As the college game continues to crank out receiver prospects at a fast pace, this could be the year Gutekunst pounces early once or even twice, as using a second-round pick on a receiver would be a first for the Packers since selecting Adams in 2014.
“The last few have been pretty deep, and I think this one is another one,” Gutekunst said of the receiver class. “But history still kind of shows that for all rookies, not just wide receivers, but for all rookies, it takes time. This is a hard league. There’s a learning curve before these guys really start to produce at a high level.”
The Packers are in the market for early contributors and depth at a number of positions, with the offensive and defensive line, edge rusher and tight end among the more prominently mentioned.
They have the draft capital – 11 selections in all, seven in the first four rounds – to load up and/or move around for particular targets. Gutekunst classified the depth of the linemen on both sides as “pretty good,” in part due to the pandemic-impacted college season of 2020 giving a lot of players an extra year of eligibility to stay in school and enter the draft this year instead.
He also indicated the Packers’ draft board has larger numbers of late-round and undrafted candidates that will make Green Bay’s three seventh-round picks and strong history in the college free agent market an intriguing finish to the three days.
As for finalizing that board, Gutekunst said he still plans to have some discussions with Head Coach Matt LaFleur this week, but the heavy lifting is done. Putting out and receiving feelers on trade possibilities will continue from now until the Packers are on the clock Thursday night.
“Certainly it’d be nice to have some of those things ironed out before you got into it, but that’s not always the way it works,” Gutekunst said.
“We’re getting down to it. Over the weekend we got very comfortable with the board, where we’re at, and just trying not make a mistake at the last minute here.”