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Inbox: The diamonds are out there

Championship rosters are built in the later rounds

GM Brian Gutekunst
GM Brian Gutekunst

Patrick from Inver Grove Heights, MN

Mike, Spoff, Wes and Hod, I knew you were putting out too much content for there to be just two of you. This explains it.

It's amazing what we can accomplish when we all put our heads together. Good morning!

Karl from Fort Collins, CO

Would it make sense to get a high-quality FA and think of him as your first-round pick, and then think of pick No. 30 as the cream of the second round that rose to the top?

If that's the way you want to look at it, the Packers had like five or six first-round picks last year…and then Elgton Jenkins as a true second-rounder. Not a bad haul.

Jeff from Belton, TX

With multiple teams at the top of the draft willing to entertain offers, do the Packers gamble and trade several picks to move up to get a stud or play it safe?

If I learned anything from Gutekunst's first two drafts as GM, it's to stay alert in the first round. Anything's possible, at all times.

Clipton from Pasadena, CA

I think drafting a WR instead of a run-stopper in the first round would be a mistake. A DL could impact the game far more than a WR. The Packers averaged about 60 snaps/game last year. Assuming an equal number by the defense a DL could have an impact on 50% of the game's plays. ML likes to run half the time. AR targets DA about a third of the passing plays. Factor in throws to RBs/other WRs that leaves few plays for a new WR to contribute – assuming he beats out MVS. Thoughts?

For me, it's more about getting a young, promising receiver in the pipeline than looking for a Pro Bowler in Year 1. As I've said before, I think it would be very beneficial to have a prospect come in the door and learn from Davante Adams at the peak of his powers. You can't go wrong either way, though. I see the upside to drafting a defensive lineman, too.

Paul from De Pere, WI

Who will be the most important Packers player next season? Is Aaron Jones now the face of the franchise?

That may be a tad strong but I imagine Jones will be on his share of covers of fantasy football magazines and season previews in 2020. He's a playmaker and a pro. His time is here.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Although I don't agree, I keep seeing speculation of a QB at No. 30. The Packers last used a first-rounder on a QB in 2005. In the first round, what other quarterbacks have the Packers selected since the Bart Starr era 50-plus years ago?

Rich Campbell (sixth overall, 1981), Jerry Tagge (11th overall, 1972), Don Horn (27th overall, 1967) and Randy Duncan (first overall, 1959).

Tom from Waltham, MA

In Tuesday's II, Spoff explains why packaged picks in Rounds 5-7 are rare by saying "on Day 3, most GMs are inclined to take more swings at the plate to try to find a hit." Doesn't that make packaging multiple 5s, 6s and 7 for a 4 easier for the GM who wants to do it? The GM giving up the Day 3 picks would lose a few swings, but that's what he wants. The other GM would gain the extra swings he wants. No?

You need multiple fifth-rounders to move back into the fourth round, though. Sixths and sevenths aren't worth much on most draft-value charts. The value of picks drops off considerably after the fourth round. There still are a lot of good prospects out there but GMs often have to cast a wider net to find them. For every Corey Linsley and Donald Driver, there's a dozen Day 3 picks who never pan out.

Mike from Madison, WI

In response to Randy from Trophy Club, there is value in those late-round picks. The two that come to mind are Driver and Mark Tauscher. Both were seventh-round picks. I would say they were pretty good. Can you recall any others?

Oh, absolutely. The diamonds are out there. You just need to know where to look. Marco Rivera, Adam Timmerman, James Starks, Johnny Jolly, Crosby, Matt Flynn, Desmond Bishop, Scott Wells and the list goes on and on of sixth- and seventh-round picks who "made it." Sure, the MVPs and All-Pros usually come early on but championship rosters are built in the later rounds.

Jeffery from Milwaukee, WI

Hey Insiders, a couple of weeks ago, somebody in the Inbox mentioned other NFL team media outlets having "Mock Draft Trackers." Just for grins, I decided to Google it to see if it was a thing. I was appalled at how many teams' media outlets track mock drafts. What a waste of time for these outlets to track pointless guessing! Thank you for you guys and the entire personnel for keeping us fans focused on what's important rather speculate on draft picks!

I tip my cap to all the folks out there who spill ink with mock drafts but that's just not my world. Frankly, there doesn't seem to be much interest in most prospects until Green Bay drafts them (or there's a tangible Packers connection). My goal is to put butts in virtual seats; not to pontificate to a sparse arena on subjects fans don't care to hear about.

Kevin from New Milford, CT

So, if Mason Crosby plays three more years with the Packers he can actually break Brett Favre's consecutive games record (he would get to game 256 in the last game of the 2022 season). That's almost unthinkable. What a testament to his talent and longevity! I can't think of anyone more deserving of the opportunity.

I have a lot of respect for the way Crosby goes about his business. He takes care of his body and isn't afraid to drop a shoulder when he needs to on special teams. Only Baltimore punter Sam Koch (224 games) has a longer consecutive games played streak right now in the NFL.

