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Inbox: That board will speak

The storylines present themselves

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General Manager Brian Gutekunst, Head Coach Matt LaFleur and President/CEO Mark Murphy

Markus from Aurora, CO

Insiders, the draft is soon upon us. Some will rejoice, some will be disappointed. What else is new?

And the first game will still be more than four months away.

Jamie from Marietta, OH

Remember how just a few seasons ago it seemed as if the secondary was far and away to biggest concern we had? Amazing how quickly things change in the NFL.

Jaire Alexander was Brian Gutekunst's first draft pick as Packers GM. He's now the longest-tenured member of Green Bay's secondary.

Chase from Fort Leonard Wood, MO

Good morning team. With all the speculation about trades and WRs, I'm going to get a pretty good laugh if we stay put at 22 and 28 and draft big guys. Thanks.

If the Packers can sit at those two spots and get legit first-round talents at both defensive and offensive tackle, sign me up.

Jack from Marshfield, WI

With the mention of A.J. Hawk yesterday, I'm curious how you'd rate this pick? He wasn't the superstar you might hope a top five pick would be, but was a solid nine-year starter. Also, 17 years ago! Yikes.

Sixteen actually, but the Hawk pick worked out just fine, outsized expectations aside. Thompson wasn't going to take a chance with a pick that high. He didn't and the Packers got what they needed – a long-term cornerstone on defense. If you look at the next 10 picks in that draft, the only one who had a better career than Hawk, in my opinion, was Haloti Ngata, drafted 12th.

Cambo from Indianapolis, IN

Spoff, ever since its 2014 release, I've enjoyed quietly re-enacting the movie "Draft Day." Like Costner, I write my R1 selection (maybe two this time?), put it in my pocket prior to the draft and see how the chips fall. While I did come close last year, I'm much happier I regularly strike out. I know you both don't typically play the name game but, for giggles, care to entertain us with who'd be your "no matter what" if available given this year's needs? Wes's? Stays between us.

I'll let Wes answer this with his own thoughts if he wishes. For me, Devonte Wyatt on the defensive line and Treylon Burks at receiver are names I wouldn't be able to write fast enough on the card if either is there at 22. But I don't think either will be there.

Gardner from Circle Pines, MN

With the dearth of QB talent in the draft this year I see wide receivers as a position that will be over-drafted in greater quantity. In any given year it seems like there are always several first-round WRs who never live up to the hype. I am glad the Packers have a history of finding gems after the first round. Is that great scouting, laser-focused evaluation, or just good luck?

All of the above.

H.R. from Las Vegas, NV

Mike limited the scope of his answer to Larry from Carney, MI, to those players selected in his lifetime. How is any list of bad draft picks devoid of Ahmad Carroll? "Toast" was more than just a nickname for this guy; it was his whole lifestyle. In five years in the league – two and change of them with GB – he did next to nothing: three picks, one FR, one TD. All of that in the first two seasons he was with GB. All told, he played in a mere 57 of 80 total games, starting in only 28 of those. Bust!

If Mt. Rushmore had an extra spot or two, Carroll would be on there. But Clark, Campbell, Mandarich and Reynolds were all top 10 picks (and the Packers traded up for Reynolds), so they're the four. Brent Fullwood was given strong consideration as a fourth overall pick, but he did make one Pro Bowl. Getting back to Carroll, he was taken No. 25 overall, so big difference in the bust level.

Ray from Phoenix, AZ

Does past success with players from certain schools play into the selections? Example, Rashan Gary and Jon Runyan from Michigan or the last two centers from Ohio St.

Not really. Only to the extent that scouts have relationships with important contacts at those schools whom they trust, with regard to the digging they do to find out about a player's background, makeup, etc.

James from Birmingham, UK

When it comes to selecting a player in the draft how much comes down to athletic performance vs. college tape? Kyle Hamilton seems to be the case in point, many had him as a top five talent in this draft, yet after a poor combine/pro day his stock has fallen somewhat. But surely if a player's tape shows he can be a stud, why would poor performance in certain drills overshadow this?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. With picks at the very top of the draft, some GMs take different approaches as well, trying to project who might be not just a good player, but a Hall of Famer. It can be overthought and overanalyzed to the point mistakes get made.

Ron from Bellaire, MI

Mike, do you think AR 12 has input to priorities on the draft board?

A popular question. Gutekunst suggested Monday the channels of communication remain open with Aaron Rodgers, which I took to mean he's keeping him informed of some thoughts and plans for the draft. Whether that extends to opinions on specific players, I doubt it, but I honestly don't know.

Frank from Cedar Falls, IA

I've always wondered how NFL teams are able to call every one of their draft picks when they are selected. Seems like a lot of phone numbers to have to know. Does the NFL have a database of draft-eligible players and their phone numbers?

My understanding is players turn in a number to the league where they can be reached, and all teams have access to those numbers.

Mike from Cascade, ID

Hi guys, the three days of the draft must be exciting for you two, but is it also a pressure cooker to come up with storylines? Do you pencil out some ideas beforehand on which topics you'll try to cover? Will you be working on your typical Sunday day off? I'm sure you'll do your usual exemplary job, but I feel for you guys. Best of luck.

