Inbox: The idea is to not be picking this high very often

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Lori from Heredia, Costa Rica

So if Monday is the road trip back to Green Bay, does that mean you switched days so Spoff can type Tuesday morning's II from the back seat? Anything interesting happen during the drive?

Bingo, and Wes didn’t get showered by a leaky gas hose this year, so he’s got that going for him, which is nice. It’s good to be home.

Dan from Rothschild, WI

Watching the combine this weekend made me realize...I need a life.

But we appreciate the support.

Thomas from Nazareth, PA

I've read so many rave reviews regarding the participants at the combine. Do you think this may be one of the deeper drafts in terms of overall quality?

That seems to be the developing consensus. Looking back in three years at the first few rounds of this draft could be really interesting, but you never know.

Todd from Brighton

Am I crazy to believe that at least two QBs will go before pick 12? Am I even crazier to think another team will want pick 12 for third QB?

Not at all, and not out of the question.

Andy from Deerfield, WI

Gutekunst said he was exploring a trade up last year, but stopped at 10 or 11. Interesting how that could have played out. Was it OL or LB they were most interested in the scenario?

We’ll never know.

Photos of DL & LB prospects working out at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis on Sunday, March 3, 2019.

Jordan from Summerville, SC

The edge rusher from FSU checks all the important boxes. He’s a phenomenal, young athlete at a position of need. He’s also got the production to back it up. Lastly, from the organization that drafted Kenny Clark, Kevin King, Josh Jones, and Josh Jackson, I can’t see a scenario where the strong alliteration of Brian Burns doesn’t make him a target on the first round of the Packers’ draft board.

Only a reader of something called Insider Inbox would think like this.

John from Madison, WI

I would love to see edge rushers like Montez Sweat or Brian Burns on the Packers. I'd also like to see the Packers finally get some speed at linebacker with Devin White. Which of these three would fit Pettine's scheme the best?

Any and all.

Zach from Stevens Point, WI

Better name: Montez Sweat or Greedy Williams.

Another toss-up.

Daniel from Albany, NY

Courtney asked about teams drafting players to keep them off of another team. During last year's draft the Eagles traded to get ahead of the Cowboys to take Dallas Goedert knowing that Witten had just retired. TE didn't seem to be a big need for the Eagles at the time, but it felt like a real petty move to make against a division rival.

Or the Eagles had Goedert rated a strong value in the middle of the second round and, suspecting the Cowboys would take him given their obvious need at the position, sacrificed a later pick to trade up a few spots. The Eagles wouldn’t have traded up for Goedert if they didn’t like him, and if they could harm a rival’s potential plans in the process, all the better.

Andy from Verona, WI

When the Packers hold their formal interviews, is the full contingent at each interview or are they forced to spread themselves around and compare notes at a later time?

Anyone they feel should meet the prospect is in on the formal interview, but other scouts and position coaches are conducting informal interviews elsewhere at the same time.

Jered from Denham Springs, LA

II, would you say that with having the luxury of two first-round picks it is more important than ever for the Packers to hit on a home run-type player than in the recent past? They haven't drafted this high since 2009. So are the stakes higher?

I think that’s a message I’ve continued to send. The idea is to not be picking this high very often.

Dean from Sandusky, OH

Welcome back. Hope you enjoyed the combine. Which players do you feel may have jumped up on Gute's draft board after their combine performance?

Couldn’t tell you. The interviews are going to have a greater impact on his draft board than combine workouts, I suspect. But I will say the testing numbers put up by these guys on the defensive front, and the tight ends, were real eye-openers. They confirmed the top half if not top two-thirds of the first round will be loaded with big-time athletes whose college tape and production had them rated up there already.

Jeff from Madison, WI

Everybody is ga ga over LaFleur. I've seen it all before, Bengtson, Starr, Gregg, Devine, Infante, Rhodes. I'm afraid we have responded to a bunch of nonsense perpetuated by shock reporters, and we are headed into a new 24-year drought, with only a handful of winning seasons, let alone playoff appearances.

Spring is right around the corner. For some.

Dennis from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Six reasons I'm optimistic about the Packers: 1. Aaron Rodgers will be back to being Aaron Rodgers; 2. The defense will make big strides in Year 2; 3. Multiple second-year players take big steps forward; 4. Two first-round picks in the 2019 draft, and six of the first 118 picks; 5. BG's willingness to utilize free agency to fill holes; 6. Newness! New coaches, new offense, new players, and fresh energy. Seven is my favorite number. Give me one more reason for optimism!

7. Jeff from Madison is now angry at someone else.

Waynerd from Luang Prabang, Laos

I am curious about what kick and punt returners are available in this year’s draft. I only know Tony Pollard, a RB/WR from Memphis. Do you know of any other players available in this draft? The Packers surely must upgrade this area of the team.

I had an interesting conversation with receiver Greg Dortch from Wake Forest, who happened to be at an interview table with no one else around. He was genuinely grateful to get a combine invite, and he agreed there seemed to be more of the smaller, slot receiver/returner types in Indy this year. I guess we’ll see what that means come late April.

Kimm from Shakopee, MN

Mike, not sure what the actual stats were, but it seemed like a lot of our QB pressures/sacks were coverage-related. Our DBs did a great job, but even the best of them can't cover forever. I feel that we seriously need a playmaker on the edge and am really hoping we can find one in the draft because they are awfully expensive in free agency. Really enjoyed the combine coverage and what you guys do every day.

