Any general manager job in the NFL is tough. To be Brian Gutekunst and the general manager of the Green Bay Packers is even harder. The Packers are an organization that accepts nothing less than contention. To have consistent success is tough and impressive. Since Gutekunst took over on January 8 2018, he’s led the Packers to three NFC North titles and two NFC Championship appearances, one being a he game for the first time since the 2007-2008 season. The Brian Gutekunst era has been successful to this point, but his tenure and overall success of it depends on Jordan Love.
The Packers missed the postseason in the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Gutekunst was hired to replace the late Ted Thompson. He had a roster to clean up and fast. Year one of a new general manager is all about getting back on the right track. Gutekunst began that by drafting Jaire Alexander as his first draft pick as the man in charge in the 2018 NFL Draft. Gutekunst traded out of the 14th pick but then moved back up to get the 17th pick to take Alexander. It was a brilliant move for the first year general manager.
In the off-season leading up to the 2019 season, Gutekunst had money to spend and did it in one day. He landed Preston Smith, Za’Darius Smith, Adrian Amos, and Billy Turner. It was clear he was ready for the Packers to contend now and they did. All four players had really good seasons and the Packers made it to the NFC Championship but falling to the San Francisco 49ers.
The night of day one the 2020 NFL Draft is when the franchise began it’s next era. The expectation leading up to the 30th pick Green Bay originally had was they needed to draft a wide receiver. They have not done so in the first round since 2002. Instead, Gutekunst moved up to pick 26 and drafted Jordan Love. Fans were outraged. Analysts were shocked. It was at the time one of the most shocking draft picks in a long time. Aaron Rodgers was coming off two down years but he was still able to play at a high level. To this day, I still believe it was a year too soon to make that move.
With Aaron Rodgers being traded to the New York Jets, Jordan Love will finally become the starter in his fourth NFL season. The Packers have to figure out what they have in their new potential franchise quarterback. Gutekunst has mentioned numerous times over the last three plus years how much he and the franchise believes in Jordan Love. He has to now. His legacy and his potential general manager career depends on it. I give Gutekunst credit making a bold move. I’m sure it was not easy to know he had to eventually part ways with a first ballot hall of fame quarterback. There is no doubt Jordan Love is his guy. Now, we finally get to see if this pick paid off or if his 2020 draft class was the ultimate bust.
Follow me on Twitter @DylanBuboltz and follow us @WiSportsHeroics for more great content. To read more of our articles and keep up to date on the latest in Wisconsin sports, click here! Also, check out our merch store for some amazing WSH merchandise!