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Inbox: The Packers have left no stone unturned

The 2013 NFL Draft deserves honorable mention as one of Green Bay’s best

LB Preston Smith
LB Preston Smith

Marjorie from Roseville, CA

So Wes, with Mike gone, will your lunches be more elaborate and tasty since the chance of theft is diminished?

Let's just say I feel much more secure packing the BIG salad this week. Good morning!

Andy from Verona, WI

Did the new player interview process have any effect on the two of you at the NFL Scouting Combine?

I loved it. Prospects were on time and interviews were wrapped up by 11 a.m. ET each day. From a media standpoint, it was the best setup of the seven combines I've covered. I also must admit I was wrong about the perceived value of moving workouts into primetime. It appears there was a significant jump in viewership.

Forrest from Green Bay, WI

I'm surprised I haven't seen anyone mention the stellar combine Jonathan Taylor had! Posting the fastest 40 for RBs and showing his hands with some tough catches has to improve his initial draft stock. What were your thoughts on the Wisconsin product?

It was beautiful to watch, especially with how much nitpicking Taylor has had to endure recently about his game. I was glad to see his 40 time and measurables underscore his stellar college career. I understand how Wisconsin running backs have been hit-or-miss in the pros but I really think Taylor is gonna be a good one.

Ivan from Little Chicago, WI

Hey, Wes! Just throwin' it up against the wall, or post-combine doldrums, but what if Jonathan Taylor falls to us? He was truly impressive, great character, and never hurt. I don't care about his carries. Just put Aaron Jones in the slot, and run the damn ball. Anything stick?

It would be enticing to draft Taylor for all the aforementioned reasons but I'm not sure taking a running back in the first two rounds is a luxury the Packers can afford. I think there will be a lot of comparable prospects at positions of greater need. I also subscribe to the notion quality backs can be found on Day 3. Heck, Jones and Jamaal Williams are two of them.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

It's a lot of fun reading and watching the prospects for GB in the draft. But after reading, “Five young Packer players to watch” by Wes and the fact that the Packers are coming off a 14-4 season, I realize how difficult it will be for any rookies to start for the team on opening day. Perhaps by the end of the season, but actually that would say more about the strength of the roster than if a rookie were to start early in the season. What are your thoughts?

Rookies need to be ready to play because they're still only one injury away from being out there. Just ask Elgton Jenkins. At the same time, the Packers haven't needed to throw young players into the frying pan as readily as they have in the past. Green Bay could easily wind up with another Darnell Savage or Jenkins who starts right away but I expect the biggest push towards improvement in 2020 to come from the maturation of Rashan Gary and other emerging players on the roster. That was the point of the story.

Bruce from Appleton, WI

Do you think Gary will get more playing time this year because he just did not make a big impact last year?

Yes, he will. And my prediction is this no longer will be a question next March. Gary's time is coming.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Donald Driver had 520 combined receiving yards in his first three years and then seven 1,000-yard seasons. Jordy Nelson didn't crack 600 yards until Year 4, when he had the first of his four 1,000-yard seasons. Even Davante Adams didn't break 500 yards until Year 3. He's averaged more than 1,000 yards ever since. Sure, let's add talent to the receiving group, but might this be the year we see MVS put it all together?

I've been banging the drum to draft a receiver for one reason – to get another talented prospect in there with Davante Adams. Still, the Packers need Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard and Equanimeous St. Brown to take a step for this passing game to improve in 2020. That's the starting point.

Joe from Asbury, IA

Regardless of what it would take to get the player, if you could take any one player from this upcoming draft for the Packers, who would it be?

If I had to isolate one player (who isn't Chase Young-level obvious), I have to say I'm all aboard the Henry Ruggs III hype train. He tested through the roof and I love the college tape. I see him developing into a phenomenal pro.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Two WRs are on the top of your board. One is tall, long and runs a 4.55 40. The other is short and shifty and runs a 4.3. Which one does the Packers' roster need more?

Probably the latter, especially with all the jet motion and sweeps Matt LaFleur likes to build into his offense. A fast, shifty playmaker would add a little something extra.

Bob from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

What is considered to be the best draft the Packers have had talent-wise?

