What Gutey Should Learn From Ted In His Second Draft

I know fans were very excited when Brian Gutekunst took over for Ted Thompson. They want him to fix all Ted’s problems and put us back in the Super Bowl where we belong.

What doesn’t get as much attention is the fact that Ted came into a very similar situation as Gutey and his second draft was a catalyst for his success.

Let’s look at how eerily similar their situations are:

  1. When Brian Gutenkunst took the GM role in Green Bay, he took over a program with a talent deficiency that had been building as hs predecessor fell into mental illness. When Ted Thompson took over as GM, the took over a program with a talent deficiency that had been building as his predecessor did ludicrous things like trade up for a backup punter in the 3rd round and use another 3rd round pick on a defensive lineman that was a backup in college.
  2. When Gutey took over, his team relied on a prima donna QB in his mid 30’s that had won a Super Bowl and an MVP. When Ted took over, his team relied on a prima donna QB in his mid 30’s that had won a Super Bowl and an MVP and had a new young first-time head coach that was considered a brilliant offense mind despite being the offensive coordinator of a struggling offense before coming to Green Bay.
  3. When Gutey took over, he fired Mike the Head Coach and hired a young first-time Head Coach that was considered a brilliant offense mind despite being the offensive coordinator of a struggling offense before coming to Green Bay. When Ted took over, he fired Mike the Head Coach and hired a young first-time Head Coach that was considered a brilliant offense mind despite being the offensive coordinator of a struggling offense before coming to Green Bay.
  4. In Gutey’s second offseason, he patched holes in free agency by bringing in mid-tier targets that filled needs without breaking the bank like Preston Smith, Za’Darius Smith, and Adrian Amos. In Ted’s second offseason, he patched holes in free agency by bringing in mid-tier targets that filled needs without breaking the bank like Charles Woodson and Ryan Pickett.
  5. In Gutey’s second year, he is coming off a disappointing 9 loss season and needs a big draft to propel his team back into contention – but at least he acquired the #30 overall pick in a trade to use as additional draft capital. In Ted’s second year, he was coming off a disappointing 8 loss season and needed a big draft to propel his team back into contention – but at least he acquired the #37 overall pick in a trade to use as additional draft capital.

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Gutey’s story isn’t written yet, but we know how Ted’s went. Ted used his second draft to build a team that went 13-3 the following season and hosted the NFCCG, then they won the Super Bowl a few years after that.

Given that their situations are almost identical, maybe we can look at what Ted did and see if Gutey could learn something from him about building a champion.

So what did Ted do?

First, he stayed put at his high pick and took the consensus best available defender.

Then, he used his extra pick in the 30’s to trade down. He traded that 2nd round pick for a 2nd and a 3rd. Then he traded that 2nd for a 2nd, 3rd, and 5th. In the end, he finished with 12 picks, the most of any team in the draft.

 
It wasn’t AJ Hawk at the top of the round that fixed the team – no one player can turn around a lagging team – it was the mid tier guys he took afterwards with the picks he acquired from trading down, guys like Daryn College and Greg Jennings, who upgraded weakened positions (and later netted comp picks to keep the talent pipeline flowing). 
 
Maybe even more than that, it was the role players that came with those extra picks. Guys like Johnny Jolly, Tony Moll, Abdul Hodge, Jason Spitz, and Will Blackmon, who weren’t superstars, but filled needs and strengthened the middle of the roster so that one injury couldn’t derail the whole team. In the end, 10 draft picks made the roster – that means 20% of the positions on the team were improved through the draft.
 
Ted also picked up Jon Ryan and Tramon Williams as undrafted free agents. Combined with some smart free agent moves in Woodson and Pickett (neither of whom were considered blockbuster signings at the time), almost a third of the team turned over, starting the turnaround.

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So what would it look like if Gutey took Ted’s lead this draft, given that the table is set for a similar turnaround?

  1. Stay at 12 and take the best defender available, even if it’s not the one we want. In 2005, we wanted Mario Williams but ended up with AJ Hawk. Maybe this year that means Brian Burns and Ed Oliver won’t make it, but we can get someone like Montez Sweat.
  2. Trade down with the free pick to pick up more picks. There are a few very favorable options on the board (click here to read more). 
  3. Use those extra picks to upgrade weaker positions and build out depth.
  4. Dig deep in the UDFA market to find some contributors. Some of my favorite potential targets include Matt Sokol (Tight End), Tyler Roemer (G/T), Markus Jones (DL),  Javon Patterson (G), Dakota Allen (LB), and Penny Hart (WR)

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I know it’s exciting to think about moving up for a big name blue-chipper, but we have been in almost this exact same situation and the less-exciting route proved to be very successful.

We know Gutey isn’t Ted, but he is a Ted disciple. How much did he rub off on him? How many whispers does he hear from Ted, who still lurks just down the hall?

We’ll find out in the next couple of weeks!

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Check out Packers Draft Central for all our 2019 NFL Draft coverage!

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