Every year when the draft rolls around, you hear people talk about the picks they would have made last year and how right they were. Every year at PFTW, we love talking about other options and what we would have done.
So who would we have picked in 2019?
Well I’m glad you asked!
It’s so easy to win with revisionist history, so we’re printing some receipts. These are picks we would have made in the moment, without the benefit of hindsight (i.e., we had no idea Deionte Thompson was going to slip to the 5th round, that Corey Ballantine was going to get shot, etc).
We’re going to make this easy to review in future years to see how our analysis holds up – feel free to use the comments section to get a time-stamped copy of who you would have picked.
Here’s how our PFTW analysts stacked up against the Packers GM.
ROUND 1, PICK 12
Gutekunst took: Rashan Gary, Edge
- Bruce: There’s a lot of reasons I don’t like this pick. First and foremost is because Brian Burns was on the board. Gary is a freakish athlete, but injuries and a lack of a true position hurt his production. I’m sure Mike Pettine will get the most out of Gary if he’s healthy, but I still love the freakish rush skills of Edge Brian Burns – he proved he could add weight without sacrificing ability at the Combine and he would have been my pick.
- Stude: After the draft, it was pretty clear just how much the Packers covet versatility. Brian Burns doesn’t have it, but he does have potential to develop it. I think he has both the athleticism to develop, as well as the personality to be a professional and drive every day. Also, unlike Gary, he isn’t an underachiever and he doesn’t have a bum shoulder. It’s too hard to get pass rushers in the NFL, and I take my top one in the (hopefully) rare opportunity to be drafting this high.
Final answers: Gutekunst: Rashan Gary | Bruce: Brian Burns | Stude: Brian Burns
ROUND 1, PICK 21 (from 30)
Gutekunst took: Darnell Savage (trade up), S
- Bruce: I love (love, love) Darnell Savage. If you’ve followed my draft coverage, you know that. However, I’m not a fan of moving up to get him, primarily because I think there’s too much talent in this draft and the Packers have too many holes. I would have stayed put at 30 and (assuming Savage was gone, as the Ravens and Colts were both rumored to be interested) taken Safety Nasir Adderley at 30 overall.
- Stude: As I said throughout my draft review, I think giving up two 4th round picks was a lot. I also would have broken the versatility trend with this pick as well, so I’m clearly not on the same wavelength as Gute. I would have picked a guy that is a right tackle, but I think he could be the stud right tackle of the future. I want to protect the QB, and it starts with tackle play. I would have taken Jawaan Taylor and slept easy at night.
Final answers: Gutekunst: Darnell Savage | Bruce: Nasir Adderley | Stude: Jawaan Taylor
ROUND 2, PICK 44
Gutekunst took: Elgton Jenkins, IOL
- Bruce: I like the Jenkins pick. I think he’s good value at a position of need, but he’s not the guy I would have taken. I was really impressed with the size, skills, and fit of Wide Receiver Hakeem Butler. At 6’4, 227, Butler is the type of big receiver I think the offense could really use. With 4.4 speed and a 36 inch vertical, he’s a freak that dominates contested catches, breaks tackles, and blocks. Even though I hate taking skill guys early, Butler would have been my pick here.
- Stude: This pick is a little harder for me. I would have really wanted to know what’s wrong with Greedy Williams. Is it attitude? Medical? Consistency in effort? Lack of desire to tackle? The fact that he’s mostly a coverage guy and doesn’t have the coveted “versatility”? If the inside information tells me that there is no way we can take Greedy, I would have went with Hakeem Butler. If that wasn’t the case, I’d try to maximize the talent that he is and get a tall coverage corner with speed.
Final answers: Gutekunst: Elgton Jenkins | Bruce: Hakeem Butler | Stude: Greedy Williams
ROUND 3, PICK 75
Gutekunst took: Jace Sternberger, TE
- Bruce: I really like the Sternberger pick. In fact, if I was calling this draft, I also would have taken Jace Sternberger. I think LaFleur needs a Tight End with receiving skills like this and, paired with a big receiver Hakeem Butler, would have made this offense a completely different animal.
- Stude: I guess I’m going to have to “cheat” on this one. Jace Sternberger was quite high on my list, and he was a 3rd round target (and pick) for me for many of my simulations. I only took him off my board late because I convinced myself that LaFluer wanted someone that wasn’t so heavy of a receiver. In other words, someone that was a known commodity as a blocker that they could leave on the field at all times. The great thing is that Gute was asked about LaFluer’s fit with a tight end his press conference after he picked Jace. His response: “They have multiple different positions for the tight ends. There’s different kinds of guys. He certainly likes a Y tight end that can come off the ball and block and some of the run stuff. He also uses an F tight end that can move around and be in the backfield. We think that Jace fits that tight end that can be a matchup problem. He’s a tough cover down the field. He can create separation from backers and safeties, can stretch the seam.” Well duh. Armed with that knowledge of the offense, Sternberger would have easily been my pick.
