Packers: Brian Gutekunst draft picks making a huge impact in 2020

Green Bay Packers, Brian GutekunstGpg Packers 031419 Abw079
Green Bay Packers, Brian GutekunstGpg Packers 031419 Abw079 /

The Packers are getting key contributions from recent draft classes.

Many were critical of Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst for his picks in the 2020 NFL Draft.

But Gutekunst’s previous work in the draft is showing why fans need to show their trust in him.

Many players from Gutekunst’s first two draft classes are making a huge impact for the Packers this season and have been crucial to them landing the number one seed in the NFC.

His first pick as GM, Jaire Alexander, has become one of the league’s top cornerbacks. Alexander was voted to the Pro Bowl and named a PFF first-team All-Pro this season.

Elgton Jenkins might prove to be the best pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. Selected in the second round, Jenkins is quickly becoming one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL and he has lined up at every position along the line for the Packers this season.

Named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team last year, Jenkins backed it up with his first Pro Bowl selection this season.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling has become a game-changer on offense for the Packers. While he does get in his own way sometimes with drops, his speed and ability to get open deep downfield has helped this offense in a big way in 2020. MVS has 33 catches for 690 yards and six touchdowns this year, averaging over 20 yards per reception. He was a fifth-round pick in 2018.

Gutekunst’s two first-round picks from last year — Rashan Gary and Darnell Savage — have taken a big step in 2020.

Gary has five sacks and 11 quarterback hits this season. According to Pro Football Reference, Gary has also made 19 quarterback pressures. He has taken a big step in year two and made some important plays throughout the season.

In the second half of the season, Savage has made a huge impact in the secondary and looks to be on his way to becoming another star player in the Packers’ defense.

Savage had 12 pass defenses and four interceptions. Ten of those pass defenses and all four interceptions came from Week 10 onwards, highlighting the impact Savage made in the second half of the season.

Both against the run and in coverage, Savage is becoming a game-changer for the Packers defense.

There have also been good signs from this year’s draft class.

Jordan Love didn’t play but he’s a player for the future. AJ Dillon was a backup for most of the season, but in the one game he was given a featured role, he rushed for 124 yards and a two touchdowns. Dillon could be the starter next season.

Josiah Deguara impressed early before suffering a season-ending injury. Kamal Martin showed his potential while making six starts at inside linebacker. Jon Runyan could be a future starter along the offensive line after impressing as a backup this year.

Undrafted additions also make impact for Packers

Gutekunst has also added plenty of talent to the roster after the draft.

After Allen Lazard went undrafted in 2018 then didn’t make the Jacksonville Jaguars’ roster, the Packers signed him and gave him an opportunity. He’s put up 928 yards and six touchdowns over the past two seasons.

Tyler Lancaster played over a third of the Packers’ defensive snaps this season. Krys Barnes — an undrafted rookie this year — has been the team’s best inside linebacker with 80 tackles while making 10 starts.

Dominique Dafney, who was an undrafted rookie who initially signed with the Indianapolis Colts but was picked up by the Packers in October, has made an impact. Dafney has played well on special teams, as a blocker on offense, and even caught his first touchdown in the NFL last week against the Chicago Bears.

The Packers are having a great season and they are getting key contributions from many of Brian Gutekunst’s draft picks and undrafted additions.

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