During Brian Gutekunst’s tenure, only one team — the Minnesota Vikings, 29 — has made more fifth- through seventh-round selections in the NFL draft than the Green Bay Packers, who have turned in 27 cards since 2018. For perspective, the New Orleans Saints and Tennessee Titans have each only made 12 selections in the late rounds of the draft over that period of time, less than half of the number of picks the Packers have used.
In the fifth round of the draft, the Packers’ eight selections since 2018 only rank behind the Vikings and Dallas Cowboys, who have made nine choices apiece. In the seventh round, Green Bay’s 11 draft picks fall short of just the Los Angeles Rams, who have made 13 under Gutekunst’s watch.
This appears to be a philosophical choice by the organization, but it’s come with mixed results. Outside of receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (now a Kansas City Chiefs) and guard Jon Runyan Jr., the Packers have failed to turn any of the other 25 late-round draft picks into consistent starters on the team. The closest the team has come to doing so was with defensive lineman Kingsley Keke, who was released in the 2021 season, though, there is hope for defensive lineman TJ Slaton and outside linebacker Kingsley Enagbare.
Last offseason, Gutekunst spoke at the combine about the depth of the 2022 draft class due to the extra year of eligibility afforded to student-athletes by the NCAA during the Covid-impacted 2020 season. His Packers would end up making four seventh-round picks last April and Green Bay could have a similar volume mentality going into the 2023 draft.
According to Over The Cap, the Packers are expected to receive one fifth-round compensatory pick (Valdes-Scantling) and two seventh-round compensatory picks (Chandon Sullivan and Oren Burks) in the 2023 draft. Green Bay also sent the Los Angeles Rams their sixth-round selection for a third seventh-round selection in this draft in the trade for punter Corey Bojorquez in 2021. Add on the Packers’ original seventh-round pick and the one they received from Jacksonville in the trade for offensive lineman Cole Van Lanen and Green Bay is set to enter the 2023 draft with a whopping five seventh-round picks and seven total selections in the final three rounds in the draft.
On paper, you might think “There’s no way they can make all of those picks,” but we’ve said the same thing in previous offseasons just for Gutekunst to prove us wrong time and time again. The Packers only have 52 players under contract even after signing 13 players to futures contracts, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility that the cap-tight team could end up backfilling a bunch of roster spots with cheap draft choices.