If I Were The GM

I hate when a year or two after the fact people say they would’ve drafted this guy instead of that guy. It’s too easy. So I decided to pick along with GM Brian Gutekunst and make my selections right before he made his. Here are my picks:


1CB Eric Stokes (Georgia)CB Asante Samuel Jr. (Florida State)
2OL Josh Myers (Ohio State)OL Jalen Mayfield (Michigan)
3WR Amari Rodgers (Clemson)WR Amari Rodgers (Clemson)
4OL Royce Newman (Wake Forest)OL Brenden Jaimes (Nebraska)
5DL Tedarrell Slaton (Florida)DL Jaylen Twyman (Pitt)
5CB Shemar Jean-Charles (App State)LB Nick Niemann (Iowa)
6OL Cole Van Lanen (Wisconsin)CB Tay Gowan (Central Florida)
6LB Isaiah McDuffie (Boston College)RB Javian Hawkins (Louisville)
7RB Kylin Hill (Mississippi State)QB Feleipe Franks (Arkansas)

Round 1 – I considered corner to be the Packers’ No. 1 need heading into the draft, and Gutekunst apparently felt the same way. We simply differed on which player to take at No. 29. Not surprisingly, he went for size and speed. That’s been his MO in round 1 since taking over as GM in 2018. Stokes looks like the kind of corner you’d make at a store called Build-A-Corner. He’s 6-foot-1 and ran the 40 in under 4.3 at his pro day. I went with the smaller and slower Samuel Jr., who was the better college player and whose hips are more fluid. This reminded me of a few years ago when I preferred Isaiah Oliver over Josh Jackson for the same reason. As Shakira likes to say, hips don’t lie.

Round 2 – Once again, I agreed with Gutekunst on the position but not the player. He went with Myers, a center who could also play guard, and I went with Mayfield, a tackle who could also play guard. In this case, I wanted to get an offensive lineman before all the good ones were taken, and I just didn’t think Myers was worth a second-round pick. Mayfield, on the other hand, was expected to go between 25 and 35 before a disappointing pro day dropped his stock. But his tape at Michigan was pretty impressive and I liked the idea of adding a tackle to a roster that is thin at the position, especially with David Bakhtiari likely to miss a few games at the start of next season.

Round 3 – I’ve been doing this exercise since 2017, and I had only picked the same player as the Packers two times. Well, make it three. Wide receiver was a big need going into the draft, and Rodgers not only filled that need, but he was the best player available. There were some bigger and faster receivers still on the board, but none of them were as versatile as Rodgers, who can line up outside or inside, be used on jet sweeps, and return kicks.

Round 4 – Once again, Gutekunst and I differed on the player and not the position. He went with Newman, who projects to tackle or guard; I went with Jameis, who also projects to tackle or guard. This is more pro-Jameis than anti-Newman, who looks like a decent prospect. I just fell in love with Jameis as I watched his tape prior to the draft.

Round 5 – Defensive line was the biggest remaining need, so it’s no surprise we both targeted this position. He went with size in Slaton; I went with productivity in Twyman, who ran a disappointing 5.4 at his pro day but plays faster. As for Slaton, I didn’t remember him even though I must’ve watched 10 Florida games. It’ll be interesting to take a look at him in the coming weeks. Players who run 5.09 at 330-plus pounds don’t typically last until late in round 5.

Round 5 – I was thinking about taking either Jean-Charles or fellow corner Tay Gowan, but opted instead for Niemann, a highly productive player who ran faster than expected at his pro day. It wouldn’t shock me if Jean-Charles winds up being the better pro, but I wasn’t about to pass up one of the few intriguing inside linebackers left.

Round 6 – Van Lanen is a terrific story, and while Gowan might not have grown up 10 miles from Lambeau Field, he’s simply a better pro prospect. At best, he’ll be an above-average starting corner. At worst, he’ll be a quality backup and a standout on all the special teams. When watching Van Lanen at Wisconsin, I don’t remember ever thinking, “this guy is going to be a starting tackle in the NFL.” Maybe he’ll slide inside and have a nice career as a guard.

Round 6 – I thought about picking McDuffie since the Packers hadn’t taken an inside linebacker yet, but is he better than Krys Barnes, Kamal Martin, or even Ty Summers? I kind of doubt it. On the other hand, Hawkins would be the perfect No. 3 running back. While he’s too small (5-8 1/2, 185) to be a starter at the next level, he’s truly electrifying with the ball in his hands. I would love to see what he could do with 5 to 10 touches in this offense.

Round 7 – I might’ve taken Hill had I remembered him, but he opted out early last season. Once his name was called, I actually did recall him from a terrific game he played against Arkansas in 2019. Regardless, I like my pick of Franks. He’s exactly the type of very raw but very talented quarterback a team should take in the seventh round.

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  1. I wish more people did a column like this every year. This is one of the ones I look forward to post draft and have actually gone back to see your previous years editions.

    Thanks for doing the work!

    • Glad you like it. I just went back and looked at the 2018 draft. Other than round 1, most of my picks have played better than the Packers’ picks. But to be fair, who knows how my picks would’ve done with the Packers and how the Packers’ picks would’ve done elsewhere? Still, it’s a fun exercise.

  2. With all those tackle prospects going in the top half of the second round makes you wonder how hard Gutekunst tried to move up. The price must have been steep if it cost a 4th just to move up 10 spots in the 3rd. I thought of Mayfield in the second. But he doesn’t play center. Sounds like they’ll keep Jenkins at guard and emergency tackle. If Myers is a pug and play player and half as good as Linsley starting out, I’ve got no problem with the pick.

    The problem when you start drafting from about 20 onward in round one your really drafting 2nd round talent and there’s just so many ways to go. Most had Stokes rated in the 45 to 50 range which is a mid 2nd.. So he was a little bit of a reach. Your comparison of Stokes to San Shields after the draft is accurate but no guarantee he’ll be as good.

    I prefer Hill to Hawkins. Hill is the bigger back and does more of the things in MLF’s offense. I think Franks could have been had as a FA. The pick I didn’t particularly care for was Shemar Jean-Charles. I’ll admit to never have seen him play but his numbers and small school perigee are rather unimpressive. And for some reason drafting these Wisconsin guys never seems to work out either. Newman vs Jamies ? Slaton vs Twyman? Who’s to say? Although I’ve read several places that Newman was a good pick in the 4th. While Slaton is already starting to sound like Montravious Adams. And that’s never a good thing….

  3. It seems like Gutekunst drafts players a round or two higher than most people expect. Burks, Dillon, Deguara, and now Stokes and Myers. He was wrong about Burks, and the jury is still out on the rest. Myers vs. Humphrey will be interesting to watch. Humphrey was the more obvious choice, and the Chiefs took him right after the Packers took Myers.


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Packers Notes is the creation of Michael Rodney, who has been writing about the Green Bay Packers for over 30 years. His first blog, Packer Update, hit the internet in 2004. Before becoming a public educator, Rodney worked as a journalist for a couple of newspapers in his home state of New Jersey and covered the Philadelphia Eagles for WTXF-TV. He's had numerous articles on the Packers published, and he's been featured on both television and radio over the years.
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