Ranking every Brian Gutekunst draft pick as the Packers general manager

Let's rank all of Gutey's 37 draft picks.

 
Brian Gutekunst became the Green Bay Packers general manager in January 2018 to replace Ted Thompson. Since then, Gutey has been the man in charge for four draft classes, with hits and misses, and has undoubtedly improved the roster. With a good track record in the first round, regardless of the Jordan Love's future, Gutekunst added significant young talent on the roster. At the same time, there were missed opportunities, especially in the third rounds. Let's rank all of Gutey's 37 draft picks.
 
1) Jaire Alexander (2018, 1st round)
Jaire has been an elite player for the Packers. Although he suffered a significant injury that sidelined him for most of the 2021 season, Jaire is the most valuable non-Aaron Rodgers player on the roster, was selected to the second team All-Pro in 2020 and is due to a big extension. To increase the value of pick even more, Gutekunst traded down from 14 to 27 and traded back up to 18, collecting an extra 2019 first-rounder.
 
2) Elgton Jenkins (2019, 2nd round)
Interior offensive linemen don't tend to be as valuable, but Jenkins is an All-Pro level player and could be much more than a guard. He's played primarily as a left guard, but also has experience as center, right tackle and left tackle, where he played in 2021 when healthy because of David Bakhtiari's absence.
 
3) Rashan Gary (2019, 1st round)
Gary wasn't an absurd value, because he was a developmental prospect. Therefore, he spent half of his rookie-scale contract as a backup. But he stepped up in 2021, during Za'Darius Smith injury, and became a top 10 edge defender in the NFL.
 
4) Eric Stokes (2021, 1st round)
After drafting Jordan Love in 2020, Gutekunst changed his approach and decided to draft a player for a position of need and with a possible immediate impact. And that's exactly what happened. Stokes turned out to be CB1 for the Packers because of Jaire Alexander's injury and had a solid rookie season, something rare for cornerbacks.
 
5) Marquez Valdes-Scantling (2018, 5th round)
In 2018, the Packers drafted three wide receivers. MVS was the second of them, but turned out to be the best one. He hasn't been exactly a solid player, but his ceiling is high and his skillset and blazing speed have been essential to the offense. He is a free agent now, so we shall see how much value Gutekunst gives him.
 
6) AJ Dillon (2020, 2nd round)
Dillon was one of the most controversial picks made by Gutekunst, because people in general (and the Draft Industrial Complex, as Aaron Nagler would say) don't think running backs should be taken that high. But, after an underwhelming rookie season, Dillon became an integral part of the offense and leapfrogged Aaron Jones down the stretch in 2021. Moving forward, he should be treated as RB1, either with Aaron Rodgers or Jordan Love under center.
 
7) Darnell Savage (2019, 1st round)
Savage has been an up and down player, but he had immediate impact as safety was a hugh need for the Packers in 2019. And that's why Gutekunst traded two fourth-round picks in a questionable move up to get Savage with the 21st overall pick. Savage had a down year in 2021, but hopeful he'll be more acclimated to Joe Barry's defense in 2022 to get back on track.
 
8) Jon Runyan (2020, 6th round)
Runyan was one of the three offensive linemen drafted by Gutekunst in 2020, and showed some early flashes in his rookie year in limited playing time. In 2021, he became the starting left guard and was a solid piece in the interior, either with Josh Myers or Lucas Patrick as center, as well as sharing the left side with multiple tackles.
 
9) Josh Myers (2021, 2nd round)
After Corey Linsley departure, center was a glaring need for the Packers, and Gutekunst addressed it in the second round, selecting Josh Myers. Although we could argue Creed Humphrey would have been a better selection, Myers was a good player immediately and has shown he can be a long-time starter.
 
10) TJ Slaton (2021, 5th round)
Slaton hasn't established himself as a great player, but he's a promising young player as a rotational interior defensive lineman. And that's good value in the fifth round.
 
11) Ty Summers (2019, 7th round)
Summers hasn't been good when used as a linebacker, but has an important role as a special teamer.
 
12) Oren Burks (2018, 3rd round)
Pretty much the same as Summers, but he's a higher pick, so the value isn't so good.
 
13) Royce Newman (2021, 4th round)
Newman is a sign that Gutekunst followed his trend of adding offensive linemen. He was the starter for most of his rookie season, but ended up being benched in the end. He's still a promising player.
 
