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Are we missing a name we should consider?

Quarterbacks moving up will push other prospects down


Jeremy from Onalaska, WI

Vic, Kurt Warner, Wes Welker, Antonio Gates, John Randle, and the list goes on. These are some of the undrafted players that went on to have great careers in the NFL. How do great players like this get missed in the evaluation process?

Warner was always an enigma. He was third on the depth chart at Northern Iowa until he became a starter in his senior year. He always seemed to come out of nowhere. Welker and Randle didn't possess draftable size. Gates played basketball at Kent State. A team shouldn't try to build its roster by drafting misfits, but it shouldn't ignore them, either. You find football players where you find football players. Look everywhere.

Nate from Stevens Point, WI

It will be a sad day when the 13-time world champions will have to wear Nike's color rush scheme.

I don't agree, and I especially don't like that we're-above-this attitude. Pride goeth before the fall.

Trevor from Wausau, WI

When the Eagles traded up for the No. 2 pick, do you think they know the guy they want will be there, or it means they are happy with either Goff or Wentz?

I think they know who they'll be picking, but I don't think you can make that trade unless you'd be happy to have either player.

Steve from Lake Stevens, WA

Vic, if Reggie Ragland is available at 27, as some pundits are predicting, would you consider it a lock the Packers select him?

I don't know where the Packers have him ranked. I think he's a wonderful player and if I had a chance to pick him for the Packers right now I'd do it, but the Packers evaluate every player in the draft, not just Ragland. We focus on a few prospects, but the Packers give equal treatment to every prospect. Damarious Randall is the example. His name wasn't mentioned in this column until the Packers drafted him. Is there such a prospect we've failed to mention this year?

Rob from Fremont, CA

Prior to the pre-draft process, you made the comment that Tony believed Reggie Ragland could drop to 27. Do you or he think this is still a possibility?

Quarterbacks would seem to be moving up the board. Will the two trades drag up a third quarterback, a fourth quarterback? As quarterbacks are over-drafted, top talent falls down the board and it could fall to the Packers. Rod Woodson is my favorite example. The Cardinals picked Kelly Stouffer at No. 6 and Woodson fell to the Steelers, who had targeted Woodson but declined to trade up for him. Patience is a virtue.

Bernadette from St. Paul, MN

When quoting players, do you avoid using quotations with cringe-worthy grammar? Have you ever interviewed a player whose grammatical ticks drove you particularly crazy?

I'm not writing documents, I'm writing sports stories, and a few ain'ts and double negatives can add flavor to a sports story and help bring the rawness of the postgame locker room to words, but I've never quoted a player so his grammar would embarrass him. I think we owe it to the player to clean it up. Treat him with kindness and he'll treat you with the same. Cleaning up his grammar won't change the message. Roberto Clemente was one of baseball's first Latin American players, and there was a faction of baseball writers that didn't like the intrusion. They would quote Clemente in phonetic ways: "I heet the ball." I thought it was an outrage.

Warren from Houston, TX

Vic, I just read an article on the Packers website that indicated all home games back in 1967 were blacked out locally. Is that true?

All home games were blacked out to local television until the 1973 Act of Congress gave us the sellout rules by which the NFL abided for the next five decades. The TV rules have been amended, but they remain consistent in spirit with what Congress gave us right before the start of the '73 season. It was a highly controversial ruling involving government interference in free markets. One owner commented, "Ford doesn't give away its cars. Why should we have to give away our games?"

Jerry from Wilmington, NC

Vic, what do you mean by "Hot Stove" excitement in football?

Baseball's "Hot Stove League" refers to men sitting around a hot stove in the winter and talking about the upcoming season and trades teams should make to get better. Trading players has always been a big part of baseball's intrigue and allure. Football hasn't had it. Trading hasn't been nearly as exciting in football. I think that might be changing, and I like it. I think the Rams' and Eagles' trades have given us some "Hot Stove" excitement heading into this draft.

Ben from Alameda, CA

Do you think rescinding a franchise tag like the Panthers did could be a future negotiating tactic used by other teams? Norman stands to make less money now that the first couple of weeks of wild free agency are over.

Josh Norman will break the bank. A premium-position player of his quality never misses the first couple of weeks of free agency. I like Norman. He's a colorful character. He's good for the game, but the problems he posed for the Panthers were not good for the Panthers.

Kirsten from Madison, WI

What's the most complete team you've ever seen, with no major holes or weaknesses? How did that team fare?

The best teams I've seen are the 1992 Cowboys, '84 49ers and '78 Steelers. They all won their respective Super Bowls.

David from Campbellsville, KY

Vic, with the recent trading that has happened concerning the draft, which I understand is designed to keep all teams competitive, wouldn't it be argued that a substantial trade lends unfair advantage to teams that are in the right place at the right time?

Sure it does, and that's the intrigue of the draft that makes it the event it is. I like a little bit of unfairness. It challenges us to overcome it. No replay review here.

Bill from Chicago, IL

How much does a free agent's personality factor into the decision to sign him? If he's a great player but a possible distraction, do you still sign him?

Fitting within the team's culture is important. You don't want irritants and distractions in your locker room. It's also important for a player to fit your salary culture. If you overpay for him, you'll likely have to overpay the guys you have to re-sign.

Kevin from Jacksonville, FL

If the franchised player signs the tender, can the team still rescind the offer, or are both parties stuck at that point?

Once the player signs the tender, each is committed to the other and the money is guaranteed, but the team reserves the right to trade the player.

Bret from Mililani, HI

How upset would the Browns be if the Eagles' pick at No. 2 becomes an elite quarterback?

That's the risk the Browns are taking. Have they passed on the next Ben Roethlisberger again, so to speak? Or have they acquired value to be used in rebuilding the team, and might they find their franchise quarterback at No. 8? The table is set for a lot of suspense in Cleveland.

Nick from Charlotte, NC

Vic, how much is the Panthers' lack of fear for the howl of wolves a product of the team's recent success?

How much is the team's recent success a product of the Panthers' lack of fear for the howl of the wolves?

Joe from Asbury, IA

Just curious, has your inbox gone bananas about signing Josh Norman?

It has not. I think Packers fans understand this isn't the kind of thing this team does. Norman is a sensational player. I think he's a top talent and possesses the kind of winning attitude I want in my locker room, but signing him will likely cause a team to abandon its salary cap strategy and revise much of its management plan for the next several years. I confess: I fear the cap. I want it to be my friend, not my enemy.

Holger from Guayaquil, Ecuador

Vic, don't remember if I read something about it before, but how did your last health test come out?

I'm fine. The dog that bit me has been released from quarantine, so I have that going for me, which is nice.

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