The championship-or-bust Green Bay Packers entered this spring's NFL Draft with an obvious need at receiver and two opportunities to take their very first opening-round wideout since 2002. But, the longest drought in the common draft era (since 1967) surprisingly didn't end on Thursday, as Green Bay spent its pair of late first-rounders on defenders from Georgia.
Consequently, the team didn't pick a receiver until the next round, when they traded up with the rival Minnesota Vikings to take North Dakota State wideout Christian Watson, at No. 34 overall. Although this was the team's highest pick spent on a receiver in the Aaron Rodgers era (since 2008), they've yet to find a true replacement for superstar Davante Adams. And longtime NFL columnist Peter King suspects the reigning NFL MVP was miffed by the Packers' plan.
"I doubt he's very happy. I shouldn't be putting my words in his mouth, but if I were him, I wouldn't be very happy about it," King told the Maggie and Perloff show on Monday. "Look, the Lions went from No. 32 to No. 12 to take one of the franchise receivers. The Packers had the 22nd pick... I'm just telling you, the Packers had more draft capital to spend on a franchise receiver. I haven't really killed [GM] Brian Gutekunst in the past, about what he's done.
"But this year, they were set up -- after the Adams trade -- to go out there and have the capital to go get a receiver... People like [Watson], and I like him too. But most people are dubious he can hit the ground running, and be a No. 1 or a No. 2 receiver on Labor Day weekend... Brian Gutekunst is better to discern what his team needs. However, my sportswriter license gives me the right to say, 'Man, do I disagree with what you did.'"
Rodgers, who's embarking on an 18th season with the Packers, produced his fourth career MVP campaign in 2021. In 16 games, the 38-year-old racked up 4,115 yards with 37 touchdowns and just four interceptions, and didn't commit a single turnover from Week 10 on. Rodgers also delivered in the clutch while battling a broken pinky toe, suffered in November. Only four of his 449 career touchdowns have been thrown to a first-round draft pick.
Watson, who's listed at 6-foot-4 and 218 pounds, was the 11th-ranked receiver and 73rd overall prospect on the Pro Football Focus big board. In 11 games for North Dakota State last season, the 22-year-old Florida native caught 43 balls for 801 yards with seven touchdowns, and averaged 20.4 yards per reception across four years. The Packers drafted two more receivers over the weekend, (Romeo Doubs, 4th; Samori Toure, 7th) and their selection of three wideouts is tied for the most they've taken in one draft during the common era.
The entire football conversation between King and Maggie and Perloff can be accessed in the audio player above.