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Inbox: It was just a different world

They’d trade the barbarism of their era for the money of this one

Hall of Famers Bart Starr, Vince Lombardi
Hall of Famers Bart Starr, Vince Lombardi

Jim from Tempe, AZ

When will the NFL GMs' mock draft be published?

It was scripted by the league. The "selections" were meaningless. Oh, right, when has that ever stopped the clickbait?

Tom from Portage, MI

With Tampa Bay signing Gronk, looks like an opportunity to go after Cameron Brate or O.J. Howard. What say you?

There were rumors last week the Bucs were trying to trade Howard. The price may have just gone down, but I can't speak to how he'd fit the scheme, locker room, etc.

Jeremiah from Madison, WI

Has a team ever drafted the wrong player? I'm thinking like they drafted "John Smith K" instead of "John Smith QB" as they intended. We've seen teams make mistakes with paperwork in free agency (Elvis Dumervil and A.J. McCarron are two examples that come to mind), so it stands to reason someone must have messed up in the draft at one point, right?

Speaking of Tampa Bay … 1982, Booker Reese, Sean Farrell. The late, great Don Banks penned a fantastic piece about it several years ago, which is still available online. It's not just the story itself but the repercussions.

Dennis from Rhinelander, WI

Bart Starr was a 17th-round selection. What was the actual number of the selection? Also, can you imagine having that many rounds to cover?

Starr was the 200th pick in 1956, when there were 30 draft rounds in a league of a dozen teams. Back then the first few rounds of the draft were in late November or early December, and then the rest was in January. I imagine "the rest" of the draft got very little attention. It was just a different world. As recently as the 1970s, when our own historian Cliff Christl was a Packers beat reporter, there were 17 rounds and more than 450 players chosen. I'll have to ask him how exactly the draft was covered then.

Scott from De Pere, WI

The Packers have 10 draft picks. Gute said he likes the flexibility that amount of picks affords him. How many players do you think they ultimately draft?

I'm going to guess nine, but it's totally a guess.

Tony from Appleton, WI

My brother is currently battling cancer and just started chemo. He is a diehard 49ers fan. My question is with the 49ers wanting more draft picks and the Packers wanting a high-end WR, do you think they make a trade for that No. 13 pick? He says no way.

I agree. The price to move up that far would be prohibitive. Sorry to hear about your brother. Best wishes to him and your family.

Jake from Athens, GA

Considering the offseason so far, Gutekunst appears to be planning on a big year next year, with multiple compensatory picks and several big free-agent signings/re-signings. How, if at all, do you think that will affect this year's draft? Will he be more likely to trade up knowing he'll have more "swings at the plate" next year? More likely to trade for future picks because next year's roster will be more volatile?

I don't think it'll really impact anything because the future, whether you're talking about pending free agents or where your draft picks will fall (because that depends on the upcoming season's results), is too unpredictable. Take each year for what it is and conduct the best draft you can.

Tom from Lodi, WI

Any idea what would happen if the person with the responsibility to submit the pick encounters a technical issue of some kind and cannot communicate? Does the clock stop if communication is interrupted?

The league has indicated there will be provisions to stop the clock for technical issues.

Brian from Arlington, VA

Honest question (not being a wise guy), I know about social distancing, stay home, etc. After reading the article on the draft practice with BG and referencing missing the energy in the room this year, why couldn't they gather four or five scouts, coaches in one room and four or five in the next room and still have that energy? Don't come if you don't feel well and take temps of everyone. Less than 10 in a place? Why not?

I think because different states are under different levels of stay-at-home orders – and with news changing on a daily basis with ground rules for the draft needing to be established in advance – the league just decided to keep team facilities closed and make it the same for everyone.

Tim from Appleton, WI

Hi Wes/Spoff, a question about drafting a wide receiver in the first round. Looking at the WR group and trying to make an educated guess as to who will be available for the Packers at pick 30, three names seem to pop up as possible choices – Brandon Aiyuk, Tee Higgins and Michael Pittman. I like all three but give a slight edge to Brandon Aiyuk because he has a different, more physical style than the other two and has value as a return specialist. Do you agree?

Of those three, I'd lean toward Aiyuk as well, but I still don't see picking a receiver at 30 as likely.

Matt from Waunakee, WI

I vaguely remember a semi-wise old man warning us about wide receiver fever.

I've been disinclined to steal his line (which I like), but I've said in different ways several times that even as glaring a need as the position appears to be for the Packers, the depth in the draft doesn't speak to choosing one really early in my opinion.

George from North Mankato, MN

When is the last time the Packers traded a roster player for a draft pick, or draft pick for roster player, on draft day?

Coincidentally enough, I think it was a wide receiver – Javon Walker being traded to the Broncos on draft day 2006 for a second-round pick.

Matt from Fort Worth, TX

With the draft being this deep at receiver are you surprised that those with eligibility remaining still declared, rather than waiting the extra year when the draft may not be as deep?

In a sport with this level of injury risk? Not at all.

