Throughout the majority of former General Manager Ted Thompson’s career, his mentality has been to form the team based on the “build, develop, retain” mantra. Over the most recent years towards the end of his reign in Green Bay, that mentality would be one of the biggest parts of his leadership questioned by fans and critics alike.
With Thompson having transitioned into a senior scouting role and a GM search resulting in hiring from within with Brian Gutekunst, it remains to be seen if that developmental mindset will remain for the Packers, or if Gutekunst will usher in a new mindset early on.
As the roster currently stands, Green Bay has 39 players on its roster that have been drafted by the team at some point. Names that highlight this category are the obvious ones, like Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Mason Crosby.
The 2017 draft has the most remaining players on the roster, as all nine members of the draft class remain in some form on the depth chart. Players like Kevin King, Josh Jones, Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones all came from this class, which largely contributed to the minimal success the team had this past season.
The 2014 through 2016 draft classes all have at least six players left on the roster, but classes prior to 2014 only have one to two players left on the team, showing how the team normally develops through recent draft classes.
In Gutekunst’s first offseason at the helm, decisions are looming for him, which will also act as a precursor for how he will act as the GM. Free agents such as Morgan Burnett, Davon House and Jahri Evans outline the class for Green Bay.
While in my previous article about upgrading the defensive backfield and resigning free agents I spoke about bringing back Burnett and House, Gutekunst has not revealed his thinking process about what he wants to do.
Across the NFL, teams fluctuate between building through the draft and choosing free agency to develop and improve. With Green Bay mostly being draft-oriented, it will be a constant area to watch over the offseason if Gutekunst will stick by what his predecessor built the team on.
Will the team continue to use the draft to improve, or will the cap savings the team has accrued finally pay off to make a free agency splash? Let me know below!
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23