How did the Green Bay Packers reach the NFC's final four with the youngest roster in the league? Jordan Love's performances played a significant role, but the Packers also received major contributions from their rookie class.
Remember how much criticism general manager Brian Gutekunst received throughout the Aaron Rodgers drama last offseason? Most of it wasn't coming from Packers fans but many in the national media, *cough* Pat McAfee.
Gutekunst remained unbothered. He had a job to do. But if ever there was the time for a mic-drop moment, here it is. The Packers hit a home run in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Luke Musgrave, Jayden Reed, Tucker Kraft, Dontayvion Wicks, Karl Brooks, and Carrington Valentine had excellent rookie seasons. First-round pick Lukas Van Ness finished the year strong, with three sacks in the final six games. He was a backup for most of the year but had plenty of moments that proved why the Packers drafted him 13th overall.
Several Packers selected in ESPN's 2023 re-draft
ESPN has put together a re-draft of last year's opening two rounds, which is a fun exercise to see where each player would be selected if the 2023 rookie class were drafted today.
Of the 63 selections, six of them are Green Bay Packers. Yes—six. That's almost 10 percent of the entire re-draft. In other words, six of the Packers' draft class is now considered good enough to go in the opening two rounds.
Take a bow, Brian Gutekunst. Here's where they were "picked" in the re-draft:
- WR Jayden Reed (34th)
- EDGE Lukas Van Ness (42nd)
- TE Luke Musgrave (45th)
- WR Dontayvion Wicks (55th)
- DE Karl Brooks (56th)
- TE Tucker Kraft (59th)
A couple of players were selected later than in the actual draft. They had Van Ness fall to the second round, where the Packers picked him. That caused Musgrave to drop three spots, where the Packers also picked him.
But the other four players moved up from where they were drafted. Reed jumped from 50th to 34th, and Kraft went from 78th to 59th.
Wicks and Brooks were the Packers' huge wins. Green Bay selected them 159th and 179th, respectively, but the re-draft has them going 55th and 56th. This is incredible value for the Packers.
And this re-draft doesn't even include Carrington Valentine, a seventh-round rookie who started 12 games at cornerback. Again, unbelievable value.
Gutekunst hit a home run. Maybe he'll finally get the respect he deserves.