Uncertainty surrounded the Green Bay Packers before the 2018 NFL draft. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was reportedly upset with offseason decisions. A void needed to be filled with the release of wide receiver Jordy Nelson. On top of everything, Brian Gutekunst was hired as the new general manager to run the show. Gutekunst had plenty of pressure to strike gold in this year’s draft. He did more than that.
The cornerback position has been the weak point on the Packers depth chart for several years. Injuries and underproduction out of high draft picks have contributed to the cause. In order to finally put some stability at corner, the Packers selected Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson with their first two selections. Alexander adds speed to the secondary with his 4.38 second 40-yard dash. Jackson might not have the speed, but his strength and eye for the ball makes him an excellent complement to Alexander.
Gutekunst continued to fill needs in the third and fourth rounds. Linebacker Oren Burks became the last pick on day two for the Packers. Burks did play safety his first two years at Vandy before moving to linebacker for his final two seasons. That versatility will make Burks a new piece to defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s puzzle.
In the fourth round, the Packers took their first of three wide receivers on day three. J’Mon Moore ran a 4.49 second 40-yard dash at his Missouri pro day. That speed gives the Packers optimism that Moore could be a much needed deep threat. Speaking of deep threat, Marquez Valdes-Scantling out of South Florida ran the second fastest forty time at the combine of any receiver (4.37). That speed resulted in a fifth round selection by the Packers. The sixth round saw the selection of another receiver, Equanimeous St. Brown from Notre Dame, who was teammates with new Packers quarterback DeShone Kizer on the Irish.
Across the board, Gutekunst and the Packers dramatically improved the team. Two young talented cornerbacks are poised to improve the secondary, while a safety turned linebacker could bring some force to the heart of the defense. Offensively, Rodgers needs another weapon or two to throw the ball to. Drafting three wide receivers certainly improves the odds of that happening. Overall, the Packers hit this draft out of the park, earning them an A in my book.