It's part of the gig, and it's the most exciting three days of the offseason, bar none. But the storylines present themselves. We will be writing about the players the Packers picked and why. No other specifics about the coverage are planned in advance. I do enjoy covering the draft in the Thursday-Friday-Saturday format much more than the previous two-day, all-weekend setup. It's still exhausting by the end, but this is a lot more fun and entertaining.

Keith from Lincoln, IL

Of the top five teams picking in this year's draft (Jacksonville, Detroit, Houston, NYG, and NYJ), which team is most likely to be picking in the top five again in 2023?

I'd have to guess the Texans because of their QB situation and a down year for QBs in the draft.

Nicholas from Baltimore, MD

Would you recommend tuning in to the draft at 7 p.m. Central? Do you think the Packers will move up? Or better yet, what time (or what pick) would you recommend Packers fans start to pay attention on Thursday in case something develops?

I mentioned on "Unscripted" that I don't see Gutekunst making a move up into the top dozen picks, but after Minnesota at 12, my gut says anything could happen.

Ray from Owensboro, KY

I know there is a lot of speculation about who the Packers are going to draft and at what position … with that being said do you think the team will draft more offensive players or defensive players in this year's draft?

I'll guess defensive players, but I don't expect any lopsided numbers and it wouldn't shock me if it goes the other way.

Larry from Rotonda West, FL

Will the Pack draft more than two WRs?

Also wouldn't shock me.

Ed from Minneapolis, MN

Hey II, I'm not much of a college football fan, so the Prospect Primers are very helpful. Thank you. Is the Stingley of Monday's primer any relation to Darryl Stingley of Patriots history?

Yes, Derek Stingley Jr. is the late Darryl Stingley's grandson. I meant to include that in the Primer text and somehow forgot.

George from North Mankato, MN

You are a low-level prospect and the seventh round of the draft starts. Do you want to get drafted to hear your name called or have the flexibility to sign with a team of your choosing as an undrafted free agent?

Good question. I think I'd still rather be drafted, because the seventh-round signing bonus of $85K-$125K is way, way more than a UDFA is likely to get, and the team has made that investment in me, allowing perhaps for a longer development leash. But I can certainly see the appeal in having more say in one's destination.

Gary from Pulaski, VA

Mike, a variation of the question Joe from Wausau, WI, asked Wes. Gute comes to you and says you can have a sneak peek at the Packers' final big board. But you have to give up beer until training camp. Do you do it?

Not a chance.

Jim from Rancho Cucamonga, CA

We see headlines that refer to the pressure a GM is under when it comes to the draft. It has me wondering what it is like in the war room during the actual draft. Is there angst? Is it as simple as following their board? I have a son who is a fighter pilot in the Marines. When discussing his flights, "we do what we prepared for" often comes up. When on the mission it is not the time to ponder. It is time to do what you prepared for. With this in mind, what would you be feeling if it were you?

I'm sure I'd be feeling some anxiety. I don't think you're human if you don't. But if I've done my homework, prepared diligently, and had a team of trusted lieutenants who have spent the last 362 days focused on these next three, I'm confident that board will speak to me at the right moments.

Andreas from Baden, Austria

Dear Insiders, for the first time in NFL history a player from Austria has a good chance to be drafted. Bernhard Raimann is projected as a late first-rounder or early second-rounder in the various mock drafts. As a big Packers fan, I would of course be thrilled if Bernhard ended up in Green Bay. What are the odds the Packers will draft a left tackle? And please have a look at Bernhard's story, it's worth it.

I did look at his story, because we were planning to do a Prospect Primer on him, but the video we had access to wasn't good enough for a package. I'm intrigued by Raimann for sure. He's still raw and unrefined, but everything about him says he's a natural with an unknown ceiling.

Eric from Oshkosh, WI

In Monday's Inbox, Mike mentioned that a battle between a top-level draft pick and Yosh Nijman at right tackle would be a sight to see. Maybe, but Nijman was pretty good last year for his first year as a starter. Is he the one who needs a competition battle the most? Between Royce Newman, Runyan, Josh Myers and Yosh Nijman who would you most like to see be challenged?

It's not just about the competition, it's more about depth. Cole Van Lanen played a lot of guard in camp as a rookie reserve last year, though he worked some at tackle, too. The Packers need depth at both spots, and it's a lot easier to find guards later in the draft. Tackles need to be picked early.

Mike from Las Vegas, NV

Right before the draft starts do you open the door to the draft room, poke your head inside and say, "I just want to tell you both good luck, we're all counting on you"?

I'm saving that for the last draft I cover in my career.

Andy from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

I know it would never happen, how cool would it be to get a bunch of GMs together over a couple beers and listen to them talk about the "curveballs" they gave each other and had to navigate through after the draft was all over? Even 10, 15 years down the road, after we know the hits, misses, busts, and there are no secrets to give up, I bet it would be fascinating to listen to.

And how.

Tim from Fruita, CO

"One word of wisdom"? How about "patience."

It is a three-day process, and a much longer one after that to find out what the Packers really got.

Phil from Punxsutawney, PA

Six more weeks of the NFL Draft?

Goodness no. Winter has been long enough. Be sure to send in your picks for the Packers' two first-round selections for Wes's column tomorrow. There's also a Packers Predict game if you're so inclined. The next time I speak to you, Round 1 will be in the books. I can't imagine what we'll have to talk about. Happy Wednesday.

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