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Inbox: Take all that for what it's worth

It’s what makes the draft so fascinating

Packers Hall of Fame WR Donald Driver
Packers Hall of Fame WR Donald Driver

Jeff from Belton, TX

If you could interview any former Packer, what would be your top 10?

I don't want to spend that much time thinking about it, but my top one would be Don Hutson.

Jim from Tucson, AZ

The 30th draft position is not all bad. Some team will have a player they absolutely must have appear to be dropping down to that 30th slot. At 30, they get him, and for five years, not four. We could get a high second and a third for dropping just a few spots. Deal or no deal?

It's more likely a high second and a fourth, but yeah, entirely possible.

Michael from Portland, OR

It seems (almost unfairly) that a consequence of free agency, especially for those teams that aren't in the game so to speak, is to have your draft position come 10-15 picks later because teams are getting awarded extra draft picks ahead of you. I guess that's why they go no higher than the end of the third round, but it makes picks in rounds 4-7 even less attractive.

I think that's a bit of an overreaction. There's very little difference, value-wise, in shifting a few spots in the fifth through seventh rounds, which is where most of the compensatory picks normally reside. Having 18 of the 32 handed out after the third and fourth rounds is not the norm. This is just a different year.

Darren from Kingston, Ontario

Mike, I was hoping you could answe (sorry, I'll see myself out now) some questions for me. Has the COVID-19 pandemic had any impact on the daily work routine at Lambeau? How would working from home impact your craft? What changes in our "fan experience" might we see?

At this particular time of year, not much, because we're in a period of basically no media access anyway. I've written Inbox from home plenty of times, and I'm doing a lot of advance work on Prospect Primers this week. Aside from doing voice-overs in the studio, I can work on those from anywhere. During the season, when there are regular press conferences, interview sessions, etc., being here is a must.

Fran from Green Bay, WI

Can you help me? I have a low IQ, and even lower football IQ. So, did the Bears spending a lot of money, and picks, on a defensive rusher hurt their future?

It got them a division title, and their kicker limited the reward to one playoff game. What else it gets them remains to be seen, but I said last offseason in this very space numerous times that the Bears' moves put the improvement of their team almost entirely on their progress at quarterback. They have a little bit more to work with this year, with two second-round picks, but those are still their only two picks until the end of the fourth round. With no cap space and limited draft capital, improvement from within is all you have.

Mike from Fort Wayne, IN

Mike, I asked Wes this same question: If teams could trade their sports writers, what team would you want the Packers to trade you to? I hope it isn't the Bears or Vikings, though.

The Brewers. I couldn't imagine trying to handle baseball's travel schedule while trying to raise kids, but now that I'm just a couple of years away from being an empty-nester, I wouldn't mind giving it a shot before the end of my career.

Scott from Hayward, WI

The Tailgate Tour is about to embark on No. 15. Have you ever been invited to tag along? What is your most memorable moment or story coming out of the tours? Personally, I like the combo of former and current players. To be a fly on the wall for some of the conversations between stops...

Neither of us has ever done a tour. We've traveled on our own to individual stops on occasion, but we've never ridden the bus. I've heard from department colleagues who have that those conversations can be pretty entertaining, but what's said on the bus stays on the bus.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

With Jimmy Graham's release, it marks the second high-dollar FA TE in a row to underperform their contract. It raises the question of whether the issue is the FO just guessing wrong or is there something more systemic? Is there a scenario where the GM steps back and says, "This role is just less emphasized in this system?" Or do we chalk it up to bad luck on the individual skills of each player not matching up with the scheme?

It can't be chalked up to scheme because the scheme changed, and I don't think it's systemic to the position when the signing before the last two was a home run. As mentioned earlier this week, the inability to retain Jared Cook has unfortunately had a lasting impact. It happens.

Robert from Salem, WI

With the release of Jimmy Graham, do see the Packers standing pat with the TE corps they have or looking at options in free agency? Or the draft?

I believe all options will be explored.

Take a look at photos of Packers WR Davante Adams from the 2019 season.

Michael from Montreal, Quebec

Is there a scenario whereby the Packers ignore all skills positions until the third round? Wolfe quipped he would never permit "stumble bums" to protect Favre and always had depth on the D-line. Given the needs on O-line (especially if BB leaves) and D-line (run stopper) would it be too risky to rely on the first two rounds in the draft as players in these positions typically require more time to develop?

A lot to unpack there, and I won't get to it all. But Wolf admitted his biggest regret as GM was not giving Favre more weapons, so no one can have it all. And the current Packers haven't had anyone I would classify as a consistent, highly productive pass-catcher drafted beyond the third round since Donald Driver. So take all that for what it's worth.

