Yeah don’t like two 2nds for him, but the Packers were pretty much no win. You lambasted them yesterday for not getting a WR. Picks 53 and 59 are worth a total of 680 points on the draft value chart, pick 28 is 660, pick 22 is 780. So if they had reached for Watson at 28 yesterday would it have been the same reaction? Would you have said “Well they got a WR but he wasn’t worth a first round pick!” Fine if you did, but then what the hell should they have done? Traded up into the run on the top tier WR earlier in the round, sure, but how much would that have cost?
I mean you have to buy into the draft value chart for that argument to work. Clearly he was WR7 on their board, and it appears a lot of mock boards too. They paid basically the same price they would have using a first. That cost feels to high sure, but waiting for 53 looks like it would have left them with the choice of Pierce or Moore (I’m assuming that NY or Houston takes Watson and that NE takes either Robinson or Metchie instead of Thornton given everything else staying the same). My guess is they were much lower on the GB board.
Of course I’m actually surprised they did it. Gutekunst values WR much lower than previous Packers GMs and previous GMs as we know didn’t spend high picks on WR (or did they more on that later). I honestly thought they would wait end up with all the 2nd tier WRs gone and taken a safety and an edge rusher with their 2nds. That’s seriously what I was expecting for tonight, maybe getting a TE or a 3rd or 4th tier WR in the 3rd round. I still expect them to get a TE and another WR (or 2) later.
I will accept that the real issue is they paid Kevin King and Aaron Jones last year instead of throwing that money at Adams as part of an extension or some other FA WR. Also not even taking fliers on WR since the 4th, 5th, 6th rounders in 2018 and the 3rd on Rodgers last year, so they were letting the cupboard get really bare. So they had to overpay for something this year.
Some history for those who don’t know it (i.e. my point is made this is just supporting information that doesn’t paint Gutekunst super great)
We know WR has not been a high value target since Wolf took over in 92. They did at least take shots at WR a lot though. There is a difference with Gutekunst and this can be rightfully heckled.
From 1992 – 2000 Wolf had 89 draft picks and took 16 WR (1 in the 2nd, 2 in the 3rd, 1 in the 4th, and 4 each in the 5th, 6th, and 7th) and 2 TE. So 20.2% of all picks on WR or TE. 1993 was the only year he didn’t take any but he took 3 in 92 and 3 in 94. Wolf inherited Sharpe and took Brooks in the 2nd in that first draft in 92 along with late round flyers. He also took Chmura at TE with a 6th (another pass catcher flyer). After the Sharpe injury at the end of the 94 season he took Freeman in the 3rd in 95 and Mayes in the 2nd in 96. But that was it for 2nd or 3rd round picks at WR just those 3 guys. The rest were all late round fliers, several of which worked out. Wolf also took a QB nearly every year too, 94 and 00 being the only years he didn’t but that’s another story as is his lack of 2nd round picks (5 vs 10 in the 1st, and 14 in the 3rd).
Sherman only had 27 draft picks from 01 – 04 because he was a terrible GM and made terrible trades and signed terrible contracts. He took 4 WR and 1 TE with those picks (18.5%) (1 in the 1st, 1 in the 2nd, 2 in the 7th) including the infamous “last first round WR taken by the Packers” with Javon Walker at 20th in 2002.
Thompson had 121 picks from 05 – 17 and took 18 WR and 7 TE (20.6%). His break down (5 in the 2nd, 2 in the 3rd, 1 in the 4th, 4 in the 5th, 1 in the 6th, 5 in the 7th). He inherited Driver (a late round pick who worked out) and took Murphy in the 2nd round in 05, one of the big “What If” players for the Packers who got injured on a kick off return and ended his career before we could see what happened. Thompson also targeted 2nd tier talent a lot more than Wolf with 5 WR taken in the 2nd and 2 in the 3rd along with 2 TE in the 3rd (9 vs 3 for Wolf). There were still a decent amount of 5th – 7th round fliers but compared to Wolf it was a lot more lets try for some well regarded talent. He did go two drafts, 09 and 10 without taking a WR, but had taken Jones 78th in 07, Nelson 36th in 08, and then got Cobb 64th in 11. So still didn’t let the cupboard get empty.
From 18 – 21 (so don’t have this years stuff in there) Gutekunst had 37 picks and spent 4 on WR and 2 on TE so 16.2% of all picks by far the lowest since the Packers started doing things “Wolfs Way”. He inherited Adams. Sherman didn’t take many WR either but he did use a 1st and a 2nd. Gutey until this year had used a 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th. The TE’s were both 3rds as well. So no picks AND not targeting higher tier talent. So while the Packers Way wasn’t to go after 1st round picks it was still to try and get multiple 2nd tier talent players or get lucky with a late round pick (Driver, Schroeder). Gutekunst just tried to get lucky with late rounder and also went 2 years without bringing in a WR but unlike Thompson it wasn’t because he had already spent a 3rd and a 2nd in previous drafts and then followed it up with a 2nd. Gutekunst had spent a 4th, 5th, and 6th, skipped 2 years but did get a TE each year, then spent a 3rd. He really devalues the position compared to previous Packers GMs.
We’ve had 3 more picks for Gute so 40 total and that got it up to 5 WR and 2 TE for 17.5% still the lowest and still not using many premium picks. This is why some current fans get grumpy. While it is very true the Packers haven’t really used high picks on WR a lot, some of that is because they rarely had the picks high enough to get the top tier prospects. But Wolf, Sherman, and Thompson spent a reasonable amount of picks on 2nd tier prospects and Wolf and Thompson spent a lot of picks on potential talent to see what might happen. Gutekunst basically only did the later and that didn’t pay off in the way it did for Wolf.
I don’t think Gutekunst is terrible. I had a long post after they traded Adams (post 118 here https://www.footballoutsiders.com/extra-points/2022/las-vegas-raiders-trade-wr-davante-adams) where I lay out how I think the newest FO operates, why they drafted Love and how they are paying for their misevaluation of that situation. Losing Adams and over paying for a 2nd tier prospect WR this year are part of that payoff. The rest of the team building outside of the WR position as I laid out here I’m OK with with. I would prefer more of a Wolf or Thompson approach to WR since I think it’s more important than what they currently think. Or at least without that I would prefer more attention to it in FA like they have done with other positions. Anyway back to the draft.