For the uninitiated, it's key to note the entire saga involving Aaron Rodgers over the past two years was caused by the Green Bay Packers passing on adding a wideout in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft -- instead selecting quarterback Jordan Love. Fast forward to 2022 and, lots of apologies and two contract redos and later, it's still Rodgers' show, but the need at WR is bigger than it's been in years, considering the blockbuster trade that sent All-Pro receiver Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders.
But does that mean general manager Brian Gutekunst is a lock for grabbing one in the first round and, in a twist of cosmic irony, in the very city Adams will now play going forward? No, it does not, because Gutekunst believes the depth at the position leading into the draft means he doesn't have to press with the Packers' two first-round picks: No. 22 (from the Raiders) and No. 28.
"The last few [classes of WR] have been pretty deep, and I think this one is another one," he said Monday, via the team's official website.
It also doesn't help that, in his eyes, Gutekunst doesn't envision first-year NFL wideouts as typically breakout players.
"But history still kind of shows that for all rookies, not just wide receivers, but for all rookies, it takes time," Gutekunst added. "This is a hard league. There's a learning curve before these guys really start to produce at a high level."
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Of course, former first-round picks CeeDee Lamb, Justin Jefferson and Ja'Marr Chase would like a word -- as three recent examples of rookie wideouts taking over the league from the outset. That glaring fact notwithstanding, the Packers general manager points at Rodgers as a reason a young wideout might do well in Green Bay, and that point actually does make sense. But, in the same breath, he also aims his attention at the current stable of Packers receivers, one that now includes Sammy Watkins, hoping they can step up in the absence of Adams.
"I think we've got a pretty good quarterback and that helps significantly, so certainly I think there's probably going to be more opportunity for that young player if we happen to go that route to come in and have some opportunities," Gutekunst said. "Hopefully it'll be quicker if we go that route this year ... but I will say we got some pretty good players in the building that I think are very eager for their opportunity, which maybe they haven't had yet."
So while it's unclear if Gutekunst is simply doing the usual dance of smoke and mirrors or if he's serious, what's definitely true is things didn't go well two years ago when the Packers ignored the position; and that was with Adams on the roster. Without the best WR in the league in uniform anymore, Rodgers expects the club to learn from their previous mistake.
Time will tell if they have.