When Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst began, he issued a statement many fans hoped for. He pledged that the Packers would be much more aggressive when it comes to free agency and the draft. That prediction came to fruition in free agency, with Green Bay adding Jimmy Graham and Muhammad Wilkerson.
However, many Packer fans were still not impressed. Many wanted to see a more aggressive approach in the draft. Former general manager Ted Thompson often traded back from his pick in the first round, often passing on some top talent. He also made some interesting selections, opting for some projects early on over established players.
After his first draft as general manager, it’s fair to assume Gutekunst operates a little differently than his predecessor. However, it wasn’t the case right away in the eyes of fans.
The Packers held the 14th pick in the first round of the draft. When the Packers came up to pick, fans were very excited for the first pick in the Gutekunst era. However, Packer fans got angry when they realized Gutekunst traded picks with the Saints, moving back to 27th. Fans immediately took to Twitter, saying nothing had changed in Green Bay. The problem with reactions is that fans often don’t look to the long term benefits. Fans only saw the trade back, and later were surprised to find out Gutekunst picked up the Saints first round pick in 2019.
The Packers weren’t done on night one. Opportunity struck, and the Packers took advantage. They moved up from 27 to 18 in a trade with Seattle, and selected Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander with the 18th pick. That move up is exactly what fans were hoping to see.
Later in the draft, on night two, the Packers looked done for the night after selecting Josh Jackson with the 45th overall selection. Since they traded their third round pick to Seattle to move from 27 to 18, Packer fans looked towards Saturday. However, Gutekunst and company weren’t done for the night. They packaged some picks to move up to 88 overall to select Oren Burks, a linebacker who can help in today’s pass happy NFL.
So what’s the big picture look like? Basically, Gutekunst and the Packers moved down four spots and gave up a third round pick and gained a first round pick in 2019. That is pretty impressive, especially considering they ended up selecting in the third round anyway.
Also, let’s mention the early selections in the draft. Ted Thompson was a fan of taking projects with loads of potential. One example is the 2015 draft, where Thompson selected Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins, both of whom would need to adjust to playing cornerback. Instead of taking projects, Gutekunst went out and got two studs at corner in Alexander and Jackson. Those two can change the secondary in a big way.
What does this offseason say to Packers fans? Brian Gutekunst and the front office are ready to get aggressive when it comes to building successful football teams.