With nearly two seasons under his belt as Green Bay Packers general manager, Brian Gutekunst really only has one major blemish on his record: failing to find talent at the wide receiver position.
It isn’t that Gutekunst didn’t try per se, but what he tried hasn’t worked out. In his first draft as general manager in 2018, he added two receivers in the later rounds: Marquez Valdes-Scantling in the fifth round and Equanimeous St. Brown in the sixth.
Valdes-Scantling was pegged by many (including yours truly) as a breakout candidate for 2019 in new head coach Matt LaFleur’s offense but has been a massive disappointment after showing promise as a rookie. His terrible drop of a sure touchdown on Sunday against the Chicago Bears was symbolic of his season: hope followed by a massive let down. All of his speed won’t do any good if he can’t catch the ball.
St. Brown was probably the most pro “ready” of the two rookies last year but 2019 is a lost season for the former Notre Dame standout as he was lost for the year in the preseason with an ankle injury.
Throw in the severe regression of Geronimo Allison and the Packers have a receiving corps in shambles outside of Davante Adams. This is a huge reason why the offense has struggled to find any consistent footing in LaFleur’s first year. Jake Kumerow and Allen Lazard (both undrafted free agents) figure to be WR2 and WR3 at this point and while both are improvements over the rest, it’s not an ideal combination either. The Packers can do better.
Luckily for the coach and Gutekunst, the upcoming draft figures to have a plethora of wide receiving talent available. This allows Gutekunst to avoid spending big on a free agency class of wide receivers that is thin and ripe to be overpaid, something the Packers generally avoid doing outside of Jimmy Graham.
Regardless, Gutekunst has to and will address the wide receiver position this offseason. The best news for Packers fans is there is really nowhere to go but up.
There’s more on Gutey addressing the wide receivers plus another look at Kenny Clark (doo doo doo doo doo doo) and his late season resurgence in today’s cheese curds.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Aaron Rodgers the past couple seasons is that he seems no longer capable of taking average receivers and make them look good to great. That means a serious infusion of athletic ability is needed and Gutekunst will have a golden opportunity in the upcoming draft.
Getting San Francisco and/or Seattle to come to Lambeau Field in January will definitely strengthen the odds of the Packers making a Super Bowl run.
Dear Gutey: Pay this man.
Good on these guys to give back to the community that supports them. It’s great to see players get as much from these experiences as the people they go to see.
If Roger Goodell were smart he’d set up a similar trap for the Patriots.