Either 1956 (Forrest Gregg, Bob Skronoski and Bart Starr) or 1958 (Jim Taylor, Ray Nitschke, Jerry Kramer and Dan Currie). The 2005 and 2009 drafts are held in high regard but 2013 also deserves an honorable mention. The Packers drafted the offensive rookie of the year in Eddie Lacy, a four-time (and counting) All-Pro in David Bakhtiari, another eventual All-Pro in Micah Hyde, JC Tretter and signed Lane Taylor as a free agent.

Jered from Denham Springs, LA

Speaking of Terron Armstead. I took my son to his first NBA game Sunday night between the Pelicans vs. Lakers in New Orleans. Terron was in attendance for the game. As they showed his picture on the big screen, I thought about how impressive he was in stature even in street clothes. Not bad for a 6-foot-5 mainstay that ran his combine 40 in 4.71, benched 31 times and weighs 306 pounds. His two Pro Bowls are but just a small sample of what he'll add to an already good football team.

Terron Armstead was the tackle I had my eye on during the lead-up to the 2013 NFL Draft…and then I was introduced to David Bakhtiari.

Take a look at photos of Packers DL Tyler Lancaster from the 2019 season.

Nic from London, UK

Feeling nostalgic, do you think we really grasp the magnitude of how good Charles Woodson was while he was here? His '09 and '10 seasons were bananas, and I still get chills from the collarbone play in the Super Bowl! Having a top-five player on either side of the ball makes such a difference, though obviously it's not easy to get. When we had early prime Rodgers and Woodson, what a treat...

I always understood how good Woodson was but I didn't fully appreciate how incredible his play was from 2008-10 until it was over. Seasons like that don't happen very often, let alone in consecutive years. He brought out the best in Dom Capers' defense and Dom Capers' defense brought out the best in him.

Eric from Honolulu, HI

After the combine, which five players stood out to you the most?

If you can bear with me, there will be a story (with 10 players) on either later this week or early next, depending on any breaking news. We gotta make the content last, guys.

Michelle from Ringgold, GA

How many more years do you think Aaron Rodgers will play in the NFL?

With the way the rules are tailored to player/QB safety, I see no reason why Rodgers can't be the first individual to play 20 seasons for the Packers. And possibly more.

Walt from Skandia, MI

Do you know when the NFLPA is set to vote on the new agreement?

No firm date yet. The league and the PA reportedly were still engaged in talks Monday. I would guess they'd bring it to vote before the new league year but who knows?

Dan from Kanwal, Australia

Hello gents! My question pertains to the franchise tag and Bryan Bulaga. Are tackles paid as tackles or are they paid as a left tackle or a right tackle when it comes to the tag? I guess the answer to that question determines if it's viable to tag Bulaga next season.

They're actually paid as offensive linemen. It's not exclusive to their position. So contracts for left tackles usually move the meter. The exact tag number isn't out yet for O-linemen, but OverTheCap currently has it estimated as $16 million.

Jeff from Brooklyn, WI

What's your opinion if Jalen Hurts is still around at No. 30? Just imagine him learning from Rodgers and staff for four years. What kind of future he would hold?

There are two sides to this QB coin. If a quarterback with a first-round grade is still available, the Packers would have to decide whether to draft/develop him or trade that pick to a QB-needy team coveting the fifth-year option only available to first-rounders. As Spoff outlined a few weeks ago, it's a savvy move by Gutekunst to keep all his cards on the table. You never know what a team might be willing to give up to move back into the first round to grab a QB who falls.

John from La Crosse, WI

Joe Schobert is going to be a free agent. Do you think that the Packers will go after him?

A lot of questions about Schobert and Nick Kwiatkoski. What the Packers do here largely depends on the market that forms for Blake Martinez, those two other 2016 fourth-round picks and Cory Littleton. All four can help a defense. The question is at what price? More than any other position, I'm having a hard time pinpointing what kind of salary all four will command in free agency.

Steve from Middletown, KY

A lot of talk about MLB needing the most attention. How do you upgrade from a tackling machine that set the team record? Besides Martinez was very durable and even played hurt. So far, our other MLBs seemed to have been injury-prone. Will it cost more to bring in one of the top two FAs at that position not named BM? How much will a new player affect the signal-calling while learning a new defense in his first year?

