Skip to main content
Powered by

Inbox: Opportunity finds those who seek it

We’ll find out what it all means on April 25

CB Carrington Valentine
CB Carrington Valentine

Dave from Waterford, WI

When will the Packers find out if they will be going to Brazil this season?

We don't know yet, but believe you me, nobody wants an answer more than Weston L. Hodkiewicz.

Mark from Deerbrook, WI

If the Packers do go play in Brazil, will they lose a home game? From my perspective, if we do, that kind of puts a negative spin on the entire situation.

The Packers wouldn't be giving up a home game. They're scheduled to play on the road against Philadelphia this year. If Green Bay isn't selected for Brazil, the team still travels to Lincoln Financial to face the Eagles this year.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, thank you for the article on Jordan Love and tackling his next challenge. To my great relief, literal tackling was not mentioned in the plan. However, as more defensive coaches scheme against "10," what main things do the Packers need to do to protect their young quarterback? As a second-year starter, will refs be more respectful and award him penalty yards for late hits when he goes back to pass?

What I liked most was how Love and the offensive line grew together last season. The two sides worked harmoniously with each other and improved throughout the course of the year. The Packers will need more of that next year. Love has a great sense of the pocket and where pressure originates, but it's still up to those five offensive linemen and any chip-blockers to give him time with which to work. As far as play style, Love just needs to focus on himself and the way he's been playing. You can't count on the refs for a bailout.

David from Janesville, WI

Gents, last year was a reset of sorts and the team went very young. Many rookies got immediate and significant opportunity, some excelled at once while some took some seasoning. On a more veteran team, those opportunities may not have been there or may have been cut short if the performance was just a bit underwhelming. It makes me wonder how many young players never get the chance to shine. Will this next rookie crop have less opportunity to play immediately, or will patience still be there?

Like anything in life, opportunity finds those who seek it. Carrington Valentine went from a seventh-round pick at a stacked position to playing nearly 700 defensive snaps. Sure, injuries played a role in that, but Valentine also put himself in position to be the next cornerback up with how he performed in OTAs and training camp. Now, he earned that opportunity for that season – 2024 is an entirely new year and a hungry rookie class will be pushing every returning veteran on the roster. History shows that any player who comes in and earns an opportunity will get what they deserve.

Randy from Raymond, IA

As a lifelong Packer and Hawkeye fan, I was thrilled when GB drafted Lukas Van Ness. I don't think the U of I will ever challenge for a national title or attract the big name five-star recruits. But Kirk Ferentz has a reputation for developing players. By the time they finish at Iowa, they seem to be very fundamentally sound and people of tremendous character. I am hoping we draft Cooper DeJean this year. He is an athlete with great speed and instincts at a position of need, and a good person.

I'm reminded of something Van Ness' position coach Kelvin Bell told me last summer after the Packers drafted his prized pupil: "These guys come in with these great frames and all we do is just provide an environment for them to actually get the most of their physical talents. Honestly, if Lukas Van Ness is the Lukas Van Ness that he is right now coming out of high school, he's going to Ohio State. He's going to Alabama. He's going to Georgia. He's not coming to Iowa. We have to be able to find those frames and those guys who are willing to do the grit-and-grind work to become the best version of themselves." Ferentz and his staff do it better than anyone.

Steve from Eau Claire, WI

Watching the combine, it amazes me every year. These O-lineman are way too big, fast, and strong. I wouldn't want to find one in a dark alley anywhere. With versatility being a focal point, are most tackles able to move inside at the pro level, or is that a different type of athleticism and body type? Elgton Jenkins, when healthy, seems he would be fine at any position. Could the same be said for David Bakhtiari when he was younger?

I'm sure most tackles could survive inside, but NFL teams want the most bang for their buck and constantly are looking to identify that "best starting five." Sometimes there are certain traits that translate better to the interior than the edge. Jenkins did some good things at tackle, particularly on the left side, but he's an elite guard because of his strength, physicality, and willingness to do the dirty work. Those gifts, to me, are best utilized inside.

Bill from Madison, WI

Of the 32 GMs in the league, based on the current skill of your roster, quarterback situation, cap situation, and the draft capital that you have, which top three teams would you like to be heading into the draft?

