Packers have Ability to make Draft Night “Very Interesting”

Mar 1, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst during the NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 1, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst during the NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

There are certainly similarities between how current Green Bay Packers GM Brian Gutekunst operates and how former GM Ted Thompson did things. But there are differences as well—perhaps most notably, Gutey’s willingness to go and get his guy in the draft.

Gutekunst now has four drafts under his belt as GM, and in all four, he has traded up at least once, including three times in the first round.

In 2018, Gutey would move back up to take Jaire Alexander, and then that same year, in Round 3, he would trade up for Oren Burks. In 2019 and 2020, Gutey moved up in Round 1 to take Darnell Savage and Jordan Love, while last year, he moved up again in the third round, this time for Amari Rodgers.

So we know Gutey has no issue moving around to get his guy, and as we look ahead to this year’s draft, the Packers are in a position to do that once again.–and they are likely even better equipped to do so than in previous years.

After trading Davante Adams, the Packers have four picks in the top-59, including a pair of first-round picks, seven selections within the first four rounds, and 11 in total.

Eleven picks are a lot, in fact, it’s the second-highest amount among all teams this year. And that is why I don’t believe the Packers will make all 11 selections when you factor in Gutekunst’s history in the draft and the massive need that the team has at receiver.

While there are certainly other needs they should address throughout the draft, such as edge rusher, tight end, safety, and the interior defensive line, among others, by re-signing players like Rasul Douglas, De’Vondre Campbell, Robert Tonyan, while also adding Jarran Reed, none of the aforementioned positions have to be addressed right away either. If they do, that’s great! But it’s also not a requirement with how the roster is currently constructed.

Instead, the Packers can let the board fall, take the best player available in many instances, and really focus on receiver—which by my account, is the only position that must be added to early on.

So having that flexibility at other positions and the excess draft capital, including several premium picks, allows Green Bay to be aggressive early on and move up from pick 22 if needed for a player such as Drake London or Chris Olave.

Or perhaps Green Bay can flip a draft pick — or two — in a trade for a veteran player, such as Laviska Shenault or DeVante Parker, for example.

We know that Gutekunst had interest in moving up for both Justin Jefferson and Brandon Aiyuk in the 2020 NFL Draft, but in both instances, that was unable to come to fruition. This year, however, the Packers are much better equipped with all of the draft capital that they have to get their guy.

Perhaps foreshadowing what is to come, as Mark Murphy said on Wednesday, the draft could be “very interesting” for the Green Bay Packers.

"“I know Brian and his staff — with the draft capital that we have, I think … let’s just say the draft is going to be very interesting this year,” said Murphy via Packer Report. “I think we can really help ourselves.”"

Whether it be trading up or making a trade with another team, I imagine that Gutekunst and Co. will be looking to make some sort of splash, given the hole at the receiver position, the amount of draft picks that the Packers have, along with being pretty well established at just about every other position on the roster.

This is a team that is trying to capitalize on their Super Bowl window, and they’ve operated aggressively, especially from a salary cap perspective, over the last two years. There’s no reason to think they won’t try to maintain that approach in this year’s draft.