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Collins will be difficult to replace


Ben from Dallas, TX

What do you think of Ronnell Lewis? With pass rushers flying up the board, do you think he'll still be available when the Packers pick in the second round?

His athletic ability and measurables give him a high ceiling. Tony Pauline thinks he'll last into the second round, but not likely all the way down to the Packers.

Seeds from Florence, OR

Vic, speaking of area scouts, have you heard the story Bob Harlan told regarding the Rich Campbell selection years ago? Harlan said that after the Packers drafted Campbell he left the room and the West Coast scout followed him out. The scout said the pick was a mistake. Harlan asked why it was a mistake. The scout said, "The guy can't play." Harlan asked him why he didn't say something. The scout said, "They don't listen to me."

It sounds like my house.

Nick from State College, PA

When was the last time a big impact player was signed who didn't play college ball?

Two names immediately come to mind: Eric Swann and Carlton Haselrig. The Cardinals selected Swann sixth overall in the 1991 draft, out of a semi-pro league. Haselrig was a six-time NCAA heavyweight wrestling champion, but didn't play college football. I always thought of "The Rig" as "The Natural." He's the best pulling guard and most naturally powerful offensive lineman I've ever covered.

Ian from Edinburgh, Scotland

With the Packers now having roughly $12 million in cap space, is now the time to start thinking of new contracts for Raji, Matthews or Rodgers? To what extent could they use the space to frontload contracts without getting in the trouble the Redskins and Cowboys did?

This isn't an uncapped year, as 2010 was, but you're not going to be able to do a whole lot of frontloading for those three guys with just $12 million. Is this the time to starting thinking about it? No, that's long since passed. I promise you, the Packers are past the thinking phase and deep into the planning phase.

Paul from Salem, WI

Many people, including yourself, throw around the "draftnik" label. I know what it means, but where does this come from? I found that it was coined in the 1980s when the draft was first televised, but nothing on the origin of the word.

I can't help you on the origin of the word, but thanks to a reader who sent me a link to a video of the 1981 draft, the second to be televised in its entirety by ESPN, I had a chance to go down memory lane this week and I loved it. The coverage was so raw, so unscripted, that it had amazing power and believability to it. I loved the way a crowd of people, including a couple of reporters I recognized, aimlessly stood around the commissioner's podium. The casualness and innocence of the event was fantastic, as was Pete Rozelle, who was as tan and healthy looking as I'll always remember him. Somebody hung a few pennants on the wall, but that was about it for props. That TV coverage of the 1981 NFL Draft is the equivalent of a Ketchman-Spofford video, compared to what we're going to see tonight. When I think back on how things were in this league when I began covering it, I'm amazed at the level of sophistication we take for granted now.

Mike from Bridgeport, CT

"If (the run on tweeners) begins at seven, look out." The team drafting at seven runs a 4-3 and won't be interested in tweeners. I'm curious what you envision happening if the tweener run does indeed begin at pick seven. Who trades up and will Melvin Ingram be the player who starts the avalanche?

Several reporters that cover the team at seven believe Ingram is their man. Even though Ingram is thought to be better suited to play up in a 3-4, a lot of "experts," Tony Pauline among them, believe Ingram has the ability to play down in a 4-3. The sooner the first pass rusher is selected, the faster the bulk of them will go off the board. Nobody has to trade up to make them disappear, because every team is looking for pass rushers, always.

Matt from Spotswood, NJ

I used to play fullback and it pains me to see it vanish. The fullback trap, such a beautiful play.

The left guard pulls out, the center seals one defensive tackle as the fullback makes a jab step in that direction, the right guard traps the other tackle, and the safety's eyes look like they're going to explode as 230 pounds of man bursts through a hole, knees up and in full gallop. You're old school, Matt. I'm glad I'm not like that.

Ellen from Jersey City, NJ

Since many of the players are in town for the strength and conditioning workouts, do you know if the players will have their own draft party in the weight room?

Ellen, I want you to imagine that you're a player on the Packers and you're with your teammates at a draft party in the weight room, when it's announced the Packers' first-round pick is a guy that plays your position. Are you having a good time?

Beth Ann from Los Angeles, CA

Considering your disinterest in the Madden video game, if a video game company approached you to do an "Ask Vic" football game, would you endorse it and laugh all the way to the bank?


