2020 Pre-Draft Brian Gutekunst Presser - That's What Cheese Said

That's What Cheese Said is back this week to break down some key comments from General Manager Brian Gutekunst's pre-draft press conference.

Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst had a phone conference with the media yesterday, just a few days away from the 2020 NFL Draft. 

In unprecedented times, Gutekunst feels the best he possibly can about making Green Bay’s draft selections from his home. He started his call by praising the IT team that setup his house for the draft, saying the process went better than he could’ve expected. And, while Gutekunst refrained from offering specifics regarding the technologies his team will be using on draft night, fans can rest-assured knowing there are back-up plans in place “in case things go awry.”

“For me personally, not being in our draft room with our guys together, it’s disappointing because we work really well together,” said Gutekunst. “But at the same time I think we’re very well prepared to attack this thing and accomplish what we need to accomplish.”

He did comment on how different this year’s draft is going to be, simply given he won’t be able to physically see his team working the phones. Normally, those communication lines are visible to everyone as trades and deals are in the works. Instead, Gutekunst will have to monitor activity virtually. 

And of course, the draft isn’t the only thing that changed this offseason. The process of evaluating talent is certainly different for scout teams this year, too, with Gutekunst acknowledging that his team is still relying heavily on the foundation they’ve always emphasized. 

“We’re very very heavy on tape evaluation,” said Gutekunst. “That’s obviously the most important part of what we do.”

He also said he doesn’t put much stock in the numbers prospects have been putting together at their private workouts, letting the player tape serve as the truest measurement. 

The Packers will head into Thursday with 10 draft picks, giving Gutekunst and his team plenty of ammunition should they decide to move around the board. It’s something Gutekunst has done in each of his first two seasons as Packers GM. 

“You can never have enough,” Gutekunst said of his 10 picks. “But I think we’re going to be able to help our football team this year and in the future with what we have right now, and whether we come out of this with 10 picks, or more, or less.

“I think we’ll be able to be as aggressive as we need to be,” he said. “I think it’s a very good draft. I’d like to move around and get to the areas of the draft I think are strong.”

Gutekunst did acknowledge that while it’s a positive to be picking close to the end of the draft, since that means you had a successful football team the previous season, it can also make for a long wait as great talent begins to leave the board, adding that the team won't wait around if a player they like is still available. “We’ll be prepared to move up if we need to be, we’ll be prepared to move back if that’s the best route.”

While the Packers have a number of selections to make in the draft, the significance of signing offensive tackle Rick Wagner, inside linebacker Christian Kirksey, and wide receiver Devin Funchess can’t be forgotten, either, and the team got lucky all of its players were able to be signed before restrictions around the league went into place. 

“The players we acquired, I really like the experience factor of all those guys,” Gutekunst said. “They’ve played a lot of football. They’ve started a lot of games.

“At the same time, you guys know we’ll be pretty aggressive in trying to improve our football team throughout. But I know those guys have been there, done that, and that makes me feel pretty good.” 

He also acknowledged the importance of improving the roster when the team just lost some significant pieces in free agency. One way that’s changed this year is with undrafted free agents. Since there won’t be in-person tryouts, Gutekunst has shifted the trust to his area scouts. The Packers are notorious for having undrafted gems make the final 53-man roster, and a large part of that is due to the team’s scouts doing deep player evaluations. 

With so much talk about a virtual draft and virtual meetings, Gutekunst also addressed the fact that organized team activities likely will also shift online. He said the team has put some ideas together about how players can still get information and meet with the team even at a difference, with the team moving forward under the assumption in-person activities won’t be taking place just yet. 

In addition to the undrafted free agents that can round out a roster, there are also plenty of veteran free agents left for the Packers to consider, depending on how the board falls during the draft. Gutekunst was asked about one veteran in particular, Tramon Williams, and he made it clear the team would like to bring him back if possible.

“We’ve talked a lot here about roster-building 365 days a year,” he said. “We’ll get to the end of this draft, the undrafted class will be signed, and we’ll take another look at our roster and kind of figure what we need to do from here.” 

Gutekunst did call Williams an “all-time Packer” and say the team will get a deal done if they can. He also added that training camp can certainly shift veteran big boards when things like injuries inevitably take place. 

