Brian Gutekunst was named GM of the Packers on January 8, 2018. He’s made over 100 personnel moves since that time – some good and some bad. I’ll be listing his 12 best moves over the course of the next few weeks. Here’s No. 9:
Gutekunst signed undrafted rookie Raven Greene to a contract that included a $3,500 bonus on May 6, 2018. Two years later, the former James Madison star might be the second-best position player from the class of 2018. That’s both an indictment of Gutekunst’s first draft as well as a testament to Greene’s fine play. While high picks Josh Jackson and Oren Burks are looking like busts and the jury remains very much out on day 3 picks Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown, Greene will enter training camp with a decent chance of earning the starting job next to inside linebacker Christian Kirksey in the base defense. In fact, that’s where Greene began last season before an ankle injury ended his season in week 2.
Greene, who played safety at James Madison, has worked more at linebacker since joining the Packers. But at barely 200 pounds, he’s undersized even at a time when defenses are sacrificing size for speed. Truth be told, the 25-year-old would probably be a role player for most teams, but it’s not hard to see him outperforming the likes of Ty Summers, Curtis Bolton, and rookie Kamal Martin and once again winning a starting job.
Starter or not, the only thing that could keep Greene off the 53-man roster for a third consecutive season is his health. Ankle injuries have forced him to miss 19 of 34 games as a pro. Whether that’s simply a run of bad luck or a troublesome trend remains to be seen. Whatever the case, the defense will need him when September rolls around. That’s a sentence I certainly didn’t expect to be writing a couple of years ago.