Packers2022Opponents

Bally Sports Wisconsin

The Green Bay Packers drafted 11 players who could shape up to be contributors of some form in 2022. But what about their opponents? Bally Sports Wisconsin takes a closer look at Green Bay’s foes, and how the rosters scheduled to line up against the green and gold have improved (or not).

(Teams listed in alphabetical order.)

Buffalo Bills (away)

Buffalo is primed and positioned to be a consistent threat to win it all for the next few seasons. This offseason the Bills added a premier piece to the defense with the addition of Von Miller and helped beef up the protection for Josh Allen by signing veteran guard Rodger Saffold. In the draft, they added a couple of instant-impact options as well. Tre’Davious White is already regarded as a top-tier cornerback in the league and in the first round of the draft the Bills selected who they hope will be his tag-team partner for years to come in Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam. Running back has been a question mark for a couple of seasons as well in Buffalo and drafting Dalvin Cook’s brother James, in the second round, will hopefully solve the riddle. Buffalo isn’t going anywhere and will be right in the race to win the AFC.

Picks

Round 1 - Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

Round 2 - James Cook, RB, Georgia

Round 3 - Terrel Bernard, LB, Baylor

Round 5 - Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State

Round 6 - Matt Araize, Punter, San Diego State

Round 6 - Christian Benford, CB, Villanova

Round 6 - Luke Tenuta, OT, Virginia Tech

Round 7 - Baylon Spector, LB, Clemson

Chicago Bears (home & away)

One would think Chicago would do everything imaginable to put a solid core of pieces around their young quarterback Justin Fields. With a new regime taking over it appeared to be the perfect opportunity to pounce and give Fields some weapons. Instead, the Bears went defense early in the draft. With the selection of Fields via a trade-up in 2021, Chicago was without a first-round pick in 2022. Realizing this is a roster that needs a lot of help, the Bears opted to go cornerback with their first pick in the second round, taking Washington’s Kyle Gordon. They followed that up by taking Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker with their other second-round pick. It’s not all bad as the Bears were weak in the secondary and realize they are in a division with players like Aaron Rodgers, Justin Jefferson and now Jameson Williams. There’s still a long way to go before the tide turns for Chicago.

Picks

Round 2 - Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington

Round 2 - Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State

Round 3 - Velus Jones Jr., WR, Tennessee

Round 5 - Braxton Jones, OT, Southern Utah

Round 5 - Dominique Robinson, LB, Miami (Ohio)

Round 6 - Zachary Thomas, OT, San Diego State

Round 6 - Trestan Ebner, RB, Baylor

Round 6 - Doug Kramer, C, Illinois

Round 7 - J’atyre Carter, G, Southern

Round 7 - Elijah Hicks, S, California

Round 7 - Trenton Gill, P, North Carolina State

Dallas Cowboys (home)

Dallas made sure to address the protection around Dak Prescott and give him a couple of brand-new toys in the draft. While their first selection at No. 24 overall wasn’t a sexy pick, taking offensive tackle Tyler Smith out of Tulsa assures that the Cowboys are prioritizing keeping Prescott upright in the pocket. Later on they used back-to-back picks in Rounds 3 and 4 to select Jalen Tolbert, a wide receiver from South Alabama, and Wisconsin tight end Jake Ferguson. Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson are gone and even though Dallas still has CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, the latter is coming off knee surgery and there needed to be additions to the room. Tolbert will be a sight for sore eyes while Ferguson gives the Cowboys more depth at tight end in a year where Dalton Schultz will be on the franchise tag and Blake Jarwin was already shown the door. This was a methodical and surprisingly quiet draft from Dallas, which may be a good thing.

Picks

Round 1 - Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa

Round 2 - Sam Williams, DE, Ole Miss

Round 3 - Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama

Round 4 - Jake Ferguson, TE, Wisconsin

Round 5 - DaRon Bland, CB, Fresno State

Round 5 - Damone Clark, ILB, LSU

Round 5 - John Ridgeway, DT, Arkansas

Round 6 - Devin Harper, LB, Oklahoma State

Detroit Lions (home & away)

This isn’t your father’s Detroit Lions when it comes to executing a game plan and being proactive on draft day. Detroit needs game wreckers on defense and they got one in Aidan Hutchinson with the No. 2 overall pick. It just so happens he won’t have to travel far after playing college ball at Michigan. With that pick secured the Lions opted to keep their foot on the gas. They held selection No. 32 via the Matthew Stafford trade with the Los Angeles Rams. They used that pick and others to slide up 20 spots to No. 12 overall where to take dynamic wide receiver Williams from Alabama. What was once a weak spot on the depth chart now has all sorts of promise with the additions of Williams in the draft, D.J. Chark in free agency and Amon-Ra St. Brown already put in place. The Lions are making moves to get better right now and with Dan Campbell’s fiery personality leading the charge, there seems to be a lot of optimism.

