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Inbox: It was the right investment at the right time

Brian Gutekunst has made every swing at the plate count

S Evan Williams
S Evan Williams

Dave from Kaukauna, WI

Three Things:
Weak side = W = Will = Wes
Strong side = S = Sam = Spoff
Middle linebacker = M = Mike = McCarren

I want the "McCarren" linebacker position more than anything I've ever wanted in life.

George from Kennebunkport, ME

Tripling down on positions in the draft personifies a form of Ted Thompson's "multiple bites at the apple" philosophy. The competition it creates should yield quality starters plus solid depth. At safety, in particular, it looks like we are turning a weak area in '23 into a significant strength through this approach. Hey – it worked at WR!

It worked at tight end, too. In fact, the Packers would have been in a bit of a lurch last season had they not drafted Tucker Kraft in the third round. I think the versatility of the safety position makes this year's triple-down a pragmatic move on Gutekunst's part. Green Bay not only needs a starting safety alongside Xavier McKinney but also a backup to Keisean Nixon in the nickel and a sixth DB in the dime. Javon Bullard, Evan Williams and Kitan Oladapo (once healthy) are competing for all those roles. Safety easily lends itself to special teams, too. So, it's the right investment at the right time.

Josh from Playa Majagual, Nicaragua

Is the fact that the Packers didn't draft a nickel corner to backup Keisean, but instead drafted and signed a few safeties that can drop down into the slot a sign we are going to be more of a "big nickel" team? I know an UDFA or remaining outside FA could still make this team, but it seems like we plan on improving our porous run defense with not only a more aggressive, but also bigger backfield.

Maybe a defense is better positioned to deploy a "run nickel" in certain situations, but I think NFL teams just need big, fast athletic people in the middle of their sub-packages. That's the direction the league has headed and defenders in that 200-pound range are useful in that they can both cover and tackle with equal enthusiasm.

Peter from Omro, WI

Wondering whether the Packers' emphasis on draft and development, maximizing number of picks, and commitment to the long-term health of the team (helped by not have a single owner) all combine to make them more focused on players' projected ceiling rather than picking a consensus "sure thing" (if that even really exists). Are these the perfect storm of factors that lead the Packers to draft a bit differently from other teams?

Perhaps but the Packers also were in a somewhat precarious spot after losing some key unrestricted free agents and trading a pair of future Pro Football Hall of Famers in Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams in back-to-back offseasons. The reimbursement for all those departures came in the form of draft picks and Gutekunst has made every swing at the plate count the past few years. It's allowed the Packers to keep this ship on course.

Jim from Prairie du Chien, WI

Good morning Wes! In response to Matti from Durango and holes/weaknesses left after the draft, last year I went into the season worried about kicking. This year, same answer. Also, do you cringe just a little when GB selects players with an injury past?

Not really because of how diligent Green Bay is regarding player health and safety during the pre-draft process. If a guy is good enough to be on the Packers' draft board, I feel pretty confident about his long-term availability.

Tim from Rosario, Argentina

Hello Insiders, thank you for all the videos of the rookie class. Jacob Monk mentioned taking care of your body is important since "this is your investment" and MarShawn Lloyd when asked about his ability to catch the ball said "market is changing" referring to role of running backs. Cannot help but be impressed with their comments. They understand they are coming to a professional football team and that it is very much a business. Best wishes to all the rookies chasing their dream.

To make it in the NFL, players must realize not only where they are but also where they're going. Looking specifically at running back, carrying the football is just one part of the job these days. As I've said before, Aaron Jones wouldn't have become a Pro Bowler without improving his pass blocking and pass catching.

John from Ludgershall, UK

With respect to the fifth-year option on a player, can the player turn the option down if he believes enough in himself that after the fourth year, he can get a better deal? Or is that too much of a risk?

It's a team-only option written into the collective bargaining agreement. The only change since the prevision was created in 2011 is it's now fully guaranteed for both injury and skill. That's another reason it was difficult for Green Bay to make a fifth-year commitment to Eric Stokes. Again, you won't find a single person in this building who isn't pulling for Stokes to get this thing back on track. He's a person everyone roots for.

David from Hilliard, OH

Good morning II. Weston, your thoughts on Alex McGough switching to wide receiver?

It makes sense after hearing Matt LaFleur's comments on the difficulty of getting four QBs reps during the offseason program. It's a chance to use McGough's athleticism on special teams, too. Many solid college QBs have made successful transitions to a skill position in the NFL. We'll see what more McGough has to say at OTAs about it.

Jeffrey from Eveleth, MN

Lots of major hype on our QB. All Pro. MVP. The guy showed a ton of promise. How do you think he will handle all of these expectations? Curious on your thoughts on this.

The same way Jordan Love has handled everything else – with poise and consummate professionalism.

Steve from Lampson, WI

Wes, I have asked you before about the HodFather...what is his favorite pick from the draft? My Pop is almost giddy about a couple late-rounders. If only the force ran through me.

Pa Hod liked the Kalen King pick, adding "I like the underdogs." You heard it here first…or second…or 89th…

Al from Green Bay, WI

NFL playbooks can be intimidating (or so I've heard). But it's imperative for the players to know them well. Can you speak to the learning process for the rookies? Does the educational process involve tutors? Coaches as teachers? Film study?

This question from Al came in before **Spoff’s story on the rookie class** ran on Friday, but I wanted to use it to bump that piece one more time. It provides a solid glimpse into what rookie minicamp is like for new players as they try drink through the firehose that is an NFL playbook.

