They say hindsight is 20/20 and it could not be clearer when searching for two moments in particular that put the Green Bay Packers on the path to where they are right now.
The worst part is both events occurred back-to-back. The first is the blown lead the Packers suffered against the Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game in January 2015. That game created cracks in the foundation of the franchise that would not be visible for a few years.
The second event, and arguably the bigger blow to Green Bay’s long-term health, was the disastrous 2015 draft.
We are now four years removed that draft class and of the eight players the Packers and former general manager Ted Thompson selected, none are on the roster heading into 2019.
Cornerbacks Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins had promising rookie seasons but soon came crashing back to Earth. Ty Montgomery was drafted as a wide receiver but was later converted to running back out of necessity and never really took off from there and a special teams blunder sealed his fate with the team. Linebacker Jake Ryan was solidly unspectacular and never really appeared on tape much.
When you go 0-8 in a single draft, you’re sunk. Maybe not short-term especially when you have a magician like Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, but you’re crippling the team down the road and that’s exactly what Thompson did to his successor, current general manager Brian Gutekunst.
With the 2019 draft approaching, Gutekunst will continue to pick up the pieces of Thompson’s rough final years including the 2015 draft class.
Hopefully Gutekunst succeeds where Thompson failed, otherwise Green Bay will have a tough time returning to the league’s elite over the long haul.
There’s more on the now extinct 2015 class of rookies plus what Gutekunst was exactly thinking when he met with a quarterback most had a first round grade on in today’s cheese curds.
While Thompson certainly deserves praise for overall strong drafting throughout his tenure, you really can no longer argue that his final few seasons bordered on bad to awful and left a decent sized mess for Gutekunst.
Luckily for Gutekunst, his moves in free agency added some much needed flexibility to the Packers’ draft strategy and with two first round picks, they’ll have plenty of options to reload the talent on the roster.
Bonus points to the Packers’ GM for using the term “subterfuge.” Lock’s visit is probably much more smoke than fire.
The Packers really needed to add depth to the offensive line, particularly at guard. The surprise return of Cole Madison ensures there will be at the very least a stiff competition for a spot on the roster.
There is nothing more satisfying than a good, crisp high five but still...ow.