Packers: Re-grading the 2018 draft class three years on

Green Bay Packers, Jaire AlexanderApc Packvsbears 1215191437Syndication: PackersNews
Green Bay Packers, Jaire AlexanderApc Packvsbears 1215191437Syndication: PackersNews /

We’ve arrived at Brian Gutekunst’s first draft class as general manager of the Green Bay Packers.

Gutekunst inherited a team that had just missed the playoffs for the first time in a decade. Aaron Rodgers had missed half the year with a broken collarbone but it was clear work needed to be done to the roster, particularly at the cornerback position.

Like the legendary Ted Thompson before him, Gutekunst hit a home run with his first pick as GM.

Packers 2018 draft class

  • Round 1 (18): Jaire Alexander, CB
  • Round 2 (45): Josh Jackson, CB
  • Round 3 (88): Oren Burks, ILB
  • Round 4 (133): J’Mon Moore, WR
  • Round 5 (138): Cole Madison, G
  • Round 5 (172): JK Scott, P
  • Round 5 (174): Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR
  • Round 6 (207): Equanimeous St. Brown, WR
  • Round 7 (232): James Looney, DE
  • Round 7 (239): Hunter Bradley, LS
  • Round 7 (248): Kendall Donnerson, LB

Final grade: B

Gutekunst got the first round of his first draft class spot on. After trading down to receive a 2019 first-round pick, he jumped back up to select Jaire Alexander.

What a great move that was. It became clear early on that Alexander would be a star cornerback, and in his third season, he was named a second-team All-Pro after establishing himself as one of the league’s best.

However, after hitting a home run in the first round, Gutekunst struck out with his picks from the second to fifth rounds.

Josh Jackson and Oren Burks have been unable to earn significant playing time on defense. Burks plays mostly on special teams while Jackson was a healthy scratch often last season. J’Mon Moore is currently out of the league after catching a grand total of two catches for 15 yards in Green Bay.

If you’re going to draft a punter and long snapper in the same class, especially one in the fifth round, you need to hit it out of the park. The Packers didn’t do that, although both JK Scott and Hunter Bradley are still on the roster for the time being.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling was a great pick in the fifth round. He came on strong in 2020 as one of the league’s best deep threats. While he does make frustrating mistakes, MVS is a talented player who has made some huge plays for the Packers.

Alexander was a star. He is the main reason why I’ve given the class a B. MVS also helps. But outside of these two, some head-scratching decisions were made in this draft class.