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Inbox: That's a can't-go-wrong situation

The rumors are going to crank up this week

NFL Draft stage

Dan from Edgerton, WI

Can we get this draft over? How can you sit down to answer 100s of questions about the picks? I keep saying I'm not going to read another article on any site about the draft and then like a moth drawn to the flame I'm right back at it again.

I'm drawn by the paycheck, but to be honest not much else at this point. Oh, except Ron's brownies.

Ron from Waukesha, WI

Fellas: To me this upcoming draft is like a pan of double-fudge brownies, it's got more good stuff in it than a normal batch of brownies. And we get to enjoy more of it too because we have four picks in the top 60. But the question is, will we be satisfied with what we're given or do we trade some of our pieces to get a preferred double-edged corner piece? I guess it may depend how hungry we are, huh?

Someone else who likes corner pieces. I've always wondered.

Mike from New Orleans, LA

What is the Packers' track record on picking players who make official visits?

I've never seen the full lists. But for every draft pick we've heard mention a visit to Green Bay over the years, we've heard from at least as many who talk about never setting foot in Green Bay and never really knowing the Packers were interested.

Bill from Mediapolis, IA

Would Gutey have his scouts come up with their draft boards (we know not all draft boards look the same) just to compare his board to what others might be evaluating players like?

That's why they have several consecutive days of meetings to finalize the draft board. All the opinions are shared then, and a consensus is reached.

Steve from Toronto, Canada

It's quite surprising that Yosh Nijman still doesn't seem to be getting much respect. In 356 pass protection snaps in 2021 – his first significant game action – he allowed only three sacks and 20 pressures (per PFF). And that's against guys like Nick Bosa, T.J. Watt, and Myles Garrett. Billy Turner even said that Yosh is "the most explosive person on this team" and "a specimen." So, with the numbers and film considered, how is he not a lock to be our RT in 2022? Did he not show enough?

I think Nijman is definitely the front-runner at this point, but if the Packers take one of the top offensive tackles in this draft at 22 or 28, that'll be a competition that makes nobody a lock for the starting job. Nijman and a first-round pick battling it out at right tackle? Sign me up.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Mike. Did the Packers officially end the 2021 regular season as the least penalized NFL team (number of penalties and/or yards)? Obviously, the players themselves deserve most of the credit for this critical achievement. Matt LaFleur and his position coaches should also be congratulated for emphasizing and enforcing this aspect of the game. Is there someone else on the staff such as a quality control person or rules specialist whose excellence we should be recognizing? Thanks.

No one I've heard LaFleur mention specifically. Low penalty numbers are a reflection of consistently sound technique and fundamentals, and that falls on the players and their position coaches primarily, if not entirely. The Packers did have the fewest penalties in the 2021 regular season, with 69, and the fourth-fewest yards, at 678. The two best in the yardage category were Cincinnati (620) and the LA Rams (637), by the way.

Walt from Toms River, NJ

I know we won't know until draft day, and we don't know the Packers draft board. However, for discussion sake, if both a D-lineman and an offensive tackle were rated somewhat equal which would you prefer we take and what are your thoughts on what they may take? Ignoring WR for this question.

If they're rated equally, I'd lean toward the defensive lineman because history says they're harder to find the longer you wait. But that's a can't-go-wrong situation in my book.

Richard from Caledonia, WI

Good morning! Has Allen Lazard being participating in the current early training program? Any word on when Robert Tonyan might be ready to practice? Thanks!

Lazard has not yet signed his RFA tender, to my knowledge, so he's technically not under contract. No word yet on a timeline for Tonyan.

Andrew from Simi Valley, CA

My favorite pass play was the 2014 divisional game vs. Dallas. Aaron Rodgers, with a bad calf, rolling to his left, fires a bullet into a tight window to Richard Rodgers for a touchdown. It won't make a Mt. Rushmore, but it was a thing of beauty.

That might be the least talked about of the truly great throws in his career.

Bruce from Jackson, WI

It's finally here, draft week and it couldn't have come quick enough. Endless retreaded questions with the words reordered. What do you consider the beginning of the 2022-23 season Mike? Day 1 of the draft? The first day of training camp? Or possibly kickoff of the first game of the year? Whatever it is I would be interested in knowing what New Year's resolutions you and Wes have made for the II. More inclusive? Saturday's column had the royal flush of writers. Less shown the door? Best wishes 2022-23.

I always consider the scouting combine to be the start of the "new" offseason, and then the first day of training camp to be when the gears shift toward the new real season. As for II, I make no resolutions or promises of any kind. It's a daily grind for both of us that can morph from fun to tedious to survival and back at any given time. And now I've talked too much about II.

William from Speedwell, TN

Fill in the blank: Friday's II will be ___ if the Packers don't draft a WR Thursday night?


Jeremiah from Columbia Falls, MT

Welcome to draft week. I was looking at film yesterday concerning Amari Rodgers at Clemson. Gosh he looked good. Quick, great hands and just confident looking. We need to see if he starts to show what the film showed. A pretty darn good WR. Let's be patient and give him the chance to bloom this year.

That's the plan, Stan. I mean, Jeremiah. There were reasons the Packers traded up for him in the third round, and those reasons were real. We're all curious to see what happens next.

