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Inbox: Packers need those guys to emerge

CB Jaire Alexander
CB Jaire Alexander

Chuck from Antigo, WI

What grade would you give the Packers’ draft?

I wouldn’t, because I prefer my work to have meaning.

Brady from Madison, WI

Something interesting I find is the comparisons to Nick Collins that have been made since we drafted Darnell Savage, Jr. I looked a little deeper at the exact measurables. Nick Collins was 5-11, 207, ran a 4.36 40-yard dash, and had 11 reps on the bench press at the 2005 combine. Savage is 5-11, 198, ran a 4.36, and had 11 reps on the bench press at the 2019 combine. That is just spooky. If we can get Nick Collins level production out of Savage, I'll be overjoyed.

I believe Collins might have been headed for Canton, so if Savage is half the player Collins was, the Packers will be overjoyed.

Thomas from Nazareth, PA

Regarding who will stand out as a defensive "playmaker," my hope is a cohesive group of 11 executing their assignments and therefore anybody can be that "playmaker" any given day.

That’s a nice theory, and it certainly doesn’t have to be the same guy every week, but you have to have a few guys rise above the rest to impact games regularly. The Packers’ best defenses in my time here all had those guys – ’07 (Kampman, KGB, Woodson), ’10 (Woodson, Collins, Matthews, with Williams joining the difference-maker category in the postseason), and ’14 (Matthews, Peppers, and good moments from multiple CBs). The Packers need those guys to emerge for Pettine in Year 2.

Matt from Marshall, MI

From a “homer” that saw every collegiate game Gary played, I’ll attest he’s a force. Winovich, who was the benefactor of a number of Gary double (occasional triple) teams would say the same. In my estimation, that’s part of the reason Winovich may not have gone higher.

I thought it meant something that Devin Bush said he’d draft Gary over himself. Sure, that’s one first-round teammate sticking up for another, but it’s also an acknowledgement of the role Gary played on one of the nation’s top defenses.

David from Janesville, WI

I really hope that Green Bay gets a chance to host the draft, but after experiencing Nashville this last weekend I can only say that they better bring their “A” game. If something like that were to happen in Green Bay, how much planning falls to the city government, the Packers as a team, and to the NFL itself? I love Green Bay, but to try to replicate what Nashville was able to do in a small city (and not the greatest air access) will be a huge undertaking. Titletown is a great start though.

I know nothing about the ins and outs of preparation, but it appears Nashville set a new bar for hosting the draft. A tough act to follow, but I still hope Green Bay gets a shot someday.

Craig from Appleton, WI

More of a comment than a question, but the player who should be most pleased with the draft might be Trevor Davis. I feel like he is largely forgotten in the wide receiver conversation for the slot, and no competition has been added for the return duties. When healthy he is productive at special teams and should have a clean path to a roster spot.

I wouldn’t call it a clean path, because there’s no way to know if the Packers will keep someone solely for the return gig, and as Jay from Brookfield, CT, pointed out, a guy like Dexter Williams could get a look at returning kicks (though probably not punts). So Davis will have to prove he has a place in LaFleur’s offensive system. But if he’s healthy and does that, he could be a sleeper in ’19.

Steve from Neenah, WI

When are the Packers practicing with the Texans?

It’ll be during the week leading up to the Aug. 8 preseason game.

Jason from Austin, TX

I love hearing the draftniks talking about teams reaching for players. They're basically just saying that their draft board didn't align to that team's board. Reaching is relative. That being said, has there been a player that was mainly regarded as a "reach" that turned out to be a stud, All-Pro?

Many thought John Schneider reached for Russell Wilson in the third round in 2012. Now he’s the highest-paid player in the game.

Mike from West Bend, WI

Hey Insiders, great job on the Prospect Primers and pre-draft info. I recall LeRoy Butler taking a bit of offense when they gave his number to Nick Collins. Then Nick turned out in the same mold and prosperity. Now Gary gets Matthews’ old No. 52 to which Clay responds with, “The body’s not even cold yet.” Does a player receiving a number that was last worn by an All-Pro have more incentive to excel than one that gets a number from an average player?

I hope not.

Mark from West Lafayette, IN

Wonder if GMs know what they are doing? A four-hour plane ride sitting next to the director of college scouting for an NFL team gave me a wonderful chat, but also a view of the software they use to track players' data; staggering! Every play, every social media account, every record (school, work, discipline, etc.) was on display. I was told they start with several thousand players in order to get a handful of selections. I will never look at player evals the same. Best plane ride ever.

Now imagine doing all that work as the director of college scouting for the Saints in 1999.

Alessandro from Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Hello Insiders, love the column, read it every day. We haven't talked about special teams in a while. With free agency and the draft behind us now, what have the Packers done to get better in that phase of the game (besides the coaching changes)? What sort of contribution can we expect out of the recently added players?

We have to wait for the preseason games for that. A lot of young guys in the NFL didn’t play special teams in college, so there’s a transition, and it’s difficult to gauge who has a knack for it and who doesn’t. It’s also what makes special teams coordinator one of the tougher coaching jobs.

James from Spooner, WI

Speaking of special teams Hall Of Famers, is Devin Hester a Hall of Famer? In my mind he's first-ballot, as he is the all-time best at what he did, and nobody really comes close.

I don’t know about first-ballot, but Hester is Canton-bound in my mind.

Aaron from Madison, WI

With all due respect to “Bull Durham,” the answer is “Field of Dreams.” If you didn’t ugly cry at, “Dad, you wanna have a catch?” you are devoid of a soul.

