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Will the Packers Repeat Their Late Round Trend?

In 2020 Brian Gutekunst had three sixth round draft picks. When day three of the 2020 draft was completed the Packers had three new offensive lineman. Their first sixth round pick, Jon Runyon, had offensive tackle experience, but the Packers quickly designated him a guard prospect. The three picks were all interior lineman. That strategy is a recent Packer pattern. In 2018, the Packers picked three wide receivers on day three of the draft. In 2017 the Packers again went triple on day three with three running backs.

The Packers have three extra picks on day three of the 2021 NFL draft. The question is will the Packers repeat this pattern of triple picks of players from the same position group on day three in 2021? The Packers have needs. While there “triple strategy” worked well with the running backs, the wide receivers picked in 2018 will need improvement to call that draft’s triple pick strategy a success. St. Brown needs to stay healthy. MVS needs to diminish his drops. The offensive lineman from 2020 will have a real chance to prove themselves this year with All Pro center Corey Linsley suiting up for the Chargers next year and David Bakhtiari not being available for the majority of the upcoming season.

When the Packers have played the triple strategy in the past, they have picked a position of immediate need or an upcoming need in the following year due to expiring contracts, like Linsley’s. With needs at multiple positions the smart strategy is to find position group strengths in the draft’s later rounds that also match Packer needs.

When you look at current Packer needs and the 2021 draft through the eyes of draft talent evaluators, the 2021 draft has depth at wide receiver, offensive tackle, inside linebacker, cornerback, and safety.

Draft grade prospects, those with sufficient talent/athleticism to earn a grade high enough to be drafted according to ESPN are as follows:

QB: 14
RB: 25
WR: 46
TE: 15
FB: 1
OT: 24
OG: 19
C: 9
DE: 25
DT: 19
ILB: 26
OLB: 13
CB: 36
S: 26

The numbers indicate the Packers might be able to find a gem through their triple pick strategy at linebacker, safety, corner or wide receiver. Let’s hope the strategy works as well as the 2017 running back strategy which produced an All-Pro in Aaron Jones and a dependable dual threat who never fumbled the football in Jamaal Williams.

Paul Edwards

Paul Edwards is a lawyer, victim advocate, writer, and long term Packer fan and Packer history enthusiast.

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20 Comments

  1. Howard April 10, 2021

    I’m not sure I see the need for a triple pick strategy at Linebacker(inside) or safety. I don’t think the position numbers and depth would warrant a triple pick. I could see the Corner and WR positions seeing triple picks, but with one of those picks being on day one or day two of the draft.
    .
    I would suggest that the sleeper possibility of 3 picks on day 3 of the draft is defensive line. The Packers need to change the makeup of their defensive line. Except for Clark the Packers DL do not get a consistent pass rush/anchor up the middle.
    .
    To me the Packers have two keepers at defensive line. Clark and Keke. The Packers tried Winn, Price, and Harrison last year. Adams was signed by the Patriots and was often injured. Lancaster is nothing special. Lowry was pushed around most of the year. Much like P. Smith, Lowry did play better later in the season. I think Lowry if the Packers draft the right defensive linemen could be a training camp or off season cut.
    .
    Paul has very well explained in an earlier article that this years draft is short on DL talent at the top of the draft. Some of the DE’s would fit 3-4 DE profiles. In addition there are some nose type DTs that could help in the run game and provide a push up the middle. Paul has 44 defensive lineman as draft worthy. I could see the Packers trying to upgrade and fill some holes at DL with three of those 44 players on day three.
    .
    I don’t usually like rookie Defensive lineman, they get pushed around to easy, and can be easily fooled by veteran Offensive linemen. However, this year may be the year the Packers try and infuse some young beef up the middle of the DL on day three.

    1. Dean April 10, 2021

      WR seems really loaded this year — even more than last year if that is possible. Not sure about three, but GB should pick 2 WR, 2 CBs, 2 DL, & maybe 2 OTs that could play guard in a pinch.

