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Inbox: The possibilities are endless for the Packers

David Bakhtiari will go down as one of the best draft picks in team history

S Darnell Savage
S Darnell Savage

George from Milwaukee, WI

Just a comment on Jeremy only being able to do one rep at 225. I found I can do 10 half reps at 225…but only the downward half. Good day gents.

A for effort. Good morning!

Aaron from Maryville, MO

What will we learn from the combine?

Nobody knows if a prospect can play in the NFL but this process does help determine whether the talent matches the hype. A lot of zeros have been added to (and subtracted from) rookie contracts over the years based upon how these events and drills unfold.

Brian from Rockaway, NJ

Spoff's response to Kyle from Appleton's question about ideal body sizes reminded me of some guy named David Bakhtiari  whose weaknesses included not having "an ideal build for an offensive lineman," being "thin in the arms," and even though played tackle in college, a "move to guard is likely in his future." It's a good thing the Packers organization doesn't listen to draftniks and kept him at left tackle to earn selections to two Pro Bowls and four All-Pro teams.

See my previous answer. With how important the position of left tackle has become in the last 35 years, David Bakhtiari will go down as one of the best draft picks in team history. You don't find potential Hall of Famers on the third day of the NFL Draft every year.

Al from Green Bay, WI

There are so many enticing athletes at the combine, but GB doesn't go on the draft clock until 29 selections have been made. Isn't the combine for teams at the back end of the draft akin to going into a candy store with $1 in your pocket, knowing the tastiest candy costs $2?

It's a good analogy but that also doesn't mean all of the tastiest candy is out of your price range. And sometimes you can find a little extra cash in your back pocket to pay for it, like when Green Bay moved up to take Darnell Savage last year. The possibilities are endless for the Packers, and Brian Gutekunst has shown he has quite the imagination.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Anything noteworthy from Indy that makes this combine unique or stand out from years past?

Nothing too major. I did like the shift to early media availability. I'm not sure how scouts, players and agents collectively felt about it, but it gave me all afternoon to write rather than sitting around in the morning and rushing all afternoon.

Josh from Morrow, OH

I would strongly consider using the franchise tag on Bryan Bulaga (assuming they are not close on a deal). Why do you think this tool isn't used very often?

The franchise tag is expensive and sometimes can lead to hard feelings with the player, who cannot freely negotiate among the highest bidders. And unless you agree to a long-term deal that offseason, you're now paying that individual the average of the top five contracts at that player's position.

Kelly from Antigo, WI

When a UFA like Bulaga hits the open market, does he test the waters with other teams and then get back to the Packers to see if there is mutual interest at said number or one close? Or is it a situation where they get the Packers' best number and then take the best offer from a different team if it's higher? Thanks.

Every negotiation is different but the goal of the agent is to get the most amount of money possible for his client. In most cases, the agent will go back to the original team and see if it will better the offer. If the team stands firm, then the bell tolls and player moves on.

James from Chicago, IL

Increased rosters? Will the union want a bigger percent of revenues now? If the cap stays the same and the rosters increase they'll be cutting the pie into more pieces. If I'm the players' union and they're saying there's going to be more players I'm going to demand a bigger pie.

The two things I feel most strongly about are cutting down the preseason to three games to give teams two weeks to prepare/heal for the regular season and expanding rosters. More NFL jobs benefit players and the teams. My hope would be the league would allow teams to add to the salary cap to make financial room for the additional players.

Jerry from Poy Sippi, WI

"Expansion talk should be banned" drew an "Amen." Why won't quality of play in September have a similarly emphatic negative reaction? Seems that the end result of either could adversely affect fan enthusiasm.

One fewer preseason game will not result in poorer play in September, if that's what you're intimating. If anything, it might improve it.

Ken from Columbus, OH

I'm not sure but three games on the same day would likely increase my chance for divorce by 33%.

Thoughts and prayers, Ken. Because out of all the potential changes in the new CBA, I feel like playoff expansion is one of the most probable outcomes.

Dan from Kenosha, WI

Insiders, do you think the rarity of the great left-handed quarterback reflects the reality that left-handed arm talent is more esteemed in the baseball community? Kids who can throw grow up playing both sports and may gravitate toward the one that makes them feel more special.

I could see it. If I'm a left-handed kid with a powerful arm, point me to the nearest baseball diamond.

Dave from Crossville, TN

Thanks for confirming my stance on DeAndre Swift. If he drops to 30, I'm running up to the podium. I'd even trade up to get ahead of Miami. Our offense needs weapons whether they wear No. 88 or not. Enjoy y'all's work.

As a scout once told me, "If you draft for need over the best available player, you'll be left with twice as many holes to fill the following year." That being said, there are times where those two ideals fall into alignment. Aaron Rodgers, Jaire Alexander and B.J. Raji just to name a few.

Dave from Germantown, TN

This question may be moot by the time you read it. If the CBA is not approved before the start of the new contract year (March 18) does the strategy towards free agents change? Will teams be more reluctant to commit the number of years to a contract with the future uncertainty?

No. Russ Ball is one of the best salary-cap guys in the game. Rest assured the Packers will be ready for any possible scenario. All the bases – and hypotheticals – are covered.

Derek from Maple Grove, MN

I know you guys are kind of staying out of it, but it seems to me that the fact that the votes on both the owners' side and the players' side were not unanimous indicates that the CBA proposal is probably a fair deal for both sides. If I'm a player, I would be much more concerned with a deal that the owners unanimously approved. Is there anything in the proposal you have seen that seems lopsided?

