Packers: Brian Gutekunst in attendance at Ohio State Pro Day
Packers GM Brian Gutekunst is in attendance at the Ohio State pro day. Who could he be in attendance to see?
The NFL world is descending on Columbus for a big stop in the pro day circuit ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft in April. The Ohio State Buckeyes are set to host their pro day Wednesday, and 30 of 32 teams are set to be in attendance, including 10 general managers and seven head coaches.
One of those GMs is reportedly the Green Bay Packers’ Brian Gutekunst. Gutekunst was just in Ames for the Iowa State pro day on Tuesday, and now is set to get a close-up look at the next Buckeyes to enter the NFL.
So who could Gutekunst have his eyes on? The most popular answer will probably be wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
Smith-Njigba posted ludicrous agility times at the combine. His 3.93-second short shuttle ranks in the 99th percentile all-time at the receiver position, and his 6.57 three-cone time ranks in the 98th percentile.
He just posted unofficial times of 4.53 and 4.50 in the 40, which are perfectly acceptable numbers for a player who doesn’t win with field-tilting speed. The boxes are checked, but will he be the selection at 15?
While a first-round receiver is very exciting, Gutekunst is probably there to check out the trenches.
Paris Johnson Jr. is a consensus top tackle in the 2023 NFL Draft, and was recently the Packers’ selection in Daniel Jeremiah’s latest mock draft.
Johnson steadily improved with his hand placement and technique as a pass protector during the 2022 season, and already possessed the initial quicks, rare movement skills, and finishing ability to be a dominant run blocker. He might end up being out of range for the Packers, but there are no guarantees. Johnson could secure long-term stability at tackle in Green Bay.
Let’s also not forget about edge defender/edge rusher, a position that feels a little more uncertain than it did before Rashan Gary’s injury. Assuming he comes back, Preston Smith likely won’t be around for the long haul either.
Kingsley (J.J.) Enagbare might not be more than a third guy in the rotation, and while that’s still important, getting the long-term starter sometime soon is likely a priority for the Packers.
Zach Harrison (6054, 274) is a bigger, longer (36.25 inch arms!!!!) edge rusher that fits the mold of the Packers. He hasn’t posted testing numbers just yet, but they’re expected to be very impressive. His athleticism and untapped potential could be what Gutekunst and company are looking for on day two.
There’s no guarantee on this either, but if the Packers are unsure about Josh Myers, they could go back to the center well for a third time in the last decade in Luke Wypler. Wypler’s particularly strong in pass protection, and has the athleticism to be coveted as a zone center.
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Will the Packers select any of these prospects? Maybe not, but it’s clear that Gutekunst believes that Ohio State is a very important stop in the pre-draft process to look at future stars from a strong NFL pipeline.