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Inbox: That’s how every undrafted player should approach it

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Jordan from Sturgeon Bay, WI

Reading Derek’s comment about Brian Gutekunst evaluating QBs over the next three years actually made me say “wow” out loud. That was really insightful and I never even thought of that. Sometimes the Inbox questions surprise me, in both good and bad ways.

You know an Inbox comment falls into the legendary category when Spoff calls over to my cubicle to say how good it was. Derek didn’t just hit it out of the park. He hit the bull. He gets a free steak. Good morning!

Logan from Lamar, CO

I read somewhere this week the percentages of “busts” at each round and was astonished. Most of these guys just don’t pan out the way teams hope. I’m so perplexed by the relatively low success rates, especially considering the advancements in technology, training, and analytics that contribute to player development, scouting, and scheme fit. I understand that injuries and other unforeseen events derail careers, but that only accounts for some of the madness. Has the “bust” rate dipped over time?

Sports science, Next Gen stats and analytics have removed some of the haze from the scouting process, but football isn’t played on paper. I could be the most talented quarterback who has ever walked the earth, but what does that matter if I don’t have the moxie to stand in the pocket and deliver a downfield pass on a dime? Or if I lacked awareness to look off defensive backs? So never underestimate the human component to this game.

Joel from Ashland, WI

What do you think are the three biggest changes the Packers need to make so this season is a winning one?

Convert third downs, retool special teams and get back to winning on the road.

Bob from Cortez, CO

With a new head coach, we will present a different look to opposing teams. Will we also be looking at our opponents in a different way?

I’d wager there will be a lot of changes we won’t notice on TV, but there also should be plenty of formations and new concepts visible to the naked eye. That first Bears game will be eye-opening.

Brian from Waycross, GA

I'm reading a lot of comments about the schedule not playing to our weather advantage in December. Shouldn't we be more concerned about whether or not it will be in our favor in January?

That’s when everything truly matters. Again, if I’m the Packers, I’ll gladly take two December home games at Lambeau before what could be the biggest game on the schedule – that Week 16 matchup in Minnesota.

Al from Green Bay, WI

What might it be like to view the draft through the eyes of a current player on the roster hoping to make the team? Does it go something like this? "I hope they draft a group of studs that will help us win, but I hope they all play a different position than me."

You know who set the blueprint for how a player on the roster bubble should approach the NFL Draft? Jake Kumerow. Last spring, we peppered him with questions about the long odds he faced to make the 53-man roster after the Packers drafted three receivers. Kumerow remained even-keeled and said he could only control what he controls, and look what happened. That’s how every undrafted player should approach it.

Eric from Mequon, WI

After looking at your Prospect Primer on Irv Smith...I feel like he isn't a consolation prize if you miss out on a TE not from Iowa. Question is, what are the odds he is there when the Packers are on the clock at pick 44?

It really depends on how early the two Hawkeyes go and whether T.J. Hockenson starts a run on tight ends. If Hockenson and Noah Font are gone by the 20s, I have a hard time seeing Smith on the board at 44. He’s talented enough to be the top tight end in a lot of previous draft years.

Dale from Owatonna, MN

Phillip Lindsay went undrafted. His stat line for 2018 was 1,037 yards rushing, 247 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns. I get that guys get missed in the draft and there were only six RBs taken in the fifth through seventh round (one by Denver). How does a team go through their process and make sure someone like that is not missed this year?

Someone always falls through the cracks, but the beautiful thing about the NFL is most undrafted players will get their chance to prove they belong. Every year, there’s a player who makes teams reconsider their scouting process. Last year, it was Lindsay.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

The first battle to win back the North will take place south of the wall on Sept. 5. For Aaron Rodgers, it’s an opportunity to re-establish his rightful place as “King of the North.” I can see the picture clearly, Rodgers in his armor with a full-length fur coat, the Duke in one hand, a sword in the other, a crown on his head standing over a vanquished Bear. Now that would be the way to start the NFL’s 100th. Will the Gods be with us Weston?

I don’t know how that battle is going to play out at Soldier Field, but I’ll tell you this – Rodgers will be ready.

Ned from Laguna Woods, CA

With respect to Rodgers' supposed decline, it should be noted that Roger Federer is still winning tennis tournaments with five match draws, each about two or more hours of constant movement and he is 37, two years older than Aaron.

If you’re betting on Rodgers to not return to MVP form, that’s a fool’s errand. He’s still one of the most athletic players at his position, takes incredible care of his body and has a competitive edge few in this sport have ever possessed.

Mike from Madison, WI

Like every other fan, I have poured over the 2019 schedule. I noticed the Packers are playing Dallas again this year, in Dallas. We seem to play the Cowboys every year, and more often than not, play them in Dallas in warmer weather. Have the schedules of the past shown a more favorable tilt towards Dallas in Dallas than Dallas in Green Bay?

If Rodgers is playing quarterback, has it really mattered where the game is played?

Team photographer Evan Siegle shares some of his favorite images of the 2018 season.

Tony from Eden Prairie, MN

Considering the two first-round draft picks, could you see the Packers trading back and picking up picks in future years again?

We’ll see. Personally, I’d like to see the Packers use both. If you keep kicking the can down the road, you’re eventually going to hit a wall.

Kevin from Jupiter, FL

Wow, when I read your answer to Ric from Longmont I thought what is he talking about? On Thursday, I checked out ticket prices for that game and they started at $106 per ticket. After I read the question, I went back and the tickets are starting at $250 per. I guess I should have bought my tickets on Thursday.

Supply and demand. Variable ticket pricing is real, y’all.

