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Inbox: Steady progression is the ticket

It’s the most inexact science there is

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WR Amari Rodgers

Bob from Honolulu, HI

Insiders, enquiring minds wanna know. We wake up, and immediately migrate to Insiders for our up-to-date green-and-gold fix before eventually getting around to other world news on CNN and such (e.g. the slap heard around the world). Where's your first stop in the morning?

My exercise bike, if I'm being good.

Karen from South Beloit, IL

"Spofford dunk tank" – Mike, are you going to let Wes get away with that?

I've seen his arm. I'm not worried.

Dwight from Brooklyn, NY

My question about NFL Draft host city is this: since it's more a made-for-TV event, and one that appeals more to hard-core fans as opposed to casual ones, and given that Green Bay is not called "Titletown" for nothing, why would the NFL not choose a football-centric city like Green Bay or Buffalo as opposed to multi-sport cities like Detroit?

That's had nothing to do with it to this point. The NFL has chosen Philly and Chicago to host the draft already. I'm confident Green Bay will get the draft at some point. It's just a question of when.

Tom from Walker, MI

What is more likely? Trade up, stay, or trade down in Round 1?

Yes.

William from Speedwell, TN

As fans we tend to get caught up more with how these men perform on the field, than the human aspect of their lives. Rest in Peace, Dwayne Haskins.

What a terrible tragedy. Definitely thinking about his family and friends during an unimaginable time.

Dave from Germantown, TN

With respect to 40-yard dash times, how about a little II math? If receiver A runs a 4.6 40 and DB B runs a 4.4 40 and receiver a has a 5-yard head start, how many yards does receiver A gain before DB B catches him? Can DB B catch him before he runs 50 yards to the end zone?

Well, I'm no engineer, but approximating the math tells me that with 40 times in the four-second range, every tenth of a second is equal to about a yard, no? Or something close to that? So that 5-yard head start feels like too much for the 4.4 guy to catch him within 50 yards.

Don from Riverton, UT

The combinations and permutations of mock draft selections and prospects is mind-boggling. You might as well guess the lifespan of one drop of rain until it smacks the earth and it eventually evaporates and ends up a drop of rain again one day.

We've already got too much math in the Inbox and now you want to bring in science, too?

Julius from Providence, RI

How about Chad Clifton recovering from a major injury? I remember them not being sure he would be able to walk again, and he started the first game the next season.

And made two Pro Bowls before his career was through.

Mark from Pitt Meadows, Canada

What is your expectation for Amari Rodgers next season? I was excited when they drafted him maybe because it was a WR and I was happy they added to the room. He was a non-factor last year and I'm sure it was because of the depth we had. But in your opinion what would be considered a good season next year? 500-yard range maybe two or three TDs or is that aiming too low or high?

We've answered a lot of questions about the younger Rodgers lately. I don't like tagging stats on a guy. Steady progression is the ticket for Rodgers. Earn more snaps, cash in on the chances he does get, and become a threat defenses must respect. That's how he's going to help the offense, no matter what his final stats are.

Scotty from Lombard, IL

It appears the inside linebacker position does not seem to have a high value for NFL teams. Why is that?

Well, the top dudes are all getting paid. Darius Leonard, Fred Warner and C.J. Mosley are all at $17M per year or more. But it's a position a lot of teams see as very replaceable if you don't have a special one making a lot of big plays. It sure took the Packers a long time to find one.

Matt from Greensboro, NC

USFL using chips in the football to establish line of scrimmage and first downs. Is the NFL behind in technology? Laser goal posts next?

I've read the NFL already has a chip in the football, which is how some Next Gen Stats are calculated. If that's indeed true, other innovations can't be far behind.

Jeff from Omaha, NE

Do you think the added emphasis on improving special teams will elevate the draft stock for "hybrid" OLB/nickel-type guys who project at a couple of different positions on defense and could also be a good special-teams player? Guys like Georgia's Quay Walker and Nebraska's JoJo Domann come to mind. Could that versatility elevate their status on the Packers' draft board? Do you think the Packers will use a draft pick on a guy they grade as a special-teamer only, not an every-down player?

With the Packers possessing 11 picks going into the draft, I could see them focusing a late-round selection or two on that special-teamer type. As for whether the hybrid options rise on their board, that's tough to say, though I doubt it would factor much in the first two rounds anyway. If those first four picks in the top 60 go swimmingly, maybe the outlook heading into Day 3 alters a bit.

Jake from Decatur, GA

Mike, why do you think a high RB pick is so unlikely? Given the kind of offense LaFleur likes to run, it seems to me a third stud RB (especially one who can catch) is probably the third-most important hole to fill on that side of the ball after WR and OL.

Sure, but the Packers have Patrick Taylor and a healing Kylin Hill. Plus defensive line, edge rusher, safety and cornerback on the other side of the ball are all greater needs than running back.

John from Livermore, CA

Talent is an excellent quality in any player, however their ability to be a "good teammate" is also key. How much stock do you put in players' personalities versus their natural skills?

The talent and ability have to be there first. Without that, the rest won't matter. But the "good teammate" part speaks to fit and can elevate a player if the rest of the package measures up.

Andy from Henryville, IN

I was just looking at the Cowboys leaked Big Board from 2016. They only had 16 players they considered to be worthy of a first-round selection. And only 24 they judged to be worthy of a second-round pick. With the talk of this being a "deep" draft at the top do you think teams will have many more players listed this year as worthy of a first-round pick? Perhaps even more than 32?

