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Inbox: His proving ground lies in the most challenging of spots

Surreal can’t even begin to describe it

DL T.J. Slaton

James from Asheville, NC

Now that the dust has settled, we can evaluate this draft as the best in team history, the worst, or somewhere in between.

Sounds about right.

Kristian from Aarhus, Denmark

Off the bat, who do you consider to have the most immediate impact on the current roster?

Right now, I'd say it's a toss-up between Eric Stokes and Amari Rodgers, both of whom I expect to play plenty as rookies. But where they'll be in the pecking order at their positions remains to be seen, plus Rodgers will have a chance to take over on returns, which could be no small thing. The one who might play more than both, though, is Josh Myers, if he wins the starting job at center and doesn't give it up.

Matt from Beaverton, OR

Hi, it seems the Packers value positional versatility more than most teams, especially on the offensive line. Do you think that this trait is valued more by Green Bay than other teams and if so, would this make the Packers' board set up differently than other teams? I think the main reason they took Myers over Humphrey was that Myers could certainly play guard where Humphrey is specifically a center.

I can't speak to how other teams value versatility, but I know the Packers do, and I'm sure it factors into how they evaluate and rank players. But the player doesn't necessarily have to have played multiple positions in college for the Packers to view him as versatile. It's whether they project him to be able to play different spots in the NFL. If he's done it in college, all the better, but Green Bay's scouts have proven they possess a keen eye in that regard.

Dan from Cross Plains, WI

Which way do you see the team going with the QB3 position now that the draft and undrafted signings are complete?

Gutekunst mentioned the team has engaged in conversations with a few veteran options, so if they don't sign an undrafted rookie QB, obviously they'll go that route.

Susan from Marianna, AR

With Aaron Rodgers' questionable status, what is that doing to the rest of the Packers' morale?

That's a great question and I honestly have no idea. We haven't had access to interview players since the end of the season, and no one is commenting on social media, understandably. If everything still remains in limbo when OTAs and media access begin later this month, it will be a common (and I'm sure exhausting) line of questioning.

Jake from Athens, GA

Regarding the Aaron Rodgers "situation," here's what stands out to me: (1) Nothing has changed since last week except public perception, (2) this report wouldn't have happened on draft day without Rodgers' blessing, (3) this report had absolutely no impact on the quality of the Packers' draft, and (4) Gutey said he regrets his lack of communication with Rodgers last year.

That sums up where my thoughts are, too.

Ron from Mitchell, SD

Well, what next? How long will we have to wait for this abysmal experience to end?

I don't know, and I'm not trying to be evasive, just brutally honest.

Joel from Las Vegas, NV

In Gute's press conference Saturday night he said he was hoping to take a LB early, but that it didn't work out. None of the first-round LBs even got close, and they went about when projected. With the Rodgers trade, it clearly wasn't the third. I think the Packers wanted a LB in the second round, but got left out when Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Nick Bolton, and Pete Werner all evaporated in the 10 picks before our second-rounder. Might I be on to something? If so, why not trade up? They had the ammo.

You might be onto something, but Gutekunst also might have been referring to linebacker targets in the fourth and fifth round who were gone, leading to the selection of McDuffie late in the sixth. Regarding the second round, trading up then would have been more expensive, likely costing either the third-round pick or both fourths. Gutekunst mentioned a few times not wanting to create a huge gap between selections. It was clearly something he strived to avoid.

Patrick from Valrico, FL

I ended up pretty impressed with this draft but what I find even more interesting is the focus on both lines with the UDFA signings. Would you say that this year more so than in the past there could be some real gems to unearth there?

Actually the opposite, based on Gutekunst's comments the UDFA class seemed thin because the overall number of players who declared for the draft was smaller this year. This might be the hardest year in a while for undrafted players to make the roster, but you never know, and practice squads are larger now than previously, too.

Chris from Bidford on Avon, Warwickshire

I had a numbness that I didn't expect, whilst listening to the first round. Now that my palpitations have subsided, I can see we had a positive draft. So tell me, Amari is cited as the returns guy, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Kylin might have the moves as well. Did Kylin Hill ever return for Mississippi State?

No, but it wouldn't surprise me if the Packers give him some reps as a returner in OTAs/training camp to see what he's got.

Gardner from Circle Pines, MN

Oh, what a draft! I correctly predicted the Pack would select Eric Stokes in the first round because I am a sucker for speed. I hit on Josh Meyers in the second as I am also a sucker for big-time strength. I had the team taking Kylin Hill (I said fifth round, but I claim success anyway). I usually get 0-1 picks right in every draft. Does hitting on three move me any closer to receiving total consciousness?

