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Inbox: It's a whole new world

Everyone will be glued to their screens this weekend

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GM Brian Gutekunst, Head Coach Matt LaFleur

Steve from Marinette, WI

Wow, what a different world we live in today! I have been married for 35 years and every year have been forced to watch the NFL Draft on the "basement TV." With no live sports on TV now my wife can't wait to watch the draft! So I get to watch on the upstairs TV. My, how times have changed.

It's a whole new world. For all of us. Good morning!

Brad from London, Ontario

I just read your "can't wait" response in Bart Scott's voice. You guys are always good for an internal chuckle. Thanks for that little spark to my Monday!

It was so good Spoff could've made it the title for Monday's column.

Kevin from Eden Prairie, MN

Does right now feel like the calm before the storm? I mean, you know in a few days your Inbox is gonna be pelted with comments from disgusted fans questioning why the Packers selected so-and-so, and not some other so-and-so. Once this storm hits, would you describe your job as exciting, frustrating, exhausting, or some other adjective?

Oh, it's exciting, for sure. I think the NFL Draft appeals to people for two primary reasons – the drama of watching the future of the league be shaped over seven rounds, and also how the event brings everyone together. Owners, scouts, coaches, players and fans are all glued to their screens watching those 255 selections.

Joe from Lake Mills. WI

There is a lot of speculation on what the Packers will do in the draft to add a WR, and it certainly is a need. But past history says that receivers in Green Bay don't contribute much in their rookie year. It's a tough position to learn, and Aaron Rodgers demands that they know what they're doing before he feeds them. Does that make it more likely that we would spend the high picks on a position that is more likely to have an immediate payback?

Sure, but no position guarantees an immediate return on investment. It's a game played by humans and every human develops differently. This year, in particular, teams will need to be patient with rookies since there may not be a traditional rookie minicamp or offseason program. So my thought is draft the best prospect available – if it's a receiver, it's a receiver – and hope for the best. In the end, what the 2020 Packers really need is for second-year players such as Rashan Gary and Jace Sternberger to make a jump.

Bill from Raleigh, NC

Hi guys, I understand the physical part of missing on a first-round pick to some extent because the morphing of a 21- or 22-year-old college body into an NFL player is hard to predict. But, have teams gotten a lot better in understanding the mental attributes of a star? Most NFL stars have "it" ... it's palpable when you hear them interviewed. Is it too much to expect that a special personality is obvious in a high draft pick who is just out of college?

I go back to Ted Thompson's post-draft news conference in 2016. He went above and beyond talking about the character of the draft class, and he was right. It's an all-timer. You can only predict so much as far as strengths and weaknesses on the field, but I've found character and coachability – both positive and negative – hold up. That's why it's the first thing I look for when reading scouting reports on guys.

Paul from Johannesburg, South Africa

I'm tired of stories about Team X's new uniforms. Are the last days before the draft always so enthusiastically "bleh"? Maybe I'm just noticing the "bleh-ness" more this year because of absolute lack of "non-bleh-ness." Or is it "anti-bleh-ness"?

You're noticing more bleh-ness because there was no schedule release this year, which normally dominates the week prior to the draft. We also didn't have any media availability for the start of the offseason program or Tailgate Tour, so it's been more of a grind than usual to get to draft day. And that leads to more of these "bleh" stories and random speculation drawing national headlines.

Wes from South Saint Paul, MN

Mike, Thursday can't come too soon. The so-called "experts" seem to think they know what the Packers need. BG has proven that he will do whatever will provide the greatest potential. I think the only way he trades up in the draft is to grab a DL, OT or LB. Otherwise, he trades down. No WR until Round 3 and/or after. Your thoughts?

I got a kick out of Rodgers' comment to A.J. Hawk over the weekend how he prefers to watch the draft on mute and listen to '90s alternative music instead of the draftniks. There's something to be said for that. I really don't have a great feel for what the Packers will do in those first three rounds. So I'll just say "sure" to your question.

Sean from Boulder, CO

Good morning, gentlemen. I think Nik was right in that Indy could be a partner in a trade down but, as you said, there is little chance it would fetch No. 75. That said, No. 30 and No. 94 could fetch No. 34 and No. 75. This would get them likely a player they could have targeted at No. 30 along with a much better third. Would you do this deal? I gotta think a couple of the wideouts are going to fall and it may be a good spot. Thanks for the good work.

