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taking part in the team’s recruitment of undrafted rookie free agents

Going into his first draft as the Green Bay Packers’ general manager, Brian Gutekunst wanted Ted Thompson in the room with him.

Now, after leaning on his mentor and predecessor “a lot” during Saturday’s third and final day of selections, Gutekunst is hoping the 64 year old Thompson will be with him next year https://www.packersgbstore.com/marwin-evans-jersey-c-26.html, too. And the year after that. And the year after that.

While Gutekunst made it clear that he was calling the shots in the 2018 NFL draft – the first in 13 years that Thompson https://www.packersgbstore.com/jahri-evans-jersey-c-25.html, who transitioned into an advisory role this offseason, didn’t run – the rookie GM did look to Thompson and his experience on several occasions Saturday, including when trying to decide among several players with roughly the same draft grades, or when he was mulling whether to draft Alabama punter JK Scott in the fifth round and Mississippi State long snapper Hunter Bradley in the seventh.
“Certainly with the special teams aspect of the guys we drafted, I talked to him about that and what he had done in Seattle when he ran the Seahawks’ drafts from 2000 through 2004 and his philosophy on that,” Gutekunst said. “There were numerous conversations with him about players https://www.packersgbstore.com/jayrone-elliott-jersey-c-24.html, and then just kind of some of the things he s done in the past.”

While some vocal fans worried that Thompson might try to exert pressure on Gutekunst to select players he wanted, those who knew Thompson best – his scouts – knew that wouldn’t be an issue.

“As he’s transitioned, I don’t think anybody that knows him ever thought that this would be something he wouldn’t want to do or couldn’t do because how much he cares about the people in that room. He cares so much about the scouts,” Gutekunst said. “He’s meant so much to me personally as a friend and mentor. He’s always led in kind of service leadership. That was kind of his motto. That’s how he led us. I hope he sticks around for a long time.”

Bulaga in plans
After a report earlier in the week that the team had asked veteran right tackle Bryan Bulaga to take a pay cut – a request that Bulaga declined, according to the report – Gutekunst said the 2010 first round pick remains in the team’s plans despite the torn ACL he suffered in his right knee last November and his uncertain availability for the Sept. 9 against Chicago. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said the team’s medical staff had told him that Bulaga is ahead of schedule in his recovery.

“I’ve heard the same reports – that he’s doing excellent, he’s way ahead of schedule,” Gutekunst said. “Again, those are big injuries. He’s fought through those things before, we expect him to do that again. But yeah, we expect him to be a part of our team.”

‘It’s crazy how this happens’
While Scott grew up in Denver and played collegiately at Alabama, his selection by the Packers is a crazy homecoming of sorts for him. His father, Kim, was a standout pole vaulter at Madison West High School and University of Wisconsin, and the family has a vacation home on Lake Owen in northern Wisconsin near Hayward.

The connection came up when Scott was asked about safety Ha Ha Clinton Dix, a fellow Alabama alum who was back on campus the past few years while going back to get his degree.

“I’ve always told Ha Ha, we’ve always talked to him about coming up to our lake house to hang out, but we never ended up getting an opportunity to do that,” said Scott, adding that the home has been in his family for more than 50 years. “We used to go up every single summer. When we were growing up, we’d go from May to August. We’d go up there and spend the whole summer there. Once we got into college, we had a lot going on so we didn’t spend as much time up there. But we still live up there. And my grandmother lives in Madison currently. That’s where my dad grew up. We go there a lot, too.”

Scott said he only went to one game growing up but that his father and grandparents went to Lambeau Field frequently.

“This is crazy. We have probably 10 cheeseheads at home,” Scott said. “It’s crazy how this happens. We loved to watch Brett Favre play.”

Notre Dame reunion
One of the first calls Notre Dame wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, who fell to the sixth round – despite projections that had him going in the third or fourth – and landed with the Packers with the 207th overall pick, received was from his old college quarterback, DeShone Kizer. Kizer, traded from the Cleveland Browns to the Packers last month, is now St. Brown’s teammate again.
“I had to hang up on him because you guys were calling me,” St. Brown said of his conference call with Wisconsin reporters. “He’s excited. I’m excited.”

With Kizer as his quarterback in 2016, St. Brown caught 58 passes for 961 yards and nine touchdowns. With Kizer quarterbacking the winless Browns last season and St. Brown still with the Irish, he caught just 33 passes for 515 yards and four TDs.

“We had a great connection when we played together,” St. Brown said. “Now we’re back on the same team, so it’s good for me.”

Recruiting season
Gutekunst’s arrival for the traditional post draft press briefing was delayed, he said, because he was taking part in the team’s recruitment of undrafted rookie free agents.

According to league sources, media reports and social media posts, among the Packers’ signees were Northwestern defensive tackle Tyler Lancaster, Duke Center Austin Davis, Arizona guard Jacob Alsadek, James Madison safety Raven Greene, Utah defensive tackle Filip Mokofisi, Eastern Kentucky quarterback Tim Boyle and Oregon cornerback Chris Seisay.

Many of those signings were in place before Gutekunst spoke with reporters, and the process was speedy, he said, because of how well he and his staff had prepared for the draft. In past drafts under Thompson, Gutekunst said his role had been to know all the prospects well enough that he could answer any of Thompson’s questions about any player.

“What my job has been over the past six years is to know that entire board inside and out and to answer questions that Ted had on any of those players. I think that s the key to the entire thing,” Gutekunst said. “And I think I felt really prepared through the whole thing Damarious Randall Jersey, and I felt our guys were really prepared.
I think it s always an indicator when we get to the UDFA stuff, when we go through all those names, of how prepared we are. Because if we know if exactly what door we want to go in, then we know the board inside and out, and I thought that s exactly what happened.”

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