The Packers have been one of the most successful franchises in the NFL over the past 30 years, with a long history of success on the field and in the NFL Draft. Like many teams, the Packers choose to focus on the ongoing challenge of building a winning roster primarily through the NFL draft. One of the main debates surrounding the Packers draft strategy is whether they should prioritize drafting premiere athletes or players who have had substantial college production.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches. On one hand, prioritizing athletes based on their physical abilities can lead to selecting players who possess exceptional speed, strength, and agility. Prospects with extremely high measurables are more difficult to find and have an inherent advantage compared to their peers. Due to their qualities, these players have the potential to become dominant forces in the NFL, regardless of their college production.
A couple prime examples of athletic prospects that have worked out for Green Bay recently is the drafting of athletes like Jaire Alexander and Rashan Gary, who possessed exceptional physical tools and the potential to develop into elite NFL players. At this point, it’s clear that both of those players will be cornerstones of the Packers for years to come.
However, prioritizing athletes over college production can also lead to selecting players who have not yet developed the necessary skills to succeed at the NFL level. These players may have impressive physical attributes, but they may struggle to make an impact in the NFL due to a lack of experience or technical skills. A prime example of this is Darnell Savage, whose tantalizing athletic ability is hampered by his poor decision making and overall inability to master the safety position.
On the other hand, prioritizing players based on their college production can provide the Packers with more reliable indicators of a player’s potential success in the NFL. College production statistics can demonstrate a player’s consistency, durability, and ability to perform at a high level against top-level competition.
For example, the Packers have had success with drafting players like Davante Adams and Jon Runyan Jr, who were draft picks due to their exceptional college production, which gave some indication of their ability to shine at the next level.
Yet, prioritizing college production over athletic ability can also lead to overlooking players who may have the potential to become elite NFL players despite a lack of impressive college statistics. These players may have been overlooked due to a lack of opportunity or fit within their college team’s system.
Ultimately, the decision to prioritize athletes or college production in the Packers draft will depend on their individual approach to building a winning roster. The Packers have traditionally placed a strong emphasis on drafting players who fit within their system and have a high football IQ. This approach has allowed them to consistently compete for playoff spots and remain one of the top franchises in the NFL.
It’s worth noting that there are several other factors that the Packers consider when evaluating draft prospects, including character, work ethic, and fit within the team’s system. These factors can play a significant role in a player’s success at the NFL level and should not be overlooked in the drafting process.
Overall, there are pros and cons to both prioritizing athletes and prioritizing college production for the Packers draft. Ultimately, Brian Gutekunst must make decisions based on his overall approach to building a winning roster. While physical attributes and college production can provide valuable insight into a player’s potential success in the NFL, other factors such as character and fit within a team’s system must also be considered when evaluating draft prospects.
The Packers have a long history of success, and to continue that success will depend on their ability to effectively balance all these factors to build a winning roster. With the right approach, the Packers can return to competing at the highest level of the NFL and remain one of the most successful franchises in the league.
Jordan is a lifelong Packer fan who grew up in Idaho and now lives in Seattle, Washington. You can follow him on twitter at @jordantwolf.