Brian Gutekunst is damn lucky he hit on the first pick he ever made, Jaire Alexander in the first round with pick 18, because the rest of that 2018 draft was atrocious. It is not hyperbole to say that this draft set the Packers back and could be part of the reason they never got over the hump in the NFC. There were too many good players taken after the Packers took bad players, particularly at the wide receiver and tight end positions. Although they tried drafting weapons for Rodgers by taking three receivers, only one was productive.
The Packers essentially wasted their 2nd and 4th round picks with Josh Jackson and J’Mon Moore. Fifth round pick Cole Madison never played a down after taking a leave of absence from the team and JK Scott was cut after only a couple of seasons. If you are going to spend a draft pick on a punter, they sure as hell better work out. In the seventh round they used a pick on a long snapper who only played with the team for several years. One would hope that if you use a pick on a long snapper, they last for the foreseeable future.
Wasted Picks and Who They Could Have Instead
I know that hindsight is 20/20 and I don’t expect the Packers to hit on every pick but here is a look at the bad players the Packers drafted and the good players that were picked a few spots after.
Josh Jackson pick 45
Two picks after the Packers drafted Jackson, the Cardinals drafted Christian Kirk. While he isn’t an elite player, it would have been fun to see what he could have done in this offense with Adams on the other side.
Two picks after that the Eagles drafted tight end Dallas Godert and has been solid for them ever since. Drafting him would have prevented the Jace Sternberger and Josiah Deguara draft picks that the Packers would love to have back.
With pick 54 the Bengals took Jesse Bates who started all but two games for them. If the Packers take Bates, they probably don’t waste a pick on Darnell Savage in the 2019 draft.
Oren Burks pick 88
I won’t hold it against Gute that the Packers didn’t draft Mark Andrews as he was selected two picks before Burks but it still hurts.
With this pick, there weren’t a lot of good players picked right after although there were a couple of offensive lineman (Alex Cappa and Chukwuma Okorafor) that have made a lot of starts over that time. They could have drafted Tre’Quan Smith to give the team some speed at receiver and this would have prevented them from drafting J’Mon Moore in the next round.
J’Mon Moore pick 88
The pick right after the Packers picked Moore, the Cardinals took Chase Edmonds who would have been a great fit in the offense. That probably would have never happened though as the Packers used 3 picks on running backs in the 2017 draft.
Even if they didn’t draft Dallas Goedert in round two, they could have got Dalton Schultz who the Cowboys took with pick 137 and again saved us from the Sternberger/Graham years.
Cole Madison 138 & JK Scott 172
If Gutekunst really wanted a punter he could have taken Michael Dickson with pick 138 instead of Cole Madison, which would have allowed the Packers to take someone like Folorunso Fatukasi who went in round six.
Hunter Bradley pick 239
I won’t fault Gutekunst for missing on a seventh round pick except for when it is used on a long snapper. I am not sure how you mis-evaluate a long snapper but that pick would have been better used on Richie James or Justin Jackson.
As stated above, I am not expecting the Packers front office to hit on every pick, but if they would have landed one tight end or impact wide receiver and have one of the JK Scott/Hunter Bradley picks work out, this team looks a lot different.