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Inbox: It's not where you start…

We’ll see how the board falls on Thursday night

LB Krys Barnes

Ric from Longmont, CO

Entering the draft, do the Packers have X players they are targeting and will move to pick them where they think they fit? And is "X" closer to 10 or closer to 30? Thanks for all the hard work.

I was told there would be no math.

Guy from Hudson, WI

Do the personnel involved in the draft ever review their missed assessments on free agents? Robert Tonyan and Krys Barnes were not drafted yet have shown to be solid NFL players. What was the knock on these players? Was it the RAS? Failure of testing? Poor performance on tape?

GMs and scouts revisit previous drafts every year. Tonyan was a mix of (lack of) exposure and playing out of position. He moved from quarterback to receiver at Indiana State, but projected as a tight end at the next level. The Sycamores, meanwhile, haven't had a player drafted since 1996. Barnes is a bit more of a head-scratcher. He was a highly touted recruit when he committed to UCLA and played a lot. For whatever reason, scouts weren't enamored with Barnes and he wasn't invited to the combine. With no pro day, Barnes' undrafted fate was pretty much sealed. It's yet another reminder that it's not where you start…

Jimmy from Jackson, MI

I kind of compare these "draft analysts" predicting the NFL Draft to the same gurus filling out an NCAA bracket. Nobody really knows what team is doing what, and certainly nobody gets picks 1-32 correct, right?

Pretty much.

George from Kennebunkport, ME

Elgton Jenkins and Lucas Patrick are solid options at center for '21. Both have performed well there when called upon. So, it doesn't appear to be a position of need, yet two draft "experts" are projecting the Packers taking a center in Round 1: Alabama's Landon Dickerson or Oklahoma's Creed Humphery. If David Bakhtiari can't start Week 1, an OL shuffle is needed but it would be unusual for us to draft an IOL that high. And two top-rated OTs might be sitting there at No. 29. OT, not IOL, seems much more likely at that pick.

This happens because draftniks are trying to mock 32 different players to teams based on what makes sense to them. If mock drafts are really your thing, I suggest mock drafts with beat writers of individual teams over one person projecting all 32. Because while it might make sense to some for the Packers to draft a center in the first round, it's something they rarely do. Using a first-round pick on a center would be almost unprecedented for Green Bay. You gotta hop in the DeLorean and go back to 1958 for the last time the Packers drafted a college center in the first round (Dan Currie, third overall). What's more, from 2007-13, the Packers didn't draft a college center in any round, let alone the first.

Scott from Grovetown, GA

"LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah: The Packers have lacked a dynamic element to the middle of their defense for years, and Owusu-Koramoah would bring that." – Pete Dougherty, Green Bay Press-Gazette. Given the source, reasoning, and player's position, this is one mock pick I can get behind. Enough said.

I love Pete and have no problem with the pick or his rationale. But again, I put it in the same category as the Packers taking a receiver in the first round. It's gonna happen at some point, but I'm not holding my breath waiting for it. We'll see how the board falls Thursday night.

Rodney from Colleyville, TX

Will the Packers retain a strong offensive line after the draft?

I think so. They already have four great building blocks and some promising first- and second-year prospects to begin with. If you add another solid O-lineman or two in the draft, the Packers are right back in the hunt.

Craig from Cortland, NY

Hey, Wes! There have been several recent references in II to "short arms" being an important measurable for tackles. Wasn't that the knock on Bryan Bulaga? If so, how did he so capably compensate for that perceived shortcoming? Or has the position changed since he was a first-round pick? He was a great Packer!

It starts with great fundamentals and footwork, but Bulaga also was such an incredibly gifted and powerful athlete. Once he got his hands on a rusher, Bulaga was lights-out.

Pete from Stoke, UK

When talking about scouts last week, Marriott points were mentioned. What are they?

That's a play off an old Ted Thompson joke referring to all the free nights/trips scouts accrue throughout the year while on recruiting visits.

Scott from Wausau, WI

I'm feeling a bigger need at DT than CB in the draft this year, but obviously both are needed. Levi Onwuzurike reminds me of a young Kenny Clark. A little leaner body with room to add some beef. At 29, a first-year rotational guy with great upside seems a no brainer.

That's been the way for defensive linemen in Green Bay. Clark and Mike Daniels were rotational guys, too, before they were Pro Bowlers.

Joe from Swansea, IL

I'd love your thoughts on this: How much energy and time do the Packers spend in the draft room (and before) on what other teams' needs and tendencies are? Do they have any real idea what other players might be chosen by teams, particularly those teams drafting just in front of them? It's a poker game, sure, but how much effort do teams devote to knowing what's in the other hands around the table?

The Packers will run "mock" drafts with their scouts for the NFC North and the rest of the NFL. I think it was Ted Thompson who said years ago that's a pretty common practice. You can't predict everything that's going to happen on Day 1 but proper preparation will ready a team for most of it.

Rich from De Pere, WI

What are your thoughts on "quality" vs. "quantity" when it comes to the draft? For someone so close to the Super Bowl as the Packers, would it not make sense to use multiple 4-5-6 round picks to trade up to the second or third round to get players higher on your board? Maybe we get four or five players capable of making immediate impact as opposed to 10 players, many of which will not make the grade?

That's kind of been John Schneider's school of thought in Seattle. He's never met a draft pick he isn't willing to trade. Gutekunst was asked a version of this question on Monday. It's a little bit of both. I think we've all seen Gutekunst isn't shy about doing what needs to be done to get a player the Packers covet, but sometimes there is something to be said for sitting back and letting the board come to you.