Picks

Round 1 - Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan

Round 1 - Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

Round 2 - Josh Paschal, DE, Kentucky

Round 3 - Kerby Joseph, S, Illinois

Round 5 - James Mitchell, TE, Virginia Tech

Round 6 - Malcolm Rodriguez, ILB, Oklahoma State

Round 6 - James Houston, OLB, Jackson State

Round 7 - Chase Lucas, CB, Arizona State

Los Angeles Rams (home)

Allergic to the idea of stockpiling draft picks, the Rams didn’t have a selection until No. 104 overall in Round 3 of the 2022 NFL draft. The bet paid off after trades for Matthew Stafford, Von Miller, Jalen Ramsey and others in recent seasons led to a ring following this year’s Super Bowl victory. In the draft, it was predictably quiet, but the Rams did add Wisconsin guard Logan Bruss into the frame and gave the L.A. offense an intriguing option at running back with Notre Dame standout Kyren Williams after scooping him up in Round 5. Los Angeles reached the mountain top last year and regardless of how much of a snooze fest the draft may have been for Rams fans, they are poised again to be right in the thick of things in the NFC.

Picks

Round 3 - Logan Bruss, OG, Wisconsin

Round 4 - Decobie Durant, CB, South Carolina State

Round 5 - Kyren Williams, RB, Notre Dame

Round 6 - Quentin Lake, S, UCLA

Round 6 - Derion Kendrick, CB, Georgia

Round 7 - Daniel Hardy, LB, Montana State

Round 7 - Russ Yeast, S, Kansas State

Round 7 - AJ Arcuri, OT, Michigan State

Miami Dolphins (away)

Like the Rams, the Dolphins traded plenty of draft capital to acquire ready-now talent. Their grand prize was trading for Tyreek Hill this offseason but as for the draft, Miami left with just four players being added to the puzzle. The Dolphins got things swinging in motion at pick No. 102 when they drafted Georgia linebacker Channing Tindall. On one hand, drafting a player from what will go down as one of the best defenses in college football history can’t be bad, but Tindall was drafted behind plenty of other Georgia defensive players for good reason. Adding Skylar Thompson in Round 7, a quarterback from Kansas State, does not signal anything close to a quarterback competition brewing but instead points in the direction of the Dolphins taking a wildly athletic quarterback with a “why not” pick in Round 7.

Picks

Round 3 - Channing Tindall, LB, Georgia

Round 4 - Erik Ezukanma, WR, Texas Tech

Round 7 - Cameron Goode, LB, California

Round 7 - Skyler Thompson, QB, Kansas State

Minnesota Vikings (home & away)

Minnesota made two fascinating decisions when it decided to trade back with rivals: In the first round with Detroit and in the second round with Green Bay. Rare are the trades between division mates during the draft especially early on, but the Vikings didn’t shy away from that spotlight as they executed both moves. As for its own selections, Minnesota added big time to the secondary using their first two picks on Georgia safety Lewis Cine and Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth. The former may have to be used creatively early on as the Vikings appeared to be locked into a starting duo at safety consisting of Harrison Smith and Cam Bynum. The latter could step in Day 1 and compete for major snaps at what was a much-needed spot of emphasis at corner even after Patrick Peterson announced his return. One cool nugget was the Vikings drafting Minnesota Gophers defensive end Esezi Otomewo in the fifth round, the first time the team had drafted a player from that school in a decade. This was the first draft for new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and the trades that were made will be debated over the next few years.

Picks

Round 1 - Lewis Cine, S, Georgia

Round 2 - Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson

Round 2 - Ed Ingram, G, LSU

Round 3 - Brian Asamoah, LB, Oklahoma

Round 4 - Akayleb Evans, CB, Missouri

Round 5 - Esezi Otomewo, DE, Minnesota

Round 5 - Ty Chandler, RB, North Carolina

Round 6 - Vederian Lowe, OT, Illinois

Round 6 - Jalen Nailor, WR, Michigan State

Round 7 - Nick Muse, TE, South Carolina

New England Patriots (home)

The always unpredictable Patriots wore the hat once again in the 2022 NFL draft as they weaved around selecting three players from FCS schools, a quarterback in the fourth round and a wide receiver in Round 2 who many projected to go far later. Mac Jones was thought of early as the Patriots used the No. 29 overall pick to draft Cole Strange, a guard from Chattanooga. They followed that up by trading up to select one of the fastest players in the draft in Baylor wide receiver Tyquan Thornton. DeVante Parker had already been added to the equation via trade this offseason and after selecting Thornton, the wide receiver room got a much-needed facelift for the Patriots. Back-to-back corners were taken in Rounds 3 and 4 and some eyebrows were raised when the Patriots took Western Kentucky quarterback Bailey Zappe with the No. 137 overall pick. No, there isn’t trouble in paradise and Jones is the clear starter but it’s entirely plausible to expect Zappe to bump out Jarrett Stidham from the third-string quarterback spot on the depth chart and perhaps challenge Brian Hoyer for the backup position as well.

