Which Position Is Packers GM Brian Gutekunst Most Likely to Double Down on In This Year’s Draft?

Green Bay Packers GM Brian Gutekunst has been conducting drafts for the team since 2018. During that time, he has demonstrated several patterns in the way he selects players. One of them is the habit of selecting multiple players at the same position to address an area of need.

This habit started in his very first draft as Packers GM. With the team in need of an upgrade at cornerback, Gutekunst used both his first and second round picks to fortify the position. Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson were the picks. Alexander developed into a Pro Bowl corner while Jackson’s career was derailed by injuries and inconsistency.

Just last season, Gutekunst also addressed the tight end position, adding Luke Musgrave in the second round and Tucker Kraft in the third. Both contributed significantly to the offense in their rookie campaigns.

The multiple picks did not always need to be in the early rounds of the draft. The Packers added three interior offensive linemen in 2020 when they selected Jon Runyan, Jake Hanson, and Simon Stepaniak with all three picks coming in the sixth round.

In 2022, the team selected three offensive linemen again with Sean Rhyan in the third round, Zach Tom in the fourth and Rasheed Walker in the seventh. Tom and Walker were the starting tackles in 2023 while Rhyan saw regular action in the second half of the season in a rotation with the injured Runyan.

Gute also added three wide receivers in both the 2022 and 2023 draft. The result was a deep and talented young receiving corps that features Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, and Dontayvion Wicks.

In addition, Gutekunst has doubled down at a position using a combination of free agency and the draft. In 2019, the Packers added edge rushers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith in free agency while selecting edge rusher Rashan Gary in the first round of the draft.

So, what are the most likely positions Gutekunst will double or triple down on in this year’s draft?

Cornerback would have to be one real possibility. The Packers still have Alexander as a starter, although he struggled with injuries last season and only played in seven games. That is still four games more than Eric Stokes who played in just three contests in between his injuries. While the Packers hope Stokes can return to his rookie form, he has struggled with injuries and inconsistent play over the last two seasons.

The Pack re-signed Keisean Nixon to be the starting slot corner although he was inconsistent in that position a year ago. New defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley liked what he saw on film from Nixon and thinks he can be a solid slot corner.

The Packers have depth here with Carrington Valentine and Corey Ballentine, but another starter is needed and perhaps more depth as well.

The Packers need at safety is even greater. The team’s top three safeties from a year ago were all unrestricted free agents. Darnell Savage and Jonathan Owens have already signed elsewhere but Rudy Ford remains unsigned.

The Packers made a big splash in free agency with Xavier McKinney, but the only other player on the roster with even a chance to start is second-year man Anthony Johnson, Jr. Look for the Packers to add at least two safeties before training camp starts and to draft at least one.

The offensive line is another area that needs attention. Jon Runyan, Jr. signed with the Giants and the Packers parted ways with David Bakhtiari due to his extensive injury history and high cap hit. Swing tackle Yosh Nijman also departed via free agency.

The team needs someone to compete with Rhyan for the right guard position and they depth at both guard and center where Josh Myers has been inconsistent and is entering the final year of his contract. Depth at tackle is also needed after the loss of Nijman and Bakhtiari.

Linebacker is another position of need where Gutekunst may add multiple players. De’Vondre Campbell was let go which leaves Quay Walker and Isaiah McDuffie as the starters. Eric Wilson was re-signed to add depth.

The Packers still need depth here and potentially another starter as Hafley is going with a four-man front in his base defense.

Based on history, we know Gutekunst may look to add multiple players at positions of need. With 11 picks and a solid roster, he could select multiple players at more than one of the positions listed above.

 

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Comments (34)

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Leatherhead's picture

March 30, 2024 at 12:04 pm

Offensive line. Get the guys in front of Love and Jacobs that we'll have for the next four years.

This morning, I did a simulation on Consensus that had me getting the Oregon tackle at #30, after trading down. I also got Cooper Beebe at #58 and Van Pran around #80. I could have taken Zintner, too, but I figured three was enough.

Still got Edge Cooper at #41 and Bullock at #91, plus a bunch of Day 3 picks . This is a Packer offense that is going to be together for a lot of years and they are going to be explosive scoring points. Let's improve the OL and make it an absolute strength.

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TKWorldWide's picture

March 30, 2024 at 01:34 pm

Big fan of the “big uglies” here. I read “Instant Replay” for the first time at age 13, and re-read it several times since. Made me a permanent believer in the whole O-line value idea.

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LambeauPlain's picture

March 31, 2024 at 07:01 am

I am with you and with given quality depth described with this class, this would be the time to load up on OL.

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Coldworld's picture

March 30, 2024 at 12:13 pm

How many ways can this question be asked?

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TKWorldWide's picture

March 30, 2024 at 01:34 pm

Seventeen??

