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Forming Opinions and Finding Day 1 Starters From This Year's Draft Class

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Forming Opinions and Finding Day 1 Starters From This Year's Draft Class

Forming Opinions:

The Imperfections of Mock Drafts:

With the 2019 NFL Draft finally, in the books, we can all burn our mock drafts and admit we got it completely wrong.  I think it is safe to say that projections and evaluations are helpful but by no means are they gospel when trying to predict where each prospect will end up.  For next year's draft, we should all keep this in mind before mud slinging the Cheesehead TV reporters for their predictions.  

Brian Gutekunst's Obsession with Relative Athletic Scores:

Brian Gutekunst's second draft at the helm showed us all that he clearly has a type of player he covets, and that type is a high ceiling player with incredible relative athletic scores.  

Gutekunst, for the most part, has put all of his eggs in the RAS score basket during the past two drafts with the selections of RAS phenoms like EQSB, James Looney, Kendall Donnerson, Oren Burks, MVS, and Rashan Gary.  The next two seasons of this rebuild (yes, this is a moderate rebuild) will determine whether this method of evaluating talent can actually yield a draft full of impact players.  

Simply put, Brian Gutekunst will either be revered as a genius or be ridiculed as a jackass for the selections he made based on the RAS model.  Only time will tell how kind history will be towards him, and as usual, we all have to just wait and see, which is almost the equivalent of the Packer motto of draft and develop.

Finding Day 1 Starters From This Year's Draft:

1. Elgton Jenkins:  Elgton Jenkins was one of Gutekunst's safest picks of the draft.  He was highly touted coming out of arguably the best conference (SEC) in college football going toe to toe against some of the nation's most elite defenses.  He was the anchor of Mississippi St's offensive line and simply did not allow quarterback pressures from the interior.  

Jenkins is a mobile, durable, and versatile player who will be a valuable member of the Packers offensive line for the next decade.  He will fit in well with his versatility to play multiple positions on the offensive line.  I personally envision Jenkins beginning the 2019 season as the Packers starting right guard and moving around the line based on where there is a need.  

The bottom line is Jenkins clearly has a solid chance of being another stabilizing force on the offensive line which is sorely needed.

2. Darnell Savage: With the Packers safety position group playing so dreadfully last season, Darnell Savage and the Packers were a perfect fit for each other.  With the team making a splash in free agency by signing Adrian Amos, Brian Gutekunst was tasked with finding another young safety in this year's draft to pair alongside Amos in order to make the transformation of the position group complete.  Darnell Savage checks all the boxes of what the Packers were looking for.  

He has all of the skills to cover any route because of his combination of speed and fluidity.  His ball skills are second to none as he can stay with receivers on deep routes and can also make plays coming back to the football.  Savage has a very high football IQ which will allow him to quickly transition to the pro game and make an immediate impact in the Packers secondary.

3. I do not necessarily think Rashan Gary will be a day 1 starter:  With the additions of the Smith's, the emergence of Kyler "Sackrell", and the dominance of the Packers front line, I think Rashan Gary starts the 2019 season as a key reserve who will see time up front as well as rushing the passer.  

There is a lot for Gary to learn and clean up as well as a lot of questions to answer, like why he was not as productive at Michigan as he should have been.  At any rate, Mike Pettine and Mike Smith will mold and develop Gary into a player they can use in multiple different packages.

The good news is, Gary will not have to be the savior of the Packers defense during his rookie year.  Instead, he will have the ability to use this season as a time to develop in Pettine's system before being given a more vital role.     

During the next few seasons, we will ultimately form our own opinions of the Gutekunst regime and the players he has brought in during his tenure.  The hope is, he will be the leader to bring the Packers back to their winning ways once again.


David Michalski is a staff writer for Cheesehead TV. He can be found on Twitter @kilbas27dave 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (124) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

RWood832's picture

Jenkins was a great addition to the Packers offensive line. The only comment I have on your article David is that I foresee him being the starting Left Guard with the free agent signee Billy Turner starting at Right Guard. Because Billy is the most likely fill in at right tackle if BB cannot go, GB will want to keep Turner on the right side of the line. Unless Lane Taylor gets his mojo back this offseason, he could be a salary cap casualty. Patrick and McCray would probably be the interior back up players in that instance. I hope Cole Madison develops as they hope - maybe he can be one of the potential T backups if Spriggs shows he cannot be counted on. I am still of the opinion that Spriggs will have increased his strength and improved his technique to stay on the team. He would have been a target for Gutekunst this year given his RAS score and the move offense that MLF will run.

Coldworld's picture

I think Turner is going to start somewhere even if we are at full health. Personally, I think that will be at right guard as well. The difference is I think Taylor will start at left and Jenkins will be the man in reserve, with Turner kicking out to tackle. Madison will be the next man up after Jenkins.

zeroluv's picture

I think they need to start Taylor Lane to try to get some of his value back as long as he can play like 2017 Taylor Lane. He is going on 30 and has two more years left on his deal at a value price. If he can show he can get back to 2017 levels....he can be traded mid season. If not...he will be a backup making 5 million which isn’t optimal but won’t kill the team. Jenkins getting some backup time to learn the NFL speed and adjust to it would be beneficial. That would be the perfect scenario.

dobber's picture

I think you're right in that RG is Turner's job to lose. They aren't overpaying him that much to be a backup.

It's going to be a dogfight for backup roles. Incredible flexibility offered by McCray and Jenkins...they can both play all 3 interior positions AND flex out to RT if needed, and Madison may even be a 3-position back up if he can make the 53.

This team still only has Spriggs to back up on the left side, though. Unless Spriggs blossoms with the new scheme and a new coaching staff, the health of Bakhtiari is going to be crucial this season.

jannes bjornson's picture

Spriggs can barely cover the right tackle spot, much less the left.

