“Really excited about the group overall. I think we definitely got better. Now it’s on us to try to develop these guys as quickly as possible and put them in situations where they can showcase their talents.”
Green Bay – The Green Bay coaching staff and GM Brian Gutekunst will get their first look at the Packers 2023 draft class during their annual rookie mini-camp Friday and Saturday.
Thirteen draft selections—tied for a franchise-largest class in the modern draft era—and at least 12 undrafted free-agent rookies will partake in orientation, meetings, and practices at team facilities in the two-day mini-camp.
Versatility and speed were two major assets of the 2023 draft class, which was devoid of an offensive lineman—usually a favorite target of Gutekunst’s during the NFL’s annual draft.
Gutekunst again went defense first, selecting edge rusher Lukas Van Ness Thursday night in the first round. On Friday night, Green Bay went offensive, selecting tight ends Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft and speedy wide receiver Jayden Reed to restock the receiver group.
As Packers HOF safety LeRoy Butler eloquently put it in announcing Friday’s pick at the NFL Draft in Kansas City: “We got Jordan Love some help.”
- Round 1: Lukas Van Ness, edge rusher, Iowa (No. 13 overall)
- Round 2: Luke Musgrave, tight end, Oregon State (42)
- Jayden Reed, wide receiver Michigan State (50)
- Round 3: Tucker Kraft, tight end, South Dakota State (78)
- Round 4: Colby Wooden, defensive tackle, Auburn (116)
- Round 5: Sean Clifford, quarterback Penn State (149)
- Dontayvion Wicks, wide receiver, Virginia (159)
- Round 6: Karl Brooks, defensive tackle, Bowling Green (179)
- Anders Carlson, kicker, Auburn (207)
- Round 7: Carrington Valentine, cornerback, Kentucky (232)
- Lew Nichols III, running back, Central Michigan (235)
- Anthony Johnson Jr., safety, Iowa State (242)
- Grant DuBose, wide receiver, Charlotte (256)
On Saturday in rounds 4-7, the Packers selected a defensive tackle in round 4, a quarterback and wide receiver in round 5, a DT and kicker in round 6, and a cornerback, running back, safety, and receiver in a hectic round 7.
Gutekunst was pleased with his quantity and quality of selections and did address team needs, especially in the receiving corps.
“One of our goals, was to add some pass catchers and some skill players,” he told the media covering the Packers draft at Lambeau Field.
“I also think we probably had a very, very deep group of offensive linemen. You guys know how I like to take offensive linemen. We weren’t able to do that in this draft. So I did think because of the depth of our group right now, that once we got past a certain point on the board, making this football team was going to be difficult on the offensive line, which I think opened up spots for some of those skill positions. Yeah, I think certainly that was a goal of ours. Again, you never know how it’s going to fall, but it fell good for us.”
With the Aaron Rodgers trade, Love is now the team leader and quarterback. LaFleur acknowledged the youth and major changes presents challenges and opportunity.
“I think we’re in a position right now where there’s been more than there’s been in quite some time here,” LaFleur said. “So I think the challenge is how do you reinvent yourself each and every year knowing that the standards and expectations don’t change. We’re expected to win. That’s what this business is all about and certainly when you have a first year starter at the QB position, we need everybody from coaches to every player on our roster to perform and produce at a high level and play complete team football.
“The one thing I’ll tell you is just being around him (Love) for now going into Year 4, he’s learned a lot, and he’s seen a lot, and obviously learning when you’re behind one of the greatest to ever do it, I think Jordan has done an outstanding job just kinda picking his brain and learning from Aaron, but like I said, it’s going to be a process because it’s not just about that position. That’s a big part of it, but it’s also we’ve got some younger tight ends, we’ve got a bunch of young wideouts. So it’s about the collective.”