14) Josiah Deguara (2020, 3rd round)
Deguara was picked as an obvious fit for Matt LaFleur's offense. After a serious injury that basically nullified his rookie year, Deguara was a small piece of the team in 2021. Now, as Robert Tonyan's future is uncertain and Marcedes Lewis might be a cap casualty, Deguara may be forced into a larger role.
 
15) Equanimeous St-Brown (2018, 6th round)
St-Brown has never become an established role player, but he had some good moments. Cut after last training camp, he was brought back to the practice squad and later elevated to the active roster.
 
16) Jonathan Garvin (2020, 7th round)
Injuries derailed Packers edge depth in 2021, and Garvin was forced to play valuable snaps. He wasn't great, but you won't find much better edge rushers that low in the draft.
 
17) Kylin Hill (2021, 7th round)
I first found Hill's tape when filtering players that had similar body types as Aaron Jones. He can be a future change-of-pace to AJ Dillon when Jones is let go for salary cap reasons in the future. The immediate impact was as a returner until he suffered a knee injury.
 
18) Kingsley Keke (2019, 5th round)
As TJ Slaton, Keke was drafted to be a depth piece in the defensive line. And he was being good, until off the field issues forced his way out of Green Bay.
 
19) Jordan Love (2020, 1st round)
Love might go way up in this ranking in the next couple of years. Or way down. But, either you like him or not, it's hard to defend the process of getting a quarterback to be a backup for most of his rookie contract. Before you say the Packers did the same thing with Aaron Rodgers, the CBA was much different back then, and the value of rookies wasn't so high.
 
20) Amari Rodgers (2021, 3rd round)
Amari was drafted to be a gadget player, but his role in the offense was almost non-existent. He was used as a returner, but didn't thrive in this role either. 
 
21) Jace Sternberger (2019, 3rd round)
Jace was viewed as a great pick when it was made, but didn't work with the Packers.
 
22) JK Scott (2018, 5th round)
It's hard to agree with the process of drafting a punter in the fifth round. And, well, Scott wasn't a good one. After three years as the starter, he was released when the Packers traded for Corey Bojorquez.
 
23) Isaiah McDuffie (2021, 6th round)
McDuffie is still a work in progress. In his rookie year, he played basically on special teams.
 
24) Shemar Jean-Charles (2021, 5th round)
Ditto for SJC, although he hasn't had the role many fans expected when he was drafted.
 
25) Josh Jackson (2018, 2nd round)
Jackson was viewed by many as one of the best cornerbacks in the class, and Gutekunst was praised by getting him in the second round. But he is slow, and that's a killer for cornerbacks.
 
26) Hunter Bradley (2018, 7th round)
As JK Scott, Bradley was a specialist drafted in 2018 and started for three and a half years before being released.
 
27) Vernon Scott (2020, 7th round)
Scott has been a developmental safety for the Packers and was inactive for most of his first two years.
 
28) Jake Hanson (2020, 6th round) and 29) Cole Van Lanen (2021, 6th round)
Hanson and Van Lanen were drafted to give the Packers flexibility and depth, but they haven't shown much.
 
30) Ka'dar Hollman (2019, 6th round)
The best part about Hollman is that the Packers recovered some draft capital when he was traded to the Texans.
 
31) Kamal Martin (2020, 5th round)
Martin was a physical linebacker, but an early injury and struggles to learn the defense prevented him from having a role.
 
32) Kendall Donnerson (2018, 7th round)
Donnerson didn't make the roster after his first training camp. He had a brief stint with the active roster, but was released soon after.
 
33) Dexter Williams (2019, 6th round)
You might be able to find good running backs later in the draft, but Dexter Williams wasn't one of them for Green Bay.
 
34) James Looney (2018, 7th round)
Drafted as a defensive end, Looney later converted to tight end, but never developed as a useful player.
 
35) Simon Stepaniak (2020, 6th round)
Stepaniak tore an ACL in December 2019 during Indiana's preparation for the Gator Bowl and never fully recovered. So, he decided to retire.
 
36) Cole Madison (2018, 5th round)
Madison had personal issues and never played a down in the NFL.
 
37) J'Mon Moore (2018, 4th round)
Moore was the highest of three receivers selected by Gutekunst in 2018, but ended up being the worst. Released after one season, he is now part of the New Jersey Generals of the USFL.

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Wendell Ferreira covers the Green Bay Packers for Zone Coverage and Cheesehead TV. He is a Brazilian journalist with over a decade of experience covering the NFL, soccer, NBA, and MMA. Follow him on twitter at @wendellfp  

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3 points

Comments (28)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Razer's picture

February 24, 2022 at 03:37 pm

Good recap. Anything after #10 is roster turnover material. A couple in the top 10 could be considered much the same. MVS is a decent #3 WR when healthy and Rodgers is throwing to him. I had high hopes that Darnell Savage would be our Harrison Smith but I don't think he plays very smart. At this point, I wouldn't be throwing second contract money at him.