Old School's picture

Billy Turner signed a four year, $7 million a year deal. Does anybody envision him sitting while Jenkins starts?

Lane Taylor is in the second year of a 3 year extension that pays over $5 million each year.

An injury to Bulaga moves Turner to tackle and puts Jenkins on the field. Any injury to the interior starters puts Jenkins on the field. I’m not sure yet what the plan is if Bakhtiari is out.

Hawg Hanner's picture

What about the possibility Lane Taylor gets cut?
Hard to see all the money paid to Turner and he sits? How about two new guards?

Coldworld's picture

If Taylor is fit, I doubt they cut a proven starter for an unproven prospect, however high their hopes for the prospect. It’s possible but improbable.

Coldworld's picture

I am puzzled by the Taylor hate. He was injured last year and played pretty well before that. I’m all for an upgrade, but one thing I really don’t like is dumping on players who tough it out for the team. If Taylor had not done so last year, what state would our line have been in?

There are some questions about fit. That will work itself out, but if he is healthy, I think it is very unlikely and would be highly improper not to start out with Taylor as a starter. If he is outplayed, so be it.

Football players get injured and we don’t want to incentivize them to not fight through it because they are, even impaired, seen as a better option than the alternative. It is not Taylor’s fault that we started the season with no depth, a fact I think few will contest.

carlos's picture

Taylor should stay on team. He’s been for the most part reliable and injuries can come in bunches. He can kick out to left tackle if the need arises. Nice to have OL depth. That’s what killed the Packers the last few years. No depth across the board. I see that changing.

David Michalski's picture

I have to agree, Taylor played his way into an extension just a short time ago and everyone now wants him cut after a season where he played through injuries, it's the typical mindset around here. The reality is he was better than any other options the team had at the time. When healthy Taylor will return to the player who all hailed as a cornerstone of this offensive line. R-E-L-A-X Relax

This year with the depth of Jenkins and Turner, the lineman will not have to tough it out as much and thus the Packers will see better results. So I am a hard pass on cutting Taylor or Bulaga for that matter.

Packer Fan's picture

Savage will have every opportunity to start. But it seems like no one ever figure in the impact of injuries. Gary, Jenkins, Sternberger and RB Williams will play. And how much will depend on the extent of injures. I expect that there will be starts for some of them.

Coldworld's picture

Gary will play a lot. Whether he starts will likely depend on the package. Gary is very very good against the run, I would not be at all surprised to see him feature heavily against Chicago, but perhaps not in a primarily rushing role.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I find it hard to predict how many snaps Gary will get. Agree that as a high first round pick, he will play, and probably quite a bit. Clark got 335 snaps as a rookie on a DL that needed immediate help (Daniels 664, Guion 449, Pennel 105, and Ringo 75 snaps that season). One might think that Lowry, who had 698 snaps last season, might be the big loser in terms of playing time, but I don't know how many snaps Z. Smith plays on the line. Gary can probably play 3 and 5 technique, but how much will he play as an OLB?

I'll be interested to see what weight Gary shows up at for training camp.

RCPackerFan's picture

It is definitely going to be hard to figure out how many snaps each player gets.

But I think I'm more interested in who gets snaps in key situations. 3rd and short, 3rd and long, redzone, etc. Also what do some of these different packages look like.

I think they will use Gary and Za'Darius in similar roles. Having them play 3T, 5T and OLB. I could see them doing a lot of stunts. I just like flexibility that each of those guys give Pettine.

I'm excited to see this defense.

Coldworld's picture

I think one factor that remains an unknown is how many snaps fall to the more traditional 3-4 OLB types, Fackrell, Donnerson, Gilbert or one of the UDFAs.

We don’t know how many will be on the 53. Fackrell will be I am sure, but it’s not impossible that he is the only one. Based on last year, there would be two, but perhaps there will be more linemen/elephant types (loosely counting Gary and both Smiths as such) and a reserve on the PS.

Will Fackrell really be an edge player or another moving part moving around the LB arc to provide speed rush? How many snaps will see a ILB on the field or at least more than one traditional ILB?

This is really going to be an interesting camp and final roster process and I think it will result in a very different defense in more ways than one.

carlos's picture

I envision a lot of rotation on the DL to keep guys fresh and to put pressure on the opposing QB. That seems to be the team philosophy which makes a lot of sense.

Old School's picture

I think the majority of Gary’s snaps will come as an interior pass rusher.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

If you count 5T as "interior" then maybe. But, he's going to be moved all over the place. That's why they wanted him.

David Michalski's picture

Absolutely, I see Sternberger being deployed in two tight end sets, Williams will be a balance between speed and power (definitely great value), and Gary will be used in multiple facets. I actually could see him getting 7-10 sacks just by exploiting favorable matchups.

Bert's picture

Don't sleep on K. Hollman. He's a mature rookie who may just push KK for playing time should King be in-and-out with injuries. I'm not predicting greatness but he may turn out to be a solid player.

Coldworld's picture

He is raw and King is a much better player when healthy at this point. If he can demonstrate that he can tackle, I do expect to see him backing up on the outside though.

Bert's picture

Agree. But King needs to stay on the field. If not, then Hollman may see some significant playing time and King may find himself supplanted.

MarkinMadison's picture

I think there are a lot of guys between King and Hollman on the depth chart. Hollman has to focus on making the 53.

David Michalski's picture

Tony Brown and Jackson would be ahead of Hollman on the depth chart despite the chatter about Jackson's skill set and position. However, I could see Hollman seeing valuable reps as a gunner and possibly a returner in certain spots to keep the wear and tear off of Jaire. Special Teams were an atrocity last season so these 6-7 round picks and UDFA could cement a spot for themselves on the roster with solid and reliable special teams play. That is the number 1 thing I will be looking for in training camp and the preseason.

dobber's picture

Even if we just follow snaps from 2018, that puts King, Alexander, Jackson, TWill (who shifts over to CB with Savage manning FS), and Brown ahead of Hollman. Even as a later pick (assuming the Packers keep 6 CBs), that gives him at least a puncher's chance at making the 53, and certainly the PS.

