Gutekunst’s Appearance at Oregon Pro Day Hints at Draft Priority

Following Brian Gutekunst's tour of pro days possibly shows what position he will be targeting in this month's NFL Draft.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst was at Oregon’s pro day on Friday, a source from the school said, an appearance that suggests he is hunting cornerbacks for this month’s NFL Draft.

Obviously, Gutekunst isn’t watching only cornerbacks and turning a blind eye to schools’ other prospects. However, he was at Northwestern to see Greg Newsome II, Florida State to see Asante Samuel, Alabama to see Patrick Surtain, South Carolina to see Jaycee Horn and Minnesota to see Benjamin St-Juste.

Oregon’s top prospects are offensive tackle Penei Sewell and safety Jevon Holland. Sewell, a potential top-five pick, will be long gone before the Packers on the clock. Holland is a potential first-round pick but the Packers are set at safety with Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage under contract through the 2022 season.

Cornerbacks Deommodore Lenoir and Thomas Graham Jr. are Oregon’s next-best prospects as midround options. Both players had strong days. According to the Senior Bow’s Jim Nagy, Lenoir measured 5-foot-10 1/4, ran his 40 in 4.44 seconds and posted a 34.5-inch vertical jump while Graham measured 5-foot-10 3/8, ran his 40 in 4.45 seconds and posted a 34.5- inch vertical.

Graham, a COVID-19 opt-out in 2020, is a big-time ballhawk. He entered the 2020 season as the FBS active leader with 40 passes defensed. Of that total, eight were interceptions. In 2018, he had three interceptions and 18 breakups for a total of 21 passes defensed. In 2019, he had two interceptions, 12 passes defensed and five tackles for losses.

Lenoir was second-team all-Pac-12 as a junior and senior. A three-year starter with six career interceptions, he had one interception and allowed a 53.1 completion percentage in 2020, according to Pro Football Focus. He’s a superb tackler but gave up 15 touchdowns in his career, according to PFF.

By re-signing Kevin King and tendering Chandon Sullivan, the Packers figure to line up with the same secondary as in 2020. However, King and Sullivan will be free agents at this time next year and King suffered through a dismal fourth season. So, cornerback is a need.

Holland is a strong prospect who could be of interest if Amos is a cap casualty for 2022. He measured 6-foot 5/8 and 207 pounds and ran his 40 in 4.46 seconds. A COVID opt-out in 2020, he had nine interceptions in his two seasons and a 15.3-yard average on punt returns. Even while sitting out the 2020 season, he had a strong week at the Senior Bowl.

His sister ran hurdles at USC.