Final answers: Gutekunst: Jace Sternberger | Bruce: Jace Sternberger | Stude: Jace Sternberger
ROUND 4, PICK 114
Gutekunst took: No one (pick used to trade up)
- Bruce: I would have stayed put at 30 and gained a couple picks in the 4th round. Throughout all my analysis, I continually harped on the fact that this is the spot where I thought good zone blocking linemen could be found. Sure enough, I would have taken Dennis Daley here. Daley can play Tackle or Guard, making him a valuable swing player. He has great strength and enough athleticism for zone blocking (though Dru Sammia, who the Vikings took with this selection, would have also been a good pick – given a tough choice, I went for the guy who offered more versatility).
- Stude: I really wanted a new safety in this draft, and I haven’t selected one yet. I would have stopped the slide for Deionte Thompson. He has good ball stills, height, and adequate speed to play free safety. No, I wouldn’t have him play in the box, and I guess I’m going against versatility again and instead focusing on what they do best.
Final answers: Gutekunst: No one | Bruce: Dennis Daley | Stude: Deionte Thompson
ROUND 4, PICK 118
Gutekunst took: No one (pick used to trade up)
- Bruce: Lots of talent on the board here, which is why I don’t like trading up a lot. It was a tough call here for me between Linebacker Mack Wilson – who I think is the third best Linebacker in the class – and Defensive Lineman Renell Wren. In the end, I think the game is won and lost in the trenches, so I went with Renell Wren. He has speed and power and blew up Senior Bowl practices. He has a great first step and just needs to develop some counters to realize his immense potential.
- Stude: I wanted another big guy for depth on the defensive line, and Renell Wren would be my guy. He has the frame you want, amazing athleticism, and he showed he is capable at the Senior Bowl. He is going to have to be developed some, but his potential is outstanding. I like this value in the 4th round.
Final answers: Gutekunst: No one | Bruce: Renell Wren | Stude: Renell Wren
ROUND 5, PICK 150
Gutekunst took: Kingsley Keke, DL
- Bruce: For a very long time, I have been in love with Cornerback Corey Ballentine. Getting him in the 5th feels like great value. He was voted the best small school defender in the country and impressed against tougher competition at the Senior Bowl. Long arms, good speed, and a lot of twitch give him the tools for the next level, but I also really love his special teams prowess. In addition to be a great returner, he also blocked 4 kicks in his career. The Packers could use special teams help as much as any other position on Day 3.
- Stude: I’m going to stay honest to my board here, but this pick would be different with my current knowledge. I wanted to address an off the ball linebacker, and according to my board I would have picked Mack Wilson with this pick. That being said, I LOVE the Ty Summers pick that Gute made in the 7th. He was not on my radar, and if I had him in my sights I would have looked elsewhere here. Instead, I’ll stay true to my board with the knowledge I had at the time the pick was made.
Final answers: Gutekunst: Kingsley Keke | Bruce: Corey Ballentine | Stude: Mack Wilson
ROUND 6, PICK 185
Gutekunst took: Ka’dar Hollman, CB
- Bruce: I’m sticking with defense here. Edge, Safety, Cornerback, and Defensive Line already got an infusion in my draft, so now I need to address Linebacker. Terrill Hanks is another guy who jumped on the scene at the Senior Bowl. A converted Safety, Hanks has the ability to pick up backs and ends in coverage and plays with a nasty recklessness that would be welcome in the middle of the defense. As a bonus, he looks like a guy who would be a special teams dynamo.
- Stude: Receiver was not high on my list as I covered in my offensive preview. That being said, I really like Kelvin Harmon and I would have taken him here and not thought twice about it. I picture him being a hands (not speed) guy like James Jones was late in his career with the Packers.
Final answers: Gutekunst: Ka’dar Hollman | Bruce: Terrill Hanks | Stude: Kelvin Harmon
ROUND 6, PICK 194
Gutekunst took: Dexter Williams, RB
- Bruce: Like Gutekunst, I think it’s time to add another Running Back to the stable, but – as much as I like Dexter Williams – my pick here was Devine Ozigbo. He didn’t have a great 40 time, but he broke off a couple 60 yard runs last year, showing off his long ability. At 5’11, 225, he has the build of a power back. With good feet and the requisite patience for running inside zone, I think he would be a great fit.
