While he was quick to remind the audience that a trade of quarterback Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets was not yet official, Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst spoke to the press on Monday ahead of the NFL draft. Obviously, the transition of power at the quarterback position was the main subject of the conversation, but he also dropped a few thoughts on the crop of prospects coming into the NFL in this week’s draft.
On the Aaron Rodgers trade
First of all, Gutekunst stated that the Jets and Packers need to come to a final agreement around Rodgers by Tuesday. According to reporting from Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, Green Bay needs a trade to be done at least a day before the draft so that they can tie up the loose ends on Rodgers’ contract.
Gutekunst, who mentioned at the NFL owners’ meetings that one reason that the Packers decided to move on from Rodgers was their inability to contact him throughout the offseason, also had this to say about the process:
“As we got through the offseason and started talking about where we wanted to go, this made a little bit of sense for us. We wanted to get his input, like I told you guys in the past, would have loved to have that and see where he sat with that. That didn’t happen. That was a little bit unfortunate and disappointing for me.”
When reporters asked the general manager if speaking to Rodgers this offseason could have led to alternate paths for the team, he turned down the opportunity to answer hypotheticals.
On the 2023 NFL Draft
As Acme Packing Company noted in our writeup of recent draft rumors, the team seems positioned to make some Day 3 additions at the 3-4 outside linebacker position. Here’s what Gutekunst had to say when he was asked about the strongest positions in the upcoming draft:
“I think it’s a good draft overall...I think it’s a good edge class this year. I think there’s a deep class of edge players than there have been in other years. I think tight end is another one.”
Of the 14 players that Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline linked to the Packers during the pro day circuit, eight of them were Day 3 or undrafted free agent level edge defenders. Green Bay also brought in a cluster of Day 2 edge rushers on official visits during the pre-draft process. Last year, the top positions in the draft were at receiver and the offensive line. The Packers took three at each of those positions. Maybe Gutekunst will double dip on the edge and at tight end in abnormally strong classes for those positions.
When trading up from #15 to #13 came up, Gutekunst responded, “I’d be doing it because I thought it was important.” As we wrote on Monday, the Packers’ actions seem to suggest that they’re targeting an offensive tackle with their first-round pick.
On Jordan Love
Gutekunst seems to be optimistic about the team’s future under their new starting quarterback, stating:
“We’re really excited where Jordan can go. He needs to play. Having him sit another year I think would have really delayed where we’re going and what we’re trying to build.”
When the subject of drafting another quarterback in this upcoming draft came up, Gutekunst acknowledged the fact that he only has Love and 2022 practice-squadder Danny Etling on the roster at the moment. The GM said he wants to add at least one more quarterback before the team is allowed to throw in the offseason, with the potential of two being added. On the topic of the draft, specifically, Gutekunst said they could take a passer “in the right spots.”
Green Bay has brought in three quarterbacks on visits during the pre-draft process. One, Hendon Hooker of Tennessee, is expected to be drafted in the first round. Two others, Minnesota’s Tanner Morgan and Penn State’s Sean Clifford, are more than likely going to be undrafted free-agent targets.