Round 1, 22nd Overall: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
It’s finally time! The Green Bay Packers have done it! They’ve selected a receiver in the first round for the first time since Javon Walker! It feels pretty good, doesn’t it? At this point, even if a veteran is added, the room needs some juice. Buckeyes receiver Chris Olave can bring just that to the room.
Olave went back to school for his senior season, but that shouldn’t deter teams and analysts with his grade and potential at the next level. He was the player he always has been in 2021, creating separation by attacking leverage well and setting up moves with subtle movements in his stem.
Olave has the master’s degree in routes, and he adds the deep threat element with great burst and buildup speed. His hands are reliable and he tracks the ball well, making subtle adjustments with his strides to get into position where he can only make the play.
He can be an elite WR2 in Green Bay and develop a great rapport with Rodgers from day one with his technique and reliability.
Round 1, 28th Overall: Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota
It’s great that the Packers have Rashan Gary and Preston Smith set as their top two edge defenders for several years going forward. Gary has become a great rusher using his explosion to power to drive back tackles, and Smith is a great run defender who uses his length to tip passes.
Still, the Packers need to add to the room. It might still happen in free agency, but the 2022 NFL Draft will bring about spending picks at the position. Here, the Packers go with Boye Mafe out of Minnesota, a great athlete who brings the speed to threaten around the arc and the change of direction to win inside as well.
What Mafe did over the course of 2021 was get better at the contact point, using his hands more to disengage off of blockers and work into counter moves. That improvement, combined with the athleticism, gives the Packers a good third edge defender who can unlock more in the NFL.