Kansas City, Houston, and Green Bay. The Chiefs are the present, the Texans are the future, and the Packers are a cozy combo of both.

Josh from Playa Majagual, Nicaragua

The Packers have demonstrated a penchant for drafting players with a high relative athletic score (RAS); meanwhile, they have seemingly been one of the more injured teams over the last decade plus. Do you think there is a correlation? To use a motorsports analogy, us gearheads know increasing your horsepower almost always decreases your reliability. It would be interesting to see a scatter plot of RAS vs. percentage of games played to see if there is a "sweet spot" in athleticism.

I don't know how much correlation there is between RAS and injury occurrences. Yes, Christian Watson (9.96) and Eric Stokes (9.37) have had a few setbacks but some of Green Bay's other top RAS performers over the past 5-6 years also have been among its most durable, including Zach Tom (9.59), Devonte Wyatt (9.59), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (9.26), and AJ Dillon (9.15). Aside from their "freak" ACL injuries, Rashan Gary (9.95) and Elgton Jenkins (9.33) easily fall into that category, as well.

Tom from New Berlin, WI

Who are the two players from small schools you feel are worthy of being drafted?

South Dakota State's Isaiah Davis and Yale's Kiran Amegadjie.

Charles from Waukesha, WI

A question in defense of past Packer drafts. How many teams that drafted a wide receiver in the first round in the past 15 years won a Super Bowl? I hope the Packers' first pick is a large person who plays on the line.

This exercise taught two lessons: First, there have been a lot of first-round whiffs at wideout over the last 15 years (See: 2012 NFL Draft). Secondly, the collection of receivers drafted in the first round who then won a Super Bowl with their original team is uniquely random: Nelson Agholor (Philadelphia, 2015), Mike Evans (Tampa Bay, 2014), Demaryius Thomas (Denver, 2010) and Hakeem Nicks (New York Giants, 2009).

Bob from Windsor, WI

What is the difference between a 4-3 or 3-4 defense? Do you think one is better?

It's just a matter of whether you're playing a five-man defensive front with two linebackers behind it, or a four-man front with three LBs filling gaps. I personally favor a 3-4 but also understand why the 4-3 base may be better suited for Green Bay at this time.

Dale from Prescott, WI

With T'Vondre Sweat's DUI arrest over the weekend, how do you think this will affect his draft stock? Surely, he will drop in the first round at minimum. Hopefully he has the support around him to move past this terrible misstep in his life.

I always go back to Ted Thompson's maxim: It's up to clubs to decide whether it's a matter of a player stubbing his toe or if there's underlying issues there. I can't speak for every team, but I know for certain the Packers do extensive research on all these prospects and adjust their boards accordingly.

Jason from Rockton, IL

Hey II, Ray from Phoenix gets a lot of love in the Inbox, and rightfully so, his journalism background helps to craft some great and pertinent questions. He is also one of our closest family friends! My question is related to his recent post about Graham Barton. I love the idea of the pick but fear we may have to leapfrog Dallas to get him. They'll be in the market for a center, as well. Brian Gutekunst has earned my trust to make the best decision at the time. If Barton is Gutey's guy, do we need to move up?

Jaire Alexander, Darnell Savage, and Jordan Love would say yes. But again, only a privileged few know what that draft board looks like – where it's strong, where it's weak and how many prospects carry a first-round grade.

Ryan from Sun Prairie, WI

When will you post the picture of the Packers' draft board?

Approximately 10 minutes before I'm escorted from the building by security.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

Mike or Wes, in Monday's column Wes mentioned the Packers don't have pressing needs. While that may be true, and puts the Packers in the driver's seat, I still maintain DB, OL, and ILB remain the priorities, in that order. Could you see another position addressed at No. 25?

I've covered this team long enough to see the Packers trade up in the first round to draft Jordan Love when they had Aaron Rodgers and draft AJ Dillon in the second round a couple months after Aaron Jones' first 1,000-yard season. The answer to your question is any position is possible (aside from QB or specialist).

Paul from Nevada City, CA

Spoofster/Hodski, need to pose a query, does Gute take another CB high in draft? I truly was impressed with Stokes when he was available, but that has been his lingering question. So, if Gute drafts another productive CB, but both perform going forward, doesn't that just allow Gute to trade either, whether pre or post next (or later) draft?