- Stude: I wanted a running back pretty badly on day 3, and I still don’t have one. I like the Dexter Williams pick, but he was off my board for the off the field issues as I thought that was what was important to the Packers. The guy on my board that I would have taken was Rodney Anderson. He is an injury risk, but his upside is very high. Also, there were some good backs still on the board like Devine Ozigbo, Myles Gaskin, Elijah Holyfield, James Williams, Darwin Thompson, Alex Barnes, and Karan Higdon. I would have been watching them as undrafted and try to double up on the position in case Anderson can’t recover medically. But, if he can, he’s extremely talented and worth this pick.
Final answers: Gutekunst: Dexter Williams | Bruce: Devine Ozigbo | Stude: Rodney Anderson
ROUND 7, PICK 226
Gutekunst took: Ty Summers, LB
- Bruce: This was a tough pick for me. I like a lot of guys here (and I’ll outline them below in my Priority Free Agents section), but in the end, I went with an Interior Offensive Lineman to round out the depth in Garrett Brumfield. He’s an aggressive run blocker, but more importantly, shows the necessary movement for zone blocking. Between him and Dennis Daley, I think the Offensive Line would get a much-needed jolt of competition and depth.
- Stude: As I’ve stated before, I really applaud Gute for the Ty Summers pick. This is such tremendous value at #226 and I like it more than anything on my board. However, I’ll continue to follow my board. There were players I was high on, but I probably wouldn’t have doubled up on the position. For example:
- Jimmy Moreland (who Bruce also loves) and Saivion Smith were both there, but I took Greedy already
- Quinton Bell was there as a developmental Defensive Lineman, but I took Wren already
- I might double on Edge with Jalen Jelks, but not if I already have Burns
- Dakota Allen and Te’Von Coney would have been tempting but I already took Mack
- Stanley Morgan Jr., Demarkus Lodge, Penny Hart, Terry Godwin, and Emanual Hall were receivers I liked but not nearly has much as Kelvin Harmon and no way I double up on the crowded receiver room
- Dax Raymond would be tempting, but I would be flying pretty high after getting Sternberger
- I liked Mitch Hyatt more than most, but I thought of him as a backup to Bulaga, and I already have my right tackle of the future
Ultimately, this would have come down to 2 positions for me: Guard and Quarterback. At Guard, it would be tempting to bring Wisconsin boy Beau Benzschawel on board, but I just don’t think he’s going to be the right fit. I also would have considered Calvin Anderson or Trevon Tate, but neither are very convincing. As a result, I would use this selection for locking in my favorite available QB and not worry about wooing them as an undrafted. I didn’t expect Tyree Jackson to make it this far, but he did. So did the only 2 QBs on my board (Brett Rypien and Jordan Ta’amu). Manny Wilkins was there too, but I was also wrong about the Packers interest in him (because they ended up signing him after the draft). I would have gone with my highest rated QB on my board, Brett Rypien.
Final answers: Gutekunst: Ty Summers | Bruce: Garrett Brumfield | Stude: Brett Rypien
Here’s a look at the draft class that the Packers ended up with compared to the PFTW analysts:
- Rashan Gary, Edge
- Darnell Savage, S
- Elgton Jenkins, IOL
- Jace Sternberger, TE
- Kingsley Keke, DL
- Ka’dar Hollman, CB
- Dexter Williams, RB
- Ty Summers, LB
- UDFA: See updated list here
- Brian Burns, Edge
- Nasir Adderley, S
- Hakeem Butler, WR
- Jace Sternberger, TE
- Dennis Daley, T/G
- Renell Wren, DL
- Corey Ballentine, CB
- Terrill Hanks, LB
- Devine Ozigbo, RB
- Garrett Brumfield, IOL
- Top UDFA Targets: Brett Rypien QB; Alec Ingold FB; Nate Herbig IOL; Nate Trewyn IOL; Dax Raymond TE; DeMarkus Lodge WR; Penny Hart WR/KR; Jazz Ferguson WR; Joe Giles-Harris LB; Mark Fields CB; Montrae Hartage CB; Andrew Wingard S; Cole Tracey K
- Brian Burns, Edge
- Jawaan Taylor, T
- Greedy Williams, CB
- Jace Sternberger, TE
- Deionte Thompson, S
- Renell Wren, DL
- Mack Wilson, LB
- Kelvin Harmon, WR
- Rodney Anderson, RB
- Brett Rypien, QB
- Top UDFA Targets: Devine Ozigbo RB; Stanley Morgan Jr WR; DeMarkus Lodge WR, Penny Hart WR/KR; Dax Ramond TE; Calvin Anderson OL; Mitch Hyatt OT, Gerald Willis DL, Carl Granderson DE, Te’Von Coney LB, Terrill Hanks LB; Saivion Smith CB; Malik Gant S
Now comes the fun of watching it unfold to see how things pan out! We’ll be sure to review in the future.
Check out Packers Draft Central for all our 2019 NFL Draft coverage!