Why, I hear many fans screaming into their phones while reading this? Gutekunst got a trade up in the first round that puts them ahead of New England and the Jets. Both those teams have needs that compete with the Packer draft priorities of tight end and lineman.
Brian Gutekunst: "I think it's a good draft overall. … good EDGE class, tight ends is another one." #Packers
The extra second-round pick is also ahead of the Jets other second-round pick, allowing the Packers to dictate that round of the draft and giving them four picks in the top 78 selections. They did this trade for Aaron Rodgers, who at age 40 on December 2, 2023, a future Hall of Fame quarterback, was not committed to the Packers going forward.
Added into this trade the Jets will receive the Packers second selection in round 5, but the Packers have 4 seventh round picks and a sixth to get them back in the 5th round if they want to move up.
The next smart long-term move is to bite the financial bullet for the rest of Rodgers’ salary cap hit in 2023. If Rodgers had been a Packer into June, Gutekunst could have split the cap hit over next year. But that would only delay attempts to rebuild the roster. Better to take the hit now and have money for signings next year after Love has a full season to evaluate.
The Packers’ 2023 NFL Draft Picks
|13 (via NYJ)
|42 (via NYJ) & 45
|207 (via NYJ)
|232, 235, 242, 256
This is more draft capital than Brian Gutekunst has ever had in his arsenal. If he hits on his top picks and Love blossoms into an elite quarterback, the Packers can thrive. This draft could fill up half of Gutekunst’s memoirs, with Jordan Love being the first chapter. Most Packer fans know edge rusher, safety, tight end are the top three roster priorities. But dominant offensive and defensive lineman, wide receivers and corners can’t be passed up.
In a deep draft of tight ends but a shallow one for lineman and safeties, Gutekunst can still hit every major need and grab a wide receiver in round three. With a deep draft board for edge rushers it makes sense the Packers are bringing in second and third tier players like defensive lineman Karl Brooks from Bowling Green, Boise States Scott Matlock, and Tyrus Wheat from Mississippi State.
They have also brought in three safeties, Jordan Howden: Minnesota; Quindell Johnson: Memphis and Marte Mapu: Sacramento State. Good money says two or three of these players land with the Green and Gold by Sunday’s close. The tight ends they have brought in for visits show they will pick one early and one later. The wideouts brought in seem to say later round targets are the strategy.
2023 Draft Prospects – Wide Receiver Visits to the Packers
Dontayvion Wicks – Virginia
Ryan Miller – Forman
Rashee Rice – SMU
Adonicas Sanders – Temple
2023 Draft Prospects – Tight End Visits to the Packers
Darnell Washington – Georgia
Dalton Kincaid – Utah
Ben Sims – Baylor
Josh Whyle – Cincinnati
Coincidentally, Rice is listed as the 78th best player available in this draft and the #12 wide receiver by ESPN. His 1.49 ten yard split was third fastest at the combine for pass catchers.
If I were the GM for three days and every trade I could imagine came my way, I would trade down the 13th pick. Let another team draft Dalton Kincaid at 13 or 15 and with a later round 1st grab TE Micheal Mayer AND grab Darnell Washington in the second. With the additional second rounder, a safety. Battle from Alabama is ranked in the second round.
If I were the GM for three days and every trade I could imagine came my way, I would trade down the 13th pick.
Hopefully, my trade down would allow another second-round pick in edge player Keon White or Foskey from ND or Adebawore from Northwestern. Rice in the third round and then another defensive line/edge in the fourth. Perhaps Missouri’s Isaiah McGuire, who is ranked 114? With the fifth round pick, the Packers have two visited players in range; Matlock is ranked 143 and Brooks is listed at 153 by ESPN. In the sixth round perhaps OT Warren McClendon: Georgia?
With the final picks I go safety/corner, and wide receiver. Mapu, Howden and Wicks. Remember, this is all based on rankings and visits. No interviews, no live game action. No talking with coaches. The keys to greatness in the NFL is more desire and luck with injuries than talent.
Pain is part of everyday life and a player’s desire to win, to beat their opponent, must drive them over every obstacle in their path. Let’s hope Gutekunst has luck on his side and Aaron Rodgers plays 66% of the Jets snaps next year. While playing GM can be fun, the games in Lambeau are right around the corner. Fingers crossed starting Thursday.