Coldworld's picture

I think the key will be special teams. Although I expect a large roster of D backs retained because of the number now deployed in passing situations, I think all but the top 3 or 4 will be expected to be core special teamers (I will include Jones and Burks as cover backers in that as well).

There is no doubt in my mind that the whole approach of the draft and roster process is part of the process of change required to make our special teams units competitive with the top teams out there. Part of that will include later draft choices and later roster decisions.

Hollman and Summers make this roster if they can contribute significantly there. I don’t know that either will if others outshine them in special teams unless they exceed expectations in defensive play to a point that forces them on to the roster.

That’s my take on things. I hope I’m right because I don’t think we achieve the sea change needed in special teams without integrally integrating ST needs into such decisions. ST coaching and schemes can only do so much. Physical talent and mental acumen and the right balance of players are essential to becoming a top unit.

carlos's picture

Good point Coldworld. Special teams playing well can change a season. Haven’t seen much of that lately.

hobowilly's picture

GB has long drafted for borderline players who they envision with ST talent. Shoot, check out the sort of athlete Gutey has leaned towards; remember on the D front, he's said Pettine likes a lot of moving parts. yes, i'd bet the packers put a top 10 Defense on the field this next season....which points to them making the playoffs, but potentially going far. Again, i think it was brilliant what Gutey did with his FA signings and if GB picked up 3 to 5 draft contributors for the 2019 season, BULLY!!! Trying to be realistic here...

carlos's picture

I still can foresee another safety somewhere in the mix. Maybe down the road. It goes back to having depth. Jones may be more suited in the LB ‘er role and I have a good feeling about Summers for some reason. I think each drafted player can contribute this year in a positive role and think Williams may be a pleasant surprise.

jannes bjornson's picture

Hollman will challenge crazy Tony for his spot. Play gunner on sp teams.

Coldworld's picture

I doubt Brown is going anywhere except maybe safety. He has similar measurables, showed well last season and tackles well (Hollman is cited as a poor tackler).

DB will be a tough battle for roster spots. Redmond was touted as a first round talent and still taken in round 3 even though he was going to miss year 1. Jamerson keeps being cited as highly thought of and is a former 5th round pick. Both were in season pick ups. Of the holdovers, only Redmond (25) is older than Hollman (23) I think.

If healthy, any of the DBs on the roster currently could force their way into the team as defenders as well as through ST value (if one can return punts, that would be nirvana—Jamerson has returned kicks, he could be a possibility)

I am a fan of Hollman’s story. But what I am most a fan of is the fierce competition we are likely to see in this group for roster spots and playing time. When is the last time we had real battles at so many positions?

carlos's picture

Got to love his commitment and speed.

JohnnyLogan's picture

The RAS model hasn't exactly proved itself yet. Spriggs, to be kind, has yet to excel. The 3 WR's from last years draft were just okay, there were many rookies who were as good or better. Gute traded up for Burks, who couldn't get on the field much, and Looney and Donnerson have done nothing. Maybe draft guys who were really good football players in college instead of guys who were just okay but you think they'll be really good because they can jump high?

JakeDickerson's picture

All of those guys were good football players in college. The rookie WR did a nice job at times. I believe they were limited by their position coach.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Name 3 rookie WRs taken in the 4th, 5th, and 6th rounds that were better than our trio in 2018... Calvin Ridley the 1st WR taken was good. Who else had a big year? Looney and Donnerson were late round fliers. Burks was almost as injured as your argument.

dobber's picture

Given how much the Packers are relying on those WRs stepping up, not just in 2020 but in 2019, I'm hoping the changes in staff and scheme don't slow down their development.

Coldworld's picture

I’m hoping the changes accelerate not just theirs but that of future receivers, both draftees and FAs at both WR and TE.

A playbook that plays to one’s strengths is easier to master in practice and hopefully the reputedly fearsome complexity will be reduced and schemes used to create openings not merely the old mantra of just beat your opponent one one one.

Calling for veteran decision making on the fly by new receivers would probably strike us as only likely to add confusion and missteps. Yet it seems that was a core element of much of MMs playbook. Great when you have a multi year relationship between QB and receivers and between receivers. Not great when you are fielding rookies and new signings.

I really think the failure of MM to adapt to that fact was the final nail in our offense’s coffin last year. I think it created tension between Rodgers and his receivers. I think it challenged Graham as well.

The more I think about it, I think it has hampered our back ups for ages too. It takes two to be on the same page. Where both QB and receiver have to just know what each will decide to do in a given situation, how does a backup know what the receiver will do? It’s not like they practice much together.

In preseason, when routes are vanilla back ups have looked good, typically throwing to depth receivers. When thrown in with the ones, everything regularly looks disjointed except on totally instinctive fast plays or completely broken look and throw plays all to often. It’s not one back up but a string since Flynn.

I could be imagining this, just a theory, but I think there are so many ways that a change could unleash shackles and speed learning and boost performance through changes in the philosophy of our offense not just in revised formations or route packages. I also think that such changes will greatly assist player learning curves.

Sheesh, I’m getting as optimistic as I am long winded ...

Donster's picture

Agree with you Coldworld. MM's system was to complex for those rookie WR's, only Adams and Cobb and early on Allison until he was gone due to injury, knew the complete MM offense. The new offense I believe will be slowly implemented as the season goes on. Even Rodgers has to learn it.

A not as complex offense in Training Camp, slowly incorporating more plays as the season goes on, will help these young WR's build their confidence. A confident player doesn't overthink what he needs to do each play, and makes his cuts and runs his routes with precision. I feel as the season went on, those kids lost confidence in themselves. And Rodgers yelling at them didn't help matters any. MM wouldn't change and adapt to his players. That is one of the reasons why he isn't the Packer's head coach anymore.

