Several weeks prior to this year’s NFL draft, we did a piece on the Green Bay Packers wide receivers. In this piece, we discussed how former Packers general manager and Hall of Fame executive Ron Wolf had a regret from his luxurious career. That being that he didn’t surround fellow Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre with enough receiving talent. We finished that piece off with this last statement, “for Brian Gutekunst, and Matt LaFleur, they will have to hope history doesn’t repeat itself. If not, it will be Gutekunst talking about his regrets later in his career”. From what went down in the first round of this year’s draft, it appears that Gutekunst didn’t learn anything from history. With Gutekunst selecting (and how he did it) Jordan Love on Thursday night, it does nothing to help Aaron Rodgers and the current Green Bay Packers.
Brian Gutekunst Fails Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers
Before we dive more into Brian Gutekunst and what we believe is his failures, let’s address Jordan Love. Love appears to be a very intriguing quarterback prospect. From all indications, he has a lot of upside and has the athletic ability to be a solid quarterback in the NFL. However, he is very raw and isn’t a for sure thing. He will need a lot of coaching, which will take time, something he will have with the Packers.
With that said, where he was selected and the process he was selected, Love wasn’t the right call on Thursday night for the Packers. The Packers were one game away from a Super Bowl last season. It was pretty obvious that part of failing to reach the Super Bowl was the lack of playmakers at wide receiver and tight end. Wide receiver and tight end aren’t the only holes this Packers roster needs to fill. Offensive tackle and inside linebacker are two other positions that need to be addressed. But wide receiver and tight end are the most pressing.
Still, with knowing that, Brian Gutekunst chose to turn his back on those needs and select a quarterback that might not play for at least another four years. Yeah, Gutekunst doesn’t appear to have learned from history.
Brian Gutekunst decided that he needed to move up to select Love. To do so, he had to give up this year’s fourth-round pick to do so. It was one thing to select Love, which is at the very least unbelievably questionable, but who was Gutekunst moving up to beat to select Love?
Aaron Nagler of CheeseheadTV.com brought up this point as well in a tweet not long after the pick. As it appears, it didn’t seem like the teams that were in front of the Packers were going to select a quarterback. So you have to wonder, why did Brian Gutekunst trade up to select Love?
The decision’s been justified by saying it only cost them a fourth-round pick. The current Packers don’t have the luxury of giving up a fourth-round pick. They have some major holes to fill, having a fourth-round pick would help with at least one of those holes. “Only” a fourth-round pick could be a contributing linebacker, a very much needed wide receiver, or a future starting offensive tackle.
Talking to reporters after the first round concluded, Brian Gutekunst stated that was how the board fell. From that statement, it brings up two things. One, if that is how the board fell, why did you feel that you needed to move up? Plus, if a developmental quarterback was that high on your draft board, was Brian Gutekunst’s board actually set up to help the current Packers win now?
Free Agency Doesn’t Bring Much Help
The frustration of not providing Rodgers with capable help didn’t just start with the selection of Love. It appears that when Brian Gutekunst discussed “emphasizing” the wide receiver position this off-season, it was all lip service.
Sure, there is a lot of draft left. But grabbing a wide receiver in the first round would have shown that Gutekunst was actually emphasizing the wide receiver. Especially since the only thing he did to help the wide receiver position in free agency was signing Devin Funchess. Funchess has been a hair above average during his career. Along with his average production, he is coming off a season cut short because of a broken collarbone. His signing doesn’t increase the athletic ability of the Packers wide receivers.
Failed Attempts in the Draft
Brian Gutekunst has tried his hand at giving Rodgers wide receiver help through the draft. That attempt hasn’t/didn’t turn out well for the Packers. It also didn’t paint Gutekunst’s ability to find wide receiver talent in the draft in a good light either.
In the 2018 NFL draft, Brian Gutekunst’s first NFL draft as an NFL general manager, he selected wide receivers in the fourth, fifth, and six rounds. Those picks were J’Mon Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Equanimeous St. Brown.
Moore played in just one season, his rookie season, and caught just two passes. He was so bad, that he was cut before the next season and hasn’t played a down in the NFL since. Valdes-Scantling has been the most productive of the three, but that isn’t saying a lot. He has 64 receptions for 1,033 yards with four touchdowns in his two seasons with the Packers. However, his production and play declined from his first to his second season. If the Packers weren’t so weak at wide receiver, he would be playing for his job in training camp. St. Brown showed some skill in his rookie season. But he missed last season with an ankle injury. As a whole, this group fails to impress and because of that, the failure points to Brian Gutekunst.
If not for Davante Adams, Aaron Rodgers would be stuck playing with Gutekunst’s failures.
Rodgers Once Again Expected to Carry the Franchise
Aaron Rodgers is paid a lot of money to play quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. They expect him to be the leader of this franchise. But it would be nice if the people who Rodgers has helped keep employed would do more to help him succeed.
Taking Adams out of the scenario, Rodgers will need to do more with less. This isn’t anything new to Rodgers or really the Packers organization. Ron Wolf admitted he didn’t do enough. Ted Thompson didn’t give Favre/Rodgers any pass-catching help in free agency but sure did through the draft. But so far, Gutekunst hasn’t done it through the draft or in free agency.
Gutekunst, whose biggest and main responsibility is improving the Packers roster, so far has failed to give Rodgers weapons. Selecting Love now, when so much else was needed, was the wrong choice and honestly, a slap in the face to Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers will once again have the weight of the Packers world on his shoulders. The ironic twist is if he succeeds in doing so, one person it will benefit mightily is Brian Gutekunst. The same man who hasn’t done much to help Rodgers succeed.
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