Defensive backs are like offensive linemen. When healthy, they rarely come off the field and teams can never have enough. If a cornerback is the best option where the Packers are picking, Gutekunst shouldn't hesitate to turn the card in. Hopefully, Eric Stokes can bounce back and Valentine stays on his upward trajectory, but the Packers need to cover their bases.

Keith from Springfield, MO

What were GB's defensive ratings going into the last three Super Bowls in which GB played? Offensive ratings? The reason I ask is that the GB QBs get a lot of press and deservedly so, yet my old and faded memory tells me that GB got into the Super Bowls when its defense was highly rated compared to years when the defense was less capable. Thanks for the hard work you guys do, especially research which appears to be quite difficult to me. Your hours away from home are impressive.

The 1996 Packers ranked first in total defense and fifth in total offense, and first in both scoring offense and defense. In 1997, Green Bay was fourth in total offense (second in scoring) and seventh in total defense (fifth in scoring). The Super Bowl XLV team was fifth in total defense (second in scoring) and ninth in total offense (10th in scoring). Make of all that what you will.

Joe from Hampshire, IL

When Wes said things were quiet on a Mims top 30 visit, he perhaps did not see what Aaron Nagler reported. Unless Wes just meant Gutey was quiet about it? As for my prediction, I will guess the first three Packers picks in a fun way per mocks I have seen: a triple Cooper of DeJean, Edgerrin, and Beebe.

Now, that would be something. Regarding Mims, I just meant you're not gonna hear anything out of 1265 as far as interest. Of course, there have been, and will continue to be, plenty of reported visits and whatnot. But we'll find out what it all means on April 25.

Don from Grayslake, IL

Under the new kickoff rules, what happens when there is a penalty on an extra point that gets enforced on the ensuing kickoff?

I believe only the kicker moves. Everyone else stays put.

Jeff from Janesville, WI

Great tent sale last week. I'm glad we have the opportunity to enjoy activities like those, unlike fans of lesser NFL teams.

I spent way too much money…but it was worth it. I managed to obtain Marcedes Lewis and Lucas Patrick jerseys for my collection of personal Packers favorites.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

Hypothetically of course, if Green Bay stays at pick 25 and determines that no player is left that it graded as a Round 1 pick, I could see a trade back. There would be some disappointment on Thursday night having to wait until Friday night. I don't know the trade values, but can you imagine Friday night if the Packers came in with three second-round picks and three third-round picks? Wow! Could they find a trade partner to get an extra second-round pick and an extra third pick for pick 25?

I may quit and Spoff may expire.

Kyle from Osceola, WI

Weston, your thoughts on Mania overall? Best match? Biggest letdown?

I was very pleased with it. I really enjoy the two-day format over the five-hour marathon it became before the pandemic. I'm glad Cody Rhodes "finished the story" but also appreciative of the entertainment Roman Reigns and the Bloodline provided wrestling fans during some tough times. My only letdown was no Steve Austin. As much as I liked the Undertaker's surprise appearance, a showdown between the Rock and Austin would've been iconic.

Doug from River Falls, WI

Gents, what is the II reader "batting average" of successful questions responded to versus submitted? I think I'm 0-for-5, batting .000. As I anxiously wait for responses and receive none, I feel like Ralphie getting a "Be sure to drink your Ovaltine" response. "Son of a…" I once started a baseball season 0-for-12, so I'll keep on battling. Maybe I need to lay down a drag bunt to get me out of the slump. Thanks guys! I really enjoy the column. GPG!

Unfortunately, this little-league manager has a calvary of hitters to get through. We do appreciate your readership, Doug. Keep swinging.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Mike. When was the last time you saw or heard about a defensive player being penalized for spearing?

Does Bret Hart wearing the steel plate under his jersey count? Former Atlanta defensive tackle Bill Goldberg paid dearly for that one.

Ron from Eleva, WI

Not so much a question but a comment. Hopefully, you give your family a proper time needed to give them the time needed. You both are absolute professionals and love what you do for Packers nation. I appreciate your professionalism.

Thank you, Ron. That's good advice for all of us on this crazy journey called human existence. Make it a great Tuesday, everyone.

Insider Inbox

Insider Inbox

Join writers as they answer the fans' questions in Insider Inbox