On Day 3 of the 2018 NFL Draft, Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst took a triumvirate of talented pass catchers, each with a different skill set and style. He started first with J’Mon Moore in the fourth round, then took Marquez Valdes-Scantling in the fifth, and finally landed Equanimeous St. Brown out of Notre Dame in the sixth round with the 207th pick.
All are 6-foot-3 or taller with St. Brown standing 6-foot-5. If we count Moore’s pro day, all run sub-4.5 40s and can create down the field, the biggest weakness in the structure of the offense for the Packers.
This is the NFL equivalent of throwing money at the problem. Instead, Green Bay has thrown athletes at it.
St. Brown never quite produced at Notre Dame the way his talent suggested he should, but inconsistency at quarterback last season hindered what could have been a breakout campaign. In Green Bay, he’ll reunite with DeShone Kizer, who was his quarterback during a fine 2016 campaign.
Of this group, it’s possible St. Brown ends up being the best player. He was widely considered a top-100 player (I had him 62 overall), and has a chance to come in and be what Michael Clark was supposed to be as a developmental prospect with size and solid speed.
EQ possesses an incredible size/speed ratio with 4.48 speed at 6-foot-5 and 214 pounds. He can create with space thanks to his speed and shows off a major catching radius, but despite his height, he isn’t a consistent jump ball winner. St. Brown has good but not great hands and needs to get better running sharp routes to create separation. He will also need to get stronger and improve his hand usage getting off press.
It’s easy to wish he’d played two years with Kizer because his offense didn’t do him any favors last season. There’s potential here, but it’s unrefined and will take time to pull out. Green Bay just needed bodies, players with talent to develop into something.
They now have three players out of which only one or 1.5 need to hit.
In 2014, Ted Thompson went Steph Curry and tripled on receivers in the draft. Davante Adams became a star, Jared Abbrederis didn’t really pan out, and Jeff Janis became essentially just a punt gunner (a good one, but that’s it). A year later, Thompson took defensive backs with his first two selections and neither panned out the way they’d hoped. Last season, Thompson drafted a trio of running backs, two of whom became dynamic weapons for the Packers.
Even further back, Thompson’s predecessor Ron Wolf took cornerbacks 1-2-3 in the 1999 draft after being summarily demolished by Randy Moss the season prior. Out of the three, only Mike McKenzie developed into anything worth talking about.
New Packers GM Brian Gutekunst is just keeping up the legacy. He tabbed a pair of corners with his top two picks, something Thompson had done back in 2015 and it looked like that would be enough to assert his willingness to throw resources at a problem.
Whether it’s St. Brown or one of the others, Green Bay only really needs one of these receivers to hit. But the guy with the most natural physical gifts may just be the guy they got last.