Picks

Round 1 - Cole Strange, OG, Chattanooga

Round 2 - Tyquan Thornton, WR, Baylor

Round 3 - Marcus Jones, CB, Houston

Round 4 - Jack Jones, CB, Arizona State

Round 4 - Pierre Strong Jr., RB, South Dakota State

Round 4 - Bailey Zappe, QB, Western Kentucky

Round 6 - Kevin Harris, RB, South Carolina

Round 6 - Sam Roberts, DT, Northwest Missouri State

Round 6 - Chasen Hines, OG, LSU

Round 7 - Andrew Stueber, OT, Michigan

New York Giants (home/London)

The Giants were sitting pretty with two very early picks right out of the shoot in the draft. There are holes all over the roster and the Giants attacked their defensive front and their offensive line with their first two choices. Kayvon Thibodeaux was chosen at No. 5 overall and his explosiveness off the edge will be a welcoming sight for a team that ranked No. 22 in total sacks in 2021. Protecting Daniel Jones has long been a problem in New York and while it was in the middle of the pack at No. 16 in sacks allowed in 2021, drafting Evan Neal at No. 7 overall was a home run pick. Very rarely are teams criticized for drafting offensive lineman early in a draft and that certainly won’t be the case with the Giants taking who may just be the best tackle in this entire class. New York added a super versatile playmaker in Kentucky wideout Wan’Dale Robinson in the second round. Robinson set a school-record with 104 receptions a year ago; he also ran the ball 141 times throughout his college career. It may sound premature or a bit crazy but it does appear the New York Giants are building a foundation to head in the right direction.

Round 1 - Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon

Round 1 - Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

Round 2 - Wan’Dale Robinson, WR, Kentucky

Round 3 - Joshua Ezeudu, OG, North Carolina

Round 3 - Cor’Dale Flott, CB, LSU

Round 4 - Daniel Bellinger, TE, San Diego State

Round 4 - Dane Belton, S, Iowa

Round 5 - Micah McFadden, ILB, Indiana

Round 5 - D.J. Davidson, DT, Arizona State

Round 5 - Marcus McKethan, OG, North Carolina

Round 6 - Darrian Beavers, LB, Cincinnati

New York Jets (home)

Like the Giants, the Jets also had two very early picks in Round 1 of the draft. Unlike their fellow New York counterparts, the Jets didn’t attack the interior part of their roster. Instead, they went outside by selecting Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, a corner out Cincinnati, with the No. 4 overall pick before plucking the second wideout off the board in Ohio State vertical threat Garrett Wilson. Jermaine Johnson II, an edge rusher thought to be a top-15 pick, fell to the Jets at No. 26. After that, it was right back to skill positions on offense as the Jets took Iowa State running back Breece Hall and Ohio State tight end Jeremy Ruckert. Hall was the first running back to go and may have been a surprise coming from the Jets who just had another rookie in Michael Carter look solid in 2021. New York used this draft to put plenty of ammunition around Zach Wilson and to add what they hope are premier pieces on defense in Gardner and Johnson.

Picks

Round 1 - Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

Round 1 - Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

Round 1 - Jermaine Johnson II, DE, Florida State

Round 2 - Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State

Round 3 - Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Ohio State

Round 4 - Max Mitchell, OT, Louisiana

Round 4 - Michael Clemons, DE, Texas A&M

Philadelphia Eagles (away)

As far as name recognition goes, it’s hard to beat what the Eagles did in the draft. The fireworks began when they moved up to draft Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis. It exploded a short time later when Philly traded for Tennessee Titans star receiver A.J. Brown. Davis, who’s listed at 341 pounds, dropped jaws when he ran a 4.78 40-yard dash at the combine. He has size and he has plenty of athleticism to fill out his frame. A passing of the torch type pick was made in Round 2 when the Eagles selected Cam Jurgens, a center from Nebraska. While Jason Kelce is still running the show for now, the Jurgens choice was made with an eye towards the future for Philadelphia. All of this happened before perhaps the most intriguing pick of all for the Eagles. Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean was a certainty to go either late in Round 1 or early in Round 2 before word started to leak that teams were sprinting away from the prospect due to concerning medical reports that circulated around an apparent pectoral injury. Fast forward to now and Dean doesn’t anticipate missing any time and expects to be ready to fire at Eagles rookie minicamp. This was a draft with few picks for the Eagles but one in which they took familiar names and even traded for a stud wideout in Brown to help out Jalen Hurts.