IceBowl's picture

dobber ,

I think there are teachers and students in our new scheme. They get it together, and we have execution = points.

If either group can't understand the other, we lose.

dobber's picture

You get one of my cookies!

carlos's picture

Only bad part with the young receivers is having to learn a new offense in their second year.

JohnnyLogan's picture

You think my argument is injured but you're the one making excuses that they're 4th, 5th, and 6th round picks. Think that matters to anyone when they're on the field? My "injured" argument is we should have taken a receiver early this year because the three of them played like 4th, 5th and 6th round picks. Moore couldn't get on the field and the other two couldn't get open by the end of the year. It was Adams or nothing. You and all the rest on this forum believe because they caught some passes last year and they're a year older now, that means, of course, they'll be really really good this year. Hope you're right, but seems to me like what the Brewers have done with their pitching staff this year. Counted on three kids who were decent last year and this year are a collective dumpster fire. None of the young receivers looked to me last year like they had anything resembling moves to get open. It was all speed and it was neutralized to the extent Rodgers threw to the fans more often than he did to them. I think too many here see what they want to see and not what's actually out there. Gute will be scouring for a veteran receiver before long.

Coldworld's picture

Donnerson was a seventh round flyer who was as raw as he was athletic. Looney did well when given a chance I thought. Burks was injured. He is effectively an unknown.

Spriggs may have a high RAS, but predates Gute. TT didn’t go by RAS as far as I know so I presume that is coincidence rather than relevant to Gute using it. Jones (ILB) would be another high RAS not picked by Gute.

To me, with the exception of the late round flyers and, it seems, our TE Sternberger, Gute has picked high RAS scoring prospects, but he has also picked players who were known as good football players. given Sternberger, one could argue that he l picks impact players and prefers ones with a high RAS if possible. The point being, it looks like only one factor. As such I think this is being overblown.

jannes bjornson's picture

Word is Gutekunst scouted Jones and pushed him. May have been in the spriggs deal also. The blogs were correct on that disaster waiting to happen. One step forward three steps backwards with these guys.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Josh Jones was my draft crush with the caveat that he was a boom or bust guy who had mental lapses. I wrote that the team should stick Josh Jones at one position only because that's what you do with players who have mental lapses. GB insisted on versatility, cross-trained him and negated his athletic advantages.

Spriggs was very talented but also the least ready of the top six OTs to play. He needed to work on technique and to gain strength as well, meaning he wouldn't be a good candidate to move to OG while he figured out OT and got stronger. Campen was a good OL coach but got little improvement out of Spriggs so far. One has to wonder if the lack of improvement isn't mostly on Spriggs.

jannes bjornson's picture

Campen didn't seem to have any trouble developing Lindsley, Bhaktiari, Sitton and Lang, Bulaga, Spitz, Colledge...

Coldworld's picture

Players have different issues, developmental needs and learn at different rates. As TGR has stated, Spriggs came in with serious technical flaws but a ton of physical talent that was enough to make him highly effective in college. That is the type of player who is going to take the longest.

I’m not going to argue that I would commend his selection in round two. However, that can’t be undone. He was projected as a round 2 or round 3 pick even while being cited as needing a lot of work. Tackles are often seen as worth long term investment. That said, I think the nearest comparison on the current Roster is Nijman, a UDFA.

A predecessor was Giacomini, a 5th round pick whom we gave up on after a couple of years (Seattle grabbed him from our PS in year 3). He has started 96 games in the NFL. While never elite, he won a Super Bowl with Seattle as a starter.

While I am not a fan of Spriggs or his selection, that should provide some good for thought to those thinking his failure is a foregone conclusion. We got what he was billed as, a long term high upside low initial readiness player.

jannes bjornson's picture

I wanted Brenno back last year as the backup OT, but Houston bagged him while Gutekunst was wonderng what the hell to do with his lineup. A Feb 3, 2018 manifesto that was mocked and derided. 90% of my predictions came to fruition. It was the start of the rebuild andSpriggs again was bull rushed into the backfield.

Coldworld's picture

Gute’s leading role in championing Jones and Spriggs is news to me. It’s possible, but I see no evidence. He was in charge of East Coast College scouting till 16. Jones played on the Carolinas but was drafted in 17, by which time Gute was Director of Player Personnel, which sounds more powerful than it likely was given the people above him (now in Cleveland).

Spriggs was drafted In ‘16 out of Indiana and grew up In Illinois. It seems unlikely that he would be championed by the head of East Coast Scouting. Moreover, at the time he was seen as a classic TT pick.

It’s possible, but just seems unlikely that these two TT era picks were Gute’s pet projects, absent some evidence to the contrary.

In the process of checking for the above, I did read Spriggs scouting reports. I had not recalled that he was seen to have so many technical flaws that he would have to be trained out of to succeed, despite his athleticism, which led to his round 2 or 3 grade. Those failings seem eerily close to those we have seen and the results were predicted.

The Bleacher Report stated:

“At the college level, Spriggs could win with athleticism and length, which allowed him to develop bad habits with his pad height, timing and stance. He’s a classic over-setter and consistently gives up his inside shoulder. A decent NFL defender will be all over that. There is an amazing amount of potential in his game, but he’s not as NFL-ready as his workouts suggest.”

They gave more detail but that summarizes what we have tended to see happen all too often.

Oddly, that makes me a little less pessimistic about him turning the corner this year. I would have thought it would have the opposite effect, but many tackles take a long time for exactly this type of reason. That said, if it hasn’t sunk in by this year, it likely won’t.

