Ron Wolf, the former Packers General Manager and Pro Football Hall of Famer, wrote in his book The Packer Way, “I once thought if we could hit .200 every year as far as adding new talent to our roster, we’d be doing a good job…Not anymore. Now, we had better hit .300 or higher if we want to stay competitive.” With Brian Gutekunst having been General Manager for the Green Bay Packers since 2018, this got me thinking. Is the Packers GM Batting .300 in the NFL Draft?
So, when looking into whether or not GM Gutekunst has been hitting .300 in the draft we will look into his first four drafts. We will not being using the 2022 draft in the equation because we don’t yet know enough about the class to determine whether or not those picks have truly been hits, although it is looking pretty good as of right now.
So let’s get started with Brian’s first draft, the 2018 NFL Draft:
The 2018 NFL Draft started with a bang for the Green Bay Packers when they traded back with the Saints to acquire their 2019 1st round pick. The Packers then traded their fourth round pick to move back up and select Jaire Alexander. A definite hit! Here are the other selections from the 2018 class:
- 1st Round: CB Jaire Alexander
- 2nd Round: CB Josh Jackson
- 3rd Round: MLB Oren Burks
- 4th Round: WR J’Mon Moore
- 5th Round: OL Cole Madison
- 5th Round: P JK Scott
- 5th Round: WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling
- 6th Round: WR Equanimeous St. Brown
- 7th Round: DL James Looney
- 7th Round: LS Hunter Bradley
- 7th Round: Edge Kendall Donner
As you can see, outside of Jaire Alexander and MVS, this class was not very good. Matter of fact, I would only consider Jaire Alexander and Marquez Valdes-Scantling as the hits. There were eleven draft picks and only two hits. This gives Brian a batting average of .182. Oof. Not very good. Well maybe 2019 was better!
If you remember, because of the wizardry performed by Gutey at the beginning of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Packers found themselves with two first round picks: one at 12 and the other at the 30 (Saints played in the NFC Championship game). Well, Brian worked his magic again and used pick 30 and a couple of fourths to trade up to pick 21. How well did this draft do?
- 1st Round: Edge Rashan Gary
- 1st Round: S Darnell Savage
- 2nd Round: OG Elgton Jenkins
- 3rd Round: TE Jace Sternberger
- 5th Round: DE Kingsley Keke
- 6th Round: RB Dexter Williams
- 7th Round: MLB Ty Summers
This draft did happen to go much better than the 2018 NFL Draft. Rashan Gary has been great for the Packers and should definitely be receiving a nice payday soon enough. And the second round pick Elgton Jenkins has been a pro bowler and has already been extended by the Packers.
The question at hand, though, is what about Safety Darnell Savage? Was he a hit? In this scenario, I’m going to say yes. He has played a significant role for the Packers and in a few stretches has even looked good. His consistency is what is questionable for Savage. However, I still question whether or not the Packers had to trade up to get him. And if they would have stayed put at 30, they could have drafted WR Deebo Samuels with a fifth year option and kept those fourth round picks. Oh well.
With fewer picks, Brian hit much better this time with three hits out of seven attempts. This gives Brian at batting average of .429, a great number that was definitely inflated due to having fewer picks. On to 2020 – what could go wrong?!
The Packers, under new head Coach Matt LaFleur, made it all the way to the NFC Championship game. Rodgers wasn’t an MVP player but the team gelled in ways it hasn’t in a very long time. Eventually they succumbed to the killer of most Packers seasons, the 49ers run game. So you would think a player that could be used to stop the run would be drafted or maybe a receiver would be taken to get the offense over the hump. Nope. That is not what happened.
- 1st Round: QB Jordan Love
- 2nd Round: RB AJ Dillon
- 3rd Round: TE Josiah Deguara
- 5th Round: LB Kamal Martin
- 6th Round: OG Jon Runyon Jr.
- 6th Round: C Jake Hanson
- 6th Round: T Simon Stepaniak
- 7th Round: S Vernon Scott
- 7th Round: DE Jonathan Garvin
People have hated on the 2020 draft for the Green Bay Packers the moment Jordan Love was drafted. This draft is hard to see where Gutey has actually hit. For now, I am gonna call the Jordan Love pick a hit. It could definitely have been a miss. But the Packers have seen enough to feel confident enough to give him the reins in 2023. I have to trust that they have seen enough. Only time will tell the truth. Are there any other hits?
Short answer is yes. AJ Dillon has been a great back for the Packers since being drafted in 2020 and Jon Runyon as been great at guard. Josiah Deguara and Jonathan Garvin are the other question marks. Garvin has played what seems like a lot of football for the Packers and has gotten better. Deguara just hasn’t had opportunities. Will those opportunities increase with Love? We’ll find out, but for now I’m calling them misses.
So, in 2020, Brian Gutekunst hit on three players out of nine giving him a batting average of .333. Just above the .300 marker. However, if Jordan Love is not the answer, then it would be .222. Not good. Jordan Love could make or break the 2020 NFL Draft.
Finally, the 2021 NFL Draft.
Chris Davis, formerly of the Houston Rangers and Baltimore Orioles, has the modern-day MLB record for lowest batting average in a season. He had a .168 batting average in 2018. Not good. Brian Gutekunst had a worst batting average in 2021.
- 1st Round: CB Eric Stokes
- 2nd Round: C Josh Myers
- 3rd Round: WR Amari Rodgers
- 4th Round: G Royce Newman
- 5h Round: DL Tederrell Slaton
- 5th Round: CB Shemar Jean-Charles
- 6th Round: OG Cole Van Lanen
- 6th Round: MLB Isaiah McDuffie
- 7th Round: RB Kylin Hill
Draft weekend in 2021 was tough for the Green Bay Packers. The news about Aaron Rodgers never wanting to play for the Packers again came on draft night and then the next several days were rough. It shows.
Eric Stokes and Josh Myers are the closest to being considered hits in this draft, and maybe they still could be. Eric Stokes had a fantastic rookie season followed up by a bad sophomore season that ended with a severe injury that could keep him out most of 2023.
Center Josh Myers was chosen one pick before all-pro center Creed Humphries. Josh Myers has been inconsistent to say the least, while Creed Humphries just won the Super Bowl with the Chiefs. I’m gonna call Myers a miss for now. Matter of fact, unless things do change for Eric Stokes, Josh Myers, and even to an extent Royce Newman, this entire draft was one big miss. That’s right: Brian Gutekunst batted a .000 in 2021. Well below Chris Davis in 2018. Not good.
So, what is Brian Gutekunst’s batting average for his first four NFL drafts? Drumroll please…
Gutey’s batting average is .236. That’s well below .300 that Ron Wolf was looking for. Well, to be honest, Wolf’s quote was only in regards to player acquisition. Maybe Wolf would be more lenient with the draft considering free agency is also an option.
“Now, if we have the normal seven selections, I feel we have to come away from every draft with at least three, if not four, potential starters– and they need to move into the lineup within a couple of years, if not sooner.” – Ron Wolf
Damon is a diehard, fully-immersed cheesehead who currently lives in southern Missouri. He teaches at a local high school and has a family YouTube channel about all things Packers. You can follow him on twitter at @packersfamily and on YouTube at The Packers Family.
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