Packers Morning Buzz: Brian Gutekunst's first draft class 'going up in flames'

Stu Courtney
Packers News
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Welcome to your Morning Buzz, rounding up news and views regarding the Green Bay Packers from around the web and here at

We'll start with Rob Reischel writing for ForbesSports about how badly Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst's first draft class in 2018 draft has struggled.

Reischel writes:

Gutekunst struck gold in unrestricted free agency in 2019, signing starters Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Adrian Amos and Billy Turner. He plucked all-rookie rookie players Darnell Savage and Elgton Jenkins from the 2019 NFL Draft.

And Gutekunst played a role in hiring head coach Matt LaFleur, who led the Packers to a 13-3 regular season and the NFC Championship Game in his rookie season.

But Green Bay could be in an even better position if Gutekunst’s first draft class wasn’t going up in flames.

From April 26-28, 2018, Gutekunst selected 11 players in his first year running Green Bay’s draft. To date, only first round cornerback Jaire Alexander could be labeled a winning pick.

You can read the story here:

Little surprise, then, that three names from that draft class are on Ryan Wood's list of five Packers players facing a career crossroads:

The Packers are set at kicker for 2020 with their all-time leading scorer returning:

Crosby clearly is thrilled to be staying:

Could Gutekunst pull a Ted Thompson move and draft a first-round quarterback?

Jimmy Graham's fate will be revealed after the combine:

An interesting bit of conjecture:

The Packers are in the running to host the 2022 draft but no decision has been made, according to team officials:

Good news regarding a couple of former Packers executives:

The NFLPA's response Friday to the owners' CBA proposal:

As for what happens next, don't figure on many concessions from owners who know the NFLPA's rank and file will accept the proposal as is eventually:

Everyone is reading the tea leaves:

An expanded playoff field would have affected the Packers multiple times since 1990, according to Acme Packing Co.:

With compensatory picks expected to be announced this week,'s Jeremy Bergman ranks the top 10 such picks from the last 10 drafts. Packers running back Aaron Jones checks in at No. 4 (just ahead of the Steelers' James Conner and the Colts' Marlon Mack).

Bergman writes of Jones:

Jones blew past expectations, recording a league-high 16 rushing TDs, and 19 total, as one of only two reliable Packers weapons for Aaron Rodgers. He became the dual-threat back that Conner was in 2018 and the one Mack has yet to prove he can be. All three backs have staying power and arguments for second contracts with their respective teams when the time comes. But so far, Jones' career has proven to be the most statistically impressive and impactful; no RB from the loaded 2017 class, which includes Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara and Joe Mixon, among others, has more rushing scores than Jones (28).

Also making the top 10 is linebacker Blake Martinez at No. 7:

Martinez has looked on occasion to be a defensive building block in Green Bay. A Packers starter for the last three years, no player has more tackles since 2017 than Martinez, per Pro Football Reference; his 443 combined tackles over that span rank higher than Bobby Wagner and Luke Kuechly, both of whom are surefire Hall of Famers. All that being said, Martinez might not be long for Green Bay; an unrestricted free agent-to-be, the inside linebacker is coming off arguably his least impressive season as a pro. But that fact doesn't overshadow his compilation of tackles and reliability on the field; Martinez hasn't missed a game in three years and has logged at least 99 percent of Green Bay's defensive snaps over the past two seasons.

And former Packers defensive lineman Mike Daniels is rated in the No. 2 spot after topping the list a year ago. You can see the story here:

Contact Stu Courtney at (920) 431-8377 or Follow him on Twitter at @stucourt

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