Getting it Right


GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – JANUARY 09: Brian Gutekunst Genral Manager of the Green Bay Packers speaks to the media during a press conference introducing Matt LaFleur as head coach at Lambeau Field on January 09, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

   The 2019 NFL draft begins on Thursday night and at this point of the off-season, Packers GM Brian Gutekunst and his staff have put the finishing touches on their draft board and they are set for restocking their roster. 

We feel really good about the work we’ve done, kind of closed it up, after a couple last minute things, and I wouldn’t imagine there will be a whole lot of tweaks between now and Thursday.  I think if you’ve done your work ahead of time, you know if you’ve really put the work in, you can sniff out the stuff that’s false information.   I think you kind of address things as they come, 90% of it is false information at this time.

   Last year Gutekunst made a major statement by moving down from the 14th spot in the first round to number 27 in a trade with the Saints.  He then moved back up to 18th by trading with the Seahawks, which gave the Packers an extra 1st round pick this April by giving up only four spots overall, and that gives Green Bay major flexibility with two selections in the top 30 picks.

No real adjustments to our preparation process at all. It may create a few more trade scenarios when you just have the one pick on Thursday. But  other than that the process kind of stays the same.  It’s hard to predict what other teams do and how they view what we do. I do like our flexibility to be able to move around and not feel like pigeonholed to have to take a certain position or certain player.

   This will be Gutekunst’s second draft where he has final say on all personnel matters, and with two decades of experience on draft day, the process isn’t as nerve wracking as one might think, if you’ve done your preparation. 

It’s exciting, a lot of it depends on the player that you’re picking too. Again, you do this for as long as a lot of us have in that room, this is what you work all year for.  It is really exciting to have the ability to try to help your football team and add to that mix.  We’re all really excited, kind of at the point now are ready for Thursday to get here, just get through the weekend to help our team, just excited.  I moved up here in 2012 and kind of started to go through the trade calls.   I learned a lot through that process.  I think I kind of learned this leading up to the draft last year, the amount of preparation from a strategic, the way things might fall, was more than maybe I thought about in the past.   But I thought last year going into it we felt pretty prepared, so we really kind of followed the same kind of template last year with the guys.  And going through different scenarios,  I wouldn’t think we would do a whole lot different this year.

     At this point NFL GM’s and scouts have been delivering misinformation at all levels, and while alot of the same cliches get thrown around every year, Gutekunst has built his philosophy on a foundation that he believes in. 

I think every draft is different.  I always kind of  feel like there is a shelf where it kind of starts to fall off.  You maybe have  bigger numbers in that second tier.  So you’re always trying to figure out where that is but its different in every draft.  There’s been drafts I’ve been a part of where its two or three guys, and ones where maybe it’s in the high teens.  But at the same time and history has shown that here, there’s always chances to get difference makers throughout the draft.  I think back to earlier in may career when we drafted guys like Donald Driver and (Mark) Tauscher in the 7th round. Those guys were absolute difference makers for our football team in the 7th round.   I think it’s our job every time we pick to see who that is.  Every personnel transaction has pressure to get it right. I think for me, I’ve been around two of the best that have ever done this in Ron (Wolf) and Ted (Thompson), and as good as they were, they had their misses too.  So there’s pressure to get it right in each and every pick, each and every signing.  But for me it’s always been about the team.  You’re always thinking about the team and how you can make it better.  And understanding that it never stops, right?

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