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Inbox: There's a lot to manage on the horizon

Premier positions are never off the table

DL Kenny Clark
DL Kenny Clark

Jason from Baraboo, WI

I'm ashamed Mike didn't answer "Hot Cross Buns" when queried on his butt washing song. The quarantine has been hard on us all.

Some blanks are best left unfilled. Hope everyone's staying safe.

Dave from Lake Zurich, IL

If there's no audience at the draft I won't miss the obnoxious booing of Goodell.

Amen. I hope if/when the draft comes to Green Bay, the local crowd stuns the commish with simple silence when he takes the stage. That would be kinda cool.

Mark from West Des Moines, IA

What are your thoughts regarding the Packers' approach to free agency so far?

I think Gutekunst is playing it smart, and reasonably priced additions are the way to go this year. Any high-priced talent is going to greatly hinder the team's prospects for keeping guys like Kenny Clark, David Bakhtiari, Corey Linsley, Jaire Alexander and Davante Adams in the fold longer than their current contracts. There's a lot to manage on the horizon.

Andy from Verona, WI

When a team watches film on a draft prospect, what film do they generally view? Network coverage of the game, the prospect team's game film, something else?

Interesting question. I've always assumed scouts have access to the schools' all-22 film through some sort of shared database, but I actually don't know that for a fact.

Jenn from Peoria, IL

The Patriots just released Gostkowski to save less than $4 million. I've been stuck in the house with young kids so maybe I'm being a little dramatic, but is this the true sign of the apocalypse? Other than Kenny Rogers "foldin' em" in the middle of this, that is. You'd think teams would realize there aren't a plethora of consistent kickers out there after the Bears debacle!

I don't want to jump to conclusions, but Gostkowski did have hip surgery last year, so how that might affect a kicker in his mid-30s could be a factor here. But regardless, with Brady gone, everything the Patriots do in their rebuild will be fascinating to watch.

John from Rhinelander, WI

Saturday's Inbox after-the-game photo of Aaron Rodgers and Brady makes Aaron look much smaller than Tom. I know that camera angles and how close they are to the camera makes a difference, but what is their actual size difference?

Two inches. Brady is listed at 6-4, Rodgers at 6-2.

Jesse from Bonita Springs, FL

Between OTAs, minicamps and other offseason events being disrupted this year, I'd think that certain positions (like CB) may be more valuable when the draft takes place for the first round at least. That's what I like best of Gutey getting OT and LB help so far. I feel people with WR fever will be very disappointed if we do pick one in the first round and there's not instant improvement in that room. I'm looking for improvement in that room coming from Allen Lazard and other in-house guys.

I think the plan is for the room to improve via the in-house guys as well as outside additions.

Zachary from Kathleen, GA

Earlier this year ex-Packer Casey Hayward came to the local mall where I live. He offered to buy $100 shoes for the first 100 students with all A's and B's on their report card. But over 200 showed up. I was near Casey when he was told about the massive number of people who showed up. He said with no hesitation, "I don't want to disappoint anyone. I will buy shoes for them all." I wanted to share the story with ya'll because it's nice to see rich athletes giving back to the community.

Doesn't surprise me in the slightest with Hayward. I know from talking to him when he finished his college degree in his Year 2 offseason that he considered himself fortunate to have the opportunity to go from Perry High in Georgia to Vanderbilt. He never took his scholarship for granted, and it sounds like he's trying to pass that message along in a tangible way for kids in his hometown area.

Mike from Ames, IA

Do you ever want to shout "NOTHING IS OVER!" like John Rambo when someone says "Now that *enter position here* is fixed......"?

Sure, except the movie "John" I more frequently channel is Blutarsky, not Rambo.

Ted from Bruce, WI

More of a comment than question. Now that the Queens traded Diggs, that will most likely mean another wide receiver will be gone before the Pack picks, although they are pretty short in the defensive backfield as well. Seems like they're gutting their team this year.

From the outside looking in, it would appear the Vikings are trying to fix both their cap and their locker room in the same offseason. Not an easy task.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

How much does strength of position count in the draft? Specifically, if there is a higher-ranked receiver available at 30 and a lesser-ranked OT, does the fact that this is a deeper draft for receivers count much so that the tackle is selected in the first round?

That can happen when there's, as they say, "a run" on a position. The degree of difference is what matters. It's never a good idea to leave considerably better players for your competition to draft.

Scott from De Pere, WI

The Packers took the more swings at the plate approach when drafting three RBs ( Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones, Devante Mays) and then the following year with WRs (J'Mon Moore, MVS, EQ). The RBs hit on two of three, and the WRs I would still consider TBD. All picks were later-round picks. This year would you try a similar approach to fill WR or would you use a higher pick hoping for an impact player?

With this being just two years later, a higher pick is in order if the right guy is there, but I wouldn't be against a late-round addition, too. Back in 2018, those picks were made with Cobb and Geronimo Allison both on the team behind Adams.