I went to Jones: Here is an excerpt from PFF scouting report:

“Poor technique in coverage; gets turned around too easily, seems to panic at times off his man’s break
Combine number suggest top athlete with the burst to break and close effectively, but he tends to show a bit of a hitch in transition because he gets too upright in his pedal
A coverage bust waiting to happen; far too many mental lapses.”

Scarily prescient so far. It makes me even more certain that Jones is an ILB or nothing in the pros. It makes me even more baffled that we tried to train him to play multiple positions and roles.

Jonathan Spader's picture

So your counter argument is to compare baseball to football? Rodgers is the "pitcher" the trio of WRs aren't. Rodgers has made WRs look elite in the past I expect him to do the same in the future.

My point was the trio of rookie WRs are incredible athletes. MM is gone and hopefully MLF's offense is more friendly to younger players. Also hoping a healthy Rodgers returns to form. It's the off season all we have at this point is hope JL.

I saw flashes from MVS and ESB hoping for more in 2019. Allison was catching everything thrown his way. Kumero looked good in preseason. Any progress from Moore is better than he showed in 2018.

zeroluv's picture

The WRs from last year did great considering the disfunction. EQ and MVS will be studs. You can tell right away with some of the catches they made and their impact. Had fat Mike actually used the running game...teams wouldn’t have dropped the safety all the time and made it harder to get open. This year with the running game amplified...good luck to teams covering our tall receivers consistently.

HankScorpio's picture

"The RAS model hasn't exactly proved itself yet. Spriggs, to be kind, has yet to excel. "

Sure it has. It has done exactly what it was intended to do. It was never meant to guarantee that every pick is good. That's impossible and a foolish standard. Draft picks bust all the time for whatever reason.

RAS is like any other analytic measure. The intention is to increase probability, not guarantee results. It's about trying to stack the odds in your favor instead of bucking them by picking a player that will have to overcome physical limitations. One of the bigger analytic trends in baseball is the infield shift. It does get beaten from time to time. But it wins more than it loses. Drafting for RAS is the same thing.

Spriggs has the athletic traits to succeed. His problem is consistency. That is not measured by RAS.

ricky's picture

First, of course people will attack the people on here making draft predictions. That's what people do when they have no accountability and total anonymity. But if your ego is bruised by people saying bad things about you (this comes from a retired teacher), find a new line of work.

Second, as far as Gutekunst being seen as genius or jackass, this will depend largely on how well the team does. But there will always be a cadre of people who revere him, and a group that despises him. Each will hold onto their views despite any contrary facts. Because they will only see the good or bad, and ignore anything else.

David Michalski's picture

It was a tongue and cheek sarcastic comment. Figured you’d appreciate that being a fellow educator.

joe packer's picture

The tongue in cheek went over my head, as well. Several posts have confidently said Gute will be canned if Gary misses. Really? Or, now because of the RAS? Fired? How many misses did Thompson have in his over-long tenure? And those who remember how long it took to remove Sherman know the Packer brass are traditionally reluctant to cut guys at the top.

That said, any realistic look at this situation would indicate Gute is the man for the job and will likely be in his seat for a while despite draft misses. It will all come down to the record, and even that will have a grace period.

dblbogey's picture

Every GM misses in the draft. Lots of times.

dobber's picture

Virtually every GM eventually loses his job for decline in roster/team performance, with draft picks and player moves buried deep in the GMs run dredged back up as death knells...we still talk about Justin Harrell, but neither that pick (nor Jerel Worthy) cost TT his job.

4thand10's picture

Appreciate the work David. To me , Gute deserves a lot of credit. He decided to keep Pettine who brought the D from the bottom of the barrel to compete extremely well with the Rams/ Pats...which as everyone knows were extremely good teams. They went toe to toe with them. With further changes... I think this D makes another jump from midrange to top tier. I’m predicting a 2nd-5th ranked D. I think Gary free’d up a lot of LB play at Michigan, we have DL doing that here already so I think they can just cut him loose and let him rush the QB. Daniels gets doubled, Clark gets Doubled, so someone is going to get free. 2 top FAs and a good pick in Gary totally upgrades the outside rush and run stopping.

On the offensive side...Im cool with every position except WR. I really felt we needed a true #2 but with only so many picks and a weaker WR draft year I understand. We have yet to see how the play calling is going to go but I’m optimistic.

David Michalski's picture

I personally think Gute will have at least until the end of the Rodgers era. Either the Packers will give Aaron a chance to win his second Superbowl or will leave us all wondering what could have been. Either way, I see him having at least 4-5 years left as Packer brass like to have some level of consistency whether good or bad.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Based on history, that sounds right, but I think things are changing. I do not equate "end of the Rodgers era" with 4 or 5 years. I think Gute gets 2018, 2019 and probably 2020, but there had best be some upward trajectory.

And really, that's all he should get.

Coldworld's picture

A lot will depend on the perception of Rodgers role in the results as opposed to that of the overall roster and on Rodgers ability to stay healthy. The scenarios could diverge significantly

David Michalski's picture

Don't forget, Rodgers could and probably sign a 1-2 year extension in the next year or two depending on his desire to continue to keep playing. My point is I don't see the Packers bringing in a new GM before Rodgers calls it a career or before LaFleur gets 3-4 years. (My personal opinion)

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

Keep in mind Murphy will be forced to retire soon. Gute is his guy and not going anywhere.

IceBowl's picture

On forums, people just blowviate, they do not need facts.

Sadly, they live in their opinions, and are thus geniuses.

dblbogey's picture

Well, I agree except I really am a genius.

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

Bill O 'Reilly...

Doug Niemczynski's picture

I went genius university

dobber's picture shows.

RickInCali's picture

I am not burning mine. I had OLB, Adderley/savage and Risner/Lindstrom. I think this was an excellent draft and they did exactly as they should have. I was not on Gary, but he has the tools....and it makes me feel better that we have the ex-Raven helping to make recommendations. They obviously know what they’re doing on defensive players.

