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Inbox: The board isn’t built overnight

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Marcus from Plover, WI

Wins in 2019?

Yes, please.

Brian from Schertz, TX

Another draft question: Who decides which athletes are invited to the draft and how does that process work? What would happen if a player shows up but doesn’t get drafted the first day?

I’m not sure on the invite process. The league sends the invites, but whom it consults to compile the list I don’t know. Regarding players in attendance who aren’t picked in the first round, some stay around until the next night, others leave town. Kevin King stuck around when the Packers made him the first pick of the second round. If I recall correctly, Eddie Lacy headed home and when his plane landed he turned his phone back on and the Packers were calling.

Nick from Plainwell, MI

Do you think by now there’s a guy in the draft Gutey has an affinity for? Kinda how TT really liked Matthews and had to get him?

I’d bet there is, but it’s about getting him at the right spot/value. In ’09, after Thompson took Raji at 9, if someone else had taken Matthews 10 or 12 spots later, he wouldn’t have joined the Packers. Once Matthews was still on the board in the early 20s, the perceived value at the time was there to make the move. You can never be sure how other teams value certain players. That’s what we find out on draft night.

Scott from Fredonia, WI

Insiders, what is your favorite draft or prospect cliche? For me, "he checks all the boxes" checks all the boxes.

I’m not sure whether to smile or groan.

Chad from Raleigh, NC

I've seen you mention that you would like to see the Packers go after a speed back if they decide to draft a RB. Who do you have your eye on? Personally I think Bryce Love in the 5-7 rounds could be the steal of the draft.

We’ve profiled a few in our Prospect Primer series. I don’t have a particular favorite, and they aren’t the only options, because this draft strikes me as one loaded with speed at running back. I’m curious how it will play out.

Marty from Cuenca, Ecuador

Over the last half century the draft has gone from sports page footnotes, sometimes days after the fact, to limitless data months in advance so we can play GM. That can be fun but I wonder if our own designs keep us from appreciating the GM’s thinking as it unfolds with each move? Do you think what Vic said about games applies here: just watch?

Wholeheartedly. Those who pretend to know what these GMs are thinking in advance are kidding themselves.

Dan from Golden Valley, MN

Enjoy II, even though I haven't submitted a question since the Vic days. With Notre Dame playing the Badgers at Lambeau in 2020, a game I consider the epitome of college football for Wisconsin fans, can you tell me how many Notre Dame graduates have played for the Packers? I thought I saw it once in one of the Packers media guides, but cannot find the info.

I don’t know how many Notre Dame players have played for the Packers, but I can tell you Green Bay has drafted 28 Fighting Irish, the fourth-highest total from one school in team history, just ahead of Michigan (27) and behind Minnesota (41), Wisconsin (39) and USC (34).

Logan from Lamar, CO

Thanks for keeping us up to date on all things Packers while also keeping it lighthearted when necessary. No better way to start the day than with a daily dose of green and gold. My question is how much stock teams put into the opinions of the draft “experts” like Mel Kiper. There’s a ton of prospects each year. How do teams reliably form their boards and begin to rank the value of every player? It sounds absolutely exhausting.

It is, but it’s a year-round process. The board isn’t built overnight. There also are many players who are not on the board for any number of reasons – medical, off-the-field issues, personality/fit, etc. It whittles itself down as the process goes along. I’m sure some scouts consult the opinions of certain draftniks they trust as part of their information gathering, to create cross-checks and the like. But at the end of the day, your opinion on the player is what matters to your GM. That’s what he’s paying you for.

Mike from Nashville, TN

I keep reading about sleepers in the draft who are visiting NFL teams (as if they are a secret no one knows of). At what point are they not a sleeper anymore?

When enough media outlets are talking about them. Sleepers are guys lacking buzz, for whatever reason, but it’s a term of media perception that has nothing to do with scouting. No one’s a sleeper to a decision-maker.

Kevin from Orlando, FL

I was shocked when I heard Aaron Rodgers played through a tibial plateau fracture. Just to let you know, the most common mechanism to get that type of fracture is usually a pedestrian getting hit by a car or taking a fall from a significant height. It’s a high-energy type of fracture. Just thought you guys would find that interesting.

I refer you to last Wednesday’s headline on this column.

Randy from Highland, IL

Insiders, as often happens I'm confused and quite often you two can lift the fog. In Aaron and Blake's press conference they both mentioned new installs. I thought this week was strictly conditioning. Thank you for your Insider expertise.

They can have meetings, as long as they remain within the daily limits of total hours at the facility, but they can’t do any physical activities other than strength and conditioning for the first two weeks. That changes starting next week.

Jack from Racine, WI

I know Coach Lombardi mainly relied on the Packer sweep during his years with the Packers, but did he ever call some gadget plays like fake field goals, fake punts, or pass to an extra lineman during his championship seasons?

