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Packers have 11 draft picks to match NFL’s top total. GM Brian Gutekunst wouldn’t mind adding more

Packers have 11 draft picks to match NFL’s top total. GM Brian Gutekunst wouldn’t mind adding more


GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst wouldn’t mind adding a few more picks to the league-leading total his team already is projected to have in this week’s draft.

The Packers, Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams currently have 11 selections each to lead all NFL teams in the draft that begins Thursday. That follows a 2023 draft in which the Packers selected 13 players.

“You never have enough ammunition to build your room, so there’s significant competition in every room,” Gutekunst said Monday during a pre-draft news conference. “I think that’s really important. We have 11 right now. I’d love to end up with 13, 14 or more.”

The Packers last season became the fourth-youngest team to reach the playoffs and the youngest to win a playoff game since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, according to the Elias Sports Bureau’s weighted age statistic. They went 10-9 and reached the NFC divisional playoffs while having the NFL’s youngest roster.

They achieved that in part because of a rookie class that featured four players who had more than 350 yards receiving (Jayden Reed, Dontayvion Wicks and tight ends Tucker Kraft and Luke Musgrave) and two more who recorded at least four sacks (Lukas Van Ness and Karl Brooks).

Green Bay benefited from having a jumbo-sized draft class that included an extra second-round pick because of the trade of four-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets as well as nine third-day selections. This year, the Packers have five of the first 91 picks after landing an extra second-round selection in the Rodgers trade as well as a third-round pick from sending cornerback Rasul Douglas to the Buffalo Bills at last year’s trade deadline.

Gutekunst said the Packers’ abundance of selections in the first few rounds puts them “in a pretty good space to move, or just sit and pick.” But he also noted the benefits of adding extra picks.

“More at-bats, right?” Gutekunst said. “You’ve got more chances for hits. There’s never enough. I don’t ever subscribe to the thought process: ‘Hey, we’ve got a pretty good team. These guys might not have a chance to make the team.’ I think I’ve talked a lot about competition in every room, and how much it accelerates the growth of your football team. I think that’s the best way for your team to move forward. So to me, there’s never enough.”

Gutekunst disputed the notion that the abundance of youth on Green Bay’s roster might make it tougher for the incoming rookies to earn roster spots.

“I don’t think it will be hard at all,” Gutekunst said. “It just depends. I really think the more competitive we can make it, the better. So we’ll see how it goes. But it’s one of I think the hallmarks of around here has always been that the best players play, regardless of where you were taken or how much you’re getting paid. The best players are going to play. That’s kind of how we want to approach it.”

TOP PHOTO: FILE – In this Feb. 27, 2019, file photo, Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

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