John from Evans, GA

The Falcons took a big step in their second year with Kyle Shanahan calling the offense. Looking at both teams comparatively, the only thing we seem to be missing is a solid WR2 like Sanu and a shifty slot WR like they had in Gabriel to pair with Adams. I know BPA is the mantra, but I can't help but hope we double dip early in this deep pool of WRs in the draft. Not to mention guys like MVS and Lazard making huge jumps this year. Is it too much to ask for an updated Nov. 7, 2011, SI cover shoot?

Whoa, slow down sir. Build the stable first. One step at a time.

Nate from Bowling Green, KY

Hey guys, just saw the new Rams logo, love the LA, not crazy about the ram head. What are your thoughts on it, and do you think we'll ever see an updated Packers brand?

I'm indifferent on the former, strongly opposed to the latter.

Take a look at photos of Packers RB Aaron Jones from the 2019 season.

Scotty from Lombard, IL

Hi Insiders, the list of quarterbacks we have to face this season is eye-opening. However, please remember those teams have to face our quarterback, which could be the scariest.

I'm not discounting that, but the opponents listed are all getting Rodgers in their home stadium, not having to come to Lambeau. That's what makes me take notice.

Lane from Louisville, KY

The list of QBs the Packers have to face on the road in 2020 is certainly daunting. Brady, Brees, Rivers, Garoppolo, Watson, Cousins, Stafford are all formidable opponents. I'd personally still take our guy over all of them, though. Do you see some of these games as an opportunity for Rodgers to show the rest of the league our record last year was far from a fluke?

I think Rodgers will just be focused on getting as many wins as it takes to give the Packers another shot at a Super Bowl. He's a realist, and he's repeated the mantra several times of winning your home games and splitting your road games gets you to 12-4 and you see where the chips fall. The rest is just for the talking heads.

James from Asheville, NC

The Packers linebacker group has undergone a dramatic makeover, and probably isn't done yet. Even with the signing of Christian Kirksey do you see them drafting in the first few rounds for one, or is this Oren Burks' time to shine?

I can see the Packers drafting one high and hoping Burks or Ty Summers or Curtis Bolton makes it difficult for the rookie to just be handed playing time.

Gary from Davenport, IA

Wes gave a list of his favorite four games from the past decade that were worth re-watching. What are some of the games that you would never want to watch again? I can think of two games in Seattle or any of the three played in California last year as a good starting point.

Aside from those, the season finales in 2017 and 2018 come to mind, as does Thanksgiving in 2013. For Rodgers-played games, the additional list is actually pretty short, which is a credit to him. At the Giants in 2012 and two road games in '15 (at Denver, at Arizona, before the playoff return) would be on it.

Michael from Santa Cruz, CA

The Pack's biggest need positions have been well-chronicled, but I cannot help but feel that drafting a CB high (first two rounds) would be a great move for the defense. JA is set in stone, but everyone else on the current depth chart comes with an asterisk. Kevin King could have a great season and be priced out of the market, or an injury-riddled one and not be brought back. Tramon Williams' status is unclear. Everyone else is unproven. If the value is there, taking a CB early might be the way to go.

Premier positions like corner are never off the table, but you said it, it's about value. No one can predict what the value will look like at 30 or 62 until those numbers are actually approaching.

Matty from Janesville, WI

I think this year FA signings have put the Packers in position to draft the best available. They don't have to reach or trade to get what they want. But, all options are on the table. It's what Gute has done in the past and it's worked out. If at 30, there are ILBs, OL, and WRs available, now Gute can choose the best option versus having to go after need. He keeps all his options open. Smart man!


Jed from Mandan, ND

I feel like a second run-stuffing IDL would make this a San Francisco-like defensive line and top-five defense. I feel like you need some major block eaters to keep the smaller Kirksey, Burks and Smith Bros. free.

As I said at least a month ago now, if the next Kenny Clark is there at 30, I have no doubts Gutekunst won't hesitate.

John from La Crosse, WI

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, do you think that the upcoming NFL season will be able to start on time?

Hope for baseball to be able to have some semblance of a season. If that occurs, football in all likelihood will be fine.

Jim from Fairview Heights, IL

In your opinion, do you think either Robert Tonyan or Jace Sternberger have the capabilities to be the Packers' version of Kyle Juszczyk or do we need to find a true fullback?

Those tight ends are 6-5 and 6-4, respectively. They can handle some duty in the backfield here and there, but that's not the frame you want playing fullback full-time.

Sue from Tomah, WI

Mike, are you seriously old enough to have a son in college? Truthfully, you do not look old enough! Stay healthy, please.

You're too kind.

Dan from Cross Plains, WI

Mike, maybe old classic games does not tickle your fancy but how about ESPN2 this weekend playing old stuff from ESPN "OCHO"? I admittedly watched a couple rounds of the cherry pit spit contest. Who wins in a cherry pit spit-off? Mike, Spoff, Hod or Wes?

Happy Tuesday.