (third round, 2020)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

2021 snaps: 367

Deguara plays a demanding position with a steep learning curve from college to the NFL, and he lost most of his first season to an ACL injury. It’s hardly surprising that he’s only caught 26 passes and played under 400 snaps over two mostly quiet seasons in Green Bay. Now, he’s entering Year 3, and the Packers need him to play a big role – especially early in the season – while Robert Tonyan recovers from his own ACL injury. Deguara should be well-versed in the offensive scheme, on the same page as the quarterback and physically ready, all necessary ingredients for him to take a big leap in 2022. A lot of snaps will be available until Tonyan is ready, and even once he’s back, Deguara should be the top option as the hybrid fullback for Matt LaFleur.

WR Amari Rodgers (third round, 2021)

(AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)

2021 snaps: 103

Rodgers, as a 21-year-old rookie, wasn’t physically or mentally ready to be an instant contributor at the NFL level. He couldn’t get on the field as a receiver, and his returning production left a lot to be desired. The Packers believe he’s faster and more confident entering Year 2, and now there’s a good chance development for a young player could intersect with opportunity in 2022. Gone are Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and while Rodgers isn’t a perfect replacement for either receiver, the Packers do have to fill those snaps and replace those targets. Even if he’s behind Randall Cobb as a slot receiver on the depth chart, an eventual opportunity to play is likely; Cobb turns 32 in August and has missed at least five games in three of the last four years. Unless one of the rookies is an instant star, Rodgers is going to be on the field and seeing targets in 2022.

OLB Jonathan Garvin (seventh round, 2020)

Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

2021 snaps: 395

Za’Darius Smith is in Minnesota after being released, and Whitney Mercilus is somewhere enjoying retirement life. The Packers’ only notable addition at edge rusher this offseason was fifth-round pick Kingsley Enagbare, who will likely need time before he’s a contributor. The favorite to be the top backup rusher behind Rashan Gary and Preston Smith has to be Garvin, who is entering Year 3 after playing almost 400…

Source link : sports.yahoo.com

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