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Inbox: The emphasis on special teams is obvious

The litany of options in the secondary is what’s driving the intrigue

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Packers P Pat O'Donnell

Ryan from Sheboygan Falls, WI

Will Aaron Rodgers be the MVP this year?

I don't see why not. The Packers likely will need Rodgers to help break in some young receivers and guide the offense in its first season without Adams.

Linda from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Good morning, Wes! Are you getting beyond tired of all the what-if draft questions? Who to take and when? Trade up or trade back? This position first and then that position second versus any other possibilities? On and on. I just want the draft to get here. All the speculation is just a waste of time and energy. (And then it starts all over with what they should have done.) I just let the draft occur and hope the picks turn into good choices.

It comes with the territory. There isn't much going on right now, so naturally fans' minds begin to wander. You just don't want them wandering too far. It's the "How many draft picks will it take to trade for Player X?" questions that give me an enormous headache in my eye. Class dismissed.

Ron from Waukesha, WI

Brian Gutekunst needs to pray for patience, not get "itchy feet," control the wide receiver fever and let the draft fall to him. Yes, we all can see the empty chairs in the wide receiver room but there are so many good players in the first round this year and I want to leave that round with two of them regardless of position. Day 2 and 3 plus the post-draft free agent market can satisfy our wide receiver needs. Good plan or do I have too much Ted Thompson in me?

It's a good plan considering the Packers have that proven track record in the second round to fall back on if the value isn't there. Thompson loved Jordy Nelson coming out of Kansas State in 2008, but still traded back out of the first round because he felt he could get better value in the second.

Steve from Ankeny, IA

I'm amazed at the pre-occupation with the 40 times that wide receivers run. Very, very seldom does a receiver simply run straight down field at the snap. Can they get off the line when pressed? Can they adjust to the D-backs' position as they're heading downfield? Can they adjust to the ball when it is in the air? Can they catch it (see MVS)? Yes, an outside receiver needs some speed, but to wring your hands over a couple tenths of a second is crazy to me.

Speed can get in you in the door, but you need a lot more to keep you in the building. Don't get me wrong. Speed is critical but there's also a ball involved with this sport. Back in 2014, Davante Adams ran a 4.56 and you don't hear grousing about it today. The best thing about this game is there's no readymade formula for which prospects succeed and which will fail. GMs and scouts have to do their best to figure out which of the talented players and their respective skill sets will prevail at football's highest level.

Eric from Green Bay, WI

Everyone is talking about the wrong things about Treylon Burks. 40 time? Doesn't matter. Height/Weight? Doesn't matter. WR? Doesn't matter. This man hunts feral hogs with nothing but his dogs and a knife. In his own words, "Guns take the fun out of it." I want that guy on my football team!

I was disappointed Spoff didn't include that in Burks' Prospect Primer. I mean, who doesn't love to go toe-to-toe with a feral animal that could gore you? In addition to his impeccable hunting skills, Burks played a significant role in the Razorbacks taking a big step forward this past year. He's a stud. In addition to dominating against elite competition in the SEC, Burks also possesses the size-and-speed combination NFL teams covet.

Roger from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Morning, Wes! With all the Prospect Primers you do, have you become more "attached" to some of them? Are there a few that you would "really like" to see the Packers draft? Or are you just "neutral" on all of them? (Can't wait to read some background stories on some of the actual draftees.)

I've fallen in love with many of the same receiving prospects that you have. But I also know the Packers won't draft most of them – and perhaps all of them. That's why I prefer to learn a little about each prospect and then dive into the details once the experts make their selections. It's easier to connect the dots once the paper hits your desk.

Michael from Santa Cruz, CA

While the secondary looks stout right now, you still need to replace Chandon Sullivan as that sixth DB in the dime. There's also the expiring contract status of both starting safeties to consider. Could that mean targeting a "cover" safety that could be groomed as a Year 2 starter if necessary? There's a player who wore the maize and blue who fits that profile pretty well.

The Packers haven't drafted a safety since selecting Darnell Savage in the first round in 2019. So, it's totally plausible they look to take another, especially since there are no safeties on the roster under contract for 2023. Even if the Packers don't draft a safety with slot potential, Adrian Amos can still drop into the box, if necessary. The litany of options in the secondary is what's driving the intrigue.

Clark from Machesney Pk, IL

I believe safety/CB is high on my list of draft picks this year, WR and edge notwithstanding. We need a nickel guy, a safety if we don't extend Savage and don't give Amos a second big contract. I think Jalen Pitre from Baylor or Daxton Hill from Michigan could solve both problems and maybe be gunners on special teams. What say you?

I say you and Michael from Santa Clara should talk. Hill projects as a safety. It sounds like he mostly played nickel out of necessity at Michigan. But the guy is smart, athletic, and steady. He finished with four INTs in 32 career games.