That's the million-dollar question. Because you're not just replacing the player if Martinez walks. You're also replacing the key communicator on defense over the past three years.

Steve from Davenport, IA

Is there any real chance the Packers would actually pursue Austin Hooper?

When Gutekunst was hired as GM two years ago, he said the Packers were going to be in every conversation and he's been a man of his word. No stone has been left unturned. Again, Green Bay can't talk to any prospective unrestricted free agents for another two weeks. But once the negotiating window opens, opportunity is only one phone call away.

Mick from Decatur, IL

If the roster is 53 but only 46 dress for games, how are they paid? Do the ones who sit out get docked on their check? It seems to me if you make the roster, you should be available on game day.

Most players are paid the same regardless of whether they're active or inactive. The only reason a player would receive less is if it's a veteran who had per-game roster bonuses structured into his contract.

Mike from Augusta, GA

Why is Jimmy Johnson's draft value chart the "gospel" for all NFL Drafts? Everything else in the NFL changes, but this chart is still going strong after 30 years. Does Jimmy get anything from the NFL?

Because it was the first widely-recognized tool for determining the (relative) fairness of trades. Scouts have modified the system somewhat over the past 30 years but the general principle remains the same. I'm not aware of any royalties being tossed Johnson's way, though.

Thomas from Cedar Rapids, IA

One of my favorite uniforms was from 1984 when the Packers had a football-shaped oval on the hip with the player's number. It didn't last long, and even though it was during a low period in Packer history in terms of winning, I liked the look.

That was a snazzy look. One small adjustment I noticed this past year was Davante Adams and some other players having their number engrained on the hip pads. I thought that was pretty cool.

Joh from Yakima, WA

"And by the way, how about Canada churning out the NFL prospects as of late?" Do NFL scouts attend the open tryouts that the CFL teams hold?

That's a great question I'll run by Gutekunst at the owners meetings. I'm not sure which regional scouts handle the CFL. The Packers certainly did their homework on the league this past year.

In celebration of Leap Day, Bose and the Green Bay Packers offered 29 fans the opportunity to attempt a Lambeau Leap at Lambeau Field on Saturday, Feb.29.

Remirito from Oxnard, CA

Were Larry and the Rock able to help you guys out at the combine? Appreciate all the info you guys are able to provide us with.

Yes. Both were very helpful.

Mike from Fort Wayne, IN

Wes, besides Fort Wayne, Ind., have you ever wanted to visit some of the places where your questioners reside worldwide?

Australia, Uruguay and Disco (WI). If you go to a place called Disco, you know what's up.

John from Grand Forks, ND

Just wanted to say a massive thank you to the Packers staff on Leap Day. My 7-year-old son and I were blessed to get to do the Lambeau Leap on Saturday morning. The staff was incredible. Leroy Butler is a true Packers treasure. My son was in awe. It was his first trip so it may be hard to top! He thought it was pretty amazing to see himself on the Packers website, as well. He is truly a fan for life! Thank you again to everyone involved. It truly was an amazing memory for a father and son to share!

I'm glad you both had a wonderful time. Butler truly is one of a kind. It looked like everyone had a blast.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

Wes, outside of "high motor," another overused phrase I'd like to see put to rest is so-and-so "isn't getting any younger." I expect they'll be countless articles citing how Rodgers isn't getting any younger this offseason. This brings me to my question. Please inform me of what player actually is getting younger? I would enjoy reading an article about this player, their workout and diet regimen to allow them to get younger in age. Thank you.

The joke's gonna be on the analysts and commentators when a veteran in the not-so-distance future harnesses the power of anti-aging and plays until a black hole swallows us all.

Dan from Rothschild, WI

Wes, your reply about John Kuhn sitting at his desk waiting for an assignment made me picture him sitting there, glum look on his face. And then he sees you coming. He picks up paper and pen, expectantly. Sadness ensues as you walk by, not even looking at him.

Now that made me laugh.

Paul from De Pere, WI

I would think mooning and biking would be about as bad an idea as texting and driving. The potential for serious injury could occur. Do you think you should now post a safety warning for readers of the column?

Just so we're clear, the Insider Inbox does not condone mooning and biking.