The Green Bay Packers should now pick a first-round (or more) receiver – Green Bay Packers Blog

GREEN BAY, Wis. — It’s hard to find a mock draft that doesn’t have the Green Bay PackersOne of their two first-round draft selections was used to select a wide receiver. Some draft picks have Brian Gutekunst, general manager, double up as receiver at pick No. 22 and 28.

It seems everyone believes it’s time for Gutekunst to break from tradition and take a first-round receiver.

“For a while now,” Gutekunst joked.

Gutekunst is correct. The calls for a first-round receiver existed even before his last two drafts. Finally, there is reason to believe it might happen Thursday night (8:05 p.m. ET, ESPN/ABC/ESPN app).

The NFL is very different than when the Packers first took a receiver. Javon Walker was No. 1 in 2002 when the Packers took him. 20 overall, rookie receivers didn’t dominate.

“We drafted Javon with the first pick, and I think it was about middle of Year 2 where he just took off and then for about a year and a half there, he was playing about as good as anyone,” Gutekunst said Monday during his annual pre-draft news conference. “So that was kind of the rule of thumb back then: [It]It took them about a year to get to the point where they were able to understand what was happening.

“Hopefully it'll be quicker if we go that route this year.”

It is evident everywhere he has seen it. Two years ago, the Minnesota VikingsText drafted Justin JeffersonAt No. 22 — a few places ahead of the Packers — Gutekunst witnessed him make an immediate impression with 88 catches for 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns. Two rookie receivers, No. 5 overall pick Ja'Marr Chase• No. 6 pick Jaylen WaddleEach went more than 1,000 yards.

The Packers haven’t taken a receiver, tight end or running back in the first round since Walker. That’s the longest drought in the common draft era (since 1967), according to ESPN Stats & Information. In the past 30 years, there has been only one first-round selection for a receiver. This means that the Packers have had the lowest number of first-round picks among any team.



Jeremy Fowler talks about what Minnesota and Green Bay want going into the draft.

The Packers have had success with second-round receivers in the past, the most recent being Davante Adams2014 It’s Adams’ departure in last month’s trade to the Las Vegas RaidersThis increases their need. Adams was targeted on 32% of his routes last season, the highest rate of any NFL wide receiver, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Adams and Marquez Valdes-ScantlingSigned with the Kansas City ChiefsThe Packers lost two of their most targeted receivers last season in free agency.

“You know our history with receivers, specifically, in the second round,” Gutekunst said. “I think that’s always part of the equation. [Former Packers GM] Ted [Thompson]I used to always say, “You have to have pass catchers around here.” You need guys who can catch and throw the ball, regardless of whether they are tight ends, running backs or receivers. This is a key part of how we build our team.

“I do think the guys that come from more pro-ready systems have it a little bit easier. Like we talk about a lot, and I know you guys have heard me say this, our philosophy on the draft is very much a long-term decision, not short-term.”

The Packers signed veteran receiver Sammy WatkinsA former first-round pick, is now free agent but his one-year contract that contained only $350,000 guaranteed means he’s not even a lock to make the team, although Gutekunst said Monday he thinks Watkins has “got some juice still left in him.”

Randall CobbAnd Allen LazardThey are the only veteran receivers remaining on the depth chart. Last year’s third-round pick, Amari RodgersNevertheless, it remains a project.

Given the depth chart, this might be the best time for a rookie receiver in Green Bay to start producing right away. While Rodgers has been hard on young receivers in the past — “I've witnessed it,” LaFleur said earlier this offseason — he may have softened on that of late.

“I always look and am like, ‘Wait, who are you? … Why didn’t I get that treatment?'” Cobb said. “He definitely is a lot more Zen, and he’s better at communicating with some of the younger guys and not being too forceful with it like he used to be. … I definitely look forward to seeing how he is with some of the younger guys in the situation that we'll be in this year.”

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