What did I win? 😉

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splitpea1's picture

March 30, 2024 at 12:31 pm

I still don't understand why they haven't resigned Ford; age maybe? If they don't, they'll certainly have to double down in the draft.

It's a certainly that they'll at least double down on the offensive line, especially given that they didn't select any last year.

Running back is another possibility depending on how they feel about E. Wilson.

ILB I'm not so sure about with the re-signing of the other E. Wilson. But we do know we need one with starting potential rather quickly.

No double down here, but I wouldn't be opposed to a run-stuffing DL being snuck in there--and maybe something a little more promising than a late pick. Who knows what the Packers think of J. Ford, but he's yet to make it up from the PS. And T. Slaton is a free agent after this season.

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gsd3's picture

March 30, 2024 at 02:54 pm

Kenny Clark as well.

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dobber's picture

March 30, 2024 at 04:11 pm

My understanding is the Packers have been talking extension with Clark.

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Grandfathered's picture

March 30, 2024 at 11:16 pm

Great comment.. I'd go OL and DL early. Why isn't Ford back? And Wilson was a good ST contrutor. I wanted him back.

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golfpacker1's picture

March 30, 2024 at 12:45 pm

OL is the obvious one because of it being the co-biggest need along with LB.

But CB is more than a "sneaky" need for 2 reasons. Stokes has been a bad dream the last 2 years. And Alexander has missed a lot of games too, while being buukuu expensive. I can easily see a Top 10 CB being selected with either #58 or #88.
There is a nice group that could be there in Khyree Jackson, Cam Hart, Max Melton, Jarrion Jones, Caelon Carson, Renardo Green and Elijah Jones. Select one with the idea that if Stokes isn't ready, then replace him immediately. If he finally returns to form, 2025 will be a potential decision year for him and Alexander. The first 2 are physical shutdown CBs.

Add another in the last 3 round, Myles Harden, JaQuan Sheppard, Kamal Hadden, DeCammerion Richardson, Storm Duck, Miles Battle are all developmental possibilities. I have liked Hadden and Richardson (RAS 9.67) all year.

LB is the biggest need that should not be picked in the first round, but can't wait past #41. The failure in Free Agency has forced our hand. Best case scenario is Cooper, Colson, & Wilson could all be there @ #41. At worst, the last 2 will be. Any of the 3 will be starting LBs.

A second LB to snag later is Nathaniel Watson. He had way better stats than Cooper last year with 137 tackles and 10 sacks. He is a sideline-to-sideline guy with great potential.

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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

March 30, 2024 at 11:25 pm

Is LB really a need? I looked at the roster a couple days ago and there are TEN LBs not counting anyone I recognize as an OLB.

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CoachJV's picture

March 30, 2024 at 01:21 pm

I'm betting there's going to be a trade of draft picks for someone already on somebody's roster. Most likely a LB.... just my guess.

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stockholder's picture

March 30, 2024 at 02:24 pm

And if he took Wilson @25 and then Cooper@41
would you complain?

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golfpacker1's picture

March 30, 2024 at 02:55 pm

Yeah, I would complain because no matter how big the LB hole is, it's a fact that in the 2024 draft, there are no LBs that should be drafted in the first round. Especially one with 2 knee surgeries, 1 shoulder surgery, and hamstring problems. Gb should wait until #41 and grab Junior Colson. He isn't all banged up and he doesn't miss every other tackle like Cooper does.

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stockholder's picture

March 30, 2024 at 04:24 pm

Wilson overcame all injuries.
Junior Colson is over-rated/INJ
Michigans secondary was not.
Their offense was so GOOD.
Built like GB in 2010.

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golfpacker1's picture

March 31, 2024 at 09:51 am

In your opinion he is overrated, it's funny that nobody else seems to think that. I guess if the Packers plan is to draft a LB that might last 3 or 4 years, then Wilson is the choice.

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CoachJV's picture

March 30, 2024 at 03:35 pm

I'd complain about taking any LB in the 1st this year. I think we should either trade back out of the 1st for a bunch of 2nd and 3rds or trade the 1st for a stud player at any of our positions of need.

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stockholder's picture

March 30, 2024 at 04:26 pm

I think your missing PFF rating on him.
Also PFF hit te nail on the head with Tom etc.
(I'd trust their OL ratings before you take one.)

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Alberta_Packer's picture

March 30, 2024 at 05:29 pm

I'd trade down in the first + trade up in the third - to somehow end up with 4 picks in the second round. I think that the 2nd can be such a sweet spot for the Packers this year.

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golfpacker1's picture

March 31, 2024 at 10:17 am

I am with you on the trade down Alberta. We don't need an OT in the first round. Our biggest need is interior OL, not OT. We can pick OT later in the draft.

