The Green Bay Packers Have Already Gotten Real Contributions from Day 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft

Green Bay Packers GM Brian Gutekunst managed to add some real contributors to the team on the third day of this year’s NFL Draft. While it’s difficult to truly evaluate a team’s draft for at least three years, Gute did a very good job of snagging players who have made surprising contributions to the team in their rookie campaigns.

The first two picks on day three have done about what was expected of them. Defensive lineman Colby Wooden has become part of the team’s defensive line rotation. He’s played in all 12 games and on 25 percent of the team’s defensive snaps. Thus far, he has been credited with four pressures while making 11 tackles including one tackle for loss.

Penn State alum Sean Clifford won the backup quarterback job in training camp and has seen spot duty thus far. He’s carried once for zero yards and has yet to throw a pass. The Packers have been fortunate Jordan Love has remained healthy.

The Packers second pick in the fifth round was wide receiver Dontayvion Wicks. The Virginia alum has 23 catches for 374 yards and a touchdown. Wicks has shown potential as a deep threat and has a strong 63.9 percent catch percentage.

With Christian Watson dealing with yet another hamstring injury, expect Wicks to assume a bigger role in the coming weeks.

In the sixth round, the Packers added defensive lineman Karl Brooks and kicker Anders Carlson. Brooks surprised a lot of people with his ability to pick up the defense and put pressure on the passer.

The Bowling Green alum has three sacks, four passes broken up and four tackles for loss while playing in all 12 games thus far. He has also forced one fumble and recovered one.

Brooks has progressed a little faster than Wooden and has been on the field for 36 percent of the Packers defensive plays. He also has a larger role on special teams. He has truly showed a lot of potential as a pass rusher.

Carlson got off to a strong start at kicker. Although he has missed three extra points, he has connected on 17-of-21 field goals including some clutch kicks. He has also made two kicks of 50 yards or more including a 52-yarder.

Carlson still has to improve his consistency, but he has given the Packers longer kickoffs than Mason Crosby did in recent years and has outstanding leg strength.

In the seventh round, the Packers had four picks and two of them have already made significant contributions to the team.

Cornerback Carrington Valentine was pressed into the starting lineup when injuries hit Jaire Alexander and Eric Stokes and after Rasul Douglas was traded to Buffalo.

Valentine made an immediate impression in training camp, and it was his strong play that made Gutekunst more comfortable trading the veteran starter away at the trade deadline.

The Kentucky alum is not afraid to be physical with receivers and he has the confidence and short-term memory that a good cornerback needs.

Thus far, Valentine has played in all 12 games and has started eight of them. He has broken up seven passes and made 27 total tackles.

According to pro-football-reference.com, opposing quarterbacks have completed just 45.9 percent of their passes when throwing to receivers covered by Valentine. Their quarterback rating is just 66.0 which is even more impressive when you realize Valentine has yet to make his first NFL interception.

The other seventh round selection who is contributing is safety Anthony Johnson, Jr. The former Iowa State star was pressed into the starting lineup when Darnell Savage and Rudy Ford were both injured. He has played in seven games and started three.

Johnson made his first career interception in the Packers win over the Rams. Opposing quarterbacks have a 66.7 quarterback rating when throwing to receivers covered by Johnson.

None of these players are going to make the Pro Bowl this season and they may never even develop into long-term starters in the NFL. But to get this many late-round draft picks who contribute as rookies to the team’s success speaks highly of Gutekunst and of the job the Packers coaching staff did to get them ready.

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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9 points
 

Comments (42)

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

December 09, 2023 at 11:26 am

Wicks was a boom bust pick. A probable first rounder had he declared in 2022 after a phenomenal 3rd season at VA. He returned for a 4th year and struggled with drops during a turbulent VA season (campus shootings). Looks like Gutey may have drafted the boom Wicks who was all ACC his Jr year!

More good football players added to a talented Defense that underperforms due to the scheme Barry insists on.

I really believed Brooks would contribute quickly, Wooden is a too. And Johnson, a S with CB skills was a real find. He's a keeper.

