Since Brian Gutekunst took over as the Packers General Manager in 2018, he has drafted five players in the third round. Although most of the highly touted prospects tend to be gone by the third round, players selected at this stage of the draft are still expected to contribute to the team. Gutekunst has hit on a number of great draft picks in the early and middle rounds, but he has had bad luck with his third round picks.
In Gutekunst’s first offseason as GM he selected Oren Burks in the third round of the 2018 draft. Burks never earned a consistent starting job at inside linebacker and he was beat out by a few players who were not expected to compete with him. Burks played out his rookie contract with Green Bay as a backup inside linebacker and special teams player. He never quite reached the ceiling that the Packers had hoped for and he is now off of the team.
In 2019 Gutekunst drafted Jace Sternberger in the third round. Sternberger was brought in when the Packers desperately needed tight end help but he failed to make much of contribution to the team. He was suspended for two games a season ago and was released by the Packers soon after. Gutekunst drafted another third round tight end in 2020 when he selected Josiah Deguara out of Cincinnati. Deguara tore his ACL early in his rookie year and was lost for the year. During his second season Deguara did show some flashes of potential but is not yet a starting caliber tight end.
In 2021 Gutekunst drafted Amari Rodgers out of Clemson. The slot receiver was expected to make a quick contribution to the team but he quickly got buried in the Packers depth chart. Rodgers did earn a kick/punt returner job but also had his fair share of struggles in that role.
The third round has not been very kind to the Packers and Brian Gutekunst but there is certainly optimism that Deguara and Amari Rodgers can change this narrative. There is also hope that the newest third round pick, Sean Rhyan, can make an immediate impact on the Packers offensive line.——————
Pierson Beatty is a lifelong Packers fan and Journalism student at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. You can follow him on twitter at @pierson_gbp .