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They just know it when they see it

Posted May 2, 2018

Timing is the name of most passing games


Hansen from Waukesha, WI

With the draft over, what do we talk about now in the Inbox?

Wes’s coffee preferences and morning purchase rotation? I can’t figure it out.

Matty from Durango, CO

Some remedial math for armchair GMs (AGM) complaining about our picks: Scouts and staff are watching film of EVERY snap of a higher-round prospect. Conservatively 30 snaps times 10 games times two years equals 600 snaps. AGM is watching the entire field, only occasionally concentrating on a particular player. Let's say 10 games times two years times three snaps. AGM is at most basing his draft criteria on maybe 60 snaps. I could be wrong.

And those 600 (probably more) snaps of a single player are being watched by multiple scouts and personnel execs, another multiplier effect. It guarantees nothing, and if it doesn’t work out, the best scouts will go back and figure out what they missed.

Eric from Green Bay, WI

Insiders, at what point do you start investing higher draft capital into the offense if the defense once again underperforms? If you're needing to score 35 to have a chance to win, why not ensure you score 42?

Ensure? No such thing.

Zach from Missoula, MT

For reference, Jaire Alexander was born two weeks after Favre won Super Bowl XXXI, and was 14 when Rodgers won XLV. I'm gonna go cry into my Ensure now.

Ensure? What is the deal today?

Lonny from Aberdeen, SD

Can you please provide a pronunciation guide for each of the draft picks? I’ve just been in a heated debate over the pronunciations of J’Mon Moore and Equanimeous St. Brown.

It’s JAY-mon and eck-wah-NIM-e-us, and for the record on the first pick, it’s jai-EAR.

Jim from McLean, VA

What is the single biggest need the Packers have yet to address in the draft and free agency?

It’s still edge rusher, to me. Matthews is going into his 10th season and Perry his seventh, with injury histories to boot. The need for more rotational depth now and more potential future starters is still there. I like Biegel, Fackrell, Gilbert and Odom as options, but I want a more robust pipeline at such a premier position. I keep wondering if Pettine has a plan for something different on one edge or the other. I’m staying tuned.

Steve from Florence, WI

We have several running backs with a lot of potential. We also have several new receivers via the last two drafts. Where do you see Ty Montgomery fitting in this year?

With the ball in his hands on occasion.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Mike, what's the difference between a slot corner and a boundary corner, particularly in terms of physical traits and speed? Also, which spot would benefit more from a player with strong man-press skills?

I’m no expert, but I think slot corner requires more immediate quickness and change of direction, because from the slot, receivers have a two-way go, whereas the boundary can limit route options. Meanwhile, the outside corner might need more straight-line speed, because he has to hang better on the deep ball with safety help farther away. Press-man skills are a benefit anywhere. They’re the most effective way to disrupt timing, which is the name of most passing games.

Guy from Hudson, WI

The Vikings just picked up the fifth-year option on Trae Waynes for $9 million. Is this a guaranteed contract for 2019 and thus counts against the salary cap? Are they stuck with the contract no matter what happens? Do most teams renegotiate before the fifth year starts? The Vikes have a lot of starters coming due next year and I was surprised that they picked up the option after they drafted a CB in the first round.

Once the option is exercised, the fifth year is guaranteed for injury. But, after the fourth season, if the team decides to cut the player before the first day of the league year heading into his fifth season, it owes him nothing and there is no cap charge.

Eric from Oshkosh, WI

"Could they (the Ravens) have waited and not turned in their pick until Friday before Cleveland?" Brilliant. It sounds like something Bill Belichick would do, just because he could.

Except the team generally wants the fifth-year option that comes with the first round, especially on a quarterback, because it provides more leverage and flexibility in structuring the eventual huge payday. The fifth-year option is a team benefit, not a player one.

Sawyer from Colby, WI

Who do you think could be the next Aaron Rodgers in the NFL?

Right now I would rank Carson Wentz and Jimmy Garoppolo as the top two candidates.

Don from Cedar Rapids, IA

The Bears look like they've made a lot of improvements and are starting to get a little scary. Do you think they're ready to make a playoff run this year or do they still have a way to go?

It all depends on the speed and volume of Mitch Trubisky’s development.

Brian from Superior, WI

Out of Matthews, Bakhtiari, and Cole Madison, who will walk away with the “best hair” trophy in training camp?

I can guarantee you they won’t give it to a rookie.

Tony from Eau Claire, WI

Roger from Phoenix learned an important aspect of the Insider Inbox yesterday. This column is just like a football team. Either show up with good material and thick skin, or get out of the kitchen. Loved it!

It’s a responsibility we take very seriously.

Archie from Baraboo, WI

Not really a question, just an idea. The punter, long snapper, and kicker should not be counted on the 53-man roster.

So, you’re either telling the union each team should pay those players the same so there are no cap inequalities, or you’re telling the owners to pay for the stipends, equipment, meals, travel and insurance for three extra players every year. Good luck with whichever you choose.

Jay from Land O’Lakes, FL

Guys, I love the concept of drafting multiple players at the same position in the same draft. I can think of nothing better to generate intense competition than competing against the other rookies in your own position group. The downside is you may have to cut some draftees, because you have too many. That’s a small price to pay for getting the most out of your position in Year 1.

Very small, realistically.

Martin from Trollhattan, Sweden

Hey guys, do you have any idea of when/if the Packers are planning to extend Ha Ha's contract? With all the youth coming into the secondary and the level he is playing at, he seems like an important piece moving forward.

I think he is, but given he’s coming off a disappointing season, which he’s publicly acknowledged, and a new defense is being installed, it makes sense for both sides to wait at this point.

Monty from Hazen, ND

I’m tired of football players dropping due to 40 times. Sometimes guys look much slower once the pads go on. Why don’t they time 40s with football pads on? Seems like GMs would get a better idea of football speed.

