Brian Gutekunst was named general manager of the Green Bay Packers on January 8, 2018. He’s made over 100 personnel moves since that time – some good and some not so good. I listed his 12 best moves earlier this month, and now I’ve spent the past few weeks counting down his worst moves. Here’s No. 1:
In his first big move as GM, Brian Gutekunst traded starting corner Damarious Randall to the Browns for quarterback DeShone Kizer on March 9, 2018. The teams also swapped late-round picks. To be fair, Gutekunst had to get rid of the former first-rounder after he clashed with then-head coach Mike McCarthy during the 2017 season. That said, he didn’t have to trade him for Kizer, who was coming off an awful rookie year and who new Browns GM John Dorsey couldn’t wait to unload. But Gutekunst had been a fan of Kizer’s since his days at Notre Dame and viewed him as a quality backup to Aaron Rodgers and perhaps the team’s quarterback of the future.
Kizer very quickly proved Dorsey right and Gutekunst wrong. He was terrible in his first summer with the Packers and was clearly outplayed by journeyman Brett Hundley and undrafted rookie Tim Boyle. In an effort to save face, Gutekunst opened up a roster spot for his prized offseason acquisition by trading Hundley to Seattle at the end of training camp. Unfortunately, that move backfired right away when Kizer was forced to briefly replace Rodgers in the second quarter of the opener against the Bears. He was brutal in that cameo, and he was equally bad in another relief appearance in the season finale. In 42 attempts, Kizer compiled a passer rating of 40.5. His career in Green Bay ended last summer when he was released. Meanwhile, Randall enjoyed two solid seasons in Cleveland before leaving for Vegas in March.
Looking back, I’m still not sure why Gutekunst was so high on Kizer going into the 2017 draft. Yes, he has size, athleticism, and a strong arm, but he showed little accuracy at Notre Dame and made one really poor decision after another. But what made this trade so bad is that Gutekunst also had the benefit of seeing Kizer play in the NFL. It concerns me that a person who’s paid a lot of money to judge talent could be so wrong about a player. It also concerns me because that same person decided in April that another college quarterback with a penchant for being inaccurate and making poor decisions would be the next face of the franchise. Here’s hoping that trading up for Jordan Love doesn’t top this list three or four years from now.
Follow Packers Notes
#8 – Lowry Regressed After Payday
#7 – Moore Was Less Than Expected
#6 – Turner Needs To Be Better
#5 – Graham Added Little To Offense
#4 – Jackson Faces Make-Or-Break Season
#3 – Cobb Was Never Replaced
#2 – Burks Looks Like A Bust