Brian Gutekunst took over as general manager of the Green Bay Packers before the 2018 NFL Draft. That means he has been selecting players for the franchise for the last five years.
The Packers have been winners during most of Gute’s tenure, winning 13 games in each of the last three seasons and earning a first-round playoff bye in each of those years.
But who have been the past draft choices made by the current Packers GM? Here is a look at the top five draft picks made by Brian Gutekunst.
Rankings are based on the impact these players have had on the Packers and the contributions they made towards the team’s success. Pro Bowls and other postseason honors are taken into consideration.
The players’ performance with the Packers is the only thing considered in these rankings. Obviously, players from the 2022 NFL Draft, who have yet to play a down in the NFL, are not considered for this list.
- RB A.J. Dillon
The Packers selected Dillon in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. The former Boston College star is a big, tough, between the tackles runner who has the largest quads of any running back in recent memory. That makes him tough for defenders to bring down one-on-one.
After a rookie season that saw him third on the team’s depth chart, Dillon had a breakout season in 2021, leading the Packers with 803 rushing yards and providing the team with surprisingly reliable hands out of the backfield.
Dillon still been splitting snaps with Aaron Jones and can still improve as he starts his third season in the league. He has been a strong addition to the team’s running back group.
- S Darnell Savage
The Packers added Savage with their second pick in the first round in 2019. The Maryland alum started immediately as a rookie and has never relinquished the job.
Savage made the All-Rookie Team in 2019 and went on to play his best football in the second half of the 2020 campaign. Over the final seven games of that season, he was often playing close to the line of scrimmage and making plays against the run and in pass coverage.
In 2021, Savage struggled a bit adjusting to Joe Barry’s defense and was less consistent. He still intercepted two passes but the big plays were less frequent than they were the previous season.
Savage has become a reliable starter and still has the potential to develop into a potential Pro Bowl player. The 2022 campaign will be a pivotal one for Savage.
- OLB Rashan Gary
Many Packers fans were disappointed when the team drafted Gary with their first pick in the 2019 draft but the Michigan star has improved every season he’s been in the league and is developing into a real difference maker on defense.
He didn’t see much playing time as a rookie behind free agent signees Za’Darius and Preston Smith but each year, Gary has assumed a bigger role on the defense and has improved his performance.
Gary had a career-high 9.5 sacks in 2021 and was one of the most consistent players at pressuring opposing quarterbacks. He had 47 quarterback pressures last season, more than his first two years in the league combined.
Because of his excellent work ethic and football intelligence, Gary is on the brink of becoming a Pro Bowl player off the edge. He should be a key part of the Packers defense for years to come.
- OL Elgton Jenkins
Jenkins was selected in the second round in 2019 and started 14 games in his first season in the league. Jenkins is an extremely talented and versatile performer. He has played all five positions along the offensive line for the Packers and he can play them all at an elite level.
In 2020, he started all 16 games for the Packers at left guard and earned Pro Bowl honors for the first time in his career.
When starting left tackle David Bakhtiari was unable to play in 2021 due to a knee injury suffered late in the 2020 season, Jenkins moved to left tackle and did a good job protecting Aaron Rodgers’ blind side.
He started eight games before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
Jenkins versatility and skill make him one of the more valuable players along the Packers offensive line. The team is not sure when he’ll be ready to play again this season but he may not be ready for Week 1. It is also unclear which position he’ll play, but it is likely right tackle.
Jenkins should be a fixture along the Packers offensive line and re-signing him should be one of the Packers top priorities this season.
- CB Jaire Alexander
The first draft pick made by Gutekunst remains his best. The Packers traded back and then traded up before selecting the Louisville alum with the 18th overall pick.
Alexander has outstanding speed and loads of confidence. His speed allows him to recover on those rare occasions when he’s beaten and his confidence allows him to be ready for the next play when a receiver catches a pass against him.
Alexander’s attitude is infectious and helps make him a leader in the locker room. He gives his teammates confidence.
In 2020, Alexander went to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career and was recognized as one of the top cover corners in the league. If he can learn to hold on to potential interceptions, he can become one of the best cornerbacks of his generation.
Unfortunately, a shoulder injury suffered in Week 4 ended the regular season for Alexander in 2021 although he is expected to be fully ready to start the 2022 season.
The Packers made Alexander the highest-paid cornerback in the league this offseason and he will be the team’s top corner through the prime of his career.
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