I’m not sure about your claim of coverage sacks. I felt a significant portion of the sacks were schemed up by Pettine, and I don’t know how much that type of production can be counted on in Year 2 with similar personnel. At some point, you have to be able to drop seven, rush four legit sack threats up front and get home.

Bob from Sydney, Australia

Gute said he has a lot of early draft capital, so he should be able to move around to get “his guys.” We've been told it's a deep draft for players on the defensive front. Can you see the Packers picking multiple edge players in the first four rounds, or are there too many needs across the rest of the roster?

I could see multiple, sure.

Mike from New Orleans, LA

Everywhere I look I see articles and comments about how the Packers need to upgrade the RB position. Some say get Bell, some say the draft, but the message is the same. While I understand the Aaron Jones has had his injuries, I really can't comprehend this thinking. Jones has proven to be a beast, and Williams is a stud in pass protection and can shock defenses with the run. This is not to say I wouldn't welcome another dynamic player at RB, but I also don't see this to be a weakness of the team.

I wouldn’t call it a weakness, but an oft-injured position needs more if LaFleur’s offense is going to ask more of the backs.

Collin from Omaha, NE

What do you think is more likely, we use both of our first-round picks on an edge rusher, or we take an edge at 12 and the best available tight end at 30? Are Hockenson or Fant likely to be the BAP at 30 if they are still available?

I firmly believe a defensive blue-chipper will be there at 12, but I don’t think either of the Iowa tight ends will be there at 30. Hockenson wasn’t going to be anyway, and I think Fant’s 4.5 greatly reduced the odds on him lasting that long.

Gary from Oregon, WI

Best late-round pick since Donald Driver?

Strictly seventh round? Probably Mark Tauscher, the very next year after Driver, then Scott Wells and Matt Flynn. If you want to include the sixth round as well, then Corey Williams, Desmond Bishop and Mason Crosby enter the discussion, with an opportunity a few years from now for Equanimeous St. Brown to earn consideration.

Drew from Croton-on-Hudson, NY

Do you have any insight to share on why some players seem to do better in the NFL than in college? An example would be somebody like Dorsey Levens who was a backup in college, but a star in the Packers ’96 Super Bowl run.

Usage by a college coaching staff, physical maturity, full commitment to the sport, and/or any number of personal factors in a player’s life. You never know.

Matthew from Port Clinton, OH

How would draft strategy change, if the draft was held BEFORE the free-agent period began? Would needs change?

Of course, and BAP drafters would love it. All the needs drafters would end up leaving even more higher-rated players on the board because they’d have fewer needs on their radar in the early rounds.

Dan from Chicago, IL

All this talk about the Packers needing an edge rusher and the draft being so deep, would it be feasible for the Packers to trade back in the draft to pick up another pick and still get a top edge guy?

Careful. Depth at a position throughout the draft doesn’t tell us how many “top” guys there are.

Kyle from Osceola, WI

Second-level Hypotheticals would be a pretty good band name, don't you think?

Only if Wes is on the keyboard.

Jeremy from Chicago, IL

Living in Chicago, I get to see a lot of Bears news. I know our media is biased towards them, but they are looking really strong next year. What are three things the Packers need to do to come out on top of an even stronger Chicago next year?

Win the turnover battle, win the turnover battle, and win the turnover battle. That’s how you beat the Bears.

Nate from Naples, FL

I’ve read the NFL will consider following the AAF’s example and add a “sky judge” official. I’d be in favor of this idea, so long as they don’t call it a “sky judge.” I cringe every time I hear an announcer soberly say “sky judge.” It sounds like an obscure deity. What are your thoughts on adding a booth official and what should his/her official title be?

I’m all in favor, and pardon my pettiness, but right now anything that annoys someone in Florida as I return to sub-zero wind chills also gets my vote.

Craig from Appleton, WI

Is the combine more about determining what a player does well or what he doesn’t do well?

It’s mostly about finding any hidden health issues or personality warts. The on-field stuff is about getting comparables on pure athleticism.

Fred from Appleton, WI

Hey guys, when you get questions about Packer players from years ago or even players from other teams and you come back with details about passes caught, yards gained, All-Pro players, etc., do these statistics usually come from the top of your head or do you have to look them all up all time? If so, it must be quite time-consuming for you two. Just wondering.

Knowing where to look is half the battle. Any stats in my head I also do my best to confirm if I have even a scintilla of uncertainty. The next time I write this column without looking something up will be the first time.

Team photographer Evan Siegle shares some of his favorite images of the 2018 season.

John from Twin Peaks, CA

I noticed the coach wearing his backpack with both straps. When did they stop wearing one strap and start two-strapping? Makes me feel old.

Wes double-straps it all the time, too. I don’t get it.

Steve from St. Croix Falls, WI

Once the combine is over, what are the next steps for the Packer scouting staff in preparation for the draft?

They’ll have a series of meetings to take all the Indy info and adjust the draft board as needed. Then some will scatter to hit the campus pro days while others will arrange and handle the pre-draft visits. There’s really no rest between now and April 25.

Bob from Riverside, CA

Thank you, Larry, Wes, and Mike for the great coverage of the NFL combine. What was your favorite moment (or two) of the combine this year?

Work-wise, it was interviewing Nasir Adderley, with Wes’s impersonation of Larry’s “good o’ the whole” a close second. Non-work? The ribeye I enjoyed at Hyde Park and the local amber beer a great bartender recommended at Yard House. Both top-notch.

Bryce from Sullivan, IN

After all the buzz around the combine how are we supposed to wait until August to watch football again?

Hang in there. Tomorrow is officially 50 days until the draft.

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