When you are the Green Bay Packers top personnel decision-maker, you are faced with a lot of scrutinies. But after this year’s NFL draft, Brian Gutekunst will face arguably the most amount of scrutiny he has ever faced. The players and where they were selected will be under the eagle eyes of Packers fans. The decisions Gutekunst made were surprising and to some, quite shocking. Today, we look back at the Green Bay Packers 2020 NFL Draft.
Green Bay Packers 2020 NFL Draft Review
We have reviewed the Green Bay Packers draft for the past several years. As we have pointed out in the past, we find it impossible to give grades for individual picks. Until the rookies take the field, we find it premature to hand out a letter grade.
But what we can do is see if Brian Gutekunst got good value on where he selected the player. We will utilize several different draft sites that projected which rounds prospects were to be selected in. We will utilize our own grading scale. If a player is taken where they were projected, we will give it an “Expected Slot” grade. If a player was selected higher than was projected, we will give it a “Reach” grade. Finally, if Gutekunst got a steal on where he selected a player, we will give it a “Steal” grade. We will also factor in how the player was selected. That means taking a look if a trade was required to select the player.
For enjoyment, we will quote some sites on what they thought of each selection. Here is our breakdown of the 2020 Green Bay Packers draft.
Round 1, 26th overall, Jordan Love, Utah State, Quarterback
Good or bad, this is the pick Brian Gutekunst will be remembered the most for. After reaching the NFC Championship game last season, most expected that Gutekunst would do the common sense thing and grab a pass-catcher to surround Aaron Rodgers with. Instead, with several highly touted wide receiver prospects still on the board, he chose the Packers quarterback of the future.
Jordan Love was the most intriguing quarterback in this year’s draft. Blessed with a big arm and high athletic ability, many scouts believe he has a high ceiling. But Love is a very raw prospect, which actually might play in the Packers favor. With Rodgers still the franchise quarterback, Love is expected to sit and learn from one of the best ever to play the game. For how long, that is the million-dollar question.
Still, selecting a quarterback project with their first pick seems to be curious. It wasn’t just the selection. Gutekunst gave up a fourth-round pick to move up to select Love. It was reported that the Indianapolis Colts were pondering taking Love with their selection, which pushed Gutekunst to take action. But with so many holes in the Packers’ current roster, it seemed like a reach to make the deal.
NFLroughdraft.com gave Love a second-round grade leading up to this year’s draft.
LWOS Grade: Reach
Pete Prisco of CBSsports.com on the Love selection: Terrible move by the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers told me last summer he wants to play until he’s 40. They needed a receiver. They needed defensive help. Sitting behind Rodgers will do Love well, but not going to do the Packers well. You’re on the cusp of getting to a Super Bowl, get Rodgers some help.
Round 2, 62nd overall, A.J. Dillon, Boston College, Running Back
Heading into the draft, we were high on A.J. Dillon. Dillon is a big back that isn’t afraid to put his shoulder down and get the tough yards. He was very productive at Boston College, something that probably drew Gutekunst to add him to the Green Bay Packers draft class.
While we are high on Dillon’s ability, we wonder why it was necessary to select a running back in the second round. The Packers have two young and very capable running backs in Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. In fact, Jones was arguably the Packers offensive MVP last season.
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com projected Dillon to go in either the third or fourth round.
LWOS Grade: Reach
Tony Pauline of ProFootballNetwork.com on the Dillon Selection: There were only a few good fits for AJ Dillon’s style & talents, GB was 1 of them. His pounding, grind it out skills immediately improves the Packers running game. Dillon is a throwback of sorts, a cold-weather back with a punishing style.
Round 3, 94th overall, Josiah Deguara, Cincinnati, Tight End
The Packers needed depth at the tight end position. They seem happy to go into next season with Jace Sternberger as their top pass-catching tight end, for better or worse. But depth was needed.
Not only does Josiah Deguara give the Packers tight end depth, but he also is able to do some different things. Deguara has the ability to be a moving tight end and could be utilized as an H-back. It is speculated that LaFleur might utilize him similar to how the San Francisco 49ers utilize Kyle Juszczyk.
There were some higher rated tight ends on the board when Deguara was selected. But it seems that Gutekunst was drawn to what LaFleur can do with Deguara and his skill set.
Zierlein of NFL.com projected Deguara to go in the sixth round.
LWOS Grade: Reach
WalterFootball.com on the Deguara selection: Is Bill Belichick’s dog doing the entire Green Bay draft? I don’t understand anything the Packers have done thus far. This pick is just awful. There were better tight ends available. I get that the Packers are filling a need, but they’re doing so with a prospect some teams thought would be available in the seventh round.
Round 5, 175th overall, Kamal Martin, Minnesota, Inside Linebacker
Kamal Martin is a very athletic linebacker. He was a high school quarterback at Burnsville (MN) high school. He made a smooth transition to linebacker while at Minnesota.