This was the most popular retort to my selection. I have nothing against “Field of Dreams” and it would be my clear No. 2. Dyersville is less than an hour’s drive from my hometown, and one of my junior high teachers even had a bit part in the movie. But “Bull Durham” just has too many great lines.

Tony from Cary, NC

I've seen a lot written about the interior lineman, but nothing about Montravius Adams. What are your thoughts on Adams having a big third year? Hopefully he can stay healthy. I remember a lot of talk about him in training camp last year and he finished the year pretty strong.

This is the year for Adams to put it all together. Every time position coach Jerry Montgomery talks about him, the word consistency comes up. It’s time for him to get there.

Tyler from Grantsburg, WI

I’ve been hearing how Sternberger is a terrific pass catcher, which leads me to question why he was the sixth tight end taken and lasted until the third round. I know he only played one year in Division I and I haven’t heard how he does blocking, so is one of these the reason why he lasted so late?

It’s both. You aren’t going to learn how to block well enough at this level in one year of games at a major college.

Arthur from Chippewa Falls, WI

With Sternberger being drafted and everyone saying how he will benefit from being with Lewis and Graham, nobody seems to be mentioning Tonyan. Is he now trade bait, the team keeping four tight ends, or will he be competing for a job against the other three? What are your thoughts?

I could see the Packers keeping four tight ends, but Tonyan will have to earn his spot. He’s still a raw prospect with minimal NFL experience. He showed some promising flashes but needs to do more now.

Bryant from Grovetown, GA

I have heard a lot about the Packers’ lack of depth at LB, but doesn't drafting Savage free up Jones to play the hybrid LB role full time? I believe I also heard rumbles of Josh Jackson moving to safety, so it seems like the drafting of Savage and signing of Amos has really added flexibility and versatility to the secondary.

It’s about finding what guys do best. I think Jackson stays at corner in Year 2, but if hybrid linebacker is the best spot for Jones, then he needs to make the most of it.

Miranda from Rochester, NY

Hi there. Do you think drafting Gary might hint towards their plans for re-signing Mike Daniels, or not re-signing?

I think those are questions that are answered as time goes on. I don’t see a reason for deciding anything on Daniels right now.

Jason from Portsmouth, UK

Of all the defensive additions this offseason (free agency and draft picks), which particular area in the defense are you most looking out for improvement in the coming training camp and regular season? For me it’s looking for our new pass rushers getting after the QB.

Indubitably.

Witold from Manchester, England

Hi II, what is your emotional attitude to the Packers' games? Is it closer to diehard fan who is furious after a loss for at least three days and suffers when he has to deal with football? Or are you rather casual fans who enjoy the game and just after the final whistle are ready to happily analyze the game regardless of the result?

When the Packers win, it makes my job and coming to work every day more fun. So I would always prefer they win. But the result cannot, and does not, affect how I do my job. That would be a disservice to those interested in my analysis and what I have to say.

Ryan from Fredericton, Canada

I love how casual everyone is about Tramon Williams moving back to cornerback ... at 36 years old. I respect the "team first" attitude it must require to learn a new position and fill in at safety so late in one's career. I love sneaky vets who are often overlooked. Shout-out to the pure speed, smarts, and ability of Williams to stay relevant at a young man's position, and I hope he makes the roster as a corner.

Father Time is undefeated, but if anyone can hold him off for another year, Williams can.

Lucas from London, UK

With the draft and free agency over, who in your mind is the greatest threat in the NFC North to the Packers?

The Bears are the team to beat until proven otherwise, and the Vikings are riding this year-on-year-off pattern (division titles in ’15, ’17) that says they’re making another run in ’19. I expect the NFC North to come down to the last three weeks in December.

Ross from Roswell, GA

Gents, do you think that since Gutey didn’t pick a WR in the draft it speaks to the depth and talent currently in house, or do you believe a free-agent signing of some sort is still to come?

Gutekunst has publicly stated his faith in the group he’s already assembled. It’s up to them to reward that faith. Their futures depend on it.

Bill from Lyndon Station, WI

Do players invited to the rookie minicamp for a tryout count against the 90-player limit?

No, only the players with signed contracts do. If the Packers reach 90 but then want to sign a tryout player after this weekend, someone will have to be released.

Bill from Raleigh, NC

Hi Mike, when a college player is suspended for violating "team rules" the public usually doesn't find out the reason due to privacy reasons. When that player is drafted, is every nuance of the event in question brought to light? In a similar vein, do the teams hire private detectives as a group like for medical examinations and look into the background of all draft prospects?

Teams have their security personnel check into prospects’ backgrounds all the time. As far as a suspension goes, the area scout will know from talking to the right people on campus what the suspension was for.

Steve from Gatlinburg, TN

With the addition of four outstanding FAs and a strong draft class, how likely is it that an undrafted player can really make the team this year?

Someone will. Someone always does. Death, taxes, and at least one UDFA on the Green Bay roster.

Dan from Herriman, UT

Mike, wondering who you think will be the first draft choice to be singled out and praised by Aaron Rodgers.

That praise usually comes from his observations in ones vs. ones, 11-on-11 work, and if Savage is plugged in as a starter right away, Rodgers will get plenty of exposure to him. So we’ll see.

Tigm from Charlotte, NC

Migke: Do you not find it incredibly prophetic that his parents stuck a random “G” in Elgton’s (pronounced EL-ton) name?

How about that picture of a young Sternberger wearing a Favre jersey?

Caroline from Olympia, WA

How would you grade our draft?

Happy Wednesday.

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