Re-grading the Green Bay Packers’ 2018 NFL Draft

Green Bay Packers, Jaire Alexander (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Jaire Alexander (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Re-grading the Packers’ 2018 draft class, which was Brian Gutekunst’s first as general manager.

We have looked at the Green Bay Packers’ 2017 NFL Draft class, the last draft by legendary Packers GM Ted Thompson.

Today, we are going to look at the first NFL Draft by Brian Gutekunst, current Packers GM.

Round 1, Pick 18: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

I couldn’t have picked a better selection for the Packers at the time. They desperately needed a cornerback and Jaire Alexander lived up to the hype. Within three years, Alexander was a Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro selection.

With his recently signed four-year extension, it seems like Jaire is going to be shutting down wide receivers for many more years. While he was injured last season, he hasn’t been injury prone like Kevin King, who was selected the year prior.

Jaire is currently seen as one of the top-three cornerbacks in the NFL.

Grade: A+

Round 2, Pick 45: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

Josh Jackson has never played like a second-round pick in the NFL. He has consistently been bad in coverage and a bad tackler. Jackson has allowed more than 10 yards per reception every season and has allowed 69 receptions in his three-year career.

He sat behind both Alexander and King in his three years in Green Bay and was only on the field for a number of snaps each season to help in coverage. He no longer plays for the Packers and is a backup cornerback for the Kansas City Chiefs.

While he wasn’t the best player, he wasn’t drafted to be the #1 corner considering he was behind both Alexander and King. Therefore, I cannot give him an F or D. He was serviceable for a rotational RCB.

Grade: C- 

Round 3, Pick 88: Oren Burks, ILB, Vanderbilt

Oren Burks never started more than four games in a season for the Packers. In 2018, Burks started four games and then his next two he didn’t start a single game. In 2021, Burks started three games and played in all 17 but never really did anything on defense, only recording 36 combined tackles.

Overall, in his career as a Packer, Burks recorded 92 combined tackles, 63 of those solo tackles, and the rest assisted. Now, Burks plays for the San Francisco 49ers.

Grade: D+

Round 4, Pick 133: J’Mon Moore, WR, Missouri

J’Mon Moore was selected to be a slot wide receiver and returner for the Packers. During his one and only season with the team, he recorded his first reception in the Week 6 win against the 49ers.

Moore wasn’t bad. He had inconsistent hands, but overall was only with the Packers for one season before he was released. Although he needed work with his drops, he had return potential, returning four kicks for 102 yards, which could have helped the Packers roster immensely.

Following the 2018 season, Moore was waived by the Packers. He would bounce from practice squad to practice squad until eventually landing in the USFL, where his season would end with a hamstring injury.

Grade: D-

Round 5, Pick 138: Cole Madison, G, Washington State

Cole Madison never played with the Packers. Before his 2018 season, he was dealing with mental health issues that stopped him from playing in a single game.

In 2019, when he was slated to become a backup IOL for the team, he tore his ACL in practice and was waived in 2020 following a failed physical. His story is unfortunate but it is all too familiar with the NFL. He never really had a chance to show if he was a good player or not.

Grade: D-

Round 5, Pick 172: JK Scott, P, Alabama

While he had a cult-like following with Cheeseheads, JK Scott was a decent punter in 2018 and 2019.

But since his 67-yard punt in 2018, he never punted that far ever again and in 2020 had only 2,000 yards compared to his 3,000 yards the previous two seasons. Scott was eventually released for Corey Bojorquez and signed with Jacksonville. If anything, Scott was better at holding for field goals than Bojorquez.

For his first two seasons, Scott was really good and seemed to have a decent leg on him. But, in 2020, he started attempting kickoffs and on his 16 attempts, he only had four touchbacks, which wasn’t helping the Packers at all.

Grade: B-

Round 5, Pick 174: Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, South Florida

Although he struggled with dropped passes in his first two season, Marquez Valdez-Scantling was really coming into his own at the end of the 2020 season and the entirety of the 2021 season.

MVS had the speed to take off the top of the defense and open up games when the defense was too focused on Davante Adams. In 2020, MVS had his best season yet, recording 690 yards for six touchdowns, being a premier target for future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

In 2021, he dealt with injuries that stopped him from seeing the field that much, but he ultimately played in 11 of 17 games and had 430 yards and three touchdowns.

Valdes-Scantling was a great second option for Rodgers and he provided much-needed speed in the receiving corps. Although he struggled with drops in his first two seasons, he eventually turned around the issue with his inconsistent hands and improved his catch percentage slightly.

Grade: B

Round 6, Pick 207: Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame

Equanimeous St. Brown was another player who was slated to be a backup to an already strong offense. He would have to play behind Davante Adams, Geronimo Allison, Randall Cobb, and MVS.

Although he never really played in that many games (never played more than 12 in a season) he only recorded one touchdown and 543 yards, compared to his brother Amon-Ra, who had 912 yards and five touchdowns in his rookie year with the Detroit Lions.

It seems like Equanimeous might be a bust. But, for a sixth-round pick, the Packers didn’t expect much from him other than a rotational wide receiver who would come in when players like MVS or Cobb were tired.

Grade: C-

Round 7, Pick 232: James Looney, DE, California

James Looney played in three games during the 2018 season. The Packers signed him to a reserve/futures contract in 2019, tried to switch him to tight end in 2020, but had no luck. Eventually, he was waived and is no longer in the NFL.

Grade: F

Round 7, Pick 239: Hunter Bradley, LS, Mississippi State

Hunter Bradley was a serviceable long snapper and never was injured. Although he let up two blocked punts in the NFL, he really didn’t do much. He was the ninth long snapper ever drafted in the NFL. He was released in November of 2021.

Grade: C

Round 7 Pick 248: Kendall Donnerson, EDGE, Southeast Missouri State

Kendall Donnerson was waived on September 1, 2018 and then played on the Packers’ practice squad until August 8, 2019, where he was placed on injured reserve until his release.

Donnerson has been on and off practice squads since. Despite never playing the NFL, he was the third seventh-round selection and didn’t really have any promise coming into the draft. It is hard to say an F.

Grade: D

Overall, this was a solid draft. The Packers got one of the top shutdown cornerbacks in the league in Jaire Alexander and helped Davante Adams by drafting Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Although there were some let-downs like Josh Jackson, it was a solid draft that brought a lot of potential to Green Bay.