Given that we are selecting at the bottom of the rounds, Gutenkunst is doing okay, maybe a B-. After Jimmy Graham, he has done much better at free agency other than he emptied the wallet and now the bill is due. His drafting needed to be better if we hoped to avoid the rebuild. Entertaining Rodgers, Adams and other big ticket contracts is a very shortsighted approach AND too late for this team.

1 points
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crayzpackfan's picture

February 24, 2022 at 03:47 pm

Out of all these picks (thanks for your homework), here’s what I have. Gonna be lazy with names, but you guys and gals know what’s up.
1st round- 3.5 fantastic picks (.5 is Savage) and one TBT
2nd round- 3 fantastic picks
3rd round- a wait and see. Otherwise not so good
4th round- 1 good pick
5th round- I’d say 2 solid picks
6th round- 1 good pick
7th round- nada
FA’s He’s had some pretty damn good results on that front.

7 points
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Archie's picture

February 25, 2022 at 10:20 am

I AGREE RE: FAs. WOULD BE INTERESTING TO SEE A SIMILAR REVIEW/ANALYSIS OF FAs.

As to Gutey's overall grade - definite upgrade in success of round 1 picks. For that alone he deserves a solid B. If Love pans out I would go as high as B+.

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Since'61's picture

February 24, 2022 at 03:52 pm

I agree with the top ten rankings except for MVS. He should be ranked #10 or lower. After 4 seasons in the league he is way behind where he should be in his career. He has yet to become a good route runner, he is unable to get separation on most plays despite his speed and his catch percentage was below 50% in 2021 down from his previous 2 seasons. I would be fine if the Packers cut him loose in FA. The reality is that he has been a marginal receiver at best and he still has a long way to go in his evolution into a legit #2 or even #3 NFL receiver. Four seasons of marginalness is enough. Thanks, Since '61

3 points
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dblbogey's picture

February 24, 2022 at 04:55 pm

I don't get all the love for MVS. He's fast. The end.

2 points
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Since'61's picture

February 25, 2022 at 09:20 am

Exactly!!! Thanks, Since '61

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 25, 2022 at 02:37 pm

He's your third read.

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13TimeChamps's picture

February 24, 2022 at 05:45 pm

MVS 4 year totals:

123 receptions and 13 TDs, and a 49.8% catch percentage. This is our 5th best drafted player of the last 4 years!!?? Wow!!

7 points
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Since'61's picture

February 25, 2022 at 09:19 am

Agree, that is a sad commentary. Stay safe 13Times. Thanks, Since '61

1 points
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bigpoppa09's picture

February 25, 2022 at 10:15 am

I agree MVS is nothing more than a gadget player not a good route runner. Take away the post and go route and he is done.

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Starrbrite's picture

February 25, 2022 at 08:28 pm

Agree completely—excellent!

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splitpea1's picture

February 24, 2022 at 04:12 pm

After reviewing this list, the track record isn't too impressive as far as finding major contributors beyond the second round. Runyan may be an exception. We also have MVS and Newman, but I wouldn't classify them as gems. The last really solid third-round pick we had (or so it seems now) goes all the way back to Morgan Burnett in 2010; I have no idea what the Packers' third-round approach is, but if you're selecting a player in the top 100, you should be able to do much better....

The mid-to-lower round picks haven't helped the special teams much, either; it can't all be the coaches' fault.

Drafting for need and immediate impact (Alexander, Savage, Stokes) in the early rounds should be the norm if you're a contending team. I know Gary paid off handsomely, but I would hope that we minimize taking developmental players that early (QB is a bit of an exception). If you're a rebuilding team, taking project types in the front of the draft is much easier to swallow.

Lost in all of this is the success Gute has found through other avenues: Lazard, Douglas, Campbell, and Barnes--all winners. It seems like there is a lesson to be learned here when comparing these pickups to some of our less-than-stellar draft selections, though I'm not exactly sure what it is.

4 points
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Packers1985's picture

February 24, 2022 at 09:57 pm

Agreed ur statement about Gary. Though he turned out to be a great player drafting a player that high should usually be a day 1 starter but not a developmental prospect.

