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Inbox: That's not how it works

It could influence draft strategy

T David Bakhtiari

Joe from Wausau, WI

Really looking forward to Gute's press conference on Monday so us fans will finally get to know what players he's targeting in the first round. Can't wait.

Good one.

Marin from West Lawn, PA

Wes was spot on in his remarks about producer Mike Atkinson. I had the distinct honor and pleasure of meeting Mike back in 2017 when he visited my house to film a segment for the "Pennsylvania Packers" edition of the Packers Life series. I quickly found Mike the epitome of being what a true professional is all about, which fed off his wonderful personality. He was a tremendous asset to the Packers and I also wish him all the best with his future endeavors. He will be missed.

He certainly will. I wholeheartedly echo so much of what Wes said, and there's no point in trying to say it any better. I'll just share one enduring memory of working with Ax, when he drove the two of us to Canton to cover Jerry Kramer's HOF induction three summers ago. I'm never crazy about long car rides, but nothing makes a multi-state drive go faster than kicking back and listening to Ax tell stories. He's a gem of a companion, and there'll be no replacing him.

Josh from Melbourne, Australia

Wes's bit in the II about Mike Atkinson departing got me wondering exactly how many people work in the building producing content for the fans? The social media team and graphics team, website IT guys, writers like Cliff, the folks working behind the cameras, you all in front of the cameras, matchday commentary, etc. It must take a fair few people to keep the whole show running across the season?

Sure does. You've heard us mention some of the others here and there, but I'll give you the list (not including the uber-bosses, no offense to them), because there are plenty more than the names/faces like me, Wes, Larry and Cliff you regularly see. On the website, there's Duke, Joidon and our current intern Madeline. In video production, aside from Ax, there's Adam, Mike, Tyler, Taylor, Matt, Daniel, and current intern Elyse. And on social media, there's Ryan, Steven and current intern Rachel. I sure hope I didn't forget anybody. It's an amazing crew, and even more amazing to remember when it was just my immediate supervisor (who now works for the Titans), yours truly and Duke (as the intern). That was it, back when all this was just getting started.

Arthur from Eau Claire, WI

No question, but one of my Mt. Rushmore quarterbacks would have to be Dan Marino. I know he didn't have the best legs in the game, but his accuracy and quick ball release was something to watch.

Randall Cunningham, whom a reader mentioned the other day, and Marino were the two hardest for me to leave off the "most exciting" mountain among former QBs.

Neil from Tunbridge Wells, UK

When it comes to trading up in round 1 would it ever be worth trading up just one place for a player you believe in?

Sure, if you believe other teams might think as highly as you do of that player and might trade up to jump in front of you and take him. That's what the Bears, horribly wrongly in this case, feared in 2017 when they made sure they got their quarterback.

Steve from Lake Stevens, WA

Wouldn't you think the fact that the Packers have done such an outstanding job of finding quality offensive linemen in the lower rounds make it less likely they'd use a first-round pick that way?

That's not how it works. You grade the players, see how it falls, and trust the board. When the Packers drafted David Bakhtiari in the fourth round in 2013, their evaluation was not, "This guy's gonna be a five-time All-Pro by early next decade." Had they truly thought that, they would have drafted him in the first round.

Dylan from Cary, NC

Is there a rookie minicamp this year?

It is scheduled for two weeks after the draft, I believe.

Joseph from Salt Lake City, UT

Besides Brady and Starr, how often has it happened that the 151-259 group has produced a face-of-the-franchise superstar?

I'll leave the face-of-the-franchise definition to others, but here are some fairly familiar names in the Hall of Fame who were drafted in the pick range outlined: Shannon Sharpe (192), Richard Dent (203), Deacon Jones (186), Willie Davis (181) and Raymond Berry (232). Plus there are 16 undrafted players in Canton.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

In a week the "experts" will come out with their instant draft grades for all 32 teams. I'd like to see them republish their grades and comments from three years ago. Seeing those grades three years into the players' careers might offer a good grade on the credibility of the experts. Have you seen anyone with the stones to do that?

Some do, most don't.

Benjamin from Evergreen Park, IL

I read Bucky Brooks' scouting profile on Levi Onwuzirike. He says, "He throws offensive linemen around like he's Mr. Miyagi!" IS THIS A SIGN? Is it confirmation from the football gods? Pat Morita was a huge Green Bay Packer fan.

I'll try to catch a fly with chopsticks Thursday night. Then we'll know.

Bill from Iowa City, IA

When Capers came in Ted drafted some key positions in Raji and Matthews. I've heard talk of a star position being key in Barry's defense. If Gutekunst follows a similar strategy and targets the star position, can you name a few players on the roster and in the draft that could fit well there? Thanks.

I'm not enough of a scout to project a college player into a specialized position within an NFL defense. But I do think Jaire Alexander or Darnell Savage could play Barry's "star," and if the Packers have decided to go that route, it could certainly influence draft strategy.

Tim from Appleton, WI

Does the trade between the Ravens and the Chiefs affect the Packers approach to the draft?

Not really. If anything it just eliminates one possible team from trading up in front of the Packers to draft an offensive tackle.

George from Kennebunkport, ME

On paper, the Packers might not appear to "NEED" another WR. They are fairly well stacked there. But I think they could use MORE. Specifically either Elijah Moore or Rondale Moore. Either of those guys would add a speedy, shifty slot receiver and kick returner. One of them will probably be there at 29 – maybe too high considering our other needs. What are the chances either of them is available in the second round?