Gutey and his personnel team have stocked the Packers with talent all around. MLF is employing them to their strengths on O now, it seems. Defense, not so much.

8 points
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Leatherhead's picture

December 09, 2023 at 07:24 pm

This is the Gute draft profile: He looks for guys who had better seasons as juniors than as seniors. Love was a guy like that, and Wicks and others are too. When we get to draft season, look for that, because it's clear that Gutekunst does.

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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 09, 2023 at 10:39 pm

I think that's value shopping. He expects some to not pan out, but with the talent some should overcome whatever adversity they had. While cap strapped it's a good strategy, coupled with a large number of picks.

Changing course to trade up instead of down, filling fewer needs with more likely stars, would bring the team into a new SB window.

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Starrbrite's picture

December 10, 2023 at 08:50 pm

LH—Very interesting theory concerning Gutey.

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fthisJack's picture

December 10, 2023 at 08:32 am

Gute has done well. Look also at FA signings that are playing. Ballentine, Owens, Ford. He's assembled a good roster of young players.

1 points
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BAMABADGER's picture

December 10, 2023 at 10:35 am

Wicks had a down senior season because of a new offensive system. The entire UVA offense underperformed in 2022. 2021 the UVA QB attempted 500 passes; in 2022 only 338. 2021 record 6-6; 2022 record 3-7. Wicks stats drop off his senior year was a result of UVA moving from a pass oriented Bronco Mendenhall and replacing with a run oriented offense under an inexperienced, first time HC Tony Elliot.

Guty and his scouting staff did their homework identifying Wicks pro talent in light of poor coaching his senior year. Wicks should have been drafted in the 2nd and no later than 3rd round. If he stays healthy, he will should have an outstanding career wearing the Green and Gold. GPG!

0 points
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pantz_bURp's picture

December 09, 2023 at 12:01 pm

And on the Third Day, Gute created the Packers.

Pantzin in the Dark

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TxFred's picture

December 09, 2023 at 12:31 pm

Love, must go nuts, thinking about what receiver to throw to next. Speed, energy, talent spread out everywhere. A DC's nightmare!
Get the power run game & lookout.
GPG!!!!!

3 points
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Minniman's picture

December 09, 2023 at 01:51 pm

A very balanced group Tx.

I remember posting and reading here over the last couple of years that it appeared that the last crop of Packers WR's were too similar in their skillsets - and also sans a legit TE threat.

I'm also enjoying seeing improved catching. Some of the contested catches that have been made thus far have been breathtaking.

4 points
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GregC's picture

December 09, 2023 at 02:04 pm

This has been really outstanding. Of course, part of it is that these guys HAD to play simply because there were no veterans on the depth chart in front of them. But they didn't have to play this well. Valentine is the most impressive one, considering how late he was drafted. Honorable mention to Malik Heath, who has contributed as an undrafted player.

I hadn't realized that Anders Carlson was 17 of 21 on field goals. That's a pretty good percentage. Keep in mind that one of the misses was from 63 yards. And one of his three missed extra points was blocked right as the ball left his foot, so he's not doing so terrible in that department either. The extra point nowadays is not exactly a long kick but it's not a gimme, like it used to be.

5 points
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splitpea1's picture

December 09, 2023 at 02:16 pm

Yes, this is definitely one of Gute's better hauls on the last day. We've gotten more out of two seventh-rounders in the secondary than our former first-rounders this season... Brooks has also defended four passes...Wicks: probably most of us have been pleasantly surprised...Carlson I like, especially when he make big kicks and boots the ball in to the end zone...Valentine has played all defensive snaps during our winning streak, and Johnson all in two out of three--so these guys have definitely held up and contributed greatly to our success...Looking forward, I still think we're going to need some draft help in the secondary, but at least Gute shouldn't have to reach or be forced to sign anyone he needn't.

5 points
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dblbogey's picture

December 09, 2023 at 09:45 pm

We need help at safety, but IF Jaire ever has a healthy year, and IF Stokes returns to his Rookie form, we're pretty strong at CB.