I’ve always thought the same thing.

Randy from Salem, OH

So, it appears at times when your starting QB goes down and the backup comes in, on many occasions he has success throwing to the backup receivers that he practices with more often. Now that we have Kizer, was that any influence to take his former receiver St. Brown?

Not in the slightest, but I wonder if it’s going to give St. Brown a little advantage in his rookie training camp to be back with a familiar QB.

Paul from De Pere, WI

Have heard the analysis on edge rushers in this draft. Was TE talent or overall lack thereof considered to be similar?

Not at all. There were 15 tight ends drafted, one more than last year and four more than in 2016. I expected the Packers to take one with all those Day 3 picks, frankly.

Shilo from Murrieta, CA

The personnel execs for the Browns are getting grilled in the national media for picking Mayfield, but I just read that John Dorsey, Eliot Wolf, and Scot McCloughan all had Mayfield ranked as the No. 1 quarterback this year before they were working for the Browns (per the famous Mary Kay Cabot). Just a reminder that the national media doesn't get the full story, and remember to support your local writers. God bless, Insiders!

Cabot is a tremendous reporter. She also has written that at least a half dozen other teams had Mayfield ranked first of all the QBs. The Mayfield pick caught all the national analysts off-guard, but not the entire league.

Erick from Portland, OR

Insiders! So you just finished superbly covering the draft. Must be a ton of work. What moment of the season is the most busy/stressful for you?

Night games, because you don’t really catch up on rest until the end of the next week.

Mike from Chicago, IL

The lack of drafting a running back or adding many among free agents indicates confidence that Devante Mays will make a second-year jump. I'd still like to see what a powerful back like him can do.

Me, too.

Judi from Caledonia, WI

Question regarding Cole Madison. He seems to have the height and weight to play tackle. Seale raved about his footwork and he did play right tackle in college for a team that was pass-happy. Why the projection to guard in the NFL? Is it strength or arm length? Thanks for considering my question and for all the great coverage.

I think arm length is part of it. I also think it’s that mystical package of traits that scouts need to see to project the player, from the get-go, holding his own in pass protection against elite edge rushers in the NFL. They just know it when they see it.

Ken from Cuyahoga Falls, OH

So in looking at some of the other teams that drafted, do you think other teams are preparing for some big changes? The Steelers drafted a QB in the third round and the Ravens drafted a QB in the first round. It seems those teams wouldn't draft a QB that early unless they are preparing for some changes at those positions. Or maybe I am reading too much into it.

The Ravens with Flacco have made the playoffs just once, as a sixth seed no less (2014), in the last five years since winning the Super Bowl. Roethlisberger is about to enter his 15th season in the NFL, all as a starter, and he’s dropped hints at retirement here and there. For different reasons, those picks made sense to me.

Keith from Lincoln, IL

Have you seen any of the Amazon Prime show on the 2017 season of the Cowboys? It was interesting to watch the preparation for their Week 5 game with us. All coaches are harping over and over: “Keep 12 in the pocket!!” What happens in the deciding play of the game-winning drive? No. 12 gets out of the pocket and scampers for 30 yards on third down. Just because the coaches coach ’em up doesn’t mean even professional players will get it done.

Yet the scheme is always the problem.

Anthony from Milwaukee, WI

It is really early to be projecting draft spots for the 2019 draft, but a lot of outlets suggest it will feature heavily on the defensive line. Do you think that played any role in Gute trading down to get the Saints’ first and bypassing the edge rusher position until the last pick?

Minimally, if at all. I think he simply couldn’t turn down a first next year when it was a clear win in the trade, and he didn’t feel Edmunds, James or Davenport was some sort of once-in-a-lifetime player. That move led to trading away the third-rounder (to get back up to 18) and then the early fourth (to get back into the third), picks that originally might have found an edge rusher.

Matt from Oshkosh, WI

Regarding the answer on how in-line blocking is a learned skill that big-bodied receivers shouldn’t be assumed to have, is the same true of downfield blocking? Receivers like Nelson and Larry Fitzgerald seem to stand apart in ability to throw downfield blocks, but is this a skill most WRs learn as part of their craft, or only those that spend significant time as a slot receiver?

All receivers learn it, but being in the slot – and thereby having to throw more blocks in the middle of the field, against potentially bigger defenders – can, by necessity, accelerate the learning curve.

Chris from Minneapolis, MN

What's more likely from the Packers' backfield in 2018: a 1,000-yard rusher, or three that eclipse 500 yards?

I’ll pick the 1,000-yard rusher, and I’ll take Aaron Jones.

Nathan from Plymouth, MN

Hi, Insiders. I was watching a highlight video of the Packers’ 2010 playoff run the other day and something jumped out at me: The interceptions. It seemed like every game somebody in a Packers’ uni would get one. I did some digging, and I found out that during that four-game run (including the Super Bowl), the Packers had eight interceptions, of which three were pick-sixes. That's an average of two interceptions per game, and a pick-six in three of four games. That level of production seems crazy, especially considering the Packers’ pass defense of late. My question is, do you think that Gutekunst and the rest of the Packers’ brain trust have that 2010 secondary on their minds when they spend their first two picks on cornerbacks? I think that they are trying to get the Packers over the hump by trying to get our defensive backfield back to that level. Just a thought.

McCarthy on the top two picks: “Their ball skills are exceptional. It’s something we pay close attention to, if you look at our history with the turnover ratio. I think they’re a great fit for how we want to play defense.”

Cameron from Springville, UT

Now that the draft is over, what is your favorite event after the draft?

Week 1.

Joe from Las Vegas, NV

Is it over? Can we talk about anything else yet? When is kickoff? Play ball!

T-minus four months, seven days, and counting …


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