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Inbox: The best part about it is options exist

It comes down to having the courage of your convictions

G Elgton Jenkins

Jason from Vernon Hills, IL

What should be the team's priority in the draft?

Good players.

Michael from Hammond, IN

What position do you see the team focusing on in the draft?


Janet from Oxford, WI

Everyone talks about how lucky we are to have back-to-back great QBs, however, your response related to Mason Crosby got me thinking. But for one year (2006) the Packers have had a string of great kickers (Chris Jacke, Ryan Longwell and Crosby) whose careers spanned 32 of the last 33 years. Don't underestimate the impact they can have on a game and a season.

As we've mentioned before in this forum, never take for granted the stability the Packers have enjoyed at a position as crucial as kicker. Just look around the league at the teams lacking that stability and how many games it's cost them.

Jeremiah from Denver, CO

It was mentioned recently that one of ML's tools for game planning is duplicity and deception. Does he need to keep adding wrinkles and making changes for this to work year in and year out? How much could it be sustainable due to simplicity – like a fastball/changeup combo? Lastly, on the surface this seems like a playbook thing. Is this primarily about formations and motions, etc.? Does player execution factor into the deception, and if so, how?

It's about making a lot of plays look the same, but ultimately doing something different. There are both pre-snap (personnel groupings, formations, motions) and post-snap (route starts, blocking schemes) ways to get the defense keyed in on something you've done before but may not be running the same way in a given moment. Concepts then build upon each other, sometimes game to game, or year to year. But everything still has to be tailored to what your players do best. Just drawing up a bunch of stuff doesn't beat the defense if the players aren't adept at their assigned tasks.

Nathan from Philadelphia, PA

As far as you know, do GMs assume other teams' draft boards are fairly similar, or do they try to exploit the differences? For example, "We think this Bakhtiari guy is really good, but no one else seems to take much notice of him because his college team was so bad, so we'll wait to take him until Day 3 of the draft."

Teams are always trying to gauge what other teams might be thinking, but there's no guarantee any leaked information can be trusted. Everyone's trying to get an edge. Ultimately, it comes down to having the courage of your convictions.

Tim from Greensboro, NC

I don't have the numbers in front of me, but the eye test tells me Elgton Jenkins graded higher in his time at LT than Billy Turner. If David Bakhtiari can't go to start the season, I hope it is Jenkins at LT, Turner at RT and let the other guys fight it out inside. If I remember correctly, there are two other guys on the roster who can man the center position. Just my $0 cents.

If Bakhtiari isn't ready for Week 1 (and no one could blame him), I think what the coaches will have to weigh is whether it's more important to get the five best linemen out there to start the season, or to have the least amount of disruption to continuity (lineup shuffling) when Bakhtiari returns. I don't know what their answer will be, but the best part about it is options exist, even before any new draft picks arrive.

Take a look at some of the best outfits from the Packers' 2020 season on this #FashionFriday.

Craig from Brookfield, WI

As unsexy as it may seem (compared to skill positions), I hope a good OL or two drops to the Packers in the draft. At the moment, we're down two first-team All Pros from the 2020 unit. I'm not banking on Bak being back to start the season. Even if a drafted OL isn't ready to start Week 1, I'd vote for shoring up the protection of the Pack's MVP. Can you please convey my concerns to Gutey, so he can act on my wishes?

I'll text him right now. I'm sure your thoughts have never crossed his mind.

Steve from Marinette, WI

Some mock drafts are projecting the Packers to pick Teven Jenkins to be their first-round pick at OT. If so, would that give the Packers the chance to have the "Jenkins Brothers" on the offensive line to pair with the "Smith Brothers" on D?

Serenity now.

Jake from Oswego, IL

I have a question that, if answered, will hopefully be able to provide some perspective. How many Hall of Fame quarterbacks finished their careers on a different team than the one for which they are best known? Just off the top of my head I can think of Tom Brady, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning. We all want Rodgers to stay forever, but I think his comments about his future are maybe more a product of history than anything else. It's hard to keep these guys forever and Rodgers knows that.

For the record, we'll put the lists out there. Here are the Hall of Fame QBs who played at least a portion of their careers in the salary-cap era who spent their entire careers with one team: Aikman, Elway, Kelly and Marino. If we don't count early, pre-HOF-caliber years with another team, add Young and (eventually) Brees. Here are the HOF QBs who changed teams: Favre, Manning, Montana, Moon, Warner and (eventually) Brady. It's about 50-50 at this point.

Perry from Ishpeming, MI

Just read Cliff's history on Rote and Howton! Great read. Do you know if the HOF has ever considered former players' input on HOF induction? I didn't find anything on the HOF website. It would appear that writers have more input into HOF nominees than the players that played against each other or watched their peers. Just curious on your thoughts.

The media members on the selection committee frequently get input from the players and coaches from the nominee's era in putting together their presentations to the full committee at the finalist stage. That input is definitely considered.

Scott from Racine, WI

Good morning, it was mentioned that the draft pool is considerately smaller this year. Could it be because the NCAA gave an extra year to its players? Will that make the draft pool a lot larger next year?

Almost certainly.

Mike from Cottage Grove, MN

Eric of Mequon asked about the defensive playbook. Do the players get an actual hard copy physical book or is it digital? Speaking as an apprentice book binder at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, I sure hope it's a physical book. Research has shown that an actual physical book has a higher retention rate of information than digital.

Playbooks are all digital now, on tablets that can be wiped remotely for security purposes should a player lose one.

