Packers Board For The 2022 NFL Draft: Offense

Utah State QB Jordan Love was atop the Packers draft board in 2020
Credit: Packerwire

So it is time for my annual Packers NFL draft board. This will be the second time that I will be producing it publicly. I used to make one and keep it for myself, but decided too many fans out there did not understand how the Packers approached the draft.

With that being said on last year’s draft board I had four guys that the Packers ended up picking- Cornerback Eric Stokes, offensive linemen Royce Newman and Cole Van Lanen, and running back Kylin Hill. You can also find my previous article on how the Packers are expected to approach the draft.

My formula is a combination of film prep and measurements. I take a player’s
height, weight, athletic testing, and in certain positions length and compare
it to the established thresholds that the Packers use. Brian Gutekunst has
pretty much confirmed that the old thresholds that were established under Wolf
and Thompson are still being used.

Looking at his drafts that is both true and not true. As a result he has made some adjustments and is a lot more flexible than Ted was. Thompson was pretty rigid on sticking to them.

Packer Draft Board Process

For this year’s list, I am adding arm length at certain positions: namely
offensive line, defensive back, and defensive line/edge. I am also adding a
section for players who are a bit outside the thresholds but still could be on
their board.

We do not have access to medical or personal information on players, so some of these guys may not be on the Packers board due to those issues. There are some players with known character issues, and they will be marked. The Packers tend to shy away from those types. Also, anyone who is should be gone before pick 22 will not be included, so no Aidan Hutchinson, Sauce Gardner, Kyle Hamilton, etc…

If something happens and the Packers move up I will update this article. There will be an asterisk next to players with incomplete athletic profiles and players who look like they are still on the Packers draft board but we don’t know 100%. The Players are in RAS order just because it’s honestly easier to organize it that way. Also, players in red are borderline with one or more of their tests or measurements. If you would like to learn more about RAS, you can read all about it on Kent’s website. Let’s get to the list.

2022 Packers NFL Draft Board

Quarterbacks

The Packers are unlikely to take one unless someone drops to day three — or Jordan Love gets traded. I included them just in case. The Packers generally like quarterbacks who have some athleticism at least and they like them at least 6’1 210+.

  • EJ Perry – Brown – 9.43
  • Brandon Peters – Illinois – 8.86
  • Joe Mancuso – Richmond – 8.37
  • Jack Coan – Notre Dame – 7.68
  • *Anthony Brown – Oregon – 7.46
  • *Chris Oladokun – South Dakota State – 7.33

Running backs

Running backs are kind of similar to quarterbacks. The Packers have four NFL backs on their roster. However, Aaron Jones’ cap hit shoots up in 2023, so he is a potential cap casualty next off-season and Hill is coming off a torn ACL. They may take a running back, but I feel it’s more of a 2023 draft pick. The Packers tend to like their backs 5’10+ and 210+, with a sub 4.6 40-yard dash, 9’7″ or higher broad jump, and a 3-cone of 7.2 or lower.

  • *Breece Hall – Iowa State – 9.96
  • *Rachaad White – ASU – 9.88
  • Master Teague – OSU – 9.84
  • Zander Horvath – Purdue – 9.83
  • *Zamir White – Georgia – 9.82
  • Bryant Koback – Toledo – 9.72
  • Maurice Burkley – Louisville – 9.56
  • Pierre Strong – South Dakota State – 9.34 (weight)
  • *Kenneth Walker – MSU – 9.26
  • Isaih Pacheco – Rutgers – 8.85
  • *James Cook – Georgia – 8.77 (weight)
  • Kevin Brown – Incarnate Word – 8.73 (height)
  • Keontay Ingram – USC – 8.68
  • Kingston Davis – Miles – 8.11
  • Marcus Williams Jr. – Louisiana Tech – 7.82
  • Abdul Adams – Syracuse – 7.61
  • Max Borghi – Washington State – 7.54
  • Tyler Allgeier – BYU – 7.39
  • Jordan Mason – Georgia Tech – 7.12
  • Jerome Ford – Cincinnati – 6.94 (vertical)
  • Tyrion Davis-Price – LSU – 6.69 ( vertical )
  • Brian Robinson – Alabama – 6.61 (short shuttle, 3 cone)
  • Ty Chandler – North Carolina – 6.38 (3 cone)

Wide Receivers

We all know the Packers need to fill out the receiver room even, with the Sammy Watkins signing. He is just a short-term band-aid. They are likely to add at least two receivers, maybe three in the draft. The Packers and their thresholds at the receiver position are one of the most hotly debated things amongst Packers fans.