To expand on Spoff's answer – the draft-value chart says the Packers' No. 30/94 picks are worth 744 points, whereas the Colts' No. 34/75 are worth 775. The 31-point difference may seem small but that equates to an early fifth-round pick. So the question is how badly would the Colts want to move up? They likely would need to be targeting a QB to validate that move. Again, that's a steal for GB if Indy agrees.

Chuck from Sun Prairie, WI

A league-wide "mock" draft? Not clickbait? Who/whom did the Packers pick in the first round on Monday?

Someone who either isn't on their actual draft board or doesn't even exist.

Chun from El Monte, CA

The Packers usually pick a player they don't have a formal meeting with. Is this to hide from the other teams and media their interest in those players so they don't show their hand? I assume most teams do this type of thing but it seems more likely with the Packers.

Maybe in the Ted Thompson era but I haven't found this to be the case with Brian Gutekunst. He wants to attain as much information as possible on prospects before making the pick. If he and the personnel department feel they need more data, they'll bring that individual in (or call him up, in this case) and perform their due diligence.

Dave from Anacortes, WA

As a GM, is there one particular injured college player you'd take more of a chance on drafting (higher) thinking a chunk of the 2020 NFL season may not be played anyway so that guy could use the year to recuperate?

Julian Okwara, the Notre Dame pass rusher who's coming off a broken leg. He has NFL bloodlines and was on a tear before breaking his fibula against Duke in November. He initially was viewed as a second-round pick after the injury but he could creep into the first after all.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

What does it mean when it is said a player can/can't flip his hips? It's a nice phrase but without someone seeing a play and being told that the player did or didn't flip his hips, it is a little confusing as to what is meant.

It means how quickly a player can, or can't, change direction without losing momentum. It's an indicator for determining a player's "game speed."

Markus from Aurora, CO

Insiders, as the NFL Draft is almost upon us – but not quite yet – it's time to relax for a couple of days and distract us before the clock starts ticking. What you say?

I am trying to take a step back the next few days and breathe a little bit because this next month is going to be hectic. Every year, there is an insatiable appetite for stories on draft picks. With nothing else going on at the moment, I expect it to be even more fervent.

Guilherme from Lins, Brazil

Draft week is finally here! I think Kenneth Murray and Patrick Queen won't fall to 30, otherwise the Packers would take one of them, so my prediction is that the Packers will trade out of the first round with a team interested in a fifth-year option for a RB like Taylor/Swift (e.g., the Dolphins) and select WR Brandon Aiyuk. Then we will trade up from 62 to draft DL Raekwon Davis.

In the three mocks I've done, Aiyuk, Ezra Cleveland, Ross Blacklock and Zack Baun have all been available at No. 30. I don't think you could go wrong with any of them…or trading back if the board is deep enough.

Dale from Wilton, WI

How many trades do you think will be in the first round? How many trades do the Packers make this week?

I'll predict five first-round trades and the Packers make two overall this weekend.

Paul from De Pere, WI

Odds are the No. 2 wide receiver will be neither Allen Lazard nor Devin Funchess.

OK.

Jeff from Sioux Falls, SD

In looking back at the Packers' draft history, I noticed the Packers twice hit on starting bookend tackles in the same year. In 2000, Chad Clifton (second) and Mark Tauscher (seventh) were chosen and in 1956 Forrest Gregg (second) and Bob Skoronski (fifth) were the picks. I always thought Skoronski was kind of the forgotten man on the O-line during all of those championship teams.

Starr desperately wanted him in the Hall of Fame conversation for a reason.

William from Scranton, PA

II, I tend to agree with most that David Bakhtiari "could" go down as one of the greatest "value" picks in the fourth round. It can be argued that Donald Driver, a seventh-round pick, "is" the greatest "value" pick. He still owns the Packers records for yards and receptions.

Bart Starr is undoubtedly the best "value" pick but Driver and Tauscher are right up there, too, on the all-time list.