1 points
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10ve 💚's picture

December 09, 2023 at 02:57 pm

I agree that the rookies have contributed a lot to the team.

However, when Rashan Gary was a rookie, he saw very little play time. That was not because he was not good, but because there were 2 very good vets in front of him, so there was no need for him to be on the field so much.

Carrington Valentine may possibly have had a similar low play volume if both Jaire and Stokes were healthy.

2 points
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golfpacker1's picture

December 09, 2023 at 03:39 pm

Carlson was short on his kickoffs last week. That was Masons biggest problem the last 2 years. Hopefully that gets better. Much less risk of injury if ball goes through the end zone.

Wicks has been a pleasant surprise, but instead of Wicks and Dubose I would have picked Bryce Ford-Wheaton-West Virginia, 6'4 220lbs and 4.3 40, and I would have taken Matt Landers-Arkansas, 6'5 200lbs and also 4.3 40. Both had better highlights too. Wicks and Dubose are barely over 6'0 and both ran over 4.6. Speed kills.

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GregC's picture

December 09, 2023 at 04:04 pm

How are those other guys doing this year? Not being snarky, just curious.

2 points
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LeotisHarris's picture

December 09, 2023 at 04:08 pm

"Carlson was short on his kickoffs last week. That was Masons biggest problem the last 2 years. Hopefully that gets better. Much less risk of injury if ball goes through the end zone."

The kid was perfect on extra points and field goals in 30 degree weather with a 10 mph wind. The Chefs returned two kicks for a total of 53 yards. So ,the Packers kicked off to start the second half, and after three touchdowns and two field goals. Six kickoffs. Two returns. I have no memory of either of those returns, or if Anders was kicking into the wind. I don't recall him being "short on his kickoffs."

3 points
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golfpacker1's picture

December 10, 2023 at 10:16 am

Any kickoff that is short of the goal line is a short kickoff. Any kickoff returned is an injury waiting to happen and one of those kickoff returns got to the 35. I guess you didn't see the short kickoffs.

0 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

December 09, 2023 at 04:28 pm

Speed alone can be vastly overrated (Janis, MVS).

Crisp route running is way more important. Just ask those slow guys Davante (4.56), J.Rice (4.71), Fitzgerald (4.63), Cooper Kupp (4.62) to name just a few. Guys who are always open.

Dropped passes and poor route running kills drives.

8 points
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golfpacker1's picture

December 10, 2023 at 10:26 am

I could pick and choose some fast guys that are great too. Alot of slower guys can't get open too. I don't think scouts are thrilled by a 4.6 or 4.7 40 time in a WR. I was just stating my preferences for that draft.

1 points
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DoubleJ's picture

December 10, 2023 at 10:37 am

If the Fitzgerald you reference is Larry Fitzgerald he ran a 4.47/40.

The main thing is that the best WRs always have at least one elite trait. It could be raw speed, see Tyreek Hill, or jumping, see Adams, or 3-cone, see Kupp. Do note that Hill is also shifty. It is very rare that you have a dominant WR that only have average traits across the board.

1 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

December 10, 2023 at 11:19 am

I've seen everything from a 4.45 to close to 4.7. Doesn't really matter. My point was people put too much importance in 40 times. How fast you run in shorts doesn't always equate to actual football speed.

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DoubleJ's picture

December 09, 2023 at 05:40 pm

Neither of them have done anything. Ford-Wheaton didn't make it out of training camp before tearing his ACL. Landers was an UDFA and spent time on 2 practice squads and been cut from both teams. Pretty obvious that Wicks has been better so far.

11 points
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golfpacker1's picture

December 10, 2023 at 10:22 am

Any players picked after the 3rd round are a guess anyway. 6'4 and 6'5 receivers will win alot more jump balls, just throw it up and let them go get it. I will still take the fast guys over the slow guys. Both of my guys were rated higher. It would have been interesting to see them both in our WR group.

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DoubleJ's picture

December 10, 2023 at 10:48 am

Who says they were rated higher? Something like NFL draft scout? Well considering Wicks was drafted rounds before either of your guys where you got your "ratings" was wrong.