As for the future, much of the 2020 season is still up in the air, with no definitve answers being made right now. It’s still too early for anyone to predict what the next few months will bring. When asked if he had considered the possibility of a postponed or canceled season, Gutekunst said he hadn’t. 

“Honestly, I won’t let myself go there. I certainly hope not.” he said, adding that right now he’s going to control what he can control and continue to operate as if things are normal.

The 2020 Draft will certainly be a unique experience for all involved, with Gutekunst’s presser wrapping up to questions about drafting from his home and how the experience changes with kids in the house. 

“I’m excited for them to see what Dad does,” he said. 

 

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Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV, podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast and Pack's What She Said, and hosts a weekly live show called Happy Hour through Game On Wisconsin. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

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Comments (18)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
PatrickGB's picture

April 21, 2020 at 12:44 pm

“I’m excited for them to see what Dad does”.
So am I.

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Alberta_Packer's picture

April 21, 2020 at 02:49 pm

I hope they go all in with the home office experience - with the background of kids playing, dogs barking and mom yelling "dinner's ready - the draft can wait for a few minutes."

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Leatherhead's picture

April 21, 2020 at 03:54 pm

We signed a WR, OT, and ILB in free agency so we could use a high pick on a WR, OT , or ILB.

Or at least that’s one theory.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 21, 2020 at 09:07 pm

Wr/OT, CB,ILB ,TE, G

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

April 22, 2020 at 11:00 am

We also need some impact player next to Kenny Clark. The other guys are not getting it done.

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Lphill's picture

April 21, 2020 at 04:40 pm

I still say trade Rodgers to the 49 ers for picks , let him get another ring that way because he won’t get it on the Packers with this run defense. Gute let us down by not fixing it in free agency. He won’t fix it in the draft .

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Bure9620's picture

April 21, 2020 at 05:22 pm

You want to take a $40 mil plus dead money hit to ensure Aaron Rodgers plays for another team???

The signing bonus for Rodgers was prorated and spread out over 5 years, ensuring the packers will carry that cap hit. Aaron Rodgers is the starting QB for the Packers for a minimum of 2 more years..

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13TimeChamps's picture

April 21, 2020 at 05:44 pm

Don't bother trying to explain it to him. Believe me, it won't help.

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Lphill's picture

April 21, 2020 at 06:38 pm

Do you like seeing his talent wasted year after year because the Packer decision makers don’t take defense seriously, the Ravens and Steelers always draft defense and still compete with strong offense s , Gute had the opportunity to do something and he didn’t.

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dobber's picture

April 21, 2020 at 08:49 pm

I'd like to see rational Lphill return.

I'd like to not see these repetitive garbage posts anymore.

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13TimeChamps's picture

April 21, 2020 at 09:03 pm

Lphill....Taryn. One and the same.
Good luck with that.

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Guam's picture

April 22, 2020 at 08:22 am

Both can be negative, but Taryn is much more diverse and creative. Lphill seems to be stuck on one topic and has been highly repetitive for a couple of months. I agree with Dobber, I would like the old Lphill back.

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Qoojo's picture

April 21, 2020 at 06:08 pm

and then it's welcome back to mid-80s.

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Since'61's picture

April 21, 2020 at 07:39 pm

We’re already picking at #30 and you want to trade our best player for #31 picks. Even if we get the 49ers #1’pick in 2021 that might be the #32 pick. Not to mention the destructive cap hit.

OK that makes sense. Keep your day job because NFL GM is not in your future. Stay safe. Thanks, Since ‘61

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 21, 2020 at 09:11 pm

I say lay off the jug until the weekend.

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tm_inter's picture

April 21, 2020 at 11:42 pm

The NFL draft is only two days away!

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Kabir's picture

April 22, 2020 at 02:29 am

USA Football, the sport’s national governing body, leads the game’s development, inspires participation and ensures a better and safer experience for all youth, high school and other amateur players. The independent nonprofit is the official youth football development partner of the NFL, its 32 teams and the NFL Players Association.

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Irish_Cheesehead's picture

April 22, 2020 at 06:38 pm

I'm just happy the mock drafts end tomorrow. GO PACK!

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