Sergio from Winnipeg, MB

Vic, does the BAP process weight players based on the importance of the position, or just pure talent?

Allowance is made for the importance of the position. Different teams do it in different ways but we know it's done because between the years 1992-2005, only one guard and no centers were selected among the first 13 picks of those drafts. The four premium positions – QB, OT, DE, CB – were the most selected positions, with one exception, WR. What is it about that position that allows it to tempt and foil smart personnel as often as it does? Not only is WR ridiculously overdrafted, it is also carries with it the greatest bust potential. During the period I mentioned, the WR position produced the lowest percentage of players to be selected to the Pro Bowl at least once, and was second only to QB in producing the lowest percentage of rookie starters. Those stats are courtesy of Tony Villiotti at Useless stats? I don't think so. They tell me to be very wary of drafting a WR high.

Adrian from Rochester, NY

Vic, despite some questionable officiating in the playoff game in our favor, the Packers still managed to lose, though I wonder how closely people would have looked at those plays in hindsight if it hadn't turned out that way. Can you think of any big games that have been determined by an official making an outright terrible call?

The 1977 AFC title game between the Broncos and the Raiders. Rob Lytle fumbled.

Jason from La Puente, CA

Do you think the Packers should try to get a running back in the free agents?

Your question would be best asked after the draft. That's when teams will take a look at the needs they were and weren't able to address, and the ones that weren't addressed in the draft will likely be addressed in what's left of free agency.

Alex from Merrill, WI

I have a feeling there are going to be a lot more WRs taken in the first round than people think. There are a lot of teams looking for that next Calvin Johnson.

And most of them will find Charles Rogers. Nothing will ruin a team's drafting faster or more completely than wide receiver fever.

Kent from Eagle Grove, IA

With the Packers releasing Nick Collins, what are the chances they pick Mark Barron? If so, how far will they have to trade up to get him with his stock rising by the second?

The last I heard, Barron sounded as though he was a 10-15 guy. The hernia surgery caused early concerns, but he's proven that he's recovered from it. What I like about him is that he proved last season that he can play hurt, and you can't be a great player in the NFL if you can't play hurt. His performance in the Penn State game is top 10 worthy.

Tony from Saint Paul, MN

The Falcons gave up a seven for Asante Samuel. Earlier this week, I asked you if he was worth a six or seven. Your reply: "First, I'd have to find out why the Eagles would be willing to part with Samuel for a six or seven." What I forgot to ask you was whether he is worth $8 million against the cap. I now know why the Eagles were willing to part with Samuel.

Bingo! First the cap, always the cap. By the way, I looked at Samuel's cap numbers. They're a classic example of Eagles prepay genius. His "dead money" is $2 million. His salary is $9.4 million. It's a no-brainer.

Ben from De Pere, WI

How much will Nick Collins' services be missed?

He was missed last season and he'll continue to be missed until the Packers replace him. Collins was a star player for the Packers. He was a difference maker and that kind of player is difficult to replace.

Tim from Cincinnati, OH

Why is it harder to find a 4-3, pass-rushing DE than a 3-4, pass-rushing OLB, when OLBs are asked to cover as well as rush the passer?

Because down ends have to be bigger and the pool of 300-pound guys that can rush the passer is much smaller than the pool of 250-pound guys that can rush the passer. That's why I favor the 3-4.

Dillon from Milwaukee, WI

I think you have a sense of self-righteousness because you edit for the Packers website. I also think you are wrong a lot of the time, though I do believe you do good, quality work. How much time do you spend doing these blogs? I'm guessing a while, since you're not the youngest man in the office, therefore, typing them alone takes up most of the time. Am I right?

I am certainly not the youngest man in the office. I hope you enjoy the draft.

Dick from Saint Paul, MN

Here in Minnesota, we have our politicians ramming this Vikings stadium down our throats. What's your opinion on the use of public funding for stadiums? Can you change my mind?

I think you would suffer a loss emotionally if the Vikings were to leave Minnesota, but I don't know the details on the economic impact of sports teams on their cities. Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy does, and Mark answers fan questions in his "Murphy Takes 5" column, which appears monthly on Why don’t you ask him to change your mind?

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