Abiegail from Santa Clarita, CA

Minutes after the NFL schedule release, I started looking for Packers vs. Chargers tickets. Within the first hour, the Packers’ side of the stadium has sold out. I was able to score front-row tickets on the Chargers’ side. Don’t worry, Spoff, it’ll be Lambeau West again!

I don’t doubt it. I think an argument can be made L.A. has been a bit more welcoming to the Rams than the Chargers and the Packers fans still flooded the 90,000-seat Coliseum. Do you think Chargers fans are going to buy $250 single-game tickets in a 27,000-seat venue?

Ryan from Plymouth, MN

Speaking of weird schedules, the 2019 Buccaneers will go six weeks without playing a game in Tampa Bay. In Week 4, they go to L.A. to play the Rams, which is followed by a trip to New Orleans in Week 5. Week 6 is technically a "home game," but it's in London (they play the Panthers). They have their bye in Week 7, and then they travel to play Tennessee and Seattle in Weeks 8 and 9, respectively. All told, they will not play in their own stadium at all between Sept. 22 and Nov. 10.

I think it’s safe to say the Buccaneers got the shortest of all 32 sticks the NFL distributed to teams Wednesday.

Bret from Hertel, WI

Would you trade your first-round pick next year and a fourth-round pick this year to move into the first round of this year's draft? And is that possible or too low of a trade value? Happy Easter!

Not this year. I’d approve if it’s a team coming off an NFC title game and the front office feels there’s a specific player available to put you over the top like New Orleans last year. However, there’s risk involved with that decision, too.

Ross from Roswell, GA

If, by chance, the Cardinals don't pick Kyler Murray and he is there at No. 12, would the Packers take him or would the trade value there be too high to not move down?

There’s drafting for value and drafting for quarterbacks, so I see no way Murray is available when the Packers go on the clock. But for clicks and Googles, let’s say he’s somehow still on the board. If I’m Brian Gutekunst, I’m on the phone with teams in desperate need of a quarterback and seeking a king’s ransom for that No. 12 pick.

Bob from San Diego, CA

Do you think not having an owner gives the Packers an advantage in the draft? I would think some owners could interfere with or influence the GMs’ decisions. Your comment on “Draft Day” made me think about this...

It’s not just the owner. It’s the leadership. It’s the message that comes from the top and trickles down. Like any other job, sometimes owners can be helpful and sometimes they can be a detriment. I think the checks and balances in Green Bay over the past 30 years have been a boon for the organization and the team’s success on the field.

Ryan from Oshkosh, WI

What's the overall reaction to the schedule? It seems like the Pack should at least have a 10-win season, but more importantly I like the placement of the bye week. Thoughts?

I don’t predict wins and losses based on a schedule release. It’s pointless. As I wrote earlier this week, however, the Packers have a golden opportunity to start fast at home. That doesn’t happen every year, so make the most of it.

Matthew from Janesville, WI

The Raiders sent their scouting department home until after the draft. Is that even close to normal? What personnel are usually in the room for the draft?

No. That is not close to normal. You need more than your seven iron on the golf course. Just ask Roy McAvoy.

Dave from Town of Breed, WI

If I recall correctly, the other day you had said that a team could only have a max of five prime-time games. Now I see you wrote that they could be “ASKED” to flex another game. Which way is it?

Exactly the way I wrote. You can only have five (non-opener) prime-time games on your schedule, but the league reserves the right to flex any of the 16 Week 17 matchups to Sunday Night Football. This past year, it was Colts-Titans.

Jason from Baraboo, WI

Has a former team executive/GM ever written an acclaimed book about draft board compilation, player evaluations, interviews, etc.?

There have been a few books written here or there, but the one I really want to read would be Ron Wolf’s. I hope he writes one someday. If he needs help with it, I know a guy.

George from Sturgeon Bay, WI

Are there any undrafted free agents in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

There are around 16. The Packers have one of them – safety Willie Wood. I believe John Randle was the most recent to be inducted.

Tom from New York, NY

Do the Packers have an unofficial soup partner? Do all draft picks need to be on board with the team's official soup, or are they given some leeway as rookies?

Individual players can be sponsored by whomever they please, but Campbell’s sponsors “Packers Unscripted.” I guess that kind of makes them a soup partner. Chunky Maxx is going to help put my kid through college.

Cameron from Springville, UT

I was looking at the NFL's website and saw that FOX is broadcasting more than half of the Packers’ games. I can't wait for Troy Aikman, as great as he is, to romp on all of the Packers’ mishaps and not talk about anything good for Rodgers. Am I the only one that is a little bothered by Aikman commentating our games? It seems like he is the negative nelly for the Packers. Is there a reason why?

You want to hear a dirty little secret? I rarely watch the TV copy. When I re-watch games, it’s usually the All-22 footage. When I have listened to Aikman over the years, however, I’ve never had a problem with his calls. Calling national games is too complicated to play favorites.

Geoff from Omaha, NE

What is your favorite thing to write for packers.com? Is it II? Postgame stories? In-depth interviews of players and how they got where they are?

I loved this question so much I wanted to answer it, too. Spoff was spot-on about game days. There’s nothing like it, but I also love telling human-interest stories. I don’t care if you’re an All-Pro or the guy who runs the bakery down the street. I love learning where people come from and what makes them tick. That’s my favorite part of being a writer.

Geoff from Beaver Dam, WI

I think you are up to three Geoff from _ now. I went my 34 years only meeting, one, maybe two other Geoffs. Now the Inbox is loaded with them. The best part is all the questions from a Geoff are pretty good. Thanks for helping the world recognize that it is the proper way to spell Jeff.

I think it’s time for a get-together with all the Geoffs.

Rick from Kenosha, WI

We signed him so we could get some Ficken laser beams on top of the Ficken goal posts!

Now that’s funny. Have a great Easter weekend, everyone.

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