It has been well established that they like their receivers 6’0+ 195+ with a 40 of 4.5 or better and a 3-cone 7.00 or faster, with an overall RAS of 8 or better. Their thresholds are around 5’9 190, 4.6 40-yard dash, and a 3-cone of 7.08. A willing blocker is also a must.

There are some players who the Packers have had in for visits, guys like Velus Jones and Tyquan Thorton, who fall short on the agility drills or weight. The reason for the visits may be to throw other teams off, a need to clear up some background information, or to get information on a player they may be facing in their division soon. I have heard that teams do these things.

  • Christian Watson – NDSU – 9.96
  • Kevin Austin – Notre Dame – 9.94
  • Dareke Young – Lenoir-Rhyne – 9.93
  • Alec Pierce – Cincinnati – 9.82
  • Brenden Schooler – Texas – 9.78
  • Andre Miller – Maine – 9.6
  • Tyshaun James – Central Connecticut State – 9.55 (short shuttle)
  • *George Pickens – Georgia – 9.37
  • Bo Melton – Rutgers – 9.25
  • *Keshunn Abram – Kent State – 9.2
  • Jalen Virgil – Appalachian State – 9.16 ( short shuttle )
  • *Jalen Martin – Pittsburg State – 8.97 ( 40 )
  • Tanner Conner – Idaho State – 8.83 ( short shuttle)
  • Lanc McCutcheon – Montana State – 8.67
  • Jalen Tolbert – South Alabama – 8.62
  • Cyrus Holder – Duquesne – 8.37
  • Sy Barnett – Ferris State – 8.11
  • Thomas Reid III – Arizona – 8.06 ( short shuttle )
  • Jared Wyatt – New Mexico State – 8
  • Riley Boersma – Regina – 7.79 ( height )
  • Phazion McClurge – Indiana State – 7.69
  • Braylon Sanders – Mississippi – 7.61
  • Skky Moore – Western Michigan – 7.59 ( height )
  • Dennis Houston – Western Illinois – 7.58 ( short shuttle, 3-cone)
  • Jake Parker – Howard Payne – 7.26 ( 40 )
  • Samori Toure – Nebraska – 6.14

Also, there were some wide receivers who didn’t workout that I expect to be on Packers draft board.  Guys like Romeo Dubs and Drake London.

Tight ends

When it comes to tight ends the Packers are not very particular. They tend to go for guys with decent size, 6’4-6’6, and that weight 245+. The average RAS score from Thompson through Gutekunst is 6.08. They do like tight ends who can do a little of everything. With LaFleur, they have expanded to guys whow are 6’3 and have used them in the h-back role.

  • Jelani Woods – Virginia – 10
  • Daniel Bellinger – San Diego State – 9.66
  • *Jamal Pettigrew – McNeese State – 9.38
  • Andrew Ogletree – Youngstown State – 9.35 ( 3-cone )
  • Charlie Kolar – Iowa State – 9.11
  • Lucas Krull – Pittsburgh – 9.07
  • Ben Beise – Wisconsin-River Falls – 8.82 ( height )
  • Peyton Hendershot – Indiana – 8.4
  • Greg Dulcich – UCLA – 8.25
  • *Trey McBride – Colorado State – 8.2
  • Josh Babicz – North Dakota State – 8.14 ( 40 )
  • Austin Allen – Nebraska – 8.08
  • Zaire Mitchell – Florida Atlantic – 7.96
  • Seth Green – Houston – 7.84 ( weight )
  • Curtis Hodges – Arizona State – 7.39
  • Cole Turner – Nevada – 7.38
  • Chase Allen – Iowa State – 7.33
  • Jake Ferguson – Wisconsin – 6.75
  • Chigoziem Okonkwo – Maryland – 6.47 ( height, weight )

     

Similar with tight ends as with wide receivers, I expect Cade Otton, Jeremy Ruckert, and James Mitchell to be on the Packers draft board.

