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Inbox: There's no telling

The Packers were suddenly right in the game

RB Aaron Jones
RB Aaron Jones

Mark from Atlantic Mine, MI

I know it serves no good purpose, but I wish I knew what teams were after what players, who they lost to another team picking before them. Everyone states, "Oh, we are so happy with our picks," but in reality there surely are disappointments and players most coveted that were off the board that they felt would be there. I guess this isn't a question, but really, don't you wonder too?


Jim from Arkdale, WI

Hello II. Is rookie camp open to the public, reporters or you? Do we get outside first impressions other than coaches?

The media has access to rookie minicamp, but it's not open to the public.

Joey form Norfolk, VA

Which Packers draft pick do you think will stand out the most this upcoming season?

Wes and I covered a lot of this territory on our latest "Unscripted."

Steve from Lake Stevens, WA

Of all the picks is there one that stands out to you as the most "ready"?

I see the Packers potentially getting immediate help in games from multiple players in this draft class, but that doesn't mean they'll actually be "ready." I need to see young players in pads working 11-on-11 in training camp before making those types of comments or comparisons.

Brett from Madison, WI

Wow this Kenneth Odumegwu looks incredibly athletic. Just him getting here feels like an amazing story. Can you give us a little more detail on the International Player Pathway program?

I honestly don't know how the allocation process works, but the Packers will get an extra spot on their practice squad this year in order to keep him around if he doesn't make the 53, and he'll be eligible for game-day activations like other PS players.

Brock from West Lafayette, IN

Good morning! With the schedule likely coming out soon, do you have any predictions for what the opener might be or is there a matchup you would love to see to open Green Bay's season?

I'm with Wes in that I hope it's at Lambeau Field for the first time since 2018 (and just the third time since 2012). But there isn't a home opponent that jumps out at me as an obvious Week 1 choice.

Mike from Baraboo, WI

Passing on (pun intended) the best WR in the draft for a defensive player with potential upside seems like a questionable move. Will both of these players be compared in the years to come?

Of course, but that's the nature of the draft. The Packers passed on Jaxon Smith-Njigba, as well as Broderick Jones, Dalton Kincaid, Calijah Kancey, Myles Murphy, Bryan Bresee and a host of other first-rounders many thought could be drafted higher than they were. As my grandpa used to say, "Pay your money and take your choice." That's how it works.

Dennis from Parrish, FL

I have read up and studied the two tight end draftees. In 10 years, when we look back at two winding down careers, is there anyone who would be shocked if Tucker Kraft ends up with a similar but better career? Not me.

Again, welcome to the draft, because there's no telling. In 1999, the Packers used their first three picks on defensive backs, and the third one (Mike McKenzie) turned out to be the best one. In 2017, it was three running backs in a span of five Green Bay selections, and the second one (Aaron Jones) has been the best player. In 2018, it was three receivers within five picks, and again the second one (MVS) was the best of the bunch.

CJ from Cedar Rapids, IA

What happens if between now and next year's draft the Jets trade away their first-round pick and Rodgers plays the required amount for us to receive the pick?

The pick is a conditional second-rounder that could become a first, so the Jets are required to hang onto both picks until the conditions determine which one they're surrendering.

Don from Manassas, VA

If one of the undrafted college free agents that just signed a contract with Green Bay makes the final 53, does he get a new contract with a salary increase?

No. That's his contract. If he gets released and re-signed to the practice squad, that becomes a different contract.

Kal from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

I'm sorry, are you considering Rashan Gary a good pick at 12? He may be some day. As of right now all I see is an average player. Tell me what I am missing. Did he go to a Pro Bowl and I missed it? I mean he has been alright but far from a shining star. Tell me what makes him a good pick at 12? GPG How many Pro Bowl players have we drafted in the first round over the last six years?

Gary was on his way to a double-digit sack season last year, with six in the first nine games, when he got hurt. Plus he had a couple other sacks nullified by ticky-tack downfield penalties. He had 9½ sacks in 2021 and was a wrecking ball in the playoff loss to San Fran. His progress was steady and evident from Day 1 (until the injury), and he was the defensive player opponents game-planned around last year more than any other. Alexander and Clark may be the only first-round Pro Bowlers drafted here in the last several years, but Gary is not an "average player." Far from it.

John from Lansdale, PA

Mike, two scoring drives that kept them in the game? That is revisionist history. The game was well in hand and the Eagles were resting starters.

I guess this is "defend myself" day. The Eagles may have been playing a little soft on defense protecting a two-score lead, but they absolutely were not resting starters. The safety Christian Watson burned for the TD was the same guy who intercepted Rodgers earlier that night. That score cut the deficit to seven points with nine minutes to go, and the Packers were suddenly right in the game. The field goal later gave them a shot at an onside kick with a minute left, again down by seven. The problem was in between those two possessions the defense allowed a 10-play drive that took 6:44 off the clock and the Eagles got a field goal to go back up two scores.

Michael from Seattle, WA

I see some various media members reference to Jordan's film being rough in his first start. I feel like I am living in an alternate reality because Jordan, on exactly one practice and one walk-through, went into one of the most hostile away environments in his first start and faced one of the highest pressure rates I've seen in a decade and performed at the same relative performance as the two-time MVP, two-time Super Bowl-winning Patrick Mahomes. Do you believe his film was as rough as most believe?