  2. PF4L April 10, 2021

    I didn’t go back and research Thompsons draft style or try to discern any draft patterns of his.
    But let me toss a speculative thought out into the galaxy
    .
    With Gute drafting in three’s in 2018,2020.
    We know that in the 2017 draft 3 rb’s were selected…
    Could it be possible, could it be an “indicator” that Gute was quite possibly the architect of the 2017 draft based on that coincidence?
    .
    I’m not a fan of the potluck drafting style, like…draft 3 tall WR’s and hope you hit on one, and so forth.
    .
    I don’t know if anyone would dispute that Gutes 2019 draft was his most successful.
    He didn’t pick more than 1 player, at any position in that draft
    He got 2 solid starters from that draft. That fact alone wants me to give Gute a B grade on that draft.
    I like to grade on contribution on the football field.
    What else do you grade it on….potential?
    .
    It’s true that Keke has shown flashes, he has 15 solo tackles, 4 sacks and a forced fumble in 2 seasons.
    But in Green Bay, they have what they call a 3rd year leap, and a 4th year leap (if needed)
    Keke just needs to show more consistency so the new DC has confidence in him.
    The jury is still out
    .
    That brings up Gary….the player Gute knowingly drafted for the bench (potential)…..at #12.
    Water under the bridge…that horse is dead…..i get it and i agree.
    But…..if he had drafted a starter with that 12th pick, i’d give Gute a rock solid A for drafting 3 starters.

  3. Eduardo April 10, 2021

    When the author doesn’t know when to use there vs their, I stop reading.

    1. PF4L April 10, 2021

      I stopped reading at “vs” because you didn’t include a period

    2. Ferris April 11, 2021

      Someone doing my job for me. If you don’t know the difference don’t write any articles.

      1. Ferris April 11, 2021

        Maybe “triple strategy” is a place and they went THERE. Like… While there, Paris France. What County is “triple strategy” in though?

        1. Ferris April 11, 2021

          Geez, Country…What Country is “triple strategy” in?

          1. PF4L April 11, 2021

            Children…children!!
            .
            Everybody knows….there is only one fake grammar cop per website allowed.
            .
            Luckily…i have a solution….Take out your plastic badges and whoever has the bigger one is thee official…grammar cop.
            .
            You’re welcome

  4. SMJ April 11, 2021

    I usually stop at “Killer” for obvious reasons …

    1. Ed April 11, 2021

      Ha. Good one.

    2. KILLER April 12, 2021

      Hey!

  5. Mick April 11, 2021

    Here is a mixed review of the “triple pick strategy” used by GB, starting with the R. Wolf era in “92”. To be fair, “92” was the final year of the 12 round draft. In “92”, 3 LBs’ were taken; M. D’Onofrio- G. Mukwuah- B. Collins. In “93”, 3 DBs’ were taken, G. Teague- D. Evans- T. Watson, In “94”, 3 WRs’ were taken, T. Mickens- J. Kearney- B. Schroeder, In “99” 4 DB’s were taken, A. Edwards- F. Vinson- M. McKenzie- and C. Akins. In 2000, 3 WRs’ were taken, A. Lucas- J. Jamison- C. Lee. In “03”, 3 LBs’ were taken, N. Barnett- H. Hillenmeyer- S. Josue. In “05”, 4 DBs’ were taken, N. Collins- M. Underwood- M. Hawkins- and K. Campbell. In “14”, 3 WR’s were taken, D. Adams- J. Abbredaris- and J. Janis. In “17”, 3 RBs’ were taken, J. Williams- A. Jones- and D. Mays. In “12”, 3 DLs’ were taken, N. Perry- J. Worthy- and M. Daniels; to be fair, some of those players were drafted at one position, and ended up playing a different role. Also in “20”, 3 OL’s were taken, J. Runyan- J. Hanson and S. Stepaniak. So, in retrospect; I would say that GB has a fairly solid history of “triple pick strategy” in their drafting. When I say mixed review, it’s with tongue in cheek, because with some of those years; it was a total bust.

