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2023 NFL Draft: Virginia’s Dontayvion Wicks Drafted by Packers

The Wahoo receiver joins a new era in Green Bay

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 20 Virginia at Georgia Tech Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the 159th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers selected wide receiver Dontayvion Wicks from the Virginia Cavaliers.

This is around where Wicks was projected to go, as he had a mid-round draft grade from most analysts. In past years, a wide receiver going to Green Bay was, almost by definition, going to a good spot. With Aaron Rodgers at the helm, almost any receiver could have success. With Rodger’s move to the Jets, this is no longer the case. Wicks will likely be catching passes from Jordan Love, who has thrown 83 passes in his NFL career.

The wideout room for the Packers is not particularly impressive right now, with almost no experienced WRs around. Wicks is actually the second WR the Packers have selected in this draft, after Michigan State’s Jayden Reed.

Wicks gives the Packers a bigger (6’1” 206) WR, with speed and good open field ability. He isn’t the best route runner, and had most of his success in Robert Anae’s air raid offense. In Tony Elliott’s pro-style offense, Wicks’ production fell off dramatically. This was in part due to Brennan Armstrong’s play, but Wicks struggled to get open at times this year, and also struggled with drops.

One of Wicks’ biggest strengths is his ability to go up and get the ball. Look how high Wicks gets to snag this touchdown on a fade route. This is an NFL route and catch.

Although his combine 40-time of 4.6 was slower than expected, his overall performance at the combine was solid. His 39” vertical jump (10th among WR), and a 10’10” (9th) broad jump show Wicks’ explosivity. Jayden Reed, drafted in the second round, was far faster (4.45) but also less explosive. They could complement each other well.

Wicks is the first Virginia receiver drafted since Joe Reed in 2020, and prior to that was former position coach Marques Hagans in 2006. Coincidentally, all three were fifth round picks. Wicks is also the eighth Virginia player to be drafted by the Packers, the first since Aaron Brooks in 1999. Prior to that was Don Majkowski in 1987, and really nobody else of consequence. Hopefully, Wicks is able to have some success, as both Majkowski and Brooks did.

Coming from the 5th round, expectations are low for Wicks. Then again, coming off the Aaron Rodgers trade, expectations are low for the whole team. Since there isn’t really any established WR depth, Wicks has an opportunity to get on the field early in his career.

Virginia fans certainly got some highlight reel plays from Wicks. Will Packers fans get the same?