Take a look at photos of the Green Bay Packers' rookies during the final practice of rookie minicamp on Saturday, May 4, 2024.

Chris from Kennesaw, GA

Gents, congrats on really insane coverage of the draft. What's the difference between a rookie UDFA and a rookie minicamp invitee? Does the invitee foot their own bill?

The Packers cover all costs related to players regardless of whether they're an undrafted free agent on the roster or a tryout player. The only difference is Green Bay has made a financial commitment, albeit a small one, to the undrafted rookies who signed to the 90-man roster after the draft. Every once in a while, a UDFA will be released before training camp and Green Bay absorbs a very small cap hit for whatever bonus they gave them after the draft.

Sharon from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Always wondered at this stage of the season how all these new young men coming to town are looked after and compensated other than with their signing bonuses. Does the Packers organization have staff help them find convenient and comfortable housing arrangements until the roster is set? Or are they on their own? Just asking as a concerned mom, grandma of lots of boys, and a long time Packer backer! GPG!

They're taken care of, Sharon. No worries about that. The Packers put up their late-round picks and undrafted free agents through training camp. Once a player makes the team, player development also helps him find long-term housing accommodations.

Tim from Olathe, KS

This talk about arm length for a LT is interesting. Derek Sherrod, our first-round pick years ago, was a prototypical LT with long arms. Even before he suffered a horrific leg fracture, he was struggling in training camp. Yet Bryan Bulaga, Ross Verba, David Bakhtiari, and Chad Clifton all had relatively short arms for a left tackle, and they thrived. That means a secondary physical attribute must come into play. What might that be?

You can measure a football player any way there is to be measured but the game is ultimately what can you do with what you have to beat the man in front of you. There's where all those men separated themselves on their way to 10-plus-year NFL careers.

Bill from Raleigh, NC

Hi II, since Mike answered a Michael Penix draft question on Friday, I'm asking a question I've had for a long time. Penix has a lot of guts for finishing the National Championship game. After every play in the blowout loss, he was holding his abdomen. He said, after all he's been through injury-wise, he had to finish that game. While I'm pulling for him in Atlanta, didn't the coaching staff need to step in and protect his health? Is there an independent medical person at college games like in the NFL?

I don't know enough about what happened to really comment, but the optics weren't great watching on TV. The whole ordeal reminded me of an MMA fight where the corner needed to throw in the towel to protect the fighter. But again, I was just a viewer – not a knower.

Mark from St. Pete Beach, FL

Gentlemen: The questions and answers about rookie contracts and per diems got me wondering if you could give us the actual numbers. It would give us some perspective about the true financial foundation for young players.

I used to know that number but lost count over the years. It's in the CBA. It's nominal during the offseason program – maybe a few hundred bucks for players with no accrued seasons.

David from Winona, MN

Great article on the rookie minicamp! It interesting to hear the rookies' first impressions. Sounds like this first moment wasn't too big for anybody this year. Bullard's comment about Green Bay got me thinking. Do the Packers take familiarity with small towns and cities into consideration in player evaluations? I seem to remember quite a few Packers with ties to rural areas or growing up outside of a big city, most notably offseason farmer Jordy Nelson.

I don't think that factors into the equation. If you're a person of high character, the location of the football team shouldn't matter. Most NFL players were fans before they were participants. Listening to Bullard and others, you can tell they appreciate Packers history and how this community is built around its football team – similar to the relationship Athens, Ga., has with the University of Georgia program.

Benjamin from Bear, DE

I admit I was tired of all the mock draft predictions, but I did read them. Now outlets across the internet are assigning draft grades to all the teams. I'm curious, what grade would you assign to Green Bay's latest draft class and why? And who are you most excited to see in pads during the upcoming training camp? Thank you.

Mock drafts are like potato chips. They're greasy. They're bad for you. You don't feel great after eating them….and yet you still can't stop. For that same reason, I don't do draft grades. It's useless fodder. But based on what I saw at rookie minicamp, I cannot wait to see these rookie DBs and LBs in pads later this summer. These kids bring it. Williams also lived up to his billing as a strong communicator on the back end. He was talking all weekend.

Greg from Perkasie, PA

I saw some discourse on Twitter saying that once players are drafted, it is not the team's or coach's job to develop them. The argument was that it is up to the players to find outside resources to aid their development. Do you agree with that sentiment? If so, then what is the point of having position coaches? I thought their job was to teach and develop the players in their rooms.

Respectfully, that has to be one of the dumbest things I've ever heard in my life. Children just don't automatically know how to ride bikes. Teenagers can't drive a car with no training. If you hire somebody, you have a responsibility to help that individual's development and hasten their growth as an employee. Otherwise, your workplace is going to rot.

Greg from Sydney, Australia

I so appreciate "Packers Unscripted" but do you both actually sound so melodious in real life?

My middle name is Melodious.

Jeff from Montclair, VA

Happy Monday, Wes. Your thoughts on WWE Backlash this past weekend?

My reaction was the NFL absolutely needs to play a game in France. That crowd was incredible. The Cody Rhodes entrance gave me goosebumps.

Donald from Philadelphia, PA

Thoughts on the Bucks?


Mark from Bettendorf, IA

So, when will the announcement be made announcing the announcement of the 2024 schedule?

Shortly after the announcement. Have a great Monday.

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