Packer 1919 from Cedar Rapids, IA

Could you expand on the question about revenue and player compensation if games are played without ticket sales and fans in the stadiums for 2020? For example, if 20% of revenue is from this source and it is not available, wouldn't the players' union and owners negotiate a corresponding decrease in player compensation for the season?

They'd have to negotiate something before the first game were played, with contingencies for potential changes, etc. But I don't want to get into speculating about how the economics might work out in the near and long term because there's just too much unknown right now.

Rich from Grand Rapids, MI

How will the team be announcing picks to the press this year? If memory serves, someone from the front office has given a short briefing in the Lambeau Atrium to the gathered press, which is then worked into published articles. Has this year's plan been announced?

We'll be watching the picks on TV like everyone else, and then all media access – with Gutekunst, other team personnel, and the picks themselves – will be conducted via conference call.

Craig from Brookfield, WI

In recent decades, the Packers have been a "draft-and-develop" organization. Fans, myself included, get caught up in the potential instant gratification of the "draft" part, hoping against all reason that picks will start immediately and light up the NFL. The "develop" part was always a strength of McCarthy and staff. From what you've seen, how do LaFluer and staff compare on the "develop" part? I know, the results aren't in yet. But we enjoy speculating on the "draft" part, so...

The second seasons guys like Rashan Gary and Jace Sternberger have will tell us a lot in that realm. Not to discount the coaches, but I also believe a lot of player development is health-related. We saw in 2019 how young guys like Jaire Alexander, Aaron Jones and Kevin King took major steps, while injuries were factors with others like Josh Jackson, Oren Burks, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, etc.

Jeff from Highland Mills, NY

If someone did not want to sit through watching the entire NFL Draft, sports (?) or not, do you have any general idea as to when the Packers might be on the clock for Rounds 1 and 2?

The approximations I've seen indicate the Packers going on the clock in the 10-10:30 p.m. CT range on Thursday and then, initially, in the 8-8:30 p.m. CT range on Friday. But there's no telling whether the timeline of this draft will follow those of past years given all the new circumstances.

Jeff from Belton, TX

I think when all is said and done we will be disappointed Thursday night. I say this because we will all sit and watch and several players will drop. The Packers board looks great and we pull a trigger on a trade to move out of first round. Everyone throws the remote at the TV and yells that we have to wait hours for our first pick. But the value was much better trading out and saving money on the cap between a first-round pick and a second-round pick. Your thoughts.

I've felt for a while now that a trade back is a distinct possibility, but the decision to seek a trade will be made based primarily on how the board looks in the moment. Saving cap money by not having a first-round pick is an ancillary benefit, but it won't influence the decision.

James from Santa Maria, CA

Good day II, stay healthy, stay strong!

With all the recent talk of transporting players to different eras, I'm not sure about how Jordy would do because of the violence of the game in that era. Somebody would play "enforcer" and give him a proper welcome to the '60s. My question is would any of the '60s era players be able to adapt and excel under the new rules? Would they want to or has football been watered down too much?

I think they'd trade the barbarism of their era for the money of this one, happily.

Ryan from Appleton, WI

What is the likelihood that Tramon Williams is back for one more season? How much does the draft impact that decision?

Significantly. Gutekunst indicated Monday he's going to revisit the possibilities with Williams after the draft. He's going to see what his cornerback depth chart looks like and go from there.

Rich from De Pere, WI

With the likelihood of no rookie camp, no OTAs and possibly shorter training camps due to the coronavirus, I'm thinking it will be much, much harder for undrafted free agents and possibly even late-round picks to make teams this year. Do you agree?

Different teams will have different approaches to their last few roster spots. Some will be more inclined to keep a veteran backup as a known quantity, while others will want to give young, unproven talent more of a chance.

Benjamin from Nekoosa, WI

With the Packers and Vikings drafting so close to each other with the same need at WR, I feel an under-appreciated future story line of dueling GMs. Who is a better WR evaluator will be found out on Thursday night or Friday.

The Vikings have five picks in the first three rounds. Barring trades, four of those picks will be made before the Packers make their third pick. Regardless of position needs, this is a big draft for Minnesota.

John from La Crosse, WI

Mason Crosby has scored more 1,575 points, more than any other Green Bay Packer, and is currently No. 23 on the all-time NFL scoring list. Do you think that he has a legitimate chance at getting into the top 10 on this list before he retires?

I think so. With three active kickers ahead of him but also not in the top 10 (Gostkowski, Bryant, Gould), the target for assuring a top 10 spot would be around 2,000 points (Blanda is seventh at 2,002). Crosby has averaged 120 points per year over his career, so if he can keep it going for four more seasons, he'll get there.

Max from Sydney, Australia

With the constant communication between teams on draft night about potential trades, I am sure the question is asked by the team receiving the call "who's your guy?" Do you think they actually share that information with other teams when trying to trade up? Is there some sort of secrecy code between teams which allows them to be good trade partners?

They don't share the information. If the question is asked, I guarantee the answer is, "You'll find out." One more day before we all start finding out. Happy Wednesday.