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 25, 2022 at 03:24 pm

The 2018 draft was just inadequate, as you mentioned, no sp teams contributors and O line depth from the whiffs. The voids with missing on J.Jones (his guy) and Jackson with Two Picks really started the groundhog's day of restocking and missing out on chances to fortify the roster with a valid #2 WR, the D-line and the ILB positions. Summers and Burks just bottom dwellers and MVS a part time player, move on.
Milt Hendrickson improved the personnel dept and his eyes helped bring in Jenkins, Myers, Newman and Hanson.
The Pack has not started two rookies in a long while. Gary was solid and he should have gotten more reps as a greenhorn with his hand on the ground. Sam Seale being in Krys Barnes camp , a guy who should have been drafted no later than round three, was gold. If Rodgers stays, then Adams should walk. I cannot justify both being on the cap.

0 points
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Swisch's picture

February 24, 2022 at 04:50 pm

One of the exciting questions for 2022 is whether MVS steps up into stardom.
When I think of Marquez, I think of the playoff game against the Bucs in which he excelled with a variety of receptions, including a deep ball for a touchdown early on and an intermediate catch over the middle in crunch time (as I recall).
I'm guessing that MVS has been underutilized, and that with more targets next season, he'll have more than 60 receptions, with 10 or more of them over 30 yards, and about 10 touchdowns. That would be as part of a well-balanced passing attack with Jordan Love as quarterback spreading around the targets.
I think MVS is not only a rare deep threat, but a versatile receiver who can catch passes all over the field. He seems a good blocker. I'd keep him on a second contract as a bargain compared to Davante on his third.
So, all-in-all, I'm predicting big things for MVS over the next few seasons.
P.S. With Lazard and Amari Rodgers, I think the Packers are in good shape at wide receiver for next season. Let's draft a guy or two at the position, and as high as the first round if someone special is available (though tight end is more of a need). Also, I'm hopeful that one out of the trio of ESB and Taylor and Winfree can be a significant contributor to the Packers.

-6 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

February 24, 2022 at 06:20 pm

After 8 years...4 in college/4 in the NFL (with a HOF QB who completes 70% of his passes to other receivers)...he hasn't sniffed 60 rec/10TDs, or 50 receptions, or 40 receptions, for that matter. But next year will be different? OK...lol

5 points
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Duneslick's picture

February 24, 2022 at 07:00 pm

All based on one or two games. He disappeared for many games at a time and last year was his worst.

1 points
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stockholder's picture

February 24, 2022 at 04:59 pm

LOL. I look at it, and see why the Sts Stunk. Let's include some of the picks used, to go up for these guys. Anyone can pick the top 30. (I'll bet Kiper has a higher success rate. ) But I'll give Gute the ole college try. So whats to Love== The gamble? Power? Need? Upside? Ok their Packers. {I got it.} I would be shocked if Gute ever traded down. So forget about the value. TT did. But Gute doesn't. So how can we change Gutes thinking? It's not going to happen if you believe he walks on water. How many have given up trying to figure him out. It's obvious the underwear olympics is his pipe dream. So lets go for speed this draft. I have 2 wrs, a Edge, a LB, 2 RBS, a TE that fits this board. Sorry DL. If he did take 1 early, He might go to Canada.

-4 points
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PeteK's picture

February 24, 2022 at 05:03 pm

Amari did not have the burst and wiggle that I thought he was supposed to have. Gute has done a very good job overall especially when you consider that we drafted at the bottom. However, much might hinge on the Love pick.

5 points
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ImaPayne's picture

February 24, 2022 at 06:10 pm

I give alexander, Dillon, Jenkins high marks. They play like winners.
Gary and Stokes are second tier. Want to see way more out of them.
MVS and St Brown should have lit it up by now and what you see is what your going to get. They aint developing any more.
The rest are so so. Meyers may be good but we havent seen much yet.
Degura is too dam slow for a te. By the time he gets open the QB was planted into the turf. Jean Charles and Josh Jackson should be Div 1a material.

-6 points
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LeotisHarris's picture

February 24, 2022 at 06:23 pm

So. Many. Words.

I got stuck in the all the significant adjectives and immediate impact verbs.

What would the rankings be if players weren't ranked "as the Packers general manager"?