Offensive tackles

There are some differences in how the Packers scout their offensive tackles versus their interior offensive linemen with regards to things like arm length, and just athletic testing in general. They are a lot more forgiving on the interior versus outside.

Any offensive tackles who could end up at other positions will be noted after their RAS score, along with what their score would be at that position. The Packers tend to like their tackles with 33 1/4″ arms or longer and over 300 pounds, a 3-cone of 7.7 or faster, and a sub 5.2 40.

  • Matt Waletzko – North Dakota – 9.96
  • Trevor Penning – Northern Iowa – 9.95
  • Abraham Lucas – Washington State – 9.73
  • Zach Tom – Wake Forest – 9.59 (center: 10)
  • Tristen Taylor – Eastern Washington – 9.52
  • Ryan Van Demark – UConn – 9.44
  • Tanner Owen – Northwest Missouri State – 9.47
  • Blaise Andries – Minnesota – 9.30 (OG: 9.81)
  • Devin Cochran – Georgia Tech – 9.17
  • Tyler Smith – Tulsa – 8.77 ( OG: 9.62)
  • Logan Bruss – Wisconsin – 8.76 ( OG: 9.62 )
  • Chris Paul – Tulsa – 8.56 ( OG: 9.45)
  • Braxton Jones – Southern Utah – 8.44 ( short shuttle )
  • Uzo Osuji – Boise State – 8.35 ( short shuttle )
  • Lewis Kidd – Montana State – 8.05
  • Clayton Bradley – UNLV – 8 ( short shuttle, 3-cone )
  • Derek Kerstetter – Texas – 7.83
  • *Jean Delance – Florida – 6.77
  • *Spencer Burford – UTSA – 6.7

Interior offensive line

Similar to offensive tackles, the Packers have their standards. The difference is they are a little more forgiving on 40 times and arm length. Outside of three times in the past they have only taken guards with tackle experience. There will be some tackles on this list due to their short arms. Players with a (C) next to their names are primarily centers.

  • Bernard Raimann – Central Michigan – 9.97
  • Cole Strange – Chattanooga – 9.95
  • Cameron Jurgens (C) – Nebraska – 9.94
  • Kellen Diesch – Arizona State – 9.89
  • Sebastian Gutierrez – Minot State – 9.84
  • Nick Zakelj – Fordham – 9.83
  • Zion Johnson – Boston College – 9.75
  • Dawson Deaton (C) – Texas Tech – 9.7
  • Wesley French – Western Michigan – 9.65
  • Luke Wattenberg (C) – Washington – 9.59
  • Jake Dixon – Duquesne – 9.41 (3-cone )
  • Sean Rhyan – UCLA – 9.33
  • Derek Schwieger – Iowa State – 9.27
  • Zach Thomas – SDSU – 9
  • Denzel Okafor – Texas – 8.95
  • Dylan Parham (C) – Memphis – 8.52
  • Kody Russey (C) – Houston – 8.71 ( 3-cone )
  • Josh Seltztner – Wisconsin – 8.71
  • Zein Obeid – Ferris State – 8.53
  • Doug Kramer (C) – Illinois – 8.46 ( 3-cone )
  • Alec Lindstrom (C) – Boston College – 8.35
  • Josh Ezeudu – North Carolina – 8.32
  • Shamarious Gilmore – Georgia State – 8.2
  • Hayden Howerton – SMU – 8.06
  • Curtis Blackwell – Ball State – 8.05
  • Ja’Tyre Carter – Southern – 7.76 ( short shuttle )
  • Bobby DeHaro – UTEP – 7.9
  • Andrew Rupcich – Culver-Stockton – 7.72 ( short shuttle, 3-cone )
  • Cade Mays – Tennessee – 7.56

Post Davante Adams Trade Mock Draft

Photo Credit: Sports Pulse, USA Today

Since this is the first Packers mock draft I am doing after the Davante Adams trade, I will not being doing any trades. Not until I get a good feel for who’s available and where I feel they can make a move up or down.