Picks

Round 1 - Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

Round 2 - Cameron Jurgens, C, Nebraska

Round 3 - Nakobe Dean, ILB, Georgia

Round 6 - Kyron Johnson, ILB, Kansas

Round 6 - Grant Calcaterra, TE, SMU

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (away)

Tampa Bay traded out of the first round and ended up with the first pick in the second round of the draft. The Bucs took Logan Hall, a defensive end out of Houston to add to what is already a suffocating defense. Later on, with O.J. Howard moved on to Buffalo and the future of Rob Gronkowski still uncertain, the Buccaneers selected a pair of tight ends in Cade Otton and Ko Kieft. As far as a pick to keep everyone on their toes, Tampa Bay chose Jake Camarda, a punter in the fourth round. It’s thought to be a money saver as their current punter Bradley Pinion is set to count as $2.9 million against the cap this upcoming year. Tampa Bay already has a loaded roster and with Tom Brady now coming back, don’t expect the Buccaneers to sail off into the sunset.

Picks

Round 2 - Logan Hall, DE, Houston

Round 2 - Luke Goedeke, OT, Central Michigan

Round 3 - Rachaad White, RB, Arizona State

Round 4 - Cade Otton, TE, Washington

Round 4 - Jake Camarda, P, Georgia

Round 5 - Zyon McCollum, CB, Sam Houston State

Round 6 - Ko Kieft, TE, Minnesota

Round 7 - Andre Anthony, EDGE, LSU

Tennessee Titans (home)

Tennessee shook up the scene when it traded Brown to Philadelphia. The Titans then went out and drafted offense, offense and more offense. Treylon Burks was the first player scooped up; the wide receiver from Arkansas was used with a pick received in the Brown deal. Coincidentally enough it was Burks who drew comparisons to Brown in the leadup to the draft. Now, he’ll have a chance to prove it. The Titans went offensive line in the third round by taking Nichola Petit-Frere, a tackle from Ohio State. They took Michigan running back Hassan Haskins in the fourth round and used another fourth rounder on Maryland tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo. Burks will have a rookie partner in the wide-receiver room after UCLA wideout Kyle Phillips was taken with the No. 163 overall pick. All of this happened and it still didn’t draw the attention of the selection of Liberty QB Malik Willis, who slipped to the third round. Yes, even with Ryan Tannehill entrenched as the starter under center, the Titans dipped their toes into the quarterback waters by selecting the uber-talented Willis. Tannehill has since said it’s not his job to mentor Willis. Things will look different in Tennessee in 2022 with no Julio Jones or Brown and an influx of rookie talent injected into the mix. While it’s Tannehill’s job for now at quarterback, the red-carpet rollout could be set for Willis in the future.

Picks

Round 1 - Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

Round 2 - Roger McCreary, DB, Auburn

Round 3 - Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT, Ohio State

Round 3 - Malik Willis, QB, Liberty

Round 4 - Hassan Haskins, RB, Michigan

Round 4 - Chigoziem Okonkwo, TE, Maryland

Round 5 - Kyle Phillips, WR, UCLA

Round 6 - Theo Jackson, DB, Tennessee

Round 6 - Chance Campbell, LB, Ole Miss

Washington Commanders (away)

An offseason trade to acquire Carson Wentz gave the Commanders their quarterback for the immediate future but they also took a developmental project when they drafted Sam Howell at No. 144 overall in the draft. Howell has a cannon of an arm and possesses good mobility and there will be zero pressure on him to play right away as he gets settled into life in the NFL. As for the rest of their picks, help was given to the offense with Jahan Dotson going No. 16 after a slight trade down. Dotson was a stud wideout at Penn State and is now added to an equation that already has Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel. That’s a heck of a core at wideout. Brian Robinson Jr., a bruising running back out of Alabama, was selected in the third round by the Commanders. Pairing him with Antonio Gibson gives depth and flexibility to the position. Robinson’s teammate with the Crimson Tide, Phidarian Mathis, was pick No. 47 overall in the second round. What is already a fearsome group on the defensive front for Washington adds another daunting piece for the opposition to prepare for.

Picks

Round 1 - Jahan Dotson, WR Penn State

Round 2 - Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama

Round 3 - Brian Robinson Jr., RB, Alabama

Round 4 - Percy Butler, S, Louisiana

Round 5 - Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina

Round 5 - Cole Turner, TE, Nevada

Round 7 - Chris Paul, OG, Tulsa

Round 7- Christian Holmes, CB, Oklahoma State