Finding instant contributors on Day 3 of the draft
It's one thing to find the quarterback. But with so many veterans departing, Gutekunst had to restock the roster with young talent. The hope is always to find contributors in the later rounds of the draft. It's rare to hit a home run, but the occasional double in the fifth round and later is a good outcome.
Over the past two years, Gutekunst didn't just make base hits. He hit a grand slam.
Both of Green Bay's starting tackles were Day 3 draft picks in 2022. Gutekunst selected Zach Tom in the fourth round, and he is coming off a dominant season. No tackle earned a higher PFF grade than Tom in last week's wild-card round. Left tackle Rasheed Walker was a seventh-round pick. After a rocky start to this season, he has been outstanding, tying for the league lead in pass block win rate, per ESPN.
Gutekunst struck gold again late in this year's draft. Dontayvion Wicks, Karl Brooks, and Carrington Valentine were all selected in the fifth round or later.
Wicks has 606 yards and five touchdowns in 16 games this season. Brooks has made four sacks and five QB hits. Valentine, a seventh-round selection, is already a quality starting cornerback. According to PFF, Valentine held All-Pro CeeDee Lamb to 13 yards on two catches last week.
It's hard to find talent in the early rounds, let alone late on Day 3. But Gutekunst has added several starting-level players late in the draft.