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Make the pick for the Packers in tomorrow’s ‘Ask Vic’

Posted May 7, 2014

Four predictions for Packers’ pick at No. 21


Johnathan from Chesapeake, VA

I know this would never happen, but what do you think about letting the fans vote on the draft picks in the first round?

It’s going to happen. In Thursday’s “Ask Vic,” readers will be allowed to make their pick for the Packers at pick No. 21. No trades and be sensible; Jadeveon Clowney will be long gone. Just give me your pick and I’ll comment on it. We’re going to make this a special week for “Ask Vic,” which will include a special edition “Ask Vic” on Saturday morning. Today is day three of “Six Days of Vic.”

Karl-Heinz from Urmitz, Germany

Vic, my friend Tom and I are attending a steel industry event in Indianapolis and he introduced me to your “Ask Vic” column. We decided to go to St. Elmo’s for shrimp and steak. It would have been nice if you had warned us about the horseradish. Even so, both were excellent. By the way, I found some khakis in my room at the Marriott here. Any chance you’re missing a pair from the combine?

So that’s what happened to those khakis. I run pretty hard at the combine.

Zac from Gilbert, AZ

Any chance Green Bay moves up to get Ebron?

I’m not convinced he fits as high as he’s being projected. He’s a one-dimensional receiver in a draft loaded with receivers. Let’s be patient on this one. If a run on quarterbacks develops and Ebron falls to where it’s affordable to go up and get him, go get him.

Paul from Farnborough, UK

Vic, I’m intrigued by the rule changes that occurred in 1978. Did you see an immediate difference in how the game was played and did you think the new rules had ruined football as you knew it or was it something you welcomed?

The impact was immediate and I had been forewarned. The head slap was outlawed the previous year and the rules changes of 1978 completed an assault on defense that sent yardage and points totals to levels I had never previously covered. From an entertainment standpoint, we welcomed it because it made the game more fun to watch. As a reporter, I can remember doing something called “How they scored,” and the surge in point totals made writing “How they scored” much more difficult, and I remember not liking that.

Kelly from Castaic, CA

“When you attack, you must hold nothing back. You must commit yourself totally.”

Football is an attack sport, but the draft is not an attack event. Think of the draft as a lot of generals strategizing the night before the attack. The draft is about wisdom. I loved Ted Thompson’s line last week about hoping he had the wisdom to make the right choices in this year’s draft. Football is played by “soldiers.” The draft belongs to Lee.

Dave from Bellingham, WA

Vic, 40 years ago, picking at slot 21, the Steelers drafted four future Hall of Famers in one of the greatest drafts ever. When did the team realize it had done something pretty special?

That was pick No. 21? Isn’t that interesting? They knew they had done something pretty special when they “lost” the only tape on John Stallworth.

Felipe from Edinburg, TX

Do the Packers need a big receiver such as Calvin Johnson or Brandon Marshall? If so, who are some draft prospects that fit that description?

Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin, Allen Robinson, Martavis Bryant, Jordan Matthews, Devin Street, Cody Latimer, Jeff Janis, Brandon Coleman, Cody Hoffman, Marcus Lucas, Alex Neutz, Chris Boyd, Je’Ron Hamm, Corey Washington, D.J. Coles, Quinton Payton, Ryan Culbreath, Seantavious Jones, Spencer Harris, Geraldo Boldewijn, Gerald Ford (no relation to the former president), Aaron Burks, Deon Miller, Malik Generett, Daryle Hawkins, Jaleel Clark. Dime a dozen.

Andrew from Eau Claire, WI

Vic, will there be fireworks from the Packers tomorrow night, good or bad?

I don’t see this as a fireworks draft for the Packers. I see the Packers sitting patiently, waiting for talent to fall to them, and exercising opportunities to move to where the players they’ve targeted fit and, in the process, acquiring additional picks that can be used to move again or draft more players they’ve targeted. Everybody wants fireworks. Fireworks are dangerous.

Noah from Omro, WI

Vic, it’s the day before the draft and I’ve got four last-minute requests. 1) Give me a player you’d love to see the Packers draft but you’d be surprised to see still available at No. 21. 2) Give me a player you could realistically see the Packers trading up for. 3) Give me a player you could realistically see the Packers trading down for. 4) Finally, give me a player you think fits at No. 21 but who most Packers fans would be surprised to see the Packers draft tomorrow night.

C.J. Mosley, Eric Ebron, Weston Richburg, Kelvin Benjamin.

Anthony from Saint Francis, WI

Vic, you said the only thing worse than drafting a bad player is failure to admit he’s a bad player and keeping him on the team. Do you think they hold onto players longer than they should?

I didn’t say that; Ron Wolf did. It was a popular opinion back then. Get ’em good or get ’em gone. That was a different time. Rosters were built differently and the game presented different demands. I’ve always been a jars-on-the-shelf guy. I believe in being patient with young players. If you’re not committed to young talent, then you’ll likely waste the time you’ve put into them by finding yourself having to play against them. I can provide several examples. Dan Connolly is a player on whom the Jaguars quit too quickly. He was an outstanding find as an undrafted free agent. Two years later, he was gone and since then he has been in the starting lineup for the Patriots for seven years. That was a critical mistake and it was the result of impatience. Wolf didn’t make many of those mistakes. He had a pretty good crystal ball.

