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Gutekunst, Rodgers react to the Packers’ first-round selections

Gutekunst on trading up: “The way it fell, it just made more sense to stick.”

Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl - Georgia v Michigan Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

No, the Green Bay Packers did not select a wide receiver in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft, to the dismay of Packers fans all across the internet. Instead, they drafted two defenders from the University of Georgia, the same recipe that brought them a starting cornerback in Eric Stokes last season. Welcome, linebacker Quay Walker and defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt.

Following Day 1 of the draft, general manager Brian Gutekunst was asked if there were wide receivers that he was willing to trade up for, to which he replied, “There was a few.” Trading up in the top-100 has been a staple of Gutekunst drafts in previous years. Yesterday, team president Mark Murphy said “it would be a shock” if Gutekunst didn’t move around the draft on the Packers’ virtual draft party. Following up, today, Gutekunst said, “The way it fell, it just made more sense to stick.”

When asked if the team was pigeonholed into taking a receiver on Day 2, the general manager simply replied, “No.”

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was on The Pat McAfee Show during the draft, seemed to be okay with the decision. He said the team had six receivers with first-round grades in this draft class and they were all drafted before the Packers drafted at 22nd overall. Only six receivers were selected before that pick, so there are no guessing games to play there. Rodgers later said, “You can find guys in the second, fourth, fifth, sixth rounds that can play.

Safety Adrian Amos had some fun on Twitter after the selections of Walker and Wyatt, tweeting, “Yessir Get right up front! Don’t let the lineman touch me.”

A hot topic for Gutekunst in the post-Day 1 presser was Wyatt’s reported off-field issues. Gutekunst said, “Obviously he had a couple of hiccups there at Georgia, so we brought him in and spent a lot of time with him. Not only when we brought him in here to Green Bay but really did a deep dive into the human being and making sure he could fit in our culture here. Like I said, I give a lot of our staff here credit because we walked away feeling good about who he was and how he would be here for the Green Bay Packers.” In a follow-up, the general manager stated, “We went into that pretty deep with him to make sure we felt comfortable with the human being. In the incidents that he had, he never put his hand on anybody. He never hurt anybody. It was just two or three incidents as a young person he stubbed his toe. We don’t have a lot of tolerance for that, but we wouldn’t have brought here if we didn’t feel good about the person.”

At least one of those incidents was documented, as Wyatt reportedly kicked down a door of a woman’s apartment who he cohabitated with, which led to a family violence charge, one of three charges he received for the incident. Charges were eventually dropped. Wyatt was not asked any questions about this incident by the local media during his media availability on Thursday night.

When Walker was brought up, there was a lot more football talk. On the topic of Walker, Gutekunst stated, “It’s been a while since we’ve been able to stay in certain packages with two inside backers who we think can handle everything.” Remember, this is the same Packers general manager who tried to revive Jaylon Smith’s career to play nickel linebacker alongside De’Vondre Campbell last season, only for the experiment to falter and for the team to return back to Kyrs Barnes by mid-season. At this point, it would be a surprise if Walker wasn’t the Week 1 starter next to Campbell.