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Gutekunst Loses on Trade Chart But Wins by Drafting Rodgers

The Green Bay Packers greatly overpaid in their trade to acquire Clemson receiver Amari Rodgers but GM Brian Gutekunst was happy to get his guy.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – By one version of the NFL’s trade-value chart, the Green Bay Packers were fleeced by the Tennessee Titans during the third round of the NFL Draft on Friday.

Trade charts, however, are incapable of scoring touchdowns from the slot and returning kicks.

With Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst coveting Clemson receiver Amari Rodgers, he sent the first of his fourth-round picks (No. 135 overall) to the Titans so he could move up seven spots in the third round to get his man. By the chart, the second of Green Bay’s fifth-round picks (No. 178) should have been ample compensation to go from No. 92 to No. 85.

Gutekunst couldn’t have cared less. He said he considered drafting Rodgers with the second-round pick he ultimately used on Ohio State center Josh Myers.

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“Immediately after I got off the phone [with the Myers pick], I turned around to see if we could get back up to get Amari,” Gutekunst said. “A couple of my guys had gone down to get something to eat, so we had to get everybody back on the phones fast. But we were trying pretty significantly to get up to go get Amari. It took us a little while longer than we wanted to.”

Trying to get into the middle of the third round, Gutekunst said four or five deals fell through before he finally was able to make the trade with the Titans.

“We paid a little bit of a price but I thought it was important because of the value of the player I wanted,” Gutekunst said.

Reflecting on the trade, Gutekunst thought back to his mentor and former boss, the late Ted Thompson. With the Packers transitioning to a 3-4 defense in 2009, Thompson used the No. 9 pick on nose tackle B.J. Raji. Thompson then sent his second-round pick and both third-round picks to New England to get back in the first round to select Clay Matthews. That obviously worked out well for the Packers; time will tell if Rodgers can be the game-changer that Gutekunst envisions.

“There were a couple guys in the building who were working the phones at the time (who said), ‘Well, how far do you want to go up? How much do you want to pay?’” Gutekunst recalled. “And he’s like, ‘I want the player.’ And every time John Schneider or Reggie McKenzie, or I think Dorse (John Dorsey) was there, as well, and they would just start talking about, ‘Well, I think this is too much.’ And he’s like, ‘You guys aren’t understanding. I want the player.’ So, there was a little bit of that there. It was important that we acquired the player. Obviously, you never want to overpay too much, but we were really excited to get Amari.”