We obviously weren’t the only team that thought the Safeties were overrated, and thank God they didn’t love Abram....who was the only one of the top Safeties who can’t run. We got the best Safety.

Sure they could have gotten Burns at 12, Risner at 30 and Adderley/Savage at 44, but is that really significantly better than what we did? That’s what I had along with a RB in the 4th. I am as satisifed with the RB we took, given where we got him. I would have waited to take a TE in the 4th, but again....correct decision to get one and he was good for where we got him.

Good draft even with the curveball at 12. I am very hopeful for the coming season.

fthisJack's picture

i wonder if the Steelers fans were in cardiac arrest when they traded WAY up to get Bush? Gute clearly knew he had to go up and get the best S in the draft and i thought he came way ahead in that trade. especially with the FIT! time will tell but if both Savage and Gary turn out to be studs, this defense will be good for many years.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Burns/Risner/Adderly +114+118 > Gary/Savage/Jenkins? No one knows, but I'd guess Yes.

zeroluv's picture

Burns sucks...Gary will be the next Julius Peppers. Same tools and frame and at 21 years old...he will grow more.

dobber's picture

I might have jumped all the way to Marquise Blair as the next true FS after Savage...even he went much earlier than expected.

IceBowl's picture


In Guty (and staff) I trust.

We have such a small amount of info that they have,

I give way to their research.

RickInCali's picture

Exactly. All these alleged “experts” saying we should have gotten a WR in the first or second, and even a freaking QB? Literally retarded.

fthisJack's picture

i was hoping for AJ Brown in the second but i really had no clue who Elgton whats his name was. so now i know and that's why Gute gets paid the big bucks and i am just a guy.

jannes bjornson's picture

the Draft strategy was clearly defined by this blog over the winter: EDGE, FS, Oline and TE.
He covered the big four with quality players in these slots. Now we have to wait and see if the player has the determination to succeed.

dobber's picture

I will admit that my draft crush (well, one of them) was Parris Campbell (WR, OSU). He seemed to be climbing as the draft approached. I thought he was the ideal WR piece to jump in and play immediately and inject tremendous speed, versatility, and athleticism into the offense. The Colts picked him up in the 50s, and I think he's going to thrive--even as a rook--with Luck throwing him the ball underneath. With two 1st round picks to address other needs, the second would have been a great spot for a player of that type.

I'm not retarded. My mom had me checked.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

LOL. To each his own. I didn't like Parris Campbell. I didn't think he ran good routes and had spotty hands. Okay as a 3rd round flyer. Time will tell, as always!

dobber's picture

I understand: draft crushes are exactly what they sound like. I felt his speed and ability to work the short routes and gimmick WR plays that are becoming increasingly common in these college-inspired NFL offenses gave him the perfect 'in' as he refined his play on the outside. He's the kind of player the Packers currently don't have for this kind of offense.

jannes bjornson's picture

I preferred McLaurin , but the Pack needed the TE bagged in the third.

Lare's picture

I think Savage will be a day-1 starter. Williams will play quite a bit by default. The rest will (hopefully) improve the special teams.

fthisJack's picture

i think Raven Green was a guy that showed promise and will get snaps. Williams can backup the CB or S. i thought Tony Brown has a lot of potential so i'm really excited about this secondary! King has to stay healthy!

Coldworld's picture

Agree with you on both Greene and Brown.

jannes bjornson's picture

Sp teams awaits them.

Coldworld's picture

Greene is currently our 3rd safety (I do not count Jones), Brown our 5th D back. That would imply ST roles, particularly for Brown. I believe both performed on ST last year.

RCPackerFan's picture

I agree.

I do really like our secondary. We have a lot of young and promising looking players. And don't forget what having a guy like Williams does for these young guys. He is a good voice to have in the locker room.

I really liked Tony Brown. I thought he played really well last year for an UDFA. He could be one to take a big step.
Another CB to keep an eye on is Natrell Jamerson. They picked him up during the season and he could be find! He is also a guy that could play the hybrid CB/S role.
Raven Greene is definitely a guy to watch this year.

Tom Legener's picture

From the tape I watched of Sternberger, he'll be starting sooner rather than later.

baldski's picture

I agree. Runs routes and catches the ball with soft hands away from his body. Real nice tape of him.

SterlingSharpe's picture

WRs will be better:
Geronimo returns, and the 3 rookies + Kumerow will be better a year later.

TEs will be better as Jimmy G, Marcedes, and Tonyan have another year with QB1, plus Sternberger brings some juice.

RBs will be better as we know how good AJones is now, and we have added Dexter, who's potentially a stud.

The OL will be better for sure as we have upgraded and added depth.

QB will be better as Rodgers is fully vested and hopefully won't get his knee busted up in the 1st quarter of the first game.

The DL and Edges will be better, as The Smoth Bros are better than 2018 Matthews & Perry, plus Rashan Gary adds speed on the edge we haven't seen since..... ?

Safety is upgraded 2 notches.

CB is upgraded getting King healthy for a few games hopefully and Tramon back at CB.
Josh Jackson can't be as bad as last year, and Jaire, everyone, will be better in year 2 of Pettine!

Packers 27
Bears 23

Johnblood27's picture

Why would the score be that close?

IceBowl's picture

SterlingSharpe ,

Love the optimism. all expected except.......

ARod..... he would't dump off passes last year. He has to make that part of his game.

Since '61's picture

Savage will be a day one starter and Gary will be a day one rotational player. I don't think we're going to see much of a base defense this season. Maybe 20% of the snaps. We're going to see different packages and different looks throughout the games on defense.

Jenkins, Sternberger, and Williams will all get snaps during the season. The others will be ST and/or PS guys.
Thanks, Since '61

Handsback's picture

Savage will start unless injured. Gary and Keke will play in several packages. Jenkins or Madison may replace Taylor but maybe not right away.