If JPJ was available @ #25, I would take him and run. But I would not take Barton in the first because he will be playing OG and Beebe is a better OG. Trade back to no later than #42, grab another 2nd round pick and a later one. Then start the draft with a 10-year starter with All-Pro written all over him. Beebe

Then grab your LB @ #41 and the 2 biggest holes are filled. That would be the best draft start scenario for GB because we score 2 more picks, and still get the Top-Rated interior O-lineman and a Top 3 LB.

For fans of TeVondre Sweat the extra 2nd rounder opens the door to picking him as a run stopper. 4 potential 2nd round picks followed by two 3rd rounder fills 6 holes with Top 5 players @ their position groups.

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stockholder's picture

March 30, 2024 at 02:21 pm

So whats wrong with Rhyan , Tom, and Walker?
Even Runyan just got 10 mil.
Look I realized I said take a Ol when in doubt.
But those guys did develop, and they did turn into
along term vision. Fact:
There is No sure franchise OT@25. even a IOL.

We need Defense, and thats the bottom line decision.
So who plays next to Walker?

And You want a player to listen ,and grow with X.
As much as you think Gute can Nail every pick.
Thats just not going to happen!

If Dejean isn't good enough @25.
No OL will be either.

So safety is the double down.
Because it's just been to stretched
since Collins left.
Injuries have happened. Add the Depth!

Dejean, Wilson, Bullard.
The secondary must be its STRENGTH.

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

March 30, 2024 at 02:25 pm

Three offensive linemen are gone from last year's roster, so based upon numbers alone, the Packers should be adding a minimum of two. However, with the number of picks we have, we will likely be doubling down on more than one position. After all we have more picks than there are position groups on the team.

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gsd3's picture

March 30, 2024 at 03:00 pm

Usually a bunch of cuts after the draft. Gutey's not stupid. He won't leave a position undermanned. If we are aware of needs, he is as well.
Will he select who you or I want? Probably not but instead of stressing just go with it.
I haven't gotten who I wanted In the 1st since Vonnie Holiday.

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CoachJV's picture

March 30, 2024 at 03:40 pm

Last time we got who I wanted in the 1st was Savage... I wish he'd have grown past his college days.

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gsd3's picture

March 30, 2024 at 03:12 pm

Not currently a need but I would not mind seeing T'vondre Sweat added. With Slaton coming up on free agency I would like to have a run stuffing beast in the middle. Occupy blockers and let guys like Brooks have 1 on 1's and allow guys like Quay to run to the ball.
Not splashy but would help a bunch.
Short yardage lining up next to Slaton would no longer be a nearly automatic thing .
The double part would be Boyd from Northern Iowa.

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Alberta_Packer's picture

March 30, 2024 at 05:37 pm

I don't see Sweat as a 3 down D-lineman due to his size and potential conditioning issues. If going for a D-lineman in the second round - I would prefer Kris Jenkins - who appears to be able to stay on the field for all three downs - while also a good run defender. If no to both - then Boyd a round or two later is a good consolation prize.

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Untylu1968's picture

March 30, 2024 at 04:04 pm

Three OL
Two LB
Two S/DB
One DE
One RB
One WR
One QB
Just my uneducated guess..
OL, just more for depth anything..

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Alberta_Packer's picture

March 30, 2024 at 05:44 pm

That's close to my checklist. My variable is that Gutie might forego a QB this year - to opt for another Safety. So 2S and 1CB.

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golfpacker1's picture

March 30, 2024 at 08:02 pm

We don't even remotely need a QB or WR. Fill the needs. No luxury picks.

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stockholder's picture

March 30, 2024 at 08:25 pm

Thats a bad idea.
Especially since we learned; Gute
will draft a qb in the upcoming drafts.
This should give you an idea:25.

Cooper DeJean. DB. Iowa. - Game changer
41 Payton Wilson. Ilb. NC- Need
58. Javon Bullard. S. Geo.- Need
88 Zak Zinter. G. U of M-
91. Christian Jones. OT Texas- Long Arms
126. Tanor Bortolini. IOL WI- Versatile
169. Luke McCaffrey. WR Rice- Punt Ret. Slot
202. Trey Taylor. DB. AF- Back-up
219. Cody Schradar. RB Miss. -
245. Jase McClellan. RB. Alabama-
255. Sam Hartman. QB. ND- PS

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golfpacker1's picture

March 31, 2024 at 01:56 pm

Sam Hartman is the best LOOKING QB in the draft, But looks don't throw the ball. He looked like a High School QB next to the others @ the Combine. You don't pick A QB just to say you did.

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gsd3's picture

April 01, 2024 at 05:39 am

If Milton is there at 169 , gotta take him IF you want to develop a Qb.

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Untylu1968's picture

March 31, 2024 at 06:47 am

Never said it was a need, just a prediction..

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

March 30, 2024 at 09:47 pm

OL at 25 and 125
LB at 41 and 58
DB at 88 and 91
RB at 168

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