This mock was done assuming a few things. First, that Rasul Douglas would be re-signed. Second, that the Packers would sign a veteran wide receiver in free agency. Someone like a Juju Smith-Schuster, Julio Jones, AJ Green, etc.

For this Packers mock draft, I used the Pro Football Network mock draft simulator. Now to the mock and my thoughts afterwards.

Packers mock draft results
Packers mock draft results
Pick 22:

I took Jermaine Johnson to kick off this Packers mock draft because he was too good of a player to pass up. He just turned 23 in January, so he would be the oldest first round pick by Brian Gutekunst, but the guy is probably the third-best complete EDGE in the class. He provides depth as a rookie that they haven’t had in a long time.

Pick 28:

Tyler Smith would obviously be the right tackle of the future. He may not be ready to start as a rookie, but the guy is a beast and a worker. Smith is an athletic freak and will turn 21 on April 1st. He also has some positional versatility and could play guard, if need be. He fits the Gutey mold.

Pick 53:

Nick Cross may not be there at 53. Rumors are NFL teams are a lot higher on him than Draft Twitter. But I took him with the chance of him being able to finally bring stability to the third safety role, and also allow Savage to play in the slot. This would give the Packers one of the best secondary groups in the league.

Pick 59:

With the Packers bringing in a vet “#1 receiver”, this would allow George Pickens to have time to develop as the #3 receiver to start with, behind the vet and Allen Lazard/Randall Cobb. He brings some similar elements as Marquez Valdes-Scantling, in that he is a deep threat and a great blocker.

Pick 92:

Erik Ezukanma brings future #2 receiver potential. He fits the Gutey mold for the type of receivers he likes. He’s big, strong, a good athlete, a decent blocker, and gets YAC. He can spend his rookie year as the #4/gadget receiver.

Pick 132:

Thomas Booker provides depth on the defensive line and adds some pass rush help for Kenny Clark. They should be okay at nose with Tedarrell Slaton and Clark both getting snaps there.

Pick 140:

Cole Turner gives the Packers the seam-stretching tight end that has been missing from the offense for years — since Jermichael Finley. He also provides a great red zone threat.

Pick 171:

Zach Tom is another fit for the type of offensive linemen that Gutey likes to draft. He just needs some development. He could even move inside to guard if tackle doesn’t work out. With Yosuah Nijman being the only returning tackle with experience behind David Bakhtiari, the Packers need more depth.

Pick 228:

Matt Araiza is the best punter in the NFL draft with a cannon for a leg. He has launched a couple 80-yard boomers. He also has experience kicking off, so he could do that to let Mason Crosby rest his leg. The Packers did sign Pat O’Donnell, but he’s been average to below-average his career. Araiza would be better as a rookie.

Pick 249:

Zach VanVelkenburg would be a good fit as another depth piece. He is a good run defender, and can rush the passer a little. None of the Packers’ current back-ups have shown much. He would fight it out with Jonathan Garvin for the #4 edge spot.

Pick 258:

Kevin Austin closes out this Packers mock draft. He is big, strong, fast, and a good blocker. Very much a Gutey pick. He could return kicks if Kylin Hill is not ready. Austin would also be a very good special teams player, which he has experience with. He could be another Jeff Janis with down-the-road potential as a receiver.

Raiders Pull Off Blockbuster trade for Davante Adams

New Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams
Photo Credit: Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Just as Raider Nation was getting over the excitement of the Chandler Jones signing, something bigger, and somehow even more surprising happened. Josh McDaniels, Dave Ziegler, and the Raiders traded for one of the best wide receivers in the league, Davante Adams.

Last week, Adams received a franchise tag from the Green Bay Packers, seemingly tying him to the organization through the 2022 season. This week, Adams informed Green Bay he would not play under the franchise tag. Since then, it was relatively quiet out of Wisconsin. There was a widespread belief that Adams and the Packers brass would reach a deal, and he would continue his Hall of Fame level career in the green and yellow, much to the dismay of Raiders fans everywhere.