While he has good athletic ability, he battled injuries during his time in Minnesota. Some people have compared him to current Packers linebacker Oren Burks. Burks is another athletic linebacker but has been a disappointment so far for the Packers.
Inside linebacker was a position deemed as a need for the Packers draft.
NFLroughdraft.com projected Martin as an undrafted free agent.
LWOS Grade: Reach
WalterFootball.com on the Martin selection: The Packers needed linebacker help, but they could’ve done better than this. I’ve had Kamal Martin in the seventh round as a special-teamer. His instincts as a linebacker are terrible, so he’ll have to play on fourth down only unless he really takes to coaching.
Round 6, 192nd overall, Jon Runyan, Michigan, Guard
The name Jon Runyan should sound familiar to a lot of NFL fans. Runyan’s dad, with the same name, was a longtime NFL offensive tackle.
The younger Runyan played tackle at Michigan. However, all reports after the Packers selected him project him as a guard. The Packers were in need of a young offensive tackle but instead picked Runyan who will now be moved to guard.
Zierlein projected Runyan to go in either the sixth or seventh round.
LWOS Grade: Expected Slot
WalterFootball.com on the selection of Runyan: Jon Runyan Jr. performed well at the Combine, and I eventually moved him into the seventh round. He has some potential to become a starter, and he has versatility, so I like this pick for the Packers. Finally.
Round 6, 208th overall, Jake Hanson, Oregon, Center
Jake Hanson was a four-year starter while at Oregon. He is a tough interior offensive line and gives high effort. His abilities should translate well to the Packers zone blocking scheme.
Once again, this selection appears to be looking towards the future. Packers starting center Corey Linsley is entering the final year of his contract. Instead of helping the current Packers chances of winning, Gutekunst decides possibly to be looking towards the future.
NFLroughdraft.com projected Hanson to go in the sixth round.
LWOS Grade: Expected Slot
Walterfootball.com on the selection of Hanson: I like this pick for the Packers, so they’ve finally rebounded. It’s too late, unfortunately. Nevertheless, Jake Hanson is a solid center who can eventually emerge as a starter if he improves his strength.
Round 6, 209th overall, Simon Stepaniak, Indiana, Offensive Tackle
Simon Stepaniak fits into the mold for what LaFleur is looking for in an offensive lineman. Listed as a tackle by some, he played guard at Indiana. He moves well and has good balance. Those are the attributes that fit well in the Packers zone block scheme.
Stepaniak was the third offensive lineman taken by the Packers in the sixth round. With the selection of Runyan and Stepaniak, it appears that Lane Taylor and Cole Madison‘s time in Green Bay might be coming to an end.
NFLroughdraft.com projected Stepaniak to be an undrafted free agent.
LWOS Grade: Reach
WalterFootball.com on the selection of Stepaniak: The Packers continue to bolster their offensive line depth well with a player who is versatile. Simon Stepaniak can play guard or right tackle, and he projects as a good run blocker. Pass protection must improve, so he’s a project.
Round 7, 236th overall, Vernon Scott, Safety, LSU
Researching Vernon Scott turned out to be a very difficult task. That doesn’t bode well for Gutekunst and his selection of Scott in the seventh round.
Scott played three seasons for TCU. In his three seasons at TCU, he registered 58 tackles, one sack, and two interceptions. He has good size for a safety and draftscout.com had him down with a 4.46 in the 40-yard dash. Most likely, Scott became an addition to the Packers draft class because his capabilities project well for their special teams unit.
Draftscout.com projected Scott as an undrafted free agent.
LWOS Grade: Reach
Walterfootball.com on the selection of Scott: I didn’t view Vernon Scott as a draftable prospect. He’ll be able to play on special teams, but I wouldn’t count on him making the 53-man roster.
Round 7, 242nd overall, Jonathan Garvin, Outside Linebacker, Miami
Jonathan Garvin entered the NFL draft after his junior campaign. For all of the Packers draft picks, we are most intrigued by the selection of Garvin.
This past off-season, the Packers lost backup Kyler Fackrell in free agency. That leaves last year’s first-round draft pick Rashan Gary as the primary backup to starters Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith. While Garvin will take time to develop, he has the skill set to be a part of the Packers outside linebacker rotation.
NFLroughdraft.com projected Garvin as a third-fourth round selection.
LWOS Grade: Steal
Walterfootball.com on the selection of Garvin: Jonathan Garvin was a very inconsistent player at Miami. He has nice ability, so if he’s coached up, he could be a valuable rotational piece in the edge-rushing group.
Summary of 2020 Packers Draft
Set aside that Gutekunst passed up on the opportunity to make the wide receiver position better. Then passed on spending a high pick on the inside linebacker position. And finally, didn’t select an offensive tackle they can groom to take over for the now starter Rick Wagner. The value of the picks that Gutekunst made just weren’t there.
For Packers fans, they are hoping that Gutekunst knows what he is doing. But it appears he reached on a majority of his picks and bypassed addressing immediate needs. Here is hoping that Aaron Rodgers has been working out his shoulders. It appears once again he will be carrying this franchise.