-1 points
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canadapacker's picture

February 24, 2022 at 06:39 pm

My biggest complaint with Gute and it was with TT near the end - some really bad mistakes. Like last year with Amari. Could have had The Other St Brown. The point is what is happening with the scouting department. Apparently TT did most of the watching and scouting - and he made most of the decisions with the group. The GM does make the final call - but the Packers have been historically bad on drafting QB's ever since TT picked AR. I am not going to name them but under the Holmgren regime 3 or 4 went on to play /start for other teams and most for several years. We have had NONE. It also appears that our scouting is weak and especially for evaluating players who can also TACKLE and play special teams once again TACKLE - is not being assessed or valued. My final note - people have been dumping on MVS - we are a different team when he is on the field and Adams is a different player when MVS is on the field - yes he has have a few bad drops and a few really hard catches that we called drops - but he does stretch the field when used properly which in some cases he wasnt - but just look at the Minnie game reception and we should have won that game if our Dbacks hold onto Cousin's passes to them.

2 points
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barutanseijin's picture

February 24, 2022 at 11:33 pm

I thought Gute drafted better than this, but when you list them all together, it doesn’t look good. It’s not so much the Never Weres and Nobodies at the bottom, but the top that worries me. Jenkins was a great pick, and yeah, the wheeling and dealing to come up with Alexander and an extra first was impressive. Stokes, sure, Gary yes, but he took so long to develop you have to ask whether he was worth the 12th pick. MVS #5? Really? They haven’t got much production out of him, so if that’s your #5, you’re in trouble. On the positive side, some of the OL picks will eventually climb the list, e.g., Newman! & Myers probably, too.

Drafting Love, OK, Dillon in the 2nd, maybe a lot of people wouldn’t have done that, but there’s a certain logic to those picks. The ones that really get me are JK Scott & Hunter Bradley who are Exhibits A & B in the Case Against Drafting Punters & Long Snappers.

2 points
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marpag1's picture

February 25, 2022 at 05:02 am

"I thought Gute drafted better than this, but when you list them all together, it doesn’t look good."

I feel that way when I look at almost every GM, even the best of them. They never seem quite as impressive as I thought, just because none of the free agents or undrafted guys are there.

Ron Wolf was really good, but on his list of draft picks you won't find Favre. And think about that superbowl D-line... Reggie, Santana Dotson, Gilbert, and Sean Jones, and not one of them was drafted by Wolf or even by the Packers.

4 points
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Coldworld's picture

February 25, 2022 at 07:49 am

Very true. A really good GM hits about as often as a major league batting star. The thing about Gute is that he has done extraordinarily well with non draft pickups, outside of Graham at that price (a move triggered by Ball breaking off negotiations with the better option).

For all the MVS trashers, all I can say is that I really wish he’d been healthy in our last game. The difference to their D was obvious. Great no, but he gave us hope against the Bucs when Adams couldn’t do anything. That’s not insignificant by any means. This team is better with him.

0 points
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marpag1's picture

February 25, 2022 at 05:32 am

Yeah, I'll give the edge to Jaire overall, but only because of the trade down value that netted an extra first. If it were just head-to-head, Jaire at 18 vs. Elgton at 44, then I think Jenkins was the better pick. I would value Jenkins as an ultra-versatile left tackle, and not just as a guard.

MVS is way high... above Dillon?? Not for me. I'd take Savage, Runyon, Myers over MVS easy, and Deguara and Newman have a chance too, depending on how they develop.

When you get down into the 20s, it's hard to differentiate "levels of badness," but I would have dinged Burks, Rodgers, Sternberger and especially Josh Jackson more than the author did because of their relatively high draft position. If you bust on a 6th rounder, OK. But you gotta get more from a 2 or a 3.

7 points
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scoonie_penn's picture

February 25, 2022 at 05:35 am

It's a gut punch (to me) for a "draft and develop" team to miss on that many picks. I'd say Newman and Deguara should be above Summers and Burks(Summers Ok, Burks-awful)) so the hit rate is about 33%. That's not a great ratio.

3 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

February 25, 2022 at 08:29 am

Rankings are always subjective, however looking at Ron Wolf's drafting history his "hit rate" on consensus "good" or "great" draft picks was at 38%.

Including the top 10 above and including Deguara, Newman, Garvin and Hill (two 7th rounders playing meaningful snaps) has Gutey with 13 "good" or "great picks out of 37 total for a "hit rate of", you guessed...38%. And several of his picks still have opportunity to yet become good, even great picks (Love, Rodgers, McDuffie, Jean-Charles, Scott, ESB) in the next few years where the book is closed on Wolf's selections.

And as is usually stated, the time to grade a draft class after 4 years.

Where Gutey and Wolf are similar is finding and signing good to great FA talent. TT had a few (Woodson, Pickett), but most of his FAs were just end of the roster fill ins.

1 points
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