GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Green Bay Packers held off on addressing their issues at receiver and instead continued their recent tradition of focusing on defense in the first round by taking Georgia linebacker Quay Walker with the 22nd overall pick of the NFL draft Thursday night.
Walker started all 15 games for Georgia last season and collected 67 tackles while helping the Bulldogs win the national championship. He was the third first-round selection from that formidable Georgia defense after end Travon Walker went first overall to Jacksonville and tackle Jordan Davis went 13th to Philadelphia.
The Packers acquired the 22nd and 53rd picks in the trade that sent All-Pro receiver Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Packers also had the 28th pick later Thursday.
Green Bay picked Utah State quarterback Jordan Love 26th overall in 2020. Before that, the Packers hadn’t chosen an offensive player in the first round since taking Mississippi State tackle Derek Sherrod 32nd overall in 2011.
This seemed to be a year in which that trend might change because the loss of Adams left the Packers short of proven receivers.
Green Bay lost two other wideouts to free agency when Marquez Valdes-Scantling joined the Kansas City Chiefs and Equanimeous St. Brown signed with the Chicago Bears, though the Packers did add veteran receiver Sammy Watkins.
The Packers’ top returning receiver is Allen Lazard, who had 40 catches for 513 yards and eight touchdowns last season. No other wideout currently on Green Bay’s roster, including Watkins, had as many as 400 yards receiving last season.
A run on wide receivers earlier in the first round might have caused the Packers to look elsewhere. The top six receivers went in a span of 10 picks, including the likes of Southern California’s Drake London, Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, and Alabama’s Jameson Williams.
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