Yes, it was. The Packers' defense did yeoman's work against Mahomes & Co. that day and it's too bad it went for naught. But the Chiefs just kept coming after Love with everything they had on third down because the Packers had no answers for the blitz. That wasn't just on Love, though. LaFleur admitted it was on him, too, from a game-planning and play-calling perspective. The film was rough, and that day was an offensive failure with a lot of blame to go around.

Scott from Pewaukee, WI

It's early, very early in fact, but how many opening-day starters do you potentially see from this Packers draft?

If Gary isn't back for Week 1 and the Packers open in a three-receiver set, then I'll say potentially three.

Thomas from Cedar Rapids, IA

I won't ask you to name names (and risk getting blacklisted at Hop Sing's), but do you care to make a guess as to how many rookies will be on the gameday roster for Game 1?

On the 46? I'll say minimum five and maybe as many as eight.

Joe from Wausau, WI

I see the Packers as having improved the team with this draft primarily in two areas: On defense their ability to rush the passer from the inside, and on offense their ability to attack the middle of the field in the passing game. Don't know if they went into the draft with those as top priorities, but I like it.

Me, too. The most disruptive path to the QB is up the middle, and the most direct route to the end zone is through the middle.

H.R. from Henderson, NV

Different times, different circumstances, and (mostly) different teams. But what makes the Jets believe they can do with all these former Packer players that the Packers couldn't do when they were all here? Is Saleh's defense that much better than the Packers were in 2020-21? Is that offense any better than what we had here those two years?

I guess we'll find out. The Jets feel Rodgers can get them to the playoffs, and then they can take their chances just like everybody else, which included the Packers in '20 and '21.

Noah from Derby, KS

Assuming ARod sticks around, what is the next year we might play the New York JetPacks?

If the Packers and Jets finish in the same place in the standings in their respective divisions this year, the Jets will visit Lambeau in 2024. Otherwise, the Packers are traveling to Jersey in 2026.

Check out photos of the Green Bay Packers' 2023 rookie class arriving at Lambeau Field on May 4, 2023, for the start of rookie minicamp.

Mark from Carlsville, WI

My question is will the average fan notice the difference on the field between the AR-influenced offense and more of a pure ML offense?

My suspicion is yes, in terms of under-center snaps and usage of pre-snap/jet motion. But we shall see.

Rich from Grand Rapids, MI

Among the selling points of the Shanahan offense is pre-snap movement to identify D calls and QB movement to one half of the field, simplifying the QB's job by limiting reads. These gradually faded from ML's gameplan, reportedly due to 12's preference for less of both. One advantage GB now has for the first quarter or so of 2023 is very little film for the DC of other teams GB plays in the first 4-5 weeks of the season. I expect a fairly different GB offense than that from 2021 and 2022.

I don't know how much of an advantage it is early on when the Packers have so many young, new pieces to incorporate. Could be some give-and-take there. I will say I also expect a different GB offense in the first month of 2023 compared to the last. The coaches have to find out who does what best with Love calling the signals and build from there.

Mark from Missoula, MT

When Rodgers took over for Favre, one area where I hoped for improvement in was the interception rate. I think we can say that improvement happened. I tried to find one thing Rodgers had a penchant for that I'd hope Love could improve, but all I can really come up with is the time it takes to gel with new and rookie receivers. Is there something from Rodgers' lesser-known tools you'd take a noticeable improvement by Love on?

Meshing with young weapons certainly ranks up there. The other thing that comes to mind for many fans would likely be Rodgers' penchant for taking the play clock all the way down to zero and often not being able to preserve key timeouts.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

The three compensatory picks for 2024 sound about right. They've been referred to as compensation for Lazard, Lowry and Reed. How is Tonyan not part of the mix?

Right now Tonyan's contract is right on the edge of being worth a seventh-rounder or dropping out of the formula/equation.

Donald from Philadelphia, PA

Following up on a question from yesterday, what is the highest compensatory pick the Packers have ever been awarded? Who was it for and who did they get? And finally, in your opinion, did it work out well for the Packers?

According to my research (which could be wrong), the highest compensatory pick the Packers ever received was No. 93 overall, a third-rounder, in 1996. They used it on CB Tyrone Williams, which turned out to be a darn good pick. Back then, I'm not sure the formula was the same in terms of tying compensatory picks to specific free agents lost, but the most significant free agent the Packers lost the previous year was Bryce Paup.

Scott from Noblesville, IN

This is to compliment Cliff on yet another, amazing and educational Thursday article, especially the piece on Emlen Tunnell. Thursday is easily my favorite day of, especially during the offseason. I would, however, also like to add a possible reply to Dustin from KC's question about potential Packer "30 for 30" subjects. Even if not compelling enough for ESPN to undertake, I think a documentary about the journey of Samkon Gado would be quite enlightening.

I was with for all of one game of Gado's career, the 2006 opener before he was traded to Houston. So I didn't know him well, but he still remains one of the genuinely nicest human beings I have ever encountered in this business.

Dan from Toledo, OH

With the draft over I think 99.9% of Packers fans would now admit they are glad we didn't give up that second-rounder for Claypool. Hopefully we remember that going forward.

Preach it, Danno. With that I'll let you know that I've got Saturday's column as well before Wes takes the first two next week. Happy Friday.

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