By STEVE MEGARGEE
AP Sports Writer
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Jordan Love may have been the biggest winner on the second day of the Green Bay Packers’ draft
The Packers got a few weapons for their new starting quarterback in the NFL draft on Friday night: They selected Oregon State tight end Luke Musgrave and Michigan State wide receiver Jayden Reed in the second round and South Dakota State tight end Tucker Kraft in the third round.
“Now I think we have a good nucleus of guys, pass catchers to be able to grow with a quarterback,” general manager Brian Gutekunst said. “I think that’s important. We’ll see how it goes.”
Green Bay chose Musgrave with the 42nd overall selection, a pick they acquired in the trade that sent four-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets. Rodgers’ exit hands the starting quarterback job to Love, who has made just one start since the Packers selected him out of Utah State in the first round of the 2020 draft.
The Packers also entered the night with the No. 45 overall selection, but they sent that to Detroit in a trade that brought them the No. 48 choice and a fifth-round pick. They then moved down two more spots and got a sixth-round pick from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
They used the No. 50 spot on Reed, who turned 23 on Friday and considered the call from the Packers the ideal birthday gift.
“Well, my girlfriend gave me some glasses,” Reed said. “I got an Apple watch. But nothing tops this. I mean this is all I could ever ask for. This is all I ever wanted forever in my life.”
The Packers capitalized on the depth of this year’s tight end class by drafting two players at that position for the first time since 2011. Green Bay’s top tight ends under contract are Josiah Deguara and Tyler Davis, who combined to catch 17 passes for 140 yards last season.
Musgrave played just two games last year before undergoing season-ending knee surgery. Kraft played just nine of South Dakota State’s 15 games last season.
Gutekunst said he wasn’t overly concerned about their injury histories and suggested that might have explained why Musgrave and Kraft were both available when the Packers took them.
“They’re both all-around tight ends that can kind of do everything,” Gutekunst said. “They’re not pigeonholed into only being able to be a receiving tight end or a blocking tight end. They can do it all.”
Green Bay is taking a chance on the upside of the 6-foot-6 Musgrave, who totaled just 20 games in four seasons at Oregon State due to injuries. He had 11 catches for 169 yards and a touchdown in Oregon State’s first two games last year before undergoing season-ending surgery on his medial collateral ligament.
Musgrave impressed scouts at the Senior Bowl and at the combine. The Packers like his ability to stretch the field.
“I really was trying to press to get to the Senior Bowl,” said Musgrave, the nephew of former NFL quarterback and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave. “It really was my goal. I got cleared really kind of reluctantly two weeks before it, and I was able to go to the Senior Bowl.”
Kraft played well enough at South Dakota State in 2021 to attract the attention of bigger programs that wanted him to enter the transfer portal. He instead helped South Dakota State win a Football Championship Subdivision title before entering the draft.
He already knew the exact message to give Packers fans.
“Being able to score my first touchdown at Lambeau Field and take the Lambeau leap, that’s something every single Bears fan in the nation will hate, and something that I’ll be able to do on my own favor,” Kraft said.
Although Green Bay drafted three wideouts last year – North Dakota State’s Christian Watson in the second, Nevada’s Romeo Doubs in the fourth and Nebraska’s Samori Toure in the seventh – the position still ranks as one of the Packers’ biggest needs. Watson and Doubs are the only wideouts under contract who had at least 100 yards receiving last season.
Reed caught 59 passes for 1,026 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2021. Last season, he had 55 catches for 636 yards and five touchdowns, including a game-winning score in an overtime victory over Wisconsin.
Although Reed is only 5-11, the Packers believe he can line up on the outside as well as in the slot. Reed also is a quality punt returner.
The Packers haven’t drafted a receiver in the first round since taking Florida State’s Javon Walker at No. 20 in 2002, but they’ve had success finding wideouts in the second round. Examples include Greg Jennings (2006), Jordy Nelson (2008), Cobb (2011), Davante Adams (2014) and Watson (2022).
The Packers’ three picks Friday followed their first-round selection of Iowa edge rusher Lukas Van Ness on Thursday. They have nine more picks Saturday, with safety arguably their biggest remaining need.
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