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Inbox: His story isn’t finished yet

CB Ka'dar Hollman
CB Ka'dar Hollman

Lee from Leesburg, FL

Now that the draft is over, what can we expect in the Packers-Bears opening game?

The unexpected.

Blaine from Fennimore, WI

What a weekend. Draft, “Avengers: Endgame,” “Game of Thrones.” What was your favorite part?

The beverage I enjoyed at St. Brendan’s on Saturday night, and sleeping in Sunday morning.

Bob from Riverside, CA

I'm curious who it was that was repeating the questions during the draftee Q&As. He did a great job of getting the exact wording even for multipart questions.

That was a bang-up job, as always, by PR maven Nate LoCascio, the same guy who’s responsible for a lot of that fascinating Dope Sheet info.

Don from Camp Douglas, WI

What do you make of the fact that the top four picks are all at positions where we have spent a lot of money in free agency recently? I think it reveals a lot about free agency and its limitations.

I’ll let another reader take this one.

Rick from Pacifica, CA

Hi Mike and II. I was concerned about GB's free agents next year and the money we have tied up in our new free agents. With the draft complete I think I can see the strategy. With major holes filled and faith in second-year players (see receivers), Gutekunst put himself in a position to draft the best available players with the most upside. Less need to draft someone more "NFL ready." The offensive line seems tenuous but otherwise there's tons of room to grow.

I agree that was Gutekunst’s line of thinking, and another way of describing what he meant by “flexibility” heading into the draft. As for the O-line, there are a number of developmental prospects on the roster already, and the expectation is they will take a step to improve the depth, as Madison and Jenkins join in the competition. I’ll admit, I thought the Packers would take an offensive tackle early in this draft, and I wonder if the run at the outset of Round 2, when four were drafted in the first nine picks Friday night, took away the tackles they were most interested in.

Brian from Superior, WI

Do you think Denver changed the Packers’ target selections by taking Noah Fant just before the Packers’ second pick in the first round and then again by taking Dalton Risner at 41 and then trading back into Round 2 an taking Drew Lock just ahead of the Packers’ pick? I would have loved to have seen them take Risner and/or Fant.

The trade up for Savage at 21 tells me he was the Packers’ clear target in that range, not Fant. I still wonder about Risner, too, but trading the two fourth-rounders for Savage pretty much eliminated any chance to move up in the second round. That’s why GMs have their priorities. They’ll like a lot of guys, but there are some they can or can’t live without if the opportunity is there.

Alex from Kentwood, MI

With the Packers drafting Keke, and with him taking number No. 96, do you think that it closes the door on a Wilkerson return? Or just him returning with jersey No. 96?

I’d never say never, but if anything looked imminent or promising with Wilkerson, I doubt the GM would have given his number away. For all those asking, the draft class has been assigned uniform numbers. You can find them on the roster page. Scroll down to the bottom for the draft class.

Jesus from Flagstaff, AZ

Now that John is part of the Packers organization long-term, are we going to get a Kuhn guest appearance in the Inbox?

One step at a time. He did make his “Unscripted” debut yesterday.

John from Onalaska, WI

Did John Kuhn close the last “Packers Unscripted” with Wes's signature salute while filling in for him? He must have done some film study.

He came prepared in more ways than one. A true pro.

Michiel from Brussels, Belgium

Hello Insiders! Thanks for the coverage of the draft. We all like the stories behind these young new additions to the team. Which story behind the player is the most intriguing to you?

Unloading Dunkin’ Donuts trucks, begging for a walk-on opportunity and getting drafted in the sixth round doesn’t quite measure up to bagging groceries, suiting up in the Arena League and ending up in Canton, but Ka’Dar Hollman’s story isn’t finished yet.

Alex from Columbia, MD

Ka'Dar. Is it KA- or KAY- or KAH-dar? Or which one in lower case and -DAR?

kah-DAR. Sorry, forgot that one yesterday.

Mark from West Des Moines, IA

Whose starting roster in the NFC North improved the most during the draft?

Tough to say. Hockenson and maybe Tavai step in Day 1 for the Lions, as will Savage for the Packers and, I think, Bradbury for the Vikings. After that? The other high picks (Gary and Jenkins in GB, Smith in MIN, Montgomery in CHI) are joining position groups with more established pros.

Bret from Hertel, WI

Dear Mike, which draft pick could be most surprising of all eight picks?

I’ll go with Sternberger. To step into the SEC for one year of major college football and average 17.3 yards per catch with 10 TDs could be a sign he’ll adapt to the pro passing game sooner than some think.

Thomas from Evansville, IN

Who of our new players are you most excited to watch in training camp?

In camp, I’ll be watching for how Savage tracks and gets to the deep balls Rodgers throws. In the preseason games, I’m curious to see how D. Williams fits LaFleur’s outside zone running scheme.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Mike, it's been suggested for the last couple years that the Packers' defense lacked "playmakers." I'm not sure how to define that term, but which of the GB defensive guys do you expect/hope to earn the label "playmaker" in the 2019 season?

Alexander would be my top choice, then any of the edge rushers and Savage.

Etienne from Gaspesie, Quebec

Are we a healthy Kevin King away from a great defense?

A healthy Kevin King will allow this defense to be at its best, same as last year.

Jon from De Pere, WI

With the trade of Josh Rosen to Miami it got me to wondering, does Miami have the right to the fifth-year option on him since he was a first-round pick, or does the fifth year only apply if the player is on his original team?

Miami gets the fifth-year option on Rosen. His contract as a first-round pick, which includes the team option, went with him.