George from North Mankato, MN

Can you explain why people are so worked up about when in the draft the Packers add a WR? Hasn't the team's success with the receiving corps and the addition of Devin Funchess shown that they value having quality options for No. 12? Can you ask Big Dog if first-round picks catch the ball differently than those taken in other rounds?

Neither Ted Thompson nor Ron Wolf drafted a receiver in the first round. And yet, the Packers built some pretty prolific offenses around Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre. Unbelievable.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning. Has there been any official update on the restricted free agent status of Robert Tonyan? Seems like the deadline has passed. Thanks.

There hasn't, but with the changes to Phase 1 of the offseason program, it's possible that deadline got pushed back to whenever players are scheduled to report. This doesn't change anything. I have full confidence Tonyan will be back.

Tom from Charlotte, NC

Tom Brady doesn't like the NFL's number change rule. He says we'll see some bad football and linemen won't know which defenders to block. You don't have player access yet, but what are your thoughts as to how Packers linemen or our QB view this? I sure hope they are asked this question when there is media availability.

Maybe I haven't consulted enough players on this, but so far, the only people I've heard that have a strong opinion about this are fans, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Am I missing something?

Greg from Stevens Point, WI

So, if Rashan Gary is announcing the team's pick on Day 2, do we know who will be announcing Days 1 and 3?

The Rog will announce the first round, like always. I'm sure the NFL will have various other dignitaries handle Day 3.

Al from Green Bay, WI

I know – it's just a guide – but the NFL Draft value chart reflects very little difference (10 points) between the last pick of the first round and the first pick of the second round. Wouldn't the teams' fifth-year option for first-round draft choices make any first-round pick much more valuable than the first pick of the second round?

I'd agree, especially with how many teams have traded back into the first round over the past five, six years to draft a quarterback at No. 32. That turned out to be a big deal for Baltimore with Lamar Jackson.

Rusty from Eustace, TX

First, thanks for all the work y'all have put into the Draft Digest. I'm really jazzed about this year's draft and wondered why. Then I realized that we don't really have a "glaring need." Hence, no disappointment in who we pick, it's all gravy! I can't ever remember a draft where that was the case. Is this a first?

It's not the "first" but I'd agree there aren't too many glaring holes, just areas where the Packers could improve. Like I've been saying, how Gutekunst sets up his chess board is going to tell us a lot about how Green Bay views its roster and the direction it's going at several key positions.

Steve from Hilton Head Island, SC

I have looked at all the gallery photos by position that you have posted in advance of the draft and I do not remember seeing any pictures of Wisconsin Badgers. Is it because there are no Badgers considered of value to be drafted or none that fit the Packers' needs?

It doesn't happen very often but this isn't a great year for Badgers in the draft. Bay Port's Cole Van Lanen has the best grade by NFL.com and he's seen as a Day 3 pick by most scouting syndicates.

Jacob from Prairie du Chien, WI

I know the past is the past and hindsight is 20/20 but are there any players in the previous drafts that you really had your eye/had a gut feeling on prior to Day 1 that turned out to be a stud? If so, which player(s)?

I always consider Alfred Morris "my guy." As some of you know, I was a massive Howard Schnellenberger fan and watched every game FAU played on ESPN3 back in 2010. I was confident Morris could be a Pro Bowl running back. Now I've been wrong a lot, too, but Rodgers, Ryan Shazier, Byron Jones, Terron Armstead and Myles Jack were a few others I felt really strongly about.

Take a look at the top prospects at linebacker heading into the 2021 NFL Draft.

Sam from Germantown, WI

What does it mean for a prospect to be a raw talent and what do the Packers do to get him to a good medium-rare.

There's only one way to get that steak to medium-rare – keep cooking. It takes a good coach and a position room to do it.

Mike from Somerset, WI

The free-agent market still has quality talent available to bolster depth. Sheldon Richardson would be a nice add to the mix.

And wouldn't count against the comp formula. Hashtag just saying. No, I love Richardson's game. He's been a durable productive player since he entered the league, and still only 30 years old. Wherever he goes, Richardson will make a defense better.

Mike from Fort Wayne, IN

How does the Insiders' draft preparation day on Thursday look? Up early get a run in, extra coffee or blueberries for brain food, or finger exercises to limber up for keyboard dexterity?

I'll wake up, get my wife's Mother's Day present finished, maybe sneak in a run, eat some lunch and get ready for the big night ahead. I'm excited for it. There's nothing quite like the three days of the NFL Draft during the calendar year.

Reed from Kansas City, MO

Good morning, Insiders. As a teacher, I know what it's like to have my every move questioned by people who think that, despite my years of education, training and experience, they can do my job better than me because they are familiar with school. My thoughts are with Gutey and his crew this week. I accept the fact that they will know more about football and this team than I ever could. Go, Pack!

Thank you for doing what you do, Reed.

Cam from Pekin, IL

Good morning, you guys have to be happy draft day is almost here. The number of questions on who the Packers will draft, will they trade up or down, and/or all the other craziness would drive a lot of people insane. The ONLY people who can answer those questions are in the draft room, and they aren't talking. I'll just sit back, relax, and see what "goodies" they bring to Green Bay for next season. They've done a reasonably good job so far, I trust they will again this time too.

That's what makes this week so much fun. We can talk and talk and talk, but ultimately our future discussions will be shaped by the direction Gutekunst and the 18 other men inside that draft room decide to steer the franchise.

Todd from Wauwatosa, WI

So, let me get this straight. According to Spoff, "Draft Day" wasn't a documentary? What!?

I'm working with our editors to print a sincere apology and full retraction for Spoff's negligence. He's agreed to learn from this mistake and promises to do better in the future.


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