The rest will make contributions on STs.
So it should be a great season.
GB 28- Bears 14

RickInCali's picture

Just to clarify — I liked AJ Brown and Deebo too. The issue is and was, that we needed OL, DL, S and TE a hell of a lot more, We literally HAD to go OL and Safety in 2 of those first 3 picks. We also needed a TE for next yr and a RB for this year, much more than we needed a WR.

Things BG could have done wrong: Taken Dillard at 12 or 21. He wouldn’t have played unless there was an injury, and if that injury was Bulaga, then he plays out of position in a spot he didn’t play in college. Even for next year...he would be out of position. That is a horrible chance to take that early. No one. No one! Can prove Dillard can run block. Watch his tape and see his inability to find someone to block at the second level. He rarely played in space and never played RT.

He could have taken Sweat with medical issues and no real pass rush moves. Watch his whole game vs Risner and tell me you wanted that guy in the top 50.... and that isn’t even going into the alleged medical issues.

We did well in this draft. Sure it would have been nice to have those 4th’s given how the WR’s fell. But isn’t it funny you could have had draftable guys in Stanley Morgan or the UC-Davis kid as UDFA, and we still didn’t do it? I say our guys are pretty sure of what we have.

stockholder's picture

When it's all said and done. The packers could have done better. If Gute thinks Gary will be better then Wilkins, he's full of it. Next, he's got another problem next year with Daniels and Lowrey. And it could hold this team BACK! So Long term Gary won't be the answer.{ Burks sure isn't.} And if Gary is the flop. Clark will be moving over. Those 4ths cost us Risner. Risner will make all-pro before any of are guards. Picking Savage may give you a starter. But long term he won't be worth the cost to move up for. And while I think Jace will be a good tight end. Look for replacing Ronyan,Lewis and Graham next year. Gute will need the money. His game is free Agency and not the draft. And that is what will save his job.

jannes bjornson's picture

Gary is OLB not three tech or NT. Edge wins the pass rush. They can draft a DT high in 2020. Lowry can be signed to a fair deal. Where does Wilkens get his reps. Montravious is another five tech, three tech guy that will determine the depth chart.

IceBowl's picture


I agree, there were very many to like. But we do not get to pick the first 12.

So we, like all teams, barter what we have to make what we want.

So, I agree, I think we got a great group of athletes. And now we see if they want to play.

Summer_PackerBacker's picture

I see the Packers building a roster like the eagles did for their super bowl run, signing free agents to fill key holes on the roster and then drafting players to supplement and eventually fill spots of need on the roster. Draft and develop alone is dead, long live utilizing all avenues of roster building.

porupack's picture

Before the draft, I argued for prioritizing drafting clusters of players around synergy units. Though I argued to prioritize on offense, Gute prioritized position groups on Defense to attain high standard of talent; namely safety and Dline which should ratchet up performance from last year's investment on CBs. We should see elevated play and turnovers across the DB, by finally getting 2 reliable playmaking safeties, and more disruption at the DE/OLB positions. His pieces inserted this year in the draft really complemented his FA, and he clearly pursued a rebuild strategy.

IceBowl's picture


I am sure you are happy with your statement. Looks like you see what the rest of Packerland sees.

Whoo yaahhhhhhh

Pack71Attack's picture

Are we really worried about athletic speed freaks drafted this year, or are we worried Eliot Wolf didn't explain why we drafted them? Or the rest of the scouts that went to Cleveland. The Packers changed the priority this year and Gutenkunst wasn't talking to the press until the draft was done so we largely had guys we had never heard before explaining Green Bay's thinking.

But this is the speed era. Green Bay ranked 3rd in RAS. Finally, last year Pettine coached the defense with assistants from Dom Capers defense. This year, he got his guys.

So I think a lot of the alleged uncertainty has nothing to do with the picks and more with new faces explaining the picks. We saw them on draft day and I think the lack of familiarity fed the fears.

Coldworld's picture

Take out Sternberger and I believe we would have been a clear 1st in RAS. Interestingly Gute said he times Sternberger’s 40 at a significantly lower time than the official one. I wonder how much that would impact his RAS for a TE.

There is a tongue in cheek pure RAS draft out there by the guy who created the measure. I thought it interesting. Just google ‘RAS NFL draft’.

Lphill's picture

I read a report that King still is not 100 percent , might not be ready for camp . How much time does he need to heal up ? I don’t believe he had any surgery.

Coldworld's picture

He went on IR with a hamstring in December, so I doubt he had surgery for that. As far as I can see there is no suggestion that he is currently a doubt for camp or the off season work.

dobber's picture

My understanding was that he tweaked his hammy again in their voluntary camp just before the draft.

David Michalski's picture

If you check out my twitter feed, I posted a video of King balling out before a Bucks game jacking up 30 footers, so he'd better be a go for camp. I believe he will be.

RCPackerFan's picture

I think there will be 2 opening day starters from this draft class.
I think Savage and Jenkins will be the true starters once opening day hits.
Savage brings the range and speed that can really change our defense. Jenkins could start at RG or overtake Taylor at LG.

I think Gary will start the season in a rotation and used in certain packages. I think he will get a lot of snaps, but he won't 'start'.

I also think Sterberger will also be used in special packages. He has 2 veterans ahead of him. I think they will find a smaller role for him.

I do think that within 2 years all 4 players of these players will be starting.

dobber's picture

I think Savage will be thrown in there right away. I think that Savage at FS and TWill at CB is a better combination than Savage on the bench, TWill at FS and <next man up> in the slot. If Jenkins starts right away, it will mean he pushed Lane Taylor off the roster. I think it's entirely possible.

RCPackerFan's picture

I agree. I think Savage will be the opening day starter. I would expect mistakes early but I think he will also make some big plays.