This would be a better question for Cliff, but I know the option pass was a Lombardi staple that played off the sweep action. Paul Hornung completed 24-of-55 for 383 yards with five TDs and four picks in his career.

Jake from Shoreview, MN

Does the return of Cole Madison likely mean the Packers do not need to apply as much draft equity in OL depth?

I think that would be a bit presumptuous.

Chuck from Antigo, WI

Will the Packers win the NFC Central this year?

I believe they have their eye on the NFC North instead.

Jason from Lake Geneva, WI

"We don't live in that land, though. We live in Wisconsin." Yes Wes, we do. Very well said. Piggybacking off that statement, do you think the Bucks have what it takes to at least get to the Finals? Meaning, can they overcome the blatant non-calls and bad calls that inevitably will happen? Fear the Deer...

Love that slogan. The sky’s the limit for the Bucks. It’s all in front of them and there’s no reason for them to get distracted by the moment, by the refs, by the crowds, whatever. Just play their game, like they did Sunday to start it off.

Nathan from Cantonment, FL

I've been pondering this for a while now. The Packers have four picks within the first 75 picks. At what point do they look to shore up our inside linebacker position? Blake Martinez is the only solidified starter and while I'm hoping that Burks can make that jump I would rather see the Packers take a proactive approach to making sure we have more depth behind those two. I think it would be far-fetched to rely on James Crawford or Brady Sheldon if Blake or Oren go down.

There’s no question the position is on the radar, and I could see the Packers taking one anytime. That includes at 12 if the best player on the board is an inside ’backer.

Josh from Waukesha, WI

What's your take on fan reactions to dominant players/teams? Tom Brady is arguably the most dominant player in the NFL in his era, vilified by everyone outside the New England area. Everyone is sick of the Patriots winning. Same vibe in the NBA with Golden State. Tiger Woods dominates for a decade plus and fans still cheer for his success and the media can't get enough of it...every single tournament. Is this just due to the nature of the different sports or something maybe deeper?

Team vs. individual sports always produces different fan dynamics. What Tiger did this past weekend, returning to the top of his sport after such a long time away from that status, for many reasons, is remarkable. It’s great for him and great for the game.

Matt from Waukesha, WI

Do you think prospects care more about which team drafts them or which number they're taken at?

The number determines the money, and team fortunes can turn on a dime in this business. Do you think anyone drafted by the Browns the last couple years is complaining now?

Nick from Arvada, CO

Tom Brady played his first meaningful games in the 2001 season. At the time, I didn't even watch football. If I were to go back in time to that period, what would jump out at me as different from today's game (aside from Brady being much younger)?

Just take a look at the hit that year that got Tom Brady on the field in the first place. That says it all.

Gary from Oregon, WI

Forrest Gregg was highly praised by Vince Lombardi. Who is your favorite from the Lombardi teams and why?

I had the pleasure of covering Jerry Kramer’s journey to Canton, and I’ve also gotten to interview Bart Starr a couple of times, so I’m biased in picking my favorites from that era. I’ve also always been fascinated by Herb Adderley’s story, switching sides of the ball and becoming a Hall of Famer.

Nick from Portland, OR

With the Packers at 30 and the Patriots at 32 (and with a boatload of Day 2 picks), do you suspect the Pats might be looking to jump over us and nab a top TE right before our pick? Would this inspire us to trade up to block it, or could a team at say 28 try to start a bidding war over the spot? So many possibilities...

T-minus 10 days and counting.

Jeff from Kenosha, WI

Isn't this the time of year when all the Packer scouts from around the country come to Green Bay and spend all day every day watching film and have it out? I heard it can get pretty heated.

Now is the time for any strong feelings about players to be expressed so emotion is removed from the equation at decision time.

Mitch from Pflugerville, TX

"Blizzard-like conditions here at the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field for the 2022 NFL Draft." I can see it now...

Maybe Mother Nature would smile on Green Bay for a once-in-a-lifetime event. We can always hope.

Zach from Virginia Beach, VA

Looking forward to seeing Boyle? I think Spoff is trying to stir the pot a bit. That said I liked what I saw last year. We'll see what he can do in his second preseason.

Not about stirring pots. I expect there to be a legitimate battle for the No. 2 QB this year. No one’s being handed that job.

Jim from McLean, VA

In regard to the Majkowski question from the other day, the simple answer to that is there is no way Wolf gives up a first-round pick to sit Favre.

Absolutely. The moment was coming, it was just a question of timing.

Duane from Oak Creek, WI

Do you think there are any more free-agent moves to be made?

I wouldn’t rule anything out, but I could also see the Packers using their remaining cap space for an upcoming contract extension before this season ends.

Todd from Brighton

Podcast soon? New Bose headphones?

We might get back on the horse, or behind the desk as it were, this week. Stay tuned.

Simon from Santa Clara, CA

Still more than 4 ½ months before the baloney stops? Sandwiches for everyone!

Tell Wes to pack extras. Happy Monday.

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