Justin from Wausau, WI

Your reply to Dan from Minnesota got me wondering... do end-zone yards really count on kickoff returns? I know they are often counted with regard to record longs, etc., but are they kept in the actual stats? What about punt yards? Both would seem odd considering that pass and rush yards from behind the goal line do not count, as in the case of Favre's 99-yarder to Robert Brooks.

Return yards are measured from the start of the return, whether it's in the end zone or the field of play. They're treated differently than yards from scrimmage. Punt yards are measured from the line of scrimmage.

Sean from Glen Ellyn, IL

Hey Mike, I was looking at the draft order and I saw the Packers are picking after teams like the Saints and the Ravens. I'm a little confused, why are we picking after such superior teams? Is the draft order not determined by NFL pundits' power rankings?

No, for playoff teams it's determined by how far you get. The Packers were one of the last four standing, and since their regular-season record (13-3) was better than the AFC runner-up Titans' (9-7), Tennessee picks 29th and Green Bay 30th. The Saints (13-3) got the last possible pick for a wild-card loser (24th) and the Ravens (14-2) got the last possible pick for a team eliminated in the divisional round (28th).

Drake from Huntsville, AL

Mike, Wes, does the GM and staff ever revisit old drafts (3-5 years or so) to compare their draft evaluation notes to how the pick actually has performed? Sort of a lessons-learned exercise?

I can't speak to whether they have specific meetings to review the past, but anyone in the scouting business, from the college road scout to a GM, is doing that mentally on a regular basis. Scouts have incredible memories. Like any profession, they learn as they go.

Derek from Norton, KS

Darrius Heyward-Bey. What a great reminder that a great 40 time only goes so far.

To his credit, he lasted 10 years in the league, and he got No. 7 overall pick money in 2009 before the '11 CBA changed those contracts. I've always wondered, if the Raiders don't take him at 7, and Raji is not there for the Packers at 9, what would Thompson have done? Taken Michael Crabtree? Traded back to take Clay Matthews somewhere in the 20s and kept his extra third-rounder, as well as picked up whatever he'd have acquired for the ninth pick? That would have been an incredible stockpile. It's what makes the draft fascinating.

Colin from Tripoli, WI

Guys, what did you make of the Badgers' pro day? I was not surprised by Orr's efforts. And it looks like Q got his 40 time down to 4.56. I don't say this often but I think Cephus is going to be not good but great. Especially from where he will be drafted. The kid is a football player. Plain and simple. Some GM is going to look like a draft guru after picking him in the mid rounds.

Cephus helped himself considerably, and judging by what a lot of Big Ten cornerbacks said about him at the combine, I don't think he's as big a sleeper as many are making him out to be. Wherever Orr ends up, if he can make some waves as a young player on special teams, he'll have a chance to stick around.

Paul from Schenectady, NY

My understanding is that the CBA agreement, if ratified, will be in place 10 years. The average NFL career lasts what, three of four years? Doesn't it seem odd that the vast majority of players who will be subject to the CBA, and play over the next 10 years, will have NO say in the bargaining agreement or terms governing their employment and careers, which is being voted on by TODAY's NFL players?

Welcome to professional sports, where nobody ever guarantees life is fair. Long-term CBAs are good for the sport, because extended labor peace helps get those hefty TV contracts and allows franchises to plan major investments in their stadiums and such with certainty about the near future.

Jim from Westboro, WI

It's been a long time since the Packers have returned a kick or punt for a TD. Is it possible they'll try to draft a return specialist? Do teams even do that?

Draft picks and roster spots are too precious, usually, for a return-only specialist, but a player's return ability can definitely factor into his overall evaluation. Also, with the Packers having a number of sixth- and seventh-round choices this year, a flyer on a guy like that wouldn't shock me, if they think there'd be a lot of competition for him as an undrafted free agent.

Vance from Olympia, WA

How many more years do you think Mason Crosby has in him?

I'm not putting a limit on it right now, not after the season he just had.

George from Sturgeon Bay, WI

Are we going to see a FaceTime-style NFL draft this year?

I hope it doesn't come to that, but all bets are off at this point.

Dale from Wilton, WI

What are your thoughts on sports this spring and summer? Do you think more cancellations/postponements will be coming in soon?

Situations have been changing by the hour the past couple of days. Hopefully all the precautions being taken now will reduce the length of time they'll have to be taken. Stay safe, everybody. Happy Friday.