On Thursday, McDaniels and Ziegler pulled off the seemingly impossible as they traded a total of two draft picks in return for Adams.

The terms of the trade

Davante Adams will head to the Raiders on a 5-year, $141 million deal. This contract makes him by far the highest-paid wide receiver in NFL history. He is tied to the Silver and Black through the 2026 season.

In exchange for Adams, the Raiders sent over their 2022 first-round draft pick and their 2022 second-round draft pick. All things considered, this trade was a massive steal for owner Mark Davis and his new staff.

The full contract is still yet to be released but check back once the terms are announced for a full breakdown.

Adams’ career thus far

Davante Adams was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2014, where he has spent the first eight seasons of his career. He has achieved a 1000 yard-season three times, falling short of the 1000-yard mark by just three yards on two separate occasions, per Pro Football Reference. In 2021, Adams had a monstrous 1553 yards on 123 receptions, resulting in 11 touchdowns.

The superstar wide receiver has received a Pro-Bowl nod 5 times, with two All-Pro selections. This past season, he received a 92.7 overall grade, allowing for a 117.4 passer rating when targeted, per PFF.

Adams is widely regarded as one of the most talented receivers in the league year after year.

Derek Carr and Davante Adams go way back

Raiders QB Derek Carr has an extensive relationship with his new WR1. The two played together at Fresno State University before heading to the NFL. Since then, it has always been a far-fetched dream for the two to reunite, but now it’s a reality.

Carr was quick to welcome Adams to Raider Nation with a Facetime call where his excitement was palpable.

“Welcome Home” Carr tweeted to Adams after the trade was announced.

It has been reported that the Green Bay Packers were willing to pay Adams the same amount of money — or more — the Raiders were offering. Adams chose to pack up and start anew in Las Vegas to have the chance to play with his college QB once again.

McDaniels and Ziegler have stolen the hearts of Raiders fans this week. Look for that to continue down the stretch as they push to bring home Sin City’s first Super Bowl title.

Packers Mock Draft: Post-Combine Edition

With this Packers mock draft, I tried to draft players for an all-in season. With Aaron Rodgers saying he will be back and Davante Adams getting tagged, I am making a few assumptions in free agency.

First, the Packers find away to keep Devondre Campbell on a long-term deal. Whitney Mercilus, Robert Tonyan, Mason Crosby, Randall Cobb, and Marcedes Lewis are brought back for one more season. All restricted and exclusive rights free agents are back. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Corey Bojorquez, Za’Darius Smith, Rasul Douglas, Equanimeous St. Brown, Oren Burks, Tyler Lancaster, Chandon Sullivan, Lucas Patrick, Kevin King, and Dennis Kelly are gone.

I used the Mock Draft Simulator at Pro Football Network. I traded down from #28 to #35 and got back #69. Additionally, I traded Jordan Love to Atlanta for their 2nd round pick #43. Now to the Packers mock draft.

Round 2, Pick 35: Cameron Thomas – Edge – San Diego State

Cameron Thomas may not have the upside of some of the other edge defenders, but he is more pro ready. He could step right into the 3rd rusher spot with out a problem as a rookie. With his nose tackle history, he can also slide inside like Rashan Gary and Z did.

Round 2, Pick 43: Alec Pierce – WR – Cincinnati
Cincinnati WR Alec Pierce goes to the Packers in this mock draft
Credit: Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Alec Pierce is a player I have been comparing to Jordy Nelson since October. Pierce is not a 1:1 comp because he has better straight line speed but is not as agile as Jordy was. He is not the same YAC threat. He could come in and immediately take over the MVS role, with the potential to take over as the #2 job in 2023.

Round 2, Pick 59: Logan Hall – DL – Houston

Logan Hall would immediately be able to team with Kenny Clark to give him some help and also pressure the quarterback. He is a little undersized at 283, but has the frame to play at 290 lbs. He can also stop the run. Going with Clark, Hall, Dean Lowry, and Tedarrell Slaton would give the packers a solid defensive line rotation.

