Well well well…what a difference a General Manager makes. I’d argue the biggest difference. After letting more than enough time to pass to chew on Brian Gutekunst’s first draft as the lead man at 1265, it seems like he had a plan and executed it as best he could—improve the roster for now & later. Let’s begin with the draft, his first 2 picks addressed an area of need while also taking the best potential players available.
1st Jaire Alexander (CB – Louisville): many will compare him to Terrell Buckley based purely on size and athleticism. However, many scouting reports and ProFootball Focus state that when healthy, this was the best pure-cover corner in the draft. Considering of all stats and traits PFF researches, corner coverage is their 2nd best “predictor” in production at the NFL coming from college. That’s a great sign, plus this kid has confidence and attitude.
2nd Joshua Jackson (CB – Iowa): if you remember from my last entry, I had Joshua Jackson and Jaire Alexander rated as the top two cornerbacks, respectively. The fact Gutey was able to get both AND acquire the Saints’ 1st round pick in 2019 that alone tells me he crushed this draft. Jackson is a bigger corner that ran slow at the combine, but vastly improved his 40-time at Iowa’s pro day + he may have the best ball skills in the country (remember both pick-6’s vs. Wisconsin at Camp Randall late in the year).
I could comment on the other draft picks, but let’s generalize, shall we? The Packers drafted a punter, long snapper, 3 fasts wide receivers, a cover ILB (I assume to replace Joe Thomas), and a guard that has the potential to start from the beginning and could make an immediate impact.
Again, to fully analyze the draft, one must wait 3-4 years and look back to see how those players developed and what they became. However, if given the benefit of hindsight, wouldn’t everyone be amazing? Had you told me the Green Bay would draft two of the top 3 corners in the draft AND get an additional 1st round pick in the 2019 draft, I’m not sure how anyone would be upset with that—and that’s where I’m setting my focus.
It’s been some time since I wrote, and it may be a little while until next, but in the meantime hopefully the young kids with some sprinkled veterans on the defense can pick up Pettine’s new scheme and actually have a successful season- for the first time in many.