I doubt either is there at the end of the second round. The dilemma the Packers might face is whether they'd want to sacrifice a later pick to trade up in the second round if a player like that stays on the board for a while.

Ryan from Appleton, WI

Thoughts on the impact that Kingsley Keke has this upcoming season?

It's not a perfect comparison, because they're different players with different styles, but the Packers need Keke to be the next Mike Daniels. For two years, Daniels was a fourth-round pick and rotational player who made an impact here and there. In Year 3, Daniels was starting every game and provided a steady presence up front. Green Bay needs the same trajectory from Keke, a fifth-rounder heading into Year 3.

Aumed from Moorhead, MN

Last night, my YouTube recommended me the 2010 NFL Draft. The comment section of that video lead me to Googling Sam Bradford's rookie contract. And wow, $76 million for six years. I'm no expert by any means, but how in the world did that come about?

That was the last draft before the rookie wage scale was established by the 2011 CBA. As the top overall pick in 2010, Bradford signed for six years, $78 million. The following year's top pick, Cam Newton, got four years, $22 million.

Check out more photos of the best outfits from the Packers' 2020 season on this #FashionFriday.

Donny from Green Bay, WI

How much stock gets put into the salary cap considerations when drafting in the first round? Getting a guy like Jaire at a premiere and expensive position on a rookie contract is a huge benefit. On the flip side, drafting a tight end, center or inside linebacker tends to be lesser paid positions and you won't be receiving as much of a salary cap discount versus the relative open market.

I think all that is, at least partially, baked into the value of draft slots and how teams view those selections (quarterbacks aside). There are years where a couple of tight ends or centers will be highly touted first-round prospects, but on balance more corners, offensive tackles and pass rushers get drafted in the first round. They're more worthy of the draft investment (and are more likely to be overdrafted) because of their impact on the game, just as they command more money on the open market.

Charlie from Hawthorne, NV

Who is going to be the third quarterback backing up Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love?

Most likely a rookie the Packers draft or sign right after the draft.

Jeff from Littlefork, MN

How do teams weigh trade value of future draft picks? I understand the scoring chart placing No. 1 overall at 3,000 and No. 32 at 590. But for GM Wes to make a trade including NEXT year's draft picks you would need to know how the opposing GM's team is going to finish.

They project a reasonable range and work from there. But you never know. I'm sure when the Raiders traded Khalil Mack to the Bears in 2018 for two future No. 1's (among other picks), Oakland didn't expect a 5-11 Bears team from 2017 to win the NFC North the following year.

Carmen from Trimbach, Switzerland

Good morning. Could you please explain the term "coachability"? Does it refer to a player's ability to learn (intelligence) or to his attitude (being humble and ready to listen)? Thank you for keeping us both informed and entertained.

There has to be some of both there, though I'd say it's even more important to have the right attitude. Even someone who's not the most adept learner can benefit from a great teacher if he's willing to learn.

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

I'm surprised the NFL isn't mandating vaccination for players. I'd think teams would want to avoid an AJ Dillon situation in the middle of the season at all costs. Is there something prohibiting them from doing so?

Such a mandate would have to be collectively bargained with the union, I think, and it would appear it's not something the league wants to deal with at the negotiating table.

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

Do you ever think a team, say Jerry Jones's Cowboys, would film a "documentary" of their draft and keep it "in the can" and say five years later, if it was a good draft, release the documentary?

No, because there's just too much proprietary information involved in a draft, information that would still be relevant five years later. If someone were willing to do that, they'd have done it by now.

Take a look at the top prospects at linebacker heading into the 2021 NFL Draft.

Erin from Bellingham, WA

My apologies in advance if this is too bold of a question, but my brother and I have been discussing it as an alternative to draft banter. Do the Packers advance and win the Super Bowl if our stud Mr. Bakhtiari doesn't get hurt? I know it's a somewhat pointless discussion, however to me it shows his value, and how close we were/are! My answer is yes!

I believe the Packers beat the Buccaneers if they're at full strength on the offensive line, yes. How the Super Bowl against the Chiefs might have turned out, I have no idea.

Kevin from Indy, IN

Donny's question from Friday made me imagine a scene like in "The Queen's Gambit" wherein the scouts are akin to the friends back in New York walking Beth through all the scenarios. Then, I pictured Gutey staring at the ceiling during his first draft, seeing the path to trade back and gain a future first-rounder then trade up to get the guy he wanted anyway. Can we check the draft room for Xanzolam?

I don't have a comment. I just thought this was an entertaining image to start my week.

Scott from Hamlin, NY

"...they're only going to address one need next Thursday." Well Mike, you just guaranteed the Packers will either make two picks or none in the first round. So thanks for that.

You're welcome.

John from Livermore, CA

With draft almost here, I was wondering what is your best draft memory from past years?

When the Packers drafted Jared Abbrederis on Day 3 in 2014, and the Prospect Primer video I had put together on him got an extra 100,000 views in the ensuing 48 hours.

Chris from Bettendorf, IA

If I knew half as much as many of my fellow readers profess to know, do you think I would be reading you guys every day? No offense intended of course.

Nicely done.

Ed from Wauwatosa, WI

So … we're driving ourselves crazy in the moment due to a process over which we have absolutely no control and the results of which, despite what all the talking heads will be saying in the coming days, we won't really know for another three years? That can't be right, can it?

Happy Monday.


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