Larry from Carney, MI

What is your Mount Rushmore of Packers worst draft picks?

Limiting the scope to my lifetime, I'd have to go with Bruce Clark (as opposed to Bruce Smith), Rich Campbell, Tony Mandarich and Jamal Reynolds.

Ron from Waukesha, WI

A couple months ago this would have been considered a crazy question to ask, but is Jaire and the market pricing him off the team? And if that's the case does Gute select a top corner if one falls to him at pick No. 22? And then trade Jaire Alexander for picks in next year's draft.

I expect the Packers to continue to work on a new deal with Alexander. They know they'll have to pay the market rate to keep him, and I don't anticipate that being a deal-breaker. Remember, it wasn't Adams' price tag that was the issue in the end.

Jordan from Virginia Beach, VA

Do you think GMs have an idea of what the cap will be once the new TV revenue hits? A lot of these mega deals seem to be relying on the same jump in the cap starting next season. We need to get Alexander extended sooner rather than later. After him, who is the next homegrown talent we need to lock down for an extension? Elgton Jenkins?

They work off of projected cap increases and have a reasonably good idea. Provided all goes well with his return from ACL surgery at some point this year, yes, Jenkins would be next.

Chili from Pacific Beach, CA

The only response as to whom the Packers should pick should be "it depends." It depends on who is picked before. Anything else is utter (udder?) nonsense. Correct?

It always depends on who's been picked and who hasn't. How this team's board looks vs. that team's. The rumors are going to crank up this week about players teams are targeting come Thursday night. Most of it will be baloney. There are more lies told to reporters over the next four days than during the other 361 in any given year.

Jim from Edgerton, WI

I think Ron Wolf drafted a (barely) 5-10 Terrell Buckley, leaving the 6-2 Troy Vincent on the board. I also think he publicly stated he would never break his size rule again.

Sounds about right. There were four corners drafted in the first round in '92: Buckley at 5, Vincent at 7, Kevin Smith at 17, and Dale Carter at 20. The quirky piece to the history is that Smith was drafted with the pick Wolf traded to Atlanta for Favre, and the Falcons later traded that pick to the Cowboys.

Randy from Clarksville, TN

Hey guys. I have seen talk about us needing offensive line help from the draft. My question refers to the play of Jon Runyan and Royce Newman. How do you think they performed last year? After a year of experience, do you see at least one of them being a "10-year" reliable veteran? I know guards are not a sexy topic, but those two really impressed me with their consistent play.

They both have that potential, but it's still awfully early. Runyan had the stronger, more consistent season between the two, which was reflected in the coaches' lineup decisions at season's end. But to step in as a Week 1 rookie starter and hold his own like Newman did bodes plenty well for his future, too.

Dick from Four Oaks, NC

Just a different take on a player wearing a three-digit number, I can remember Jim Otto wearing 00. However, after he retired, I think 0 and 00 were banned. Am I remembering correctly?

When the NFL standardized numbers in '73, 0 and 00 were eliminated, but players already wearing them were grandfathered in. Otto wore 00 through his retirement in '74, and Oilers receiver Ken Burrough wore it through '81.

Kevin from Los Angeles, CA

When he was drafted, Josiah Deguara was discussed as potentially comparable to San Fran's Kyle Juszczyk. Perhaps injuries and the learning curve have slowed his development, but have you heard any buzz about Deguara being more active, more involved, in the offense than in the past? It would be nice to have another viable receiver option, especially if Robert Tonyan's recovery is slowed.

I expect Deguara to get ample opportunity for more involvement through the spring, summer and early part of the season. It'll be up to him to maximize on it.

Terrance from Sun Prairie, WI

How is the defense going to improve this year from last?

The run defense statistically stands out as an area for improvement. Green Bay's 4.7 yards per carry allowed was in the bottom five in the league.

CJ from Cedar Rapids, IA

In your opinion what would be better for the Packers to stop the run? Stud defensive lineman next to Clark or a stud inside linebacker next to Campbell?

I'll take the former. As noted previously, they're harder to find.

Grant from Janesville, WI

Good morning, II! I've been wondering something. The Packers have a track record of undrafted free agents making the roster. Do you think that might lead to us getting better undrafted free agents? Perhaps UDFAs know that Green Bay is a good destination and will give them a good chance of making a 53-man roster.

The Packers have used that to their advantage in negotiations with players and agents for years. The club's reputation in that realm is well known.

Arthur from Eau Claire, WI

On draft day I am guessing both of you are in the same room. If so do you interact (bounce questions and predictions off each other) or are you in completely different rooms? If together do you alternate bathroom breaks so at least one of you are fully tuned into the picks? I'm curious if Wes keeps a record of major breaking news when Spoff is on his break to compare to his PTO news record.

Ha. Wes and I have sat next to each other for every draft since his arrival in 2016 except the one in April 2020 when we were isolated in our houses. I'm sure he enjoyed not having to listen to me babble for three days.

John from Livermore, CA

Well it's almost draft day, any last-minute thoughts or word of wisdom?

One word of wisdom. I'll have to think on that one. Happy Monday.


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