Looking just at college production, Wicks had nearly the same production as Bryce Ford-Wheaton in 10 less games. Not to mention Wicks JR season was vastly better than any season by Bryce Ford-Wheaton. In terms of RAS Wicks is still a 91% athlete so he isn't a slouch. Note that Ford-Wheaton is a 99% athlete.

3 points
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Coldworld's picture

December 10, 2023 at 08:24 am

I think the short kicks were by design. He’s got plenty of leg when he does go long.

Wicks dropped because of two things, while he’s got freakish burst for his size, his top end speed is not good. That hurt him, but the other factor was his drop rate last year. It wasn’t just bad it was terrible.

I did not like the pick for that reason, his hands. In fact, it looks like the scouts were right, and his drop off was due more to others than him. His catching has been as much a revelation as Reed’s real speed. Both were significantly under rated based upon what we know now. That means we essentially picked up two steals at WR. The scouting/evaluation personnel earned their money last year.

2 points
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DoubleJ's picture

December 10, 2023 at 10:50 am

IIRC his 40 time was affected by a pulled muscle. Overall his actual time would have been like a 4.55 or so.

With Reed the Packers got a JSN 30 picks later. I was not a fan of JSN because of where you would have needed to draft him. Him and Reed are very similar athletes and with Reed we were able to get better value. This one reason why I don't like the drafting of WRs in R1.

1 points
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NickPerry's picture

December 09, 2023 at 04:09 pm

I like all those that Gil mentioned...

Wicks...I told my son this week Wicks is going to be a great WR in this league. He's got great hands, strong hands, and I like the way he runs after the catch. I'm starting to think by next year opposing defenses are going to be worrying a hell of a lot more about Reed and Wicks opposed to Watson and Doubs.

Valentine... I don't know what's going to happen with Stokes but that boy better be ready to play next season because he may not ever get his job back.

Brooks....I LOVE this kid. Still can't believe he was there in the 6th after the career he had at Bowling Green.

Johnson...This dude will be the starting safety next season. It seems every time he's in the game he's making a play.

3 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 09, 2023 at 11:02 pm

I've been calling Reed the rightful #1 for weeks, and Wicks #2 along with Musgrave. Hopefully Kraft does as well and is used. Obviously not the same routes, but better YAC. I think it's possible that the improved running game is coming from improved pass pro by TEs and RBs, too.

-5 points
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joejetson's picture

December 09, 2023 at 06:45 pm

There's another receiver from this year's draft who I'm excited to see- Grant Dubose. He's on the practice squad but I think we'll see him sooner or later. He got hurt in camp and didn't see action until the final preseason game. He made a nice sideline catch despite taking a big hit.

If you watch his college highlight reel, he makes some fantastic contested catches. I don't think he's a burner, but I'll take a guy who fights through contact and wins 50/50 balls consistently over a speed demon with bad hands.

I just hope nobody poaches him off the practice squad this season.

2 points
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PackEyedOptimist's picture

December 09, 2023 at 08:49 pm

I’m also a big fan of DuBose. It was a shame he started the year injured. He’s also an excellent special teams player.

1 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

December 09, 2023 at 11:08 pm

I'm a fan of the entire WR room. I'm glad we haven't had to use them all, with only #9 out with injury. I think a good strategy now is to reduce the number of different targets JL throws to, to develop a really solid connection with each and also let some become "the hot hand." #28 is definitely in that category, he's been catching everything thrown to him. Each is so different, it's got to be difficult hitting them in stride.

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

December 10, 2023 at 08:40 am

The problem for Dubose is how good Heath has proved as a back up X and physical possession WR/blocker. They are very similar physically and in terms of play styles, essentially we double dipped on the type.

With Wicks probing to be a good pick as a physical if more physically versatile WR, both Dubose and Heath have depth above them. Heath is likely to be tough to unseat. I don’t see two players of the profile of Dubose and Heath playing together often unless forced, particularly with the athletic TEs we now have.