I don't know about that. Talk of a "deep" draft doesn't necessarily mean deep in the first round, but perhaps more quality players to be found in rounds 2-5. In all the years I've been covering this league, it seems pretty rare for teams to ever have more than two dozen players with first-round grades, but those two dozen can vary considerably.

Ben from Fort Worth, TX

Mr. Murphy said, "We did not bid on the 2026 draft because we are hosting the Wisconsin-Notre Dame game that year." I don't see the correlation. Could that be explained please?

I don't want to speak for the big boss, but I think the desire is to spread out the mega-events and not double-up in a given year.

Mike from Cascade, ID

Hi II, with all the attention being directed towards the draft class of receivers, it seems like the safety position is also pretty stacked with talent. Do you think a safety is high on the wish list? I saw some film of Lewis Cine from Georgia and was impressed. The guy is legit, and his game improved each year in college.

We'll have a Prospect Primer coming on Cine later this month. As Wes noted, it makes a lot of sense for the Packers to look at that position in this draft, but I'm not sure they'll be looking at it high enough to grab a guy like Cine, unless their early board suddenly becomes devoid of big guys and receivers.

Dave from Edina, MN

The 2019 draft class was packed with WR talent, including four receivers showing elite-level potential so far (Deebo Samuel, A.J. Brown, DK Metcalf, and Terry McLaurin). Those four were all drafted outside of the first round. It was a pretty typical year as most of the current top receivers were drafted outside of the first, like Stefon Diggs (fifth), Cooper Kupp (third), Tyreek Hill (fifth), etc. Bottom line is I don't care where GB picks their receivers as long as it's the right pick.

Bingo.

Take a look back at photos of Green Bay Packers G Jon Runyan during the 2021 season.

Aaron from Kenosha, WI

"…two running backs and a tight end (Bennett, Levens, Chmura) combined for 163-1,761-15 that year." Well if Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon, Robert Tonyan average 50-600-5 each on their receiving stats that would certainly work for me.

The biggest question in that regard is how soon Tonyan is back from his ACL rehab.

John from Belleview, FL

I'm puzzled. It is common knowledge that the Packers lost their top two WRs. At the same time, the Packers have one of the greatest QBs of all time. Why is not EVERY free-agent WR out there trying to come to Green Bay? Even on a one-year deal, you would think they would want to pad their stats catching from AR12 so they can get a better deal the following year. Is there just no one out there to whom Green Bay is interested in talking?

Did you see the contract Brandin Cooks just got? I think the Packers are biding their time for the prices on the market to return to sanity.

Kevin from Rockton, IL

I'm predicting there will be an additional veteran WR added to this roster prior to the draft. Patience will be rewarded for waiting out the settling of the free agent market. What say you?

It wouldn't shock me if it happens as late as June, a la the Campbell signing last spring, as Steve explains.

Steve from Rockford, IL

With the volume of high-potential receivers available in the early rounds combined with the number of teams with multiple early-round slots, wouldn't there be a possibility of more veteran receivers displaced from rosters as salary casualties in June? And the Packers should have the cap room available to pounce on the right one, correct?

Google maps says Rockton and Rockford are only 20 minutes apart, FYI.

James from Concord, CA

I just think the mock drafts are so ridiculous since there are so many moving parts to a draft. However, I saw what I thought might be the most accurate mock draft on the NFL channel today. They put the names of the top 20 or so prospects on cups and then played beer pong with them. What do you guys think of this? If the NFL channel is basically saying that mock drafts are a joke, how are we to see them as anything less than pure entertainment?

Did any of the cups have root beer for Wes?

John from Payson, AZ

Being a big NDSU Bison fan and follower for many many years, how high do you think Christian Watson will go in the draft? This kid is a freak of nature for a big, fast, wide receiver. Wish the Pack could land this kid! He is smart and doesn't make many mistakes. Huge hands too.

I've seen Watson projected anywhere from late first round to mid-to-late second. He and Treylon Burks are my two favorite receivers in this draft.

Dave from Bentonville, AR

If the Inbox can stand one more plug for Treylon Burks … As a Razorback fan I've seen some pretty special things over the years from Burks. But what stands out to me is the numbers he put up with average (at best) quarterbacks throwing to him.

That carries some weight with me, too.

Bret from Hertel, WI

Dear Mike or Wes, how would you rank the draft needs to the roster and comparing that to strength of this year's draft?

From what I've heard and read, it's a pretty good year for your top four roster needs to be (in whatever order), D-line, O-line, receiver and edge rusher.

Dan from Twin Lakes, WI

After many, many years, I finally figured out how to get through all this draftocological stuff in a serene and peaceful manner. It goes like this: If you take every personnel professional in the entire league and find the absolute dumbest one out of all of 'em, he or she STILL knows a whole lot more about this stuff than I'll ever know. Mr. Gutekunst and company have done a fine job thus far. I see no reason to doubt them now.

And the absolute best in the business still miss on around half their picks every draft. It's the most inexact science there is.

Jon from Temecula, CA

I know that mock drafts mean nothing, but they keep us busy this time of year. With all your years of covering sports, do you have any insight as to why some analysts can vary in a certain player? Usually the top five players are the same across all the mock drafts, maybe just swapping a spot or two. But this year, Karlaftis has been all over the board, from as high as 15 to a low as 31. Surely this isn't just "team needs" as other edge rushers have been drafted between those spots. What gives?

See "inexact science" comment above.

Lori from Heredia, Costa Rica

Hey Spiff, the auto-correct feature can come up with some embarrassing text messages. But in this case, it's pretty appropriate. Gutsy is exactly what we need Gutey to be!

Maybe, but I think I'd rather have him remain calm and calculated. Happy Monday.

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