Round 3, Pick: 69: Nick Cross – Safety – Maryland
Credit: G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images

Nick Cross is the first player I have ever scouted who actually reminded me a lot of Nick Collins. He has similar size and athleticism. His skill set is also somewhat similar. He brings the versatility to play strong safety and slot, although his best spot is free safety. They could team him, Darnell Savage, and Adrian Amos at safety and they would be the best safety group in the NFL.

Round 3, Pick 92: Erik Ezukanma – WR – Texas Tech

Erik Ezukanma would give the Packers the type of receiver they usually draft. He’s a 6’2″ 209 lbs receiver with 33″ arms who is a good blocker and gets YAC. He still needs some development on his route running. He could spend his rookie year as the #4/5 receiver and contribute on special teams.

Round 4, Pick 131: Austin Allen – TE – Nebraska
Credit: David Berding/Getty Images

The choice was between Austin Allen and Jelani Woods — who has more upside, but is also more raw as a receiver. Since this is an all-in season, I went with the more experienced, more ready to play Allen. Allen has similar size and skill set to a younger Marcedes Lewis. He’s a big tight end who can block and also contribute in the passing game.

Round 4, Pick 140: Alontae Taylor – CB – Tennessee

Alontae Taylor fits the Packers profile at cornerback. He is big and fast. He could play some slot, and would provide depth to a position that is lacking depth outside of Jaire Alexander and Eric Stokes. The former Volunteer would immediately be the Packers #3 corner.

Round 5, Pick 171: Zachary Thomas – OL – San Diego State
Credit: Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Zachary Thomas, the brother of Cam Thomas, is a Packers offensive lineman to a T. He has good size, is a very good athlete, and has experience at both tackle and guard spots. The Packers would bring him in to potentially be the right tackle of the future. If that doesn’t work out, he could be a really good guard.

Round 7, Pick 226: Blaise Andries – OL – Minnesota

Blaise Andries is similar to Thomas, in that he could play right tackle or he could end up as a guard. He has good size at 6’6″ and good athleticism, but his arms are just under 34″ in length. At worst you have a versatile guard with him who can fill in at right tackle if need be.

Round 7, Pick 247: Aaron Hansford – LB – Texas A&M
Credit: Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Aaron Hansford has good size and is a good athlete. However, he has an injury history. If he can come in and show he’s healthy, he could be a steal. He would be there to help on special teams as a rookie, and be the team’s #4 linebacker.

Round 7, Pick 258: Matt Araiza – P – San Diego State

We finish our Packers mock draft with “The Punt God”, Matt Araiza. The Packers decide to keep Crosby one more season and replace Bojo with a better punter. Araiza has a cannon for a leg and is consistent. He is not JK Scott 2.0. He can also kick off and kick field goals in a pinch. If Crosby struggles again, Araiza can take over the kicking duties.

How Will The Packers Approach The Draft?

Packers NFL Draft
Photo Credit: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the 2022 NFL draft coming up in April there are two ways in which Packers GM Brian Gutekunst may approach it.

But first, let’s establish some facts. Gutekunst has drafted 37 players in his time as GM since 2018. There was a pattern to his first three drafts.

The Packers NFL Draft Approach in 2018-2020

As some Packers fans know, there was a draft pattern that developed over his first three drafts from 2018-2020. 22 out of 25 picks had RAS (Relative Athletic Score) scores of 8.0 or higher. A number of high-profile Packer bloggers caught on to that and mentioned it in their writings.

With that being said, let’s preface this before people start freaking out about RAS. This is not to say the Packers are going on http://ras.football, typing a player’s name in, and if their score was over 8 they put him on their board. The Packers have their own draft methods that none of us are privy to. But that pattern does show there is something similar they are looking for in players: athleticism and RAS.

What is RAS?

Each player gets a number assigned to them after they do all their workouts at the NFL Combine or their pro day. All their workout numbers are put into a formula and it comes up with a number. It is a 0-10 number. It is a scale of how athletic that player is in relation to his peers at his position. A 10, of course, would be the elite of the elite athlete, and a 0 would be a very poor athlete.

Another fact to establish: Does Brian Gutekunst and the front office / scouts know what RAS is?

