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Cheese Curds, 4/21: Who will be the Packers’ next mid-round draft steal?

His two biggest mentors had great success in the middle rounds of the draft. Will this be the year that Brian Gutekunst makes his mark with a steal on Saturday?

NFL Combine - Day 3

When Ron Wolf was in charge, it was round three. For Ted Thompson, it seems to have been rounds four and five. What about Brian Gutekunst?

The middle rounds of the NFL Draft have been good to the Green Bay Packers over the past several decades. Round three was Wolf’s sweet spot; he found quality starters almost every year in the third, starting with Robert Brooks and eventually grossing a list of picks that included names like Earl Dotson, Brian Williams, William Henderson, and Mike McKenzie. Thompson’s last decade was fruitful in four and five, with David Bakhtiari, Corey Linsley, Mike Daniels, Aaron Jones, Micah Hyde, and more coming in those rounds.

With just two drafts under his belt, it’s too early to tell just which round will be Brian Gutekunst’s best. So far, the team has only modest production out of its picks from round three and on since 2018, but many of the players listed above took a few years to emerge as key players as well.

This year’s draft class looks deep once again, with the potential for plenty of solid players still available when round three wraps up on Friday evening. If you’re asking for a name to watch, I’ll give you Jack Driscoll, an offensive tackle from Auburn who was a topic of conversation in our favorite later-round prospects. But it could be anyone who makes Gutey look like a genius this year.

That’s the frustrating nature and the beauty of the NFL Draft. And it’s finally just two days away.

Green Bay Packers confident about developing draft class despite disrupted offseason | (subscription)
GM Brian Gutekunst does not see the expected shutdown of offseason practices (and possibly training camp) as a reason to over-prioritize certain qualities or players; it will probably just put more pressure on the coaching staff to find creative ways to prepare the new rookie class.

Draft’s middle rounds have made a difference for Packers |
For all of the success that the Packers have had early in the draft, when players seemingly should be more of a sure thing, the fourth and fifth rounds have yielded numerous starters, a few Pro Bowlers, and an All-Pro.

John Elway: Virtual test draft 'smooth' after early hiccups | ESPN
Echoing what Gutekunst said on Monday to Packers media, the Denver Broncos' GM said that the mock draft on Monday was pretty successful aside from a couple of minor issues early on.

Free Agency Makes Draft Easier to Handle for Gutekunst |
Although the Packers still have some issues to solve on the roster, those issues are much less glaring now than they were six weeks ago. The signings of Christian Kirksey, Rick Wagner, and Devin Funchess may not appear to be high-impact moves, but they at least buy the team time to get let long-term replacements develop.

Future of Packers' Tramon Williams in limbo until after draft | Packer Report
Gutekunst took the opposite approach to cornerback than he did to those positions, however, instead looking to the draft first with a fall-back option -- Williams -- in his back pocket if he doesn't like the makeup of the room after this weekend.

Yannick Ngakoue lashes out at Jaguars, exec Tony Khan on Twitter | ESPN
Things got ugly on Twitter Monday as a top pass-rusher who has been demanding a trade lashed out at one of his employer's top executives. Khan clapped back with a pretty impressive response, too.