Virginia’s Wicks taken in 5th round by Green Bay

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo: UVA Athletics

After having solid conversations with Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur and wide receivers coach Jason Vrable, former Virginia receiver Dontayvion Wicks felt pretty sure he was going to be drafted by the storied franchise. His hunches were correct.

On Saturday afternoon, Green Bay chose Wicks with the 159th overall selection in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL draft, making him the first Cavalier picked in this year’s draft and the first Wahoo selected by the Packers since quarterback Aaron Brooks in 1999.

“Great news, I’m ready to go to work,” Wicks said after he was drafted.

The 6-foot-1, 206-pound Wicks is athletically gifted with as much potential as Virginia coach Tony Elliott said he had seen heading into the 2023 season. However, fundamental route-running and drops became a problem for Wicks last fall, after seemingly catching everything that came his way in 2021 during a spectacular pass-catching season.

“It was just a new adjustment,” Wicks said Saturday. “You know, having Coach (Bronco) Mendenhall for three years, I got comfortable with that system. “Coach (Tony) Elliott coming in, getting used to everything new. But I started to get comfortable and then, as I got comfortable, the injury happened and then the season got canceled.”

Virginia’s final two games of the ‘22 season were called off after a shooting tragedy took the lives of three of Wicks’ teammates.

Certainly there is unlimited potential for Wicks, who could evolve into a big-play receiver in the right system. He will be working with new Packers starting quarterback Jordan Love, who replaces legendary Aaron Rodgers, now with the Jets. At Virginia, Wicks broke the single-season school record with 1,203 receiving yards in 2021 and caught 30 passes for 430 yards and two scores in eight starts last season.