There are no guarantees when it comes to the NFL draft. It’s what makes the process so intriguing. Once a player is slotted into a number on the board, everyone who’s anyone spews their thoughts on how it will or won’t work out.
The Green Bay Packers have hit their fair share of home runs in the first round since Brian Gutekunst took over as general manager in 2018. If they really want to swing big this year, trading up for Garrett Wilson or Chris Olave could be as close to a sure thing as they can get.
The Packers own four picks in the top 60, and there’s an obvious need for wide receivers after Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling departed in the offseason. With all due respect to Sammy Watkins, signing him doesn’t exactly move the needle. Trading up to get either Ohio State receiver wouldn’t just move that needle. It would give the Packers one of the guys who most draft pundits believe are among the top wideouts in this class.
Doing so would require giving up draft capital of their own, which Green Bay has plenty of. There’s always the possibility that Olave slips to pick No. 22, but it isn’t worth the risk to wait. There’s no chance Wilson drops that far.
Sitting back and hoping one of their top options falls to them in the 20s brings its own risk for Green Bay and every other team that sits on their thumbs. Trading up lets Green Bay control their draft fate while they pounce on an opportunity like selecting Wilson.
Wilson was brilliant with the Buckeyes. Last year he had 13 total touchdowns and over 1,000 yards receiving. Olave also had 13 touchdowns and just a shade under 1,000 yards receiving (936). Either would be a sight for sore eyes in Green Bay.
Many want the Packers to double-dip and take two wideouts in the first round. That seems about as likely as Aaron Rodgers getting vaccinated. Given the unlikeliness of that, trading up and putting their stamp on the draft is the power move that Green Bay can afford to make.
To trade up from No. 22 will cost Green Bay pick 22 and likely a second-round selection. Perhaps another sweetener of a pick would have to be tossed in too. If that’s the price to play, and it means the Packers would get their pick of who they believe is the best wide receiver in the draft class, is that not worth it?
This isn’t a typical offseason in Green Bay.
Rodgers is back, but his top two wide receiver threats are gone. Green Bay was able to pony up for new contracts for Rasul Douglas and De’Vondre Campbell on defense. But the skill positions on offense, primarily wide receiver, are seriously lacking.
Wilson or Olave won’t come in Year 1 and fill Adams’ shoes. However, is it not so crazy to think either could have that sort of impact given enough time? There’s a reason both are projected to go in the top half of the first round. Now really isn’t the time for Green Bay to sit back and wait to see what heads their way at picks 22 and 28. This is the year to dial up the aggression.
Green Bay has had a pick in the top half of the first round only once in the last 12 years. They used that No. 12-overall pick on Rashan Gary in 2019 and then took Darnell Savage with the No. 21-overall pick that same year. Not too shabby.
For those that want to hoard picks, trading up a few slots isn’t the end of the world, and you can have your cake and eat it too once Wilson or Olave blossom in Green Bay.
For those who want multiple wideouts taken, what sounds more appealing to you:
Trading up a few slots and getting Garrett Wilson or Chris Olave, then taking another wideout like David Bell later in, let’s say, Round 3? Or, clinging to every pick and crossing your fingers that, by some chance, whoever is the best choice at wideout is gift-wrapped to the Packers at No. 22? Sometimes the price to play is worth it.
Now isn’t the time to panic for the Packers. The roster is still stacked. They’ll figure it out. However, this is the year to roll the dice and get whoever the front office deems the best wide receiver in this draft class. If trading up is the only option to safely secure the target, the Packers should be willing to do that by all means.
Green Bay needs some major help at wide receiver. With no assurances that who they covet most will be available when they’re on the clock, the one way to make sure it’s swiftly taken care of is by trading up at a time they deem appropriate and selecting Rodgers’ newest weapon. Garrett Wilson or Chris Olave would both be tremendous fits.