Michael from Morrison, IL

I may be off on this, but I believe one of the reasons why it took the Monday Night Football crew nearly a decade to come to Green Bay was because Lambeau Field did not have adequate lighting for a night TV broadcast (which Milwaukee County Stadium had). However, improvements in the late '70s addressed the lighting issue.

I'm sure Cliff could confirm this, but it sounds vaguely familiar to me.

Darren from Alice Springs, Australia

If the Packers bring back a throwback jersey this year, which year's uniform wound you like to see represented?

There was some really creative stuff in the '50s pre-Lombardi, so something out of the ordinary from then would be fun I think, but celebrating a decade of futility is not exactly this organization's MO.

Richard from Madison, WI

What's the etymology of "Wonderlic"? Sounds like an overhyped ice cream cone to me.

The test was created by a man named Eldon F. Wonderlic in the 1930s when he was a psychology grad student at Northwestern.

Scott from Albertville, MN

Who is widely believed to be the best-ever draft pick the Packers chose?

It depends on your definition of "best ever." If it's defined as the best value, there's no question it's Bart Starr, who was chosen with the 200th overall pick in 1956. To my knowledge, that's the lowest draft selection used by the Packers on a player in Canton (with Willie Wood being the lone undrafted Hall of Famer). If by "best ever," you mean how the player was perceived/evaluated heading into that particular draft, then it's probably James Lofton, who was chosen No. 6 overall in 1978, the highest pick used by the Packers on a player who wound up in Canton.

James from Missoula, MT

Follow up to TK from Grafton. My buddy worked as a ball boy for the Badgers from 1998-03 while we were in school and was on the sidelines for every home game. Obviously, some really good, fast teams the Badgers put out in that span, as well as the rest of the Big Ten. He also worked the Packers-Broncos '99 preseason game and came away dumbfounded by the speed difference between top-tier D1 and NFL … in a preseason game.

I never fully understood the difference until seeing both from the sideline, either. The TV and press box views don't do it justice. They just don't.

Steve from Kansas City, MO

What are the chances that Alabama DT Christian Barmore will be on the board when GB drafts in the first round? Plugging the running game and collapsing the pocket would do wonders for the back end of our defense. Or Zaven Collins?

I'll preface this by saying I have no idea what the Packers think of Barmore, and I don't think he'll be there at 29. But as thin as this draft class appears to be on the defensive line, combined with the Packers' clear need at the position, I would have a hard time passing on him if he falls all the way to the bottom of the round.

James from Appleton, WI

I hope Kevin King has a bounce-back year, but to me the position the Packers most need to add to become a dominant defense is a cornerback. And I think the Packers will go get him. You keep an eye on the trends in the mock drafts. How many first-round corners are there in this draft, and how far up do you think the Packers have to trade to get one?

The depth at corner in this draft tells me they shouldn't have to trade up to get a good one, but it all depends on how the Packers have them graded and where the gaps are on their board. If they believe the next Jaire Alexander is sitting there in the early 20s and they don't see a comparably rated player at another position of need falling to 29, I could see a trade, sure.

Roger from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Good morning II. I get a kick out of all the speculation about whether BG will trade up or down in the first round of the draft. Truth is that even he does not know. It will depend on how the draft proceeds compared to his board. He will trust his board!


Jon from Temecula, CA

The resigning of Aaron Jones was viewed as "the answer to the RB spot." I'm a huge Jones fans and am happy he remains in the green and gold. AJ Dillon is a great complement. But as the presumed No. 2 to Jones, he has 46 career carries. In fact, Dexter Williams is the only other RB with a career carry on the roster (two). Does a free agent like Wayne Gallman or Jerrick McKinnon provide experienced depth at the right price? One COVID test could wipe out all experience at RB right now.

I expect the Packers to add to their competition for the No. 3 running back, but I think it'll come through the draft, not free agency. With (as of now) seven picks on Day 3, a viable contender for playing time can be found at considerably less cost than a veteran free agent.

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

Good morning Insiders, with the draft coming up, when are all the draft pick trades locked in? Not that on draft day the Dolphins say, "We changed our minds, we don't want to trade that pick to the 49ers?"

They're official when the trade info is sent into the league and confirmed by both teams. For trades made during the draft, both teams have to confirm the details of the trade before the time for that particular pick expires to make it official.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning. Is anyone else surprised Casey Hayward is still a free agent? He's 31 and coming off a down season statistically, but with the league-wide need for depth at cornerback you'd think there would be plenty of interest. Is he asking for too much money?

At this point, teams are waiting to see if they get the top young cornerback prospect they're hoping for in the draft first. If that fails, these veteran corners on the market will find homes. It's also in their best interests now to wait and go to a team that has the post-draft roster hole.

Shilo from Murrieta, CA

Mike/Wes, have you ever heard of this Ron Wolf draft day tradition before? From an ESPN.com story: "Ron Wolf would always let me put something on the draft board that was blessed by the pope," said Bryan Broaddus, who worked in the scouting departments of the Eagles, Packers, and Cowboys during his career. The item was something small enough it could fit in a plastic bag, but it had a papal blessing.

That's a new one to me, but I wouldn't doubt all kinds of scouts and personnel execs have their own good luck charms, routines, superstitions, etc., when it comes to the draft. Like anything else in the draft, secrets are never shared.

Joshua from Houston, TX

What are your thoughts on the resurgence of the sports card craze?

If the mania trickles down to '80s baseball cards, I might be able to retire early. Happy Monday.