Mike from Ames, IA

Wes mentioned in the article on mid-round draft picks that Bak might be on the Ted Thompson's Mount Rushmore of draft picks next to Rodgers and Clay Matthews. Who might be the fourth person on that list? My first instinct was Nick Collins or Jordy.

My pick would be Collins, a three-time All-Pro whose NFL career might only now be ending if he stayed healthy, but I could see the argument for Nelson, too.

Robert from Georgetown, TX

Guys, very excited to have the draft coming and get some good news on television! With many fans speculating on the Packers' draft picks, I am kind of surprised at all of the talk about drafting a QB. Personally, I like what I have seen of Tim Boyle – big guy, big arm. He's not No. 12 but the guy seems to be a great teammate and a very serviceable backup. Now, the big question – is he a starter? I think he is. What say you?

The past two years have proven Boyle is better than his college numbers indicate. He has everything you want in a QB – height, arm strength and stands tall in the pocket. But we don't know whether any these guys are starters until they show it on the grass. Hopefully, Boyle gets that chance someday like Matt Hasselbeck and Mark Brunell before him.

Bill from Marion, MA

"Back in the day" of Curly, all players were free agents. Don Hutson chose Green Bay to play in its fairly unique (for the time) passing offense vs. where he could squeeze out a few more bucks. That signing likely saved the Packers from oblivion. Arguably more important that Reggie White's signing.

While I agree with you Hutson's signing is a significant landmark in franchise history, White's signing is the most important in my mind. He was a legitimate superstar and that acquisition rescued the Packers from mediocrity. At the time the Packers signed Hutson in 1935, they had won an NFL title three years earlier. When White signed, Green Bay was Siberia and the team hadn't made the playoffs in a non-strike season in 20 years.

Marc from Beaconsfield, Québec

I read somewhere Baltimore and Green Bay were the two teams that were talking to Clay Matthews. Have you heard anything like that? Also, what would you think about Trey Burton on a one-year deal that allows him to hit free agency after a year of playing with Rodgers? Keep up the great work!

I haven't heard anything linking the Packers to Matthews. I consider that manufactured Twitter garbage unless you can put a credible source behind it – not a random Twitter account saying it's a "rumor." Burton's future depends solely on how his hip is healing.

John from Provo, UT

If Gute approached you and offered you a spot in the front office working with him, would you take it?

Faster than the time it takes for a falling coin to hit the ground. But he ain't asking.

Dano from Seal Beach, CA

It seems like a fair chance teams will play without fans in the stadiums this season. That's a big financial loss for the teams with no ticket sales. Will that loss of revenue mean smaller contracts with drafted players and even meeting current contract obligations?

Not this year. That hay is already in the barn. There would be more of a "lagging indicator" next offseason if the NFL had to play without fans in 2020. Past revenue is what helps determine the cap for the next year.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Did you catch the first few episodes of "The Last Dance" on ESPN? Maybe I'm starved for sports, but that sure hit the spot!

It was glorious. Those two hours flew by. Like I said, I don't need to climb the entire staircase to get through this, just give me a step every now and then. As a rabid Bulls fan in the 1990s, that's my step for the next four weeks.

Gretchen from Dousman, WI

It needs to be said again to both of you and to your engineers. Thank you for the extra effort to bring us all "Packers Unscripted," the remote edition. It does my heart good to see and hear you. Stay well.

We got microphones, too! So now we're really cooking with gas. I don't want to speak for Spoff but this is some of the most fun I've had in my four years doing "Unscripted." Thanks to everyone who has tuned in.

Robert from Salem, WI

Wes, what's your favorite board game? (Couldn't help but notice in the background at your home office...and don't be afraid to admit if it is Candyland.)

Risk. At first, when it became apparent I was going to be working at home for a while, my wife and I discussed whether to move the games and put books in there. My thinking was everyone uses books for a TV backdrop. Why not switch it up? Plus, that's my actual house – not a set.

Sreedharan from Pewaukee, WI

The number "that-must-not-be-named" was a wildfire; the "four Insiders" get honorable mention. However, we must not forget the evergreen "steal Wes's lunch." That's been here for several years, and probably will be around until Mike retires. With all that said: We come here to get information. We stay here because the II is fun to read. Keep up the great work!

And we're one day closer to the show. Have a great Tuesday, everyone.

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