After the dust has settled, the Green Bay Packers 2020 NFL Draft class ranks among the worst in the league and still has Packers Nation shaking their heads at what transpired over the weekend.
A record 37 receivers were selected in a receiver rich draft, but none of those 36 went to the Packers, who entered the draft needing to add help on the outside to improve the arsenal with which Aaron Rodgers has to work with.
The Packers traded a 4th round pick to move up from 30th to 26th in the first round and selected Utah State quarterback Jordan Love. General Manager Brian Gutekunst had given us some clues over the previous three weeks that he would at least consider such a move. We all shook it off as a smoke screen, because the Packers have Aaron Rodgers under contract for the next four years.
The scenario was similar when the Packers used the 24th pick in the first round on Aaron Rodgers back in 2005, when Brett Favre was still going strong. But that move turned out alright, so we move on.
Certainly, after taking a quarterback in the opening round, we all thought there’s no way the Packers wouldn’t come out of day two without a wide receiver. What we heard from GM Brian Gutekunst after selecting Boston College running back A.J. Dillon in the second round and Cincinnati h-back Josiah DeGuara was that they selected the highest rated players on their board.
The Packers didn’t have a fourth round pick to start day three, but had six selections in rounds five through seven. Yet no wide receivers. Gutekunst said by the time the Packers got to the fifth round, they didn’t feel taking a wide receiver would have had any kind of immediate impact.
Six of the nine Packers draft picks were offensive players, including three offensive linemen, all on day three.
The Packers defense was blown up in the NFC Championship game by the San Francisco 49ers. Yet even after losing Blake Martinez in agency, they didn’t select a linebacker (Minnesota’s Kamal Martin) until the fifth round. They didn’t select a defensive lineman until plucking Miami defensive end Jonathan Garvin with the 242nd overall pick in round seven.
Gutekunst is excited about his draft class and felt he stayed disciplined in not reaching for positions of need.
The Packers went all in when they extended Aaron Rodgers contract, making him one of the highest paid players in the game. Then they stuck to their board and didn’t go all in, when it comes to surrounding Rodgers with the weapons he’s lacked the last couple of years.
It is quite clear that Matt LaFleur wants to turn the Packers roster into the Midwest version of the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers run the ball well and use play-action passes to hit big plays.
Adding a third running back to the stable gives the Packers a power back and could help them in short yardage. That was a struggle last season. DeGuara’s selection gives LaFleur a player that fits the mold of the 49ers Kyle Juszczyk.
Will the Packers roster change moving forward? It’s possible Gutekunst isn’t done adding players. But selecting a quarterback for the future in the opening round, the Packers draft class doesn’t appear to be rich with immediate help.
That means on defense, Mike Pettine is going to have to come up with the answers through scheme and get better production from his current roster. And while their appears to be more of a commitment to the running game ahead, the current batch of receivers, many of which are in their second and third years, are going to have to be much improved if the Packers are going to catch the 49ers for NFC supremacy.
Matt LaFleur takes his offense into a second year, which should mean improvement. The same goes for Aaron Rodgers in the second year of that system. We should see improvement there as well.
In the end, the Packers draft wasn’t a favorable one according to the experts. But I’m not a firm believer in believing everything the experts say and history would back that up.
So the 2020 draft class is on the clock. We’ll know best, just how this group rates in 2-3 years. But getting some immediate help from a few of their draft picks is usually a determining factor in just how well their season might go.