    1. PF4L April 11, 2021

      I always enjoy your post my friend….
      .
      You take the time (like Howard) to be informed and accurate before you hit “post comment”.
      .
      I’d rather judge the triple pick theory on recent history. If i go back to 2012, I have to think about Nick Perry and Jerel Worthy…and quite frankly Mick…why would i want to do that to myself?
      .
      In the case of the 2017 picks…selecting 4th rounder Williams, and 5th rounder Jones were the diamonds in that draft.
      Players you got on the field that contributed (seems like a lost art these days.)
      I tend to credit Gute, as i do think he most likely ran that draft, or went 50/50 with Wolf.
      .
      But that was the most successful of the triple picks recently.
      The problem was, it was a good thing those two players could play.
      Because the rest of that 2017 draft sucked balls.
      It should be noted, those two picks weren’t used to their full potential, until McCarthy left.
      .
      I think we know where i stand amongst the 3 middle and late round receivers.
      I think the payoff there was that we got 8-12 flash plays from MVS the last 3 seasons.
      After that….An easter basket full of candy holds more value.

      As far as the 3 late off. lineman taken….SHOW ME
      No…i haven’t crowned Runyan yet.

      In summary, we got two good players from triple picks. which happened the be the savior of that 2017 draft from being a total bust from A-Z.

      1. Mick April 13, 2021

        Good points. The selection of the 3 middle and late round receiver selections, is head scratching. I’d understand those selections if they were developmental prospects, or depth; but not addressing a critical need. There is a reason those WRs’ lasted that long in the draft. Expecting to land a starting and productive WR in the latter rounds of the draft, is mostly a pipedream, especially when a #2 WR is a big need on your team. Every once in a while, an exception comes along; (think D. Driver), that defies logic.

  6. Dean April 11, 2021

    It seems easier to hit a “home run” in the later rounds for positions like RB — hence Jones from 2017. It would be interesting to run the analytics on the % of pro bowl WRs, OTs, … that were taken in round 5+ as compared to the % of pro bowl RBs taken in rounds 5+.
    .
    I’m sure that ever team has done the analytics on all the positions and the chance to find a star in later rounds for that position.

    1. Mick April 12, 2021

      Yea, especially the RB position. With the exception of Peterson, Gore and Emmett Smith, RBs’ just don’t last that long in the game to spend a high round draft pick on. The beating they take and the chance of them recovering from knee injuries; and still be the dominant back they were before the injury; is kind of rare.

    2. Howard April 12, 2021

      Dean, I remember seeing information that you are looking for, but I can’t find. I do know that the article I remember reading indicated UDFAs have a better percentage of making the pro bowl than a 5th, 6th, or 7th round pick. Below is a historic success chart for different positions in each round. Success is determined by if they were a consistent starter in the NFL. It does not determine if they were a quality, average, or below average starter.
      .
      Historic Success Chart

      The numbers show us the following outline for finding consistent starters:

      1st Round – OL (83%) LB (70%) TE (67%) DB (64%) QB (63%) WR (58%) RB (58%) DL (58%)

      2nd Round – OL (70%) LB (55%) TE (50%) WR (49%) DB (46%) QB (27%) DL (26%) RB (25%)

      3rd Round – OL (40%) TE (39%) LB (34%) DL (27%) WR (25%) DB (24%) QB (17%) RB (16%)

      4th Round – DL (37%) TE (33%) OL (29%) LB (16%) WR(12%) DB (11%) RB (11%) QB (8%)

      5th Round – TE (32%) DB (17%) WR (16%) OL (16%) DL (13%) RB (9%) LB (4%) QB (0%)

      6th Round – TE (26%) OL (16%) DL (13%) WR (9%) DB (8%) RB (6%) LB (5%) QB (0%)

      7th Round – DB (11%) OL (9%) QB (6%) WR (5%) DL (3%) LB (2%) RB (0%) TE (0%)

      1. Dean April 12, 2021

        Interesting data. I was thinking that RBs in the later rounds had a better chance than other positions, guess not.

  7. Mick April 12, 2021

    Yea, especially the RB position. With the exception of Emmett Smith, A. Peterson and F. Gore, RBs’ just don’t have long careers to spend a quality- high round draft pick on. Those players take a beating from the 1st day they started playing the position. Their injury concerns are high, and many knee injuries have ended the careers of many RBs; or at least, diminished their performances.