Most definitely. It would be naïve to think they didn’t. Teams have been known to purchase draft guides. Teams also will interview a prospect’s elementary school teacher. The draft is a huge investment for teams. They want to get as much information as possible to eliminate as many mistakes as they can. Also, the creator of RAS, Kent Lee Platte, has stated he has had NFL scouts contact him before. So teams do know about it.

What happened in 2021?

Packers 2021 NFL Draft Class RAS (source: ras.footall)

If we look at the 2021 draft, it seems like there was a bit of a switch in the Packers’ philosophy. Out of the seven picks who had RAS scores, only three scored an 8.0 or higher. Tedarrell Slaton was close with a 7.96. Even if we include him, that is four out of seven. A bit of a departure from previous years. So the question becomes “what happened?” Was there a major switch in how the front office approaches the draft?

The answer is no. The old saying applies here “A leopard can not change its spots.” Gutekunst, and the vast majority of the scouts, hail from the Ted Thompson / Ron Wolf tree. If you go back and look, Thompson and Wolf valued athletes. So then what happened?

The answer

The 2021 draft was a continuation of their “all-in approach.” If you look at a number of the players drafted in ’21, they are guys with a lot of experience. Guys with a high floor. Guys who could fill certain roles, but maybe didn’t have the athletic upside of previous draft picks — but also didn’t have the same ‘bust potential’. Let’s talk about some examples:

Josh Myers:

The Packers drafted him over the more highly thought of Creed Humphrey. The same one who scored a 10 on the RAS scale and was thought to be the #1 center in the draft. Many wondered why. The reason?

Higher floor and experience in the same zone-blocking scheme the Packers run. Humphrey played in a man scheme. So the Packers valued Josh Myers’ NFL zone-blocking readiness to Humphrey’s potential, even though he scored out as a lesser athlete.

Amari Rodgers:

Amari Rodgers tested out pretty average. Which seemed weird, since all the wide receivers Gutey had drafted before all scored over 8 on the RAS scale. The Packers also traded up for him. Nico Collins and Anthony Schwartz were still on the board. So then, why did they draft someone so different from previous receivers?

Similar reasons to Myers. He had a lot of experience at a big program and could fill a very specific role, even if his athletic limitations put a damper on his upside. He could return punts and play slot. Cobb wasn’t on the roster at the time, and they wanted someone to come in and fill that role as a rookie.

Shemar Jean-Charles:

Shemar Jean-Charles was another “all-in” pick, even though he tested out below average in athleticism and was a bit on the small side for their usual defensive back picks at 184 pounds (they usually draft guys 190+). There were guys who scored a lot higher in athleticism and even size. Players like Brandin Echols, Hamsah Nasirildeen, Rodarius Williams, and Rachad Wildgoose. The reason they took Jean-Charles?

Again, experience and fit. He had a lot of special teams experience, and that is what he was drafted for. He may never be more than a #4 corner and special teamer, and that’s fine because that is what they drafted him for.

Isaiah McDuffie:

While not the average to below-average athlete some of the others are, McDuffie is still an outlier for a normal Gutekunst linebacker pick. Gutey’s, and even Thompson’s, MO at linebacker has been guys with solid size — in the 6’1+ 235+ pound range.

McDuffie falls a bit short of that at 227 — and a pumped up 227 at that — where his frame is pretty maxed out. His upside is probably limited due to his size and poor agility. But again, that’s not why he was drafted. He was drafted to play special teams, and maybe be a #4 linebacker.

Finally to the Options:

Which option the Packers take relies on one person: Aaron Rodgers. Whether he’s back or he retires / is traded will tell us which approach the Packers and Gutekust likely go with.

“All-in” approach

With this approach, we will probably see a similar draft to 2021. A few highly-athletic players with upside, and a number of ‘role players’ or ‘pro-ready’ type guys to fill specific roles and help the team get to a Super Bowl in 2022.

The Rebuild approach

This is if Rodgers is gone. If he is gone, the Packers are not a Super bowl contender in 2022 — and probably not even 2023. So why take a bunch of guys with limited upside who won’t grow with your young roster? If this happens we will see the Packers return to their approach from 2018-2020.