Hannes from Glendale, WI

In the past, many defenses committed an extra defender on Adams. This won't be the case in the upcoming season. It is a possibility that early in the season the Packers won't have a clear WR1. How does that affect game-planning for the Packers' offensive staff and what ways do you foresee them trying to somehow take advantage of that?

Adams garnered a lot of attention, especially from the deep safety. But the offense is still the offense. Matt LaFleur and his staff will have to dig into their offensive playbook, but I do think it'll lead to even more motion, misdirection and creativity.

Allen from Arlington, WA

A season or so ago, the Packers drafted I think three offensive linemen, I think mostly Big Ten. Are they all still on the team, and if so, how are they health-wise, and do you see them contributing soon? Thanks, great job with II.

The Packers drafted Jon Runyan (Michigan), Simon Stepaniak (Indiana) and Jake Hanson (Oregon) in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Runyan looks like the real deal. He's successfully made the switch from an All-Big Ten tackle to guard. Stepaniak tore his ACL before the Hoosiers' bowl game in 2019 and missed his entire rookie year. He participated in Green Bay's offseason program last year but retired before training camp. Hanson was on the roster all last season but only played in five games.

Dave from Middletown, CT

Thanks for the Prospect Primers. I don't follow college sports, so the primers introduce me to potential Packers and make the draft much more interesting. Regarding defensive stats, how are QB pressures defined? Does the pass have to be incomplete for the pressure to count? Who gets to make the final determination whether a specific play was an official statistic pressure?

Pressures are a combination of sacks, quarterback knockdowns and hurries, which most define as any rush that pushes the quarterback out of the pocket or forces him to throw the ball earlier than intended. The NFL doesn't have an official tally of pressures and hurries, but its statisticians do track QB knockdowns.

Take a look back at photos of Green Bay Packers G Jon Runyan during the 2021 season.

Matt from Altoona, WI

Mike and Wes, thank you for keeping such a high standard for the Insider Inbox. We learn, we are humbled, and we have fun. I'm curious about your take on the punter from San Diego State, Matt Araiza. He has a huge leg, isn't afraid to make the tackle, and does kickoffs to boot. Do you feel he would be a worthy pickup by the Packers, and if so, in what round? Plus, would this help Mason Crosby's longevity if he only had to worry about field goals? I appreciate your thoughts and insight.

"The Punt God" will get drafted, but I think the Packers made their choice at punter with the signing of Pat O'Donnell. I thought Brian Gutekunst made it clear at the NFL Annual Meetings that O'Donnell's steadiness both as a punter and holder factored into the decision to sign the former Bear. The emphasis on special teams is obvious. This move was intended to create more stability not only on the punt unit but also for Mason Crosby, who's now on his sixth different holder (Tim Masthay, Jacob Schum, Justin Vogel, JK Scott, Corey Bojorquez and O'Donnell) in seven years.

Don from Sioux Falls, SD

Mike, your response to Donald from Imnaha, OR, regarding Mike Flanagan was legit. I would, however like to add Lynn Dickey to the conversation with his dislocated hip and multiple broken leg injuries. Thanks.

Flanagan was a good pull by Spoff, but Dickey fits the description, too. Others that came to mind for me were Teddy Bridgewater, Garrison Hearst, Willis McGahee and NaVorro Bowman.

Raymond from Toledo, OH

You are the GM: Do you trade future picks to Pittsburgh for Diontae Johnson or stick to the draft and free agency?

Stick to the draft/free agency.

Don from Aurora, Ontario, Canada

I recently watched a Packers-Vikings game from the mid-1990s. The players all looked huge with their large shoulder pads and other equipment. Has the decrease in size of the equipment increased the injury risk? Or is today's modern equipment smaller and safer for the players? It was nice seeing No. 4 and 92 again.

Bigger isn't always better. The NFL and its partners have made so many advancements with helmets and equipment. In many ways, it's led to smaller, more efficient, technology.

Brandon from Imperial, MO

Good morning, since the draft is right around the corner and GB is in the hunt for an upcoming draft, what would potentially change in your coverage of the draft if GB were awarded the event? You said you typically aren't there in-person, but would that change if it was a local event? Thinking ahead, what part of the draft would you most like see in-person (other than the first round) or is it potentially just going to be business as usual?

Unless the Packers set up a Spofford dunk tank in Titletown, our responsibilities likely would remain the same. I'm sure we'd have cameras and maybe some social people over there, but Spoff and I are pretty locked into the news conferences with draft picks, which can be frantic.

Jeffrey from Eveleth, MN

Gutsy, please don't trade away our (I'm a shareholder) two fourth-rounders to move up a few spots in the first round. We have had so much fourth-round success. Make those picks!

I'm Biff. Spoff is Spiff. I'm perplexed which one is Gutsy, though. Give me a few more days to figure it out. Enjoy the weekend, everybody.

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