1 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

December 10, 2023 at 01:12 pm

2 quality tight ends who can run create matchup nightmares. one can only hope that with the riches Gutekunst has presented MLF, he'll properly utilize them.

0 points
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Leatherhead's picture

December 09, 2023 at 07:31 pm

There's only one ball, and half the time it's going to the RB. Our top 3 WRs account for about 90% of the production of that unit. If Kraft and Musgrave continue to grow, they'll need to be fed more often. So I am totally looking forward to the 2024 training camp. You've got Watson, but he gets hurt a lot. You've got Doubs, who keeps improving. You've got Reed and Wicks and Heath, who won't be rookies anymore. The three best, healthiest guys are going to play. As a unit, this has the best potential, IMO, of any group since the Jennings-Jones-Jordy-Adams days.

2 points
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Turophile's picture

December 10, 2023 at 06:35 am

The last two years the drafting has been top tier.

In 2019 only the high picks worked out (Gary/Savage/Jenkins), but Gary is top tier.
2020 would have also been a poor year..............excepting the Packers got Love, which trumps anything else they did.
2021 was a bit of a disappointment too, looking back, so the trend to this point wasn't especially good......until :
2022 A really excellent draft.
2023 also looking to be a very good draft indeed. Two years of drafting like 2022 and 2023 can make a huge difference to a team, especially to a team that has tended to draft late every year.

3 points
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HarryHodag's picture

December 10, 2023 at 08:39 am

Not mentioned in the article was this type of low-round drafting skill was Ron Wolf's arena. While Wolf made some notable bombs in the early rounds(while also scoring some great players), Wolf consistently found good players(translation: less costly players) in the lower rounds.

It would not surprise me to see the Packers move on from Eric Stokes this off season because of the play of the two rookies. Ditto for other veterans as well. The youth movement is beginning to pay dividends.

0 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

December 10, 2023 at 10:11 am

Highly unlikely they move on from a 1st round pick who is still on his rookie deal. I could be wrong but I can't think of one time the Packers have ever done that. Nor should they.

0 points
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HarryHodag's picture

December 10, 2023 at 11:25 am

How about for a guy that can't stay on the field? Year one he was outstanding. Year two he evolved into a major liability and then got hurt. Year three he's not recovered while others have passed him.

Drafting in round one does not mean players are destined for stardom.

0 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

December 10, 2023 at 11:38 am

The fact that he was outstanding in year one is why they wouldn't move on from him while he's still on his rookie contract. If he still can't stay on the field and/or his play continues to regress in year 4, I agree they probably move on.

0 points
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golfpacker1's picture

December 10, 2023 at 10:40 am

Even though I would have picked WRs other than Wicks and Dubose, I am thrilled with our WR room in general. I was elated when we drafted Watson but I am concerned about his constant injuries. Maybe a little more weight would strengthen his body as he is super skinny.

Think how young and talented this team will be next year. Bahk, Jones, Campbell, and Preston Smith are 4 of our oldest Packers and due to injuries or too much money owed, will probably be gone next year. We could be dangerous for quite awhile. Go Pack!

0 points
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golfpacker1's picture

December 10, 2023 at 10:47 am

In my mocks now since we are picking @ 20, I usually trade back for more picks since the best offensive tackles are gone. With my extra early 2nd round pick I usually snag Xavier Leggett-South Carolina. Then Jordan Morgan-OT-Arizona. Legette would be our #1 WR. He catches everything and is big @ 6'3 and 230. Still runs in 4'3s too. Morgan is our new LT.

0 points
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Racingdad's picture

December 10, 2023 at 10:26 pm

While I love your choices and I can usually hit those also , I have been picking fatuna and worthy-I know he’s not a big physical guy but he’s very fast 4.30 forty and we could use another speed guy to cover for Watson when he’s out Fatuna can play tackle or guard I usually look for a safety or cb next and / or a linebacker to replace Campbell I like e cooper for that if I can’t get fatuna their is always beebe or Haynes for guard. I’d love Morgan also I than look for rb and dline plus more oline help still very early but it’s fun

0 points
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