Shawn from St. Peter, MN

I think we are starting to see what Pettine, LaFleur and Gute are looking for in a defense: a savage but classy group of ball hawks that puts pressure on the quarterback and forces turnovers. In today's offense-oriented league, do think this is the way to be a championship-caliber team?

It’s about making key plays at key times on defense in the NFL now, and those key plays come by affecting the quarterback and taking the ball away.

Collin from Kirkwood, MO

I’m seeing a lot of draft reviews claiming the Packers opted for defense again “instead of helping Rodgers.” I don’t get it. Aside from protection, the biggest way the Packers can help Rodgers is by putting together an elite defense. He’s an all-time great QB, but frankly, this franchise has relied on his playmaking for too long. The Packers will be legitimate championship contenders again once either side of the football team can go get you a win.

A head coach I know well used to call that “complementary football.” I don’t believe the Packers have had that type of team since ’14.

Alexis from Mitchellville, MD

First off, I love our draft class this year. Since we did not draft any WRs, who will do you think will be our slot receiver this year?

Too early to say with LaFleur bringing in his system. As Wes and I discussed pre-draft, there are several candidates, and it may be a work in progress until LaFleur figures out who fits best. Or it’s a shared job amongst many depending on different packages and concepts, which gets Adams into the mix as well.

Mark from Grayson, GA

What is the difference between an UDFA and rookie camp tryout player? Why is one player a free agent and another on a tryout basis? Shouldn’t all players brought in to camp after the draft be considered an UDFA?

They’re all undrafted free agents, but some have a contract upon arrival, and others are looking to earn a contract via the tryout route.

Dennis from Rhinelander, WI

So that’s the reason the Raiders sent their scouts home early. Mike Mayock reads the II every day and viewed the Prospect Primers and made his selections from there? Genius on his part as a cost-saving move.

Ha, sure. You and Daniel from Delta, PA, had the same thought.

Doug from Eugene, OR

It seemed to me there was an unusually high number of players in this year's draft who had talent and abilities that were "off the charts." Should the NFL step in and do something about this? The charts are clearly incorrect and I am concerned about this problem.

The charts are shifting, and players getting bigger, faster, stronger is nothing new. But it’s also a reflection of how refined and effective the training techniques are for the combine tests now.

Mike from Algoma, WI

Good morning Mike! My question pertains to Prospect Primers. Last week you said “we were severely limited on available video footage of Big Ten players . . . lo and behold . . .”. Was the limitation of footage because those in positions of authority (the GM) limited it or was it for some other reason? Just curious.

No, it had nothing to do with anyone upstairs. It had to do with what our video guys had ready-made access to from outside sources.

John from Yakima, WA

How many, if any, of the Packers’ draft picks or UDFAs will miss rookie camp or OTAs due to their college academic semester/quarter not being over?

None. That rule no longer exists.

Robert from Byfield, MA

Hi, I have a question. Assuming everyone exaggerates their measurements, I'm wondering how small Savage actually is in stature. I heard one analyst say he was 166 pounds. I heard another say he was closer to 5-8 than 5-10. Having a son who is an athlete, I know many schools push measurements up. What worries me is durability. He might be a great hitter, he might be a tough kid, and he might be fast. Yet when a 166- to 190-pound kid flies into a 6-4, 240 tight end, what then?

Savage measured 5-11, 198 at the combine. The league does official measurements on every player in Indy. It doesn’t take what the schools say.

Tom from Douglassville, PA

So who was the biggest steal of the draft for the Packers?

I’ll say Sternberger again. In a year without two sure-fire first-rounders at tight end, he’s probably talked about as a higher pick.

Jim from Woodbury, MN

Which of the third-day picks the Packers made do you think will figure in this year's plans?

For this one, I’ll go back to Williams again. I think he has a chance to carve out a regular role in this offense right away.

John from Colonial Beach, VA

We all know it's tough for specialists to get the call, but when looking back on his career does Seabass deserve the gold jacket?

Nothing against Janikowski, but I’m going to say no. In 19 seasons, he made just one Pro Bowl and was never All-Pro. He has no defining postseason moments. The strength of his leg and his makes from 50-plus are his hallmarks, but I don’t think that’s enough.

John from Madison, WI

Props to whoever it was on your production team who found the sad music for Larry's draft day story.

I thought it was a nice touch, too. Shout-out to producer Mike Atkinson on that one.

Janet from Manitowoc, WI

Would you remind Larry that Bart Starr was drafted in the 17th round? Maybe it would help Larry feel better about his 12th round draft day.

Yeah, but the 17th round in 1956 put Starr at pick No. 200. Larry was No. 308 in the 12th round in ’73. I think what chaps him most is the Packers took two offensive linemen in the five rounds ahead of him (seventh and 11th) and none in the five rounds after him.

Brian from Schertz, TX

I always find it funny when people give a “grade” to a draft within days. It’s like giving a student a grade on his exam BEFORE he takes it. “Well, you didn’t really pay attention in class and didn’t ask many questions. Therefore you get a ‘C’. Now take the test.”

Good one.

Chad from Rhinelander, WI

What is the best Kevin Costner sports-related film, and why?

This was sent in last week, but I sat on it for obvious reasons. It’s not “Draft Day.” Not even close. “Bull Durham,” hands down. The name (Crash Davis) is classic, the setting (minor league baseball) is iconic, and the best line of many memorable ones (“You couldn’t hit water if you fell out of a [stupid] boat”) is insurmountable. Happy Tuesday.

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