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There's more than one way to maximize value

Posted Apr 28, 2018

Never underestimate a player with a chip on his shoulder

Dan from Wausau, WI

Well, I guess many were right. The Packers moved up in the first round...just did it a different way. I think moving back four to get a first-round pick next year was great.

I just felt the table was set for Brian Gutekunst to make a move. I didn’t know when it would come, but 12 draft picks are a lot when you consider there’s only 53 spots available on the active roster. There’s more than one way to maximize value with draft picks. Gutekunst accomplished that in trading up for Jaire Alexander and Oren Burks.

Tony from Roanoke, VA

I must admit I'm a little bit confused about all the people complaining about how Brian Gutekunst dropping back was something Ted Thompson would do. It appears many Packers fans don't remember him moving back up into the first round in 2009 to grab Clay Matthews, either. My fans have such little faith. And short memories. Or at least wrong ones.

I must admit I was a little disappointed to see some of the vitriol when I opened my email Friday afternoon. If you ask Mike Mayock – one of the most respected draftniks in the league – Alexander already lasted several spots longer than he should have. Heck, Mayock had Alexander ahead of Denzel Ward in his rankings. Packers fans wanted a cornerback. Well, they got two now…and an extra first-round pick to boot.

Michael from Brokaw, WI

Josh Jackson possibly playing safety?

The guy had eight interceptions playing boundary cornerback in the Big Ten this past year. You tell me.

Max from Troy, MO

My initial reaction to the Josh Jackson pick was elation. But as the surprise wore off, I started to wonder why he fell so far. What have you heard about why he was available at 45?

I’m guessing it had something to do with almost all of Jackson’s production at Iowa came during his junior year. He’s not the fastest cornerback in this year’s draft class, but his instincts and football IQ make this a great value pick for Gutekunst. Plus, never underestimate a player with a chip on his shoulder. Jackson was a two-star college recruit who has made a name for himself silencing doubters.

Dan from Grand Rapids, MI

How cool was it to see Alexander’s reaction to his former teammate Lamar Jackson being picked? These three days aren’t about which teams won or lost, that will be decided later. These few days are about these kids finally having realized their dream, and that’s what makes the draft so great.

It was such a cool and genuine moment. You could tell how invested Alexander is in Jackson finding success in the NFL. Leaders lead. I’m happy it was captured on video.

Luke from Charleston, SC

Does Oren Burks project to play inside or outside LB?

Burks will continue to play as an inside linebacker in Green Bay, but he’s not the type of player who fits one label or description. Burks is multiple and an example of how the hybrid linebacker position continues to evolve. He’s also the first converted safety I can recall the Packers drafting.

John from Denver, CO

Does the drafting of Oren Burks put Jake Ryan in the category of depth or do you see a completion for ILB opposite Martinez?

I see Burks competing for a role right away, whether it’s as a hybrid linebacker or a possible option in the dime sub-package. The Packers needed another guy on the depth chart with Martinez and Ryan. I believe Burks is a great answer to losing Joe Thomas and Morgan Burnett in free agency. A rising tide lifts all linebackers…or something.

Jim from Fairview Heights, IL

Does the selection of Burks allow Josh Jones to return to a more "normal" safety position where he can focus on just the safety position and not three or four others?

It sure looks that way. I tip my cap to Jones for being open to playing multiple positions last year, but that’s a load of information for a 23-year-old rookie to absorb. Allowing Jones to concentrate on safety is the best option for everyone. There’s a good competition brewing there with Jones, Kentrell Brice, Marwin Evans and Jermaine Whitehead all vying for a spot next to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix on the back end.

Bob from Racine, WI

Will this be the year in which no Badgers are drafted?

I imagine someone is going to get picked out of the group of Troy Fumagalli, Nick Nelson and Jack Cichy.

Edward from Canton, SD

I am sure glad Jerry Kramer is going into the HOF this July (over 40 years late). Great dig at Cowboys fans about the Ice Bowl!

The only way that moment could have been better is if Kramer immediately threw on a pair of dark sunglasses after that quip. His wit remains sharper than ever.

Nick from Chicago, IL

With Alexander standing 5-10 and King 6-3, I like the different chess pieces we have when it comes to matchups. Do you see Alexander playing more slot to fill the void of Randall? That speed is salivating.

That’s entirely possible, especially after the Packers drafted Jackson on Friday. Alexander gives Green Bay flexibility, but you can’t ignore how effective he was in the slot when he had five picks during his sophomore year. As for those cornerback height requirements everyone likes to talk about, Alexander is in the vicinity. Plus, the rules aren’t as rigid as they once were with how prevalent slot corners have become.

Max from Milwaukee, WI

The Packers still haven’t drafted a pass rusher yet. Any rushers left you have an eye on?

Florida’s Josh Sweat is probably tops on my list right now. He’s a raw rusher, but has great size. Kansas’ Dorance Armstrong, Oklahoma’s Obo Okoronkwo, Georgia’s Davin Bellamy and Wake Forest’s Duke Ejiofor are in the mix, too.

Bryce from Kenosha, WI

So you're not allowed in the draft room, but Evan Siegle is. Good thing the draft board is indecipherable.

It also helps Evan is nearsighted.

Matt from East Troy, WI

How does having two guys coming with a fifth-year option next year change the entire trajectory of the future?

It doesn’t.

Mime from Appleton, WI

I am saying a prayer to St. Vince that we have the first and last pick in the first round next year.

I have a feeling Packers fans will be doing a lot of scoreboard watching during Saints games next season.

Ron from Rockford, IL

I was very hopeful with my team heading into the draft with 12 picks, but this is shaping up to be the 2012 draft all over again (without Nick Perry.) How can this team continue to pass up impact pass rushers and expect to compete? Is Oren Burks really worth two picks? Why did we need to move up to get him?