I think having Williams is a huge help for all the young players. The young secondary will really benefit from having Williams there.

I could see them trying to trade Taylor or he could be one they cut if the others show up. I don't think they would let him go, just can see it being a possibility.

jannes bjornson's picture

Let's see, Savage vs Greene and Tramon has lost 1-2 steps. He's the Man.

Savage57's picture

There's nothing arguable about the best conference in football. They get the best players, win the most, and send the most players to the NFL. Consistently.

It's the SEC. Period.

Rossonero's picture

Gary -- if anyone can scheme him open for sacks, it's Mike Pettine. Ideally, Pettine isolates him 1-on-1 whereas he was being double and sometimes even triple teamed in college. I'm curious to see which formations he'll play in, or running vs. passing downs.

Savage -- as long as he doesn't have mental lapses like Josh Jones, then I'm excited. Jones had a similar scouting report -- very athletic, big hitter, but so far disappointed.

Regarding 3-4 and 4-3 defenses, I like the way Football Outsiders put it a last year:

"The distinction is becoming more and more meaningless in the modern NFL; the difference between a 4-3 defensive end and a 3-4 outside linebacker is more or less whether or not they have their hand in the dirt at the snap. Hybrid defensive schemes are the name of the game now, and trying to cram 2018 defensive strategy into a 1980s framework is less than useful."

Irish_Cheesehead's picture

No mud slinging here! The only pick I got correct was Sternberger. I questioned moving up for Savage because I knew nothing about him. Love the pick now!

Speaking as a Michigan fan, I think you’ll soon see it hard for the coaches to keep Gary off the field. For the first time he won’t see an opposing team scheming to keep him neutralized as was always the case at Michigan. It’s hard to make plays when you are always double and triple teamed. He’s ready to explode!

nostradanus's picture

Nostradanus optimistic look at the draft
1 - Gary - key rotational player - future pro bowler and a perfect fit in Pettine's scheme
1 - Savage - day 1 starter, possible DROY and could be the Packers best playmaking Safety since Collins. Savage and Alexander ballhawking back there should be fun!
2 - Jenkins - key rotational player - and future starter, so much better than the parade of lame backups the Packers have dressed over the years.
3 - Sternberger - situational backup - future starter and one of my draft favorites, Sternberger is so smooth as a route runner with great hands and under-rated toughness as a blocker.
5 - Keke - situational backup - future interior pass rush specialist. I liked Keke in round three so this could be a real bargain. Reminds me of a young Cullen Jenkins, lets all hope he develops into that.
6 - Hollman - special teams starter - Hollman is a project but he has the "want to" attitude and the athletic numbers that should make him a great special teams player for years to come.
6 - Williams - rotational player - I have to admit I wasn't crazy about this pick but after watching his film, he should be pretty good in the zone scheme. Not a future star but a solid backup in case Jones or Williams are dinged up.
7 - Summers - special teams starter - how can we not root for "Captain America", Summers should excel as a special teams wrecking ball with excellent size and athletic skills!

This was an excellent draft by Herr Gute! I still would have liked them to draft a gadget guy like Pollard who can return kicks, play the slot and fill in at running back but it's hard to do it all in one draft. Savage will be the only day one starter but that is not a bad thing! The draft is about the future and teams that have to start all of their rookies usually are not lacing them up come playoff time.


David Michalski's picture

Love the Keke to a young Cullen Jenkins comp.

RCPackerFan's picture

I don't view this as an optimistic outlook. This is a very realistic possibility.

No one knows how these players will turn out. Not even the GMs that drafted them. That's why its a crapshoot. But looking at the skills the players have what you said could be reality.

Gary is a perfect fit for Pettine. I saw on twitter that people were showing how Pettine will likely use Gary. Basically the same type of way the Texans use Clowney. Now not saying he will have that production, but he could definitely be used in similar ways.

Savage definitely could be our best S since Collins. He has that type of ability.

Jenkins I think has a very good chance at being a starter right away. I wouldn't be surprised at all if he started at either OG spot.

Sternberger I think will be groomed to be the starter next year. Will get snaps but for the most part will be the future not the present.

Keke may not get much playing time this year at least to start the year. They have Clark, Daniels, Lowry, Adams, Lancaster, Brown ahead of him right now. But he could be a regular rotation guy by the end of the year.

Hollman could be a surprise player. Assuming he makes the 53 I think he will be a core special teams player and backup. The more I see from him the more I do like. Working with NFL level coaches could do him well!

Williams will likely start out as the number 3 RB. But he could be one of those late round RB's that shine. He is a perfect fit for the outside zone scheme. He is explosive and seems to have great vision. He runs with power and speed. I wouldn't be surprised if he surpasses everyone's expectations.

Summers I don't know what he will do. The one thing really helping him is they currently only have 2 ILB's ahead of him. 3 if you count Crowder.
So there should be an opportunity for him.

Overall I agree with your assessment.
I do think that they will have 2 opening day starters. I think Savage and Jenkins will be actual starters. Gary maybe depending on the defense they are running.

IceBowl's picture

Yes, we got those 8 players and all their qualities/warts.

And beside those 8 players, he got, conservatively, 13 positions filled. Not bad hey?


Johnblood27's picture

Eagles have signed Zac Brown.

3 mill, 1.5 guaranteed

Johnblood27's picture

...and in other news, Packers closer to division title than thought...



HankScorpio's picture

Gute clearly places a value on RAS but it is not a hard and fast rule.

Jace Sternberger does not have an elite RAS score. Fellow 3rd round TEs Kahale Warring and Dawson Knox do have an elite RAS score. Gute picked Jace when all 3 were options. So clearly the video does still carry value for him when he stacks his draft board.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

Jace will only have 1-5 Catches this year. No real playing time.

dobber's picture

Even Tonyan caught 4 passes last year playing behind Kendricks, Lewis, and Graham.

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