Rick from Fort Myers, FL

Now that Mason Crosby has signed up for three more years, is there even a remote possibility that he could approach the longevity and success of Jason Hanson (Lions)? 21 years and 2,150 points with one team is quite a record, particularly considering how often Hanson was the only player scoring points for Detroit.

It's possible but how about we just get through 2020 first? Speaking of longevity, this year Aaron Rodgers will move into a tie with Brett Favre and Bart Starr for most seasons with the Packers (16). He also has a chance to be the first Packers player to play 20 seasons with the club. That's something to watch over the next five years.

Sean from Glen Ellyn, IL

Here's some fun numbers involving Mason Crosby: He has 22 career tackles including a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. With exactly 600 PATs in 13 seasons, that means the Packers have averaged about 46 touchdowns per season since 2007. He is 8-of-25 on career onside kicks for a 32% recovery rate, well above the average even before the rule change.

The most underrated part of Crosby's game is his proficiency on onside kicks, especially in the previous era. He's a wizard.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Since Aaron Rodgers became the starter in 2008, the Packers have the same quarterback and the same kicker in Mason Crosby, 12 years later. Does any other team in the league even come close to challenging Green Bay for least turnover at these two crucial positions for the same duration of time?

Tom Brady and Stephen Gostkowski. End of list.

Mark from Waukesha, WI

Why is the NFL Scouting Combine always in Indianapolis? It seems like that city gets more than its fair share of college and professional events. It's a nice place, but let's spread the wealth.

Indianapolis has played home to the combine since 1987. It's centrally located in the NFL universe and has tremendous infrastructure to house the event with Lucas Oil Stadium's attachment to the Indiana Convention Center. It's also not a huge spectator event, so no real reason to move it around like the NFL Draft.

Robert from Saginaw, MI

Had seven teams made the NFC playoffs in 2019 the Packers would have hosted the Rams in an NFC Wild Card game. A Packers victory would have given the Packers a second home playoff game during the divisional weekend. As a season-ticket holder two home playoff games is better than one.

If the Packers win the first game, it would inject an extra home game into the area's economy. But you also run the risk of getting bounced right off the bat. From my conservative perspective, the bird in the divisional round is worth two in the wild card…or something.

Mark from Minneapolis, MN

II may have addressed this previously, but if the media happened to have a few free minutes outside of their responsibilities at the combine, are they allowed to watch any of the players/drills? I Googled the same question and didn't see anything. It would be interesting to get II's viewpoint of a particular player or result. The bench press, for instance, looked (on NFL Network) like it was in full view of anybody in the area.

Bench press is in the same area as the interviews, so media are permitted to watch that. They watch the rest of the on-field drills like all of you, though.

Matthias from San Antonio, TX

How would a future NFL expansion work? 32 teams with eight divisions, four teams each is very balanced. In my opinion, the NBA and MLB both have 30 teams with six divisions having five teams each. How would a 17th game work? An extra interconference game?

I have no idea how future NFL expansion would work and I don't want to know. It should stay at 32 teams. Mark Murphy told reporters after the NFL Competition Committee meeting on Monday that the league would have to figure out how a 17th game would work. It could mean rotating against an additional NFC and AFC opponent.

Roger from McGrath, AK

Most it seems, including me, don't like seven-team playoffs. So consider this playoff format: Week 1, No. 6 plays No. 7 to establish the last playoff spot. All remaining playoff teams get a bye. Weeks 2-4 follow the current structure. All division winners and one wild card earn a bye. Top teams are rewarded with two weeks off. Winning retains value, losers suffer but have life. Fans get an extra week of games and are not overstuffed on one weekend. TV and owners would profit. Are you in favor?

I don't think a No. 6/7 playoff weekend would create the buzz the league is looking for. Reading tea leaves, it's pretty obvious the NFL is salivating at the thought of three playoff games on Saturday and another three on Sunday.

Isaac from Oxnard, CA

Great start to II yesterday, guys. Those stating that they should allow more teams in the playoffs and using teams that finish strong are not giving credit to teams that start off strong. Also, adding an extra game adds the possibility for injury which isn't good for the NFL.

The NFL regular season is so important. I just don't want to see that get lost for a few extra dollars and participation trophies. I see the train coming down the tunnel, though, so it probably would behoove me to step off the tracks. Because it sounds like it's coming whether I like it or not.

Scott from De Pere, WI

Wes/Mike: Do either of you think you can run a faster 40 than Rich Eisen? Either way, get the Packers video department on that so we can see the action!

I ran it in 5.9 seconds last year at Titletown and proceeded to pull my hamstring.

Ben from Spokane, WA

Just want to give props to Steve from Alexandria for throwing out "beefy gems." Outstanding.

Almost as good a phrase as "meaty goodness." Almost.