Even if you subtract Perry from the argument, the 2012 NFL Draft still produced Mike Daniels and Casey Hayward. How is that a bad thing? How many picks the Packers invested into that Burks pick also is irrelevant to me due to how many they have at their disposal. Burks fits the mold for a hybrid linebacker in Green Bay’s defense. The Packers undoubtedly want to add another outside rusher to the mix behind Clay Matthews and Nick Perry, but that’s not the only source of pass rush. The addition of Muhammad Wilkerson factors into the argument, as well.

Rich from Sierra Vista, AZ

How far up in the first round of next year’s draft could we go if Gutekunst trades No. 30 and 32?

Should the Packers beat the Saints and then win the Super Bowl, those two draft picks would be worth the equivalent of the 12th overall pick…and a late sixth-rounder, if you really want to get down to brass tacks.

Dave from Franklin, WI

So, those jerseys the first-round picks hold up. Does the team bring a stack with various names and hide them in the draft room so other teams don't see who they're targeting?

The NFL can print those out in like two minutes. Technology is a wonderful thing.

Morgan from Fort Collins, CO

Two division rivals pick centers. Says a lot about the D-line or am I reading too much into it?

That’s exactly what it means. Look at what’s happening around the NFL – Suh and Donald in LA, Daniels and Clark in Green Bay, and McCoy and Vea in Tampa Bay. Defenses are loading up at defensive tackle. Offenses need top-of-the-line interior linemen to combat that.

Joe from Santa Monica, CA

King, Josh Jones, Clark, Ha Ha, Alexander, Lowry and Adams. Add Mike Pettine defensive scheme and we have hopefully a young, top-10 defense for several years. I'm excited.

Green Bay needed to make changes after what has happened on defense the past two seasons. Bringing in Pettine was a start, but a major youth movement was required. That’s where things are trending this offseason. At the moment, Tramon Williams and Clay Matthews are the only veterans older than 28. A lot of hungry young bucks on the defensive side of the ball.

Lawrence from Milwaukee, WI

Alexander's size and measurables remind me of Sam Shields, who, if I remember correctly, was undrafted. I like the pick (and first-round maneuvering), but I'm curious what results in two players of apparently similar ability having such different draft day experiences. Any thoughts?

Comparing the draft stock of Alexander and Shields is apples and oranges. Shields was an extremely raw prospect after playing his first three seasons at Miami (Fla.) as a receiver. He also had an off-the-field incident before the 2010 NFL Draft.

Jim from Des Peres, MO

How is Jaire Alexander going to man-up with Adam Thielen, Julio Jones and the other big receivers?

By playing with the same intensity and technique he displayed in three years at Louisville. Alexander isn’t the tallest cornerback, but that isn’t the be-all, end-all for success at the position. His speed, tenacity and versatility should expedite Alexander’s transition to the NFL.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, what are your thoughts on the Saints' willingness to give up a first-round pick to move up in the draft?

I think it would have been a bit too rich for my blood, but Mickey Loomis obviously found a defensive end he feels is a missing piece for that defense. Marcus Davenport has all the tools to be a player in this league. The only question is how long will it take for that investment to bear fruit.

Chris from Eau Claire, WI

If you were in a position like Lamar Jackson, would you rather go at 32nd or 33rd? At 33rd, he wouldn’t have to wait an additional year to get paid if he starts lighting up the league, but at 32nd he can carry a first-round rank throughout his career. Is that homage worth a “year’s salary”?

I’d rather go at No. 33. There’s leverage in hitting the free-agent market earlier, especially for quarterbacks.

Dave from Comer, GA

I know Cleveland needed to get better in the secondary, but do you think there was some inner satisfaction for Eliot Wolf when Cleveland took the best DB in the draft at No. 4 knowing the Packers wouldn't be able to get him?

No.

Chris from Victor, ID

There are two things I like about having two first-round picks, high or low: 1) The thought of using one of them on an offensive player. There is always top-level offensive talent available at the bottom of the first round, or 2) Trading one of the picks for a young, proven player before the draft.

It’s a golden ticket. The Packers could draft the next possible superstar with it, trade for a proven veteran or use it to move up from wherever you’re picking next year.

Chris from Marshall, WI

Assuming the Packers don't trade either of their two first-round picks in 2019, when was the last time the Packers had two first-round picks?

It would come on the 10-year anniversary of Green Bay drafting Raji and Matthews in the first round.

Daryl from Watertown, WI

When a team is ranking their big board, is fit within their scheme considered?

Of course. I’m not sure how drastically it can alter a board, but some schemes cater to a particular type of player better than others. It’s the job of the scouting department to find the line. A perfect example of this would be the Packers signing Julius Peppers in 2014. While he wasn’t a traditional 3-4 outside linebacker, the system had enough flexibility to accommodate a player of Peppers’ immense talent.

Seth from Stevens Point, WI

Who is someone behind the scenes at packers.com who you would like to acknowledge for their hard work?

Nicole DeGrandpre. She was responsible for many of the cool trailer videos you see on packers.com before games and throughout the offseason.

Craig from Castle Pines, CO

Wes, Gute needs a theme song. May I suggest G Eazy. “If I said I’d trade for picks, just know I mean it.”

You made my night, er, morning, Craig.

Ron from Waukesha, WI

Experiencing a 7-9 season isn’t much fun but the associated draft that comes with it certainly is. I haven’t felt this way since 2009 when we drafted B.J. Raji and Clay Matthews in the first round. I can’t wait for Day 3. How about you guys?

Whatever gets me to Sunday.


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