Highlights from Packers' GM Brian Gutekunst's press conference

Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (WBAY) - The Green Bay Packers are coming off a 13-3 season which saw the team make the playoff for the first time since the 2016 season under first year Head Coach Matt LaFleur.

This offseason marks the third under General Manager Brian Gutekunst. Gutekunst spoke Tuesday at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, here are some of the highlights:

On re-signing kicker Mason Crosby to a three-year contract:
“It was something we wanted to do. It went pretty smooth. We’re really happy to have him back. He’s a 14-year pro. He holds all our records. It’s going to be tough for anybody to catch him.”

On Za’Darius Smith’s comments following the NFC Championship loss to the San Francisco 49ers regarding guys not being ready to play:
“I think everybody is frustrated after a game like that and you are searching for answers. Over the last couple of months we’ve done that too – looking at some things and why – how did that game go the way that it went? But I understand where he is coming from but I wouldn’t read too much into that.”

On Green Bay area athletes becoming NFL prospects:
“It does wonders for our local pro day. There’s places like Miami and San Francisco and other places that they are rolling 200 guys through and with the rules the way they are we kind of have been pretty limited there. They changed the rules a couple of years ago so to actually have an Ashwaubenon NFL prospect is pretty neat. We’ve had a few other guys come through the last few years but there were many years we didn’t have a local pro day so to actually be able to have one is nice. We do it up right. We rent the upstairs of Hinterland and invite all the coaches up. Our scouts will do anything for a free meal so we'll do it up right. You’ve seen some guys and I think Wisconsin is an interesting state from a football prospective because there is only one school that offers scholarships. Obviously being a UW-La Crosse guy. We had eight players that had cups of coffee in the league when I was back at La Crosse so a lot of these Division 1-AA, Division II-type talents coming out of high school end up staying in state so I’m biased but I think there’s untapped talent throughout Wisconsin.”

On the prospect of only playing three preseason games:
“It’s one less opportunity so I think we would need to be a little bit creative. We stage things for evaluation purposes. Last year we had some joint practices for the first time in a long time. I think those were really helpful. It was a way for our guys that were established to get the reps they needed against a quality opponent – taking some risk factors away and allowing our younger guys to have more time in the actual games under the lights which I think is important so it will take an opportunity away from us for an evaluation period but I think overall I would be excited about it.”

On the current state of the Packers inside linebacker position:
“It’s a little bit of an evolving room right now. I feel really good about Oren [Burks]. He’s got to stay healthy but I think he’s got all the talent in the world to be a productive player for us. I think Ty Summers did a really nice job – not only on special teams but how he developed as a linebacker as well … I’m excited about those guys. With Blake’s situation under certain at the moment it’s a little bit in flux as we go forward.”

On trying to compete with the 49ers this upcoming season:
“We aren’t looking to catch any particular team. We are trying to build a club and develop a club that can withstand whatever storms come our way. We always start with the division and then we work beyond that. Again, if you focus too much on that you’re going to miss things.”

On the Packers’ draft need at the wide receiver position:
“I think it is a deep group. It’s heavy at the top. More numbers than we’ve seen in the past. It’s early. They’ve got to run and there’s a lot of things they’ve got to do still but going through draft meetings early, I was impressed with the class as a whole. It will be interesting how it kind of falls but there are some good players out there. In today’s day and age, guys are starting 7-on-7. It’s almost like AAU basketball. Receivers are so much more advanced as far as their fundamentals coming in to college and the league than they have been in the past. It’s really just the NFL offenses that will take time. I think there’s some guys that sitting here today that will have a chance to make an immediate impact – excited about that.”

The NFL Draft starts Thursday, April 23 and ends on Saturday, April 25 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 2020 NFL Draft will air on WBAY-TV.

TV times:
Thursday, April 23: 7 PM CT
Friday, April 24: 6 PM CT
Saturday, April 25: 11 AM CT