Jay from Fairport, NY

You said that if one team picks a quarterback early, that could have a domino effect that starts a run on quarterbacks. If each team has its own draft board, why would other teams reaching for quarterbacks suddenly force them to overdraft as well?

Every board is different. There is no uni-board, and that’s the mystery of the draft that creates the anxiety and intrigue that makes this so much fun. Bill Belichick had Kyle Brady all lined up for pick No. 10 in the 1995 draft. What Belichick didn’t know is that the Jets had Brady all lined up for pick No. 9. Belichick violated one of the cardinal rules of drafting: Never fall in love with a guy. Belichick fell so deeply in love with Brady that when the Jets picked Brady, Belichick went dead. He ended up trading out of the spot and wildly moving down to pick No. 30, where he made a curious selection that turned out to be a bust. Composure is critical to sound drafting. Never fall so deeply in love with one guy that you’re not prepared to pick someone else. Expect runs. Plan for everything. Be surprised by nothing. Most of all, be true to your board. Not every team is. The good ones are.

Jim from Winterville, NC

Vic, I used to love the value board. Have you ever gone back to see how good of a scout you were?

Yeah, I had hits and I had misses. Scouts have hits and misses. Fans have hits and misses. We’re all scouts.

Zac from Dallas, TX

What do you really expect out of the Packers this year?

I expect them to be playoff contenders. That’s as far as I’ll go in any year. Anything beyond that is not only unnecessary, it’s an invitation for disappointment.

Randy from Raymond, IA

Vic, I was surprised to hear you were an altar boy. You don’t seem the type.

What’s that supposed to mean? I was a five-tool altar boy: bells, knocker, water and wine, communion plate and candle-snuffer. I saw a kid drop the bells, as a row of nuns measured him from a few feet away. I saw another kid hit himself on the thumb with the knocker, and I think I saw the priest smile. Not me, baby. I got a good double bounce out of that knocker. Poured water with the left hand, wine with the right hand and never spilled a drop. Caught a communion host once; the priest nodded his approval. Put out high candles and never made one move an inch. I think they retired my cassock.

Karen from Everett, PA

Is there a specific pick-position pay scale?

Bonuses and salaries decline with the slots. If you pick a player higher than he belongs, you will likely overpay for him for as long as he plays for you, and that becomes a big drain on your salary cap. When you reach, you pay for it.

Kevin from Machesney Park, IL

We’ve all heard of players who have been passed over in the draft, giving them a chip on their shoulder and reason to prove their doubters wrong. Does that really give players an edge, or is that stuff all just a storyline to feed the fans?

Some guys have a chip on their shoulder for losing their parking space. Some guys get angry at the alarm clock and stay angry all day. Those are the kind of guys you wanna draft. Draft them and give them a loud alarm clock.

Bryan from Madison, WI

How do you and/or Tony feel Pierre Desir compares to the top cornerback prospects in this draft? From everything I have read, it seems Desir is an incredible athlete with true shutdown cornerback potential; plus, his intangibles and maturity are exceptional. Had he been able to attend a D-1 program, I think he would be making a strong case for best cornerback in this draft class. If he is still available, would taking Desir at 53 be a reach?

You’d have to have a specific role in mind for him. He doesn’t have shutdown corner speed; Desir ran 4.52 at the combine. Most consider him to be a zone corner, and 3-4 teams play a lot of zone or squat-corner coverage. He’s extremely gifted, but I fear Desir might be a product of this draft being so late in the year. We’ve run out of stars; we need new ones.

Wick from Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Vic, you say you don’t draft projects in round one. What about Nick Perry and Datone Jones? I think they qualify as projects. Your thoughts?

Am I allowed to have my own opinion? Is it allowed to differ from the team I cover? I expressed that same opinion when the Jaguars drafted Matt Jones. Yes, a lot of quarterbacks have successfully made the move to wide receiver, but I don’t like using a first-round pick on guys making that move. Datone Jones isn’t a project. He played defensive end in college. He’s just learning new technique, and all players have to learn new technique when they make the move from college football to the NFL. Perry was a bit of a project, but it’s a common project. Dee Ford is a tweener and he’ll likely be drafted in the first round. The move from college defensive end to NFL linebacker is probably the most common project. If you employ a 3-4 defense, there’s no avoiding that kind of project. Perry was the No. 28 overall pick, which means he was only five picks shy of the second round. Jadeveon Clowney might be the first pick of the draft. There’s a big difference.

Adam from Oshkosh, WI

Vic, it’s been reported that over 10 players failed drug tests at the combine. Assuming not every case is the same, what is the range of consequences for failing a pre-draft drug test?

The consequences are that those players have created a red flag about themselves. The cross-checkers have to dig deeper on those prospects. I get a kick out of Brian Billick’s take on prospects testing positive at the combine. He says that if a kid tests positive at the combine, knowing for months he’ll be tested, “He’s not smart enough to play for me.” I love the draft.


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