The only controversial measure in my opinion appears to be the one players are most split over – the 17th game. I understand both the point of view of vested veterans and the young players. On the surface, I like the idea of every player in the league making at least $1 million in base salary by 2029. But for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. That's why it's important for the NFLPA and its more than 2,000 members to have a conversation about the finer details of the proposal.

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

How surprised are you at the adamant opposition to 17 games by some of the players? Many of the talking heads assumed it was a done deal.

I'm not surprised given the safety concerns and debate over how players will be compensated for the extra game.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

The second "10 things learned" article regarding four Michigan O-linemen referencing Rashan Gary really jumped out at me. Did you guys solicit those takes or did the players naturally mention them? The last interviewee of the four gave insight as to the kind of teammate Gary was viewed as – not just a guy out there but also someone who really wants to play the game.

It's a little of both. Sometimes we ask the players about a former Packers teammate and sometimes they bring them up themselves.

Trevor from Carmel, NY

Do you think if the Packers had won the Super Bowl this past season it would've taken anything away from Ted Thompson's legacy? I'm in the camp that feels Mr. Thompson's contributions are largely unappreciated within the fan base and most of the criticism of his work is unwarranted. Still, I can't help but think bringing a Lombardi home after a huge spending spree would have taken a little bit of shine off his tenure and oversimplified the true reasons for coming up short in the past 10 years.

Not at all. What Thompson did in Green Bay goes beyond Super Bowl rings. He built a smart and solid foundation the team continues to reap the rewards from to this day. And a big reason the Packers didn't spend during a lot of those years were because of how fruitful Thompson's draft classes were.

Ashley from Chicago, IL

Who has been the biggest surprise at the combine?

Quintez Cephus putting up 23 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. I knew the guy was strong but wow. According to my friend Zach Heilprin, that's the most by a Wisconsin receiver since Nick Toon in 2000.

Bob from Rossford, OH

Seeing the photos of Packers at the combine brings up a burning question: What did JK Scott run the 40 in?

A blazing 4.83-second time that was faster than some of the tight ends and linebackers.

Dennis from Parrish, FL

When Lucas Patrick switches to nose tackle what will his number be? Spoff, you teed it up, I took out my driver! Be safe in Indy.

I would like to add Tyler Lancaster at interior offensive line. That was his primary position in high school and he almost played there after committing to Northwestern as an athlete.

Kent from Lewiston, ID

It is clear Packer fans have their opinions on the team's biggest needs in this draft. However, I would like to ask the Insiders what our division opponents' No. 1 needs are? Is QB in play for each considering cap, injury and performance?

If Mitchell Trubisky is the guy, then the Bears need to add another tight end. Trubisky was a different QB when Trey Burton was healthy and fell off when he was not. The Lions are in need of a difference-maker on defense – pass rusher, ball-hawking cornerback, whatever. There's just a dearth of talent on that side of the ball. The Vikings need cap space. Once they clear some, they'll need players to pick up the slack at areas they cut from.

Joe from Eau Claire, WI

Insiders, thanks for all your hard work throughout the year! I'm assuming that most, if not all, the GMs and personnel folks don't hobnob too much with their counterparts during the actual combine testing. But how about the team website/media folks? Again, I'm assuming that over the years both Spoff and Hod have some that you enjoy "touching base" with while in Indy? Thanks again!

Oh, we hobnob plenty with other team website peeps. I actually recorded a podcast on Thursday with Minnesota team reporter Eric Smith for the Vikings' website. Keep your ears peeled for it.

Take a look at photos of Packers players during their NFL Scouting Combine appearances.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

The psychology of color. I noticed many Packer employees wearing black at the combine. Looks great with the Packers' "G." I know it won't happen but how about ushering in a new Packer dynamism by replacing the dark green with black on Packer uniforms? Black with accents of yellow would be so cool. They would immediately have the baddest (is that a word?) uniforms in the league.

The Packers' green and gold are arguably the league's most iconic and recognizable uniform colors. That'll never change, even the small accents. I agree black makes for some pretty snazzy-looking Pro Shop gear, though.

Glen from Summerfield, NC

I noticed a few days ago there were many questions from Eau Claire, WI. Since I went to UWEC years ago, I was hoping I could get a question in. Many of my family members and I made it to the Denver game and were not able to tailgate before the game. We all agreed that for our next game we must tailgate. How many hours of tailgating is needed to give the proper Lambeau experience?

Two hours is sufficient, especially if you haven't done it before, but I'm sure there's also a segment of readers who say be in the parking lot four hours before kickoff.

Gary from Bear Valley, WI

I was at the playoff game where Randy Moss did the fake moon. Why doesn't anyone remember Daunte Culpepper giving Packer fans the bird while Moss was faking the moon?

Birds are everywhere. There's only one moon.

Carolyn from Greenlawn, NY

I found the explanation Coach Matt LaFleur gave for what he looks for in a QB refreshing – natural throwing motion, toughness in the pocket and ability to make plays off schedule. With that said, I'm not ready to see No. 12 retire (or go play for the Jets).

Good thing he's not retiring. As Kobe Bryant once told Lakers fans after he won MVP, "It's been 11, 12 years and we still got many more years to go." It was a fun week, folks. I'll catch up with all Monday.

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