Nah. You'll get nothing and like it.

Willy from Isny, Germany

Hi II, I'm really excited about our draft class, also about the late-round picks. Cole Van Lanen is a Cinderella story. I think Hill in the seventh round is an absolute steal. He reminds me a lot of Aaron Jones. I think he has a good chance to compete as RB3 on the roster. What do you think about it?

Hill will absolutely compete for the No. 3 running back spot. As for Van Lanen, could a Bay Port High School kid script it any better? Go put in five years at O-line U, holding down left tackle for the Badgers for the last two seasons, and then get drafted by the team that plays 10 minutes from home. Surreal can't even begin to describe it, I would imagine.

Mark from Eureka, IL

I stared at my TV screen when the Packer draft room was aired, but could not spot Mike nor Wes. Apparently I missed Wes there making the first pick in the sixth round. Well done, Wes!

He slipped a note under the draft room door at the start of the sixth round that said, "Cole Van Lanen, No Matter What."

Zack from Christiansburg, VA

Mike, it's not Appalachia … it's pronounced Appa-Latch-a or Appa-Latch-in. Doesn't make sense, but as a native trust me.

Duly noted.

H.R. from Las Vegas, NV

Which Day 3 pick are you most excited to see in action? I'm most excited about T.J. Slaton. I wanna see that big boy plug the running lanes. Overall not a bad pick Day 3, but Slaton has my attention.

This is no knock on Slaton specifically, but I don't care how much someone plugged the run in college, taking on a center-guard double-team in the NFL and holding the point of attack is immensely difficult for any young player. His proving ground lies in the most challenging of spots, aside from QB.

Adam from Scroggins, TX

Well this draft weekend was action-packed! I feel great about our new plethora of young talent. I noticed the Packers selected four players from the SEC in the draft. That seems like a high number for GB. Have the Packers picked that many or more SEC players in one draft before?

In 2018, they took four (Burks from Vanderbilt, Moore from Missouri, Scott from Alabama, Bradley from Mississippi State), but that was an 11-player class. They also took three in an eight-player class in 2019 (Elgton Jenkins from Mississippi State, Jace Sternberger and Kingsley Keke from Texas A&M).

Daniel from Huntersville, NC

I think all the teams in the North had strong drafts and I'm curious to see how they all play out. A lot of players I liked went to the other three teams in the division.

I thought it was interesting I (and many others) had offensive tackle as a high priority for the Packers going in, but each of the division foes took one of the premier tackles in this draft (Sewell to the Lions, Darrisaw to the Vikings, Jenkins to the Bears) while the Packers – who only had a shot at Jenkins but took Stokes – didn't get a tackle until Newman late in the fourth. Color me curious as to how this plays out from here.

Joshua from Appleton, WI

Good morning! Just curious what your initial thoughts are on whether any of our draft picks will benefit our special-teams units.

Aside from the aforementioned Rodgers and Hill, a linebacker Isaiah McDuffie's size (6-1, 227) would seem suited for special teams as well.

Dan from Hudson, WI

Give a shout-out to the WIAC and UW-Whitewater getting a player into the top 100!

While the coach who won all those national championships there just got hired at a Power 5 school, too.

Take a look at Packers LB Isaiah McDuffie during his college career.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

Where does the II crew get their stats, pics, etc. on draftees? As fast as updates on the website come after a pick, I doubt you guys (and gals) aren't mining all that data on the spot.

Actually we are, which is what makes the draft so intense for us, but rather rewarding as well. It's a privilege to work with this incredible team, all of whose names I listed in a post last week. By the way, if you haven't checked out our comprehensive draft page yet, with all the coverage sorted and applied to each individual pick, I urge you to do so.

Dawson from Winchester, WI

Year after year these armchair GMs drive me crazy. How do you guys do it every day? Some kind of practiced resistance?

Two words. Serenity now.

Mark from Savannah, GA

Insiders, thanks for a job well done under such incredibly difficult circumstances. Everything changes when violence and tragedy on a large scale come to your own town. Although our hearts are with the victims and their families, your draft coverage provides the needed distraction to help work thru what too often these days is a blow to the gut. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

It's hard to process any tragic events, but even more so when they occur just across town from where you live and even closer to where you work. I don't have any comforting words, and I apologize to the latest victims and their loved ones if this comes off wrong, but I'm tired of sending thoughts and prayers all over our country. This has to stop. I don't pretend to have the answers. All I know is I'm not living in the same society I grew up in, and it's heartbreaking.

Chuck from Sun Prairie, WI

With their first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft do you think the Packers will draft an interior defensive lineman, a linebacker or a wide receiver? Exit stage right.

Please do. Happy Monday.