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Inbox: They built it together, brick-by-brick

The competition for the No. 3 running back job will be hotly contested

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Packers running out of the tunnel

Nathan from Philadelphia, PA

According to Appendix V, Article 8 of the NFL CBA, automatic void years do not prevent a player from qualifying for compensatory pick calculations. This was not made explicit in the previous CBA, but the folks at OverTheCap looked into it and determined that it has been that way all along. Otherwise, teams would use that trick all the time to avoid missing out on compensatory picks.

There you have it. I was stumped by this question when Spoff posed it to me Tuesday. The idea of voidable years is a new concept to me. You learn something new every day.

Eric from Mequon, WI

In a world where we see leaks running rampant in politics, in corporate America, etc., we don't have draft board leaks in the NFL. Why is this and what could others learn to protect insider secrets?

Because the scouts who assembled the draft board all had a hand in it. They built it together, brick-by-brick. This is their lives. They want to protect that investment.

Joe from Wausau, WI

Of all the Packers' offensive skill position players, who, other than Davante Adams and Aaron Jones, do you think has the best chance to top 1,000 rushing/receiving yards from scrimmage? AJ Dillon? Robert Tonyan? Marquez Valdes-Scantling? Allen Lazard? Somebody else?

MVS. As challenging as the 2020 season was for Marquez Valdes-Scantling, he finished the year on a high note. If he can iron out some of the wrinkles and be more consistent over a 17-game season, Valdes-Scantling could easily be a 1,000-yard receiver in the NFL…and he may need only 60 catches to do it.

Peder from Muskegon, MI

Hey guys, what in the wide world of sports was Josiah Deguara's injury? Maybe I missed it, but I've never heard the details. It must have been bad with all the hand-wringing about his progress. Thanks.

Torn ACL.

Al from Green Bay, WI

What is the reasonable Year 1 expectation for a player drafted 29th overall? As I ask, I'm mindful that only two of the Packers' last four No. 1 picks were instant starters (Jaire Alexander and Darnell Savage), while Rashan Gary was a rotational player, and Jordan Love was inactive for every game.

Let's allow history to be our guide, shall we? The last five 29th-overall picks haven't been great (Isaiah Wilson, Taven Bryan, L.J. Collier, David Njoku and Robert Nkemdiche), but the slot also has produced Harrison Smith (2012), Nick Mangold ('06) and Nick Barnett ('03), who were all Year 1 starters. So, my best advice would be to keep your initial expectations modest if the Packers stay put at 29.

Michael from Berrien Springs, MI

Somewhere along the way, I missed the Mike Weber pickup. After reading the Packers' backfield article, Weber sounds intriguing. With all the talk of a "motions" guy in ML's scheme and Weber's 4.47 time in the 40, doesn't it sound like he would a real possibility? Like I said, intriguing.

Yes, but the tough thing about the COVID year is we've barely seen any of these practice-squad players and UDFAs. I watched maybe 20-25 minutes of practice each week and it was almost entirely individual drills. While I can't provide much of a scouting report on Weber, he's a credentialed running back. With the Packers likely to add a running back or two next week, that competition for the No. 3 job is going to be hotly contested.

Take a look at the top prospects at edge heading into the 2021 NFL Draft.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

The question from James of Appleton, WI, got me thinking on the improbability that any running back with significant carries would suit up for all 17 games. Will we start to see running backs held out for rest purposes?

Teams could scale back snaps of individual running backs to keep them fresh for the entire year, but I don't see anyone being shelved in meaningful games for "load management" purposes. Coaches just need to be aware of how much their guys are playing and adjust the distribution of snaps accordingly.

Tom from Burlington, WI

"Approved a one-year experiment in an attempt to make it easier to recover onside kicks. In 2021, the receiving team on kickoffs will be limited to nine players within 25 yards of the ball. Last season, NFL teams recovered only three of 67 onside kicks, the lowest total and recovery rate since at least 2001." I don't see how this really does anything to change the success rate, but kudos for trying, I guess?

I'm ambivalent about it. I'm just happy the fourth-and-15 idea got tabled for reasons disclosed in past Inboxes.

Cindy from Mesa, AZ

Good morning! On "Packers Unscripted," one of you thought Billy Turner found his spot at RT, after struggling (comparatively) at RG. The trend for OL seems to be that tackles in college are often shifted to guard in the NFL presumably because it's less athletically demanding. What makes Turner a better tackle than guard?

He can use his footwork and athleticism more at tackle, which I feel are two of Turner's best attributes. That gets neutralized a little inside where it's all power and pad level. Turner still played well inside in a pinch this past season but I really liked what I saw from him at right tackle.

Shannon from Ovilla, TX

If you are Gutey at 29 and the following players are ranked the same and are available, who would you choose and why? Zaven Collins from Tulsa, Christian Barmore from 'Bama, Teven Jenkins from OK State, Rashod Bateman from Minnesota and Elijah Moore from Ole Miss. Give me the pass rusher or QB protector.

I like Jenkins. A lot. If he's available in the mock draft I do every year with this radio station in Florida, Jenkins likely will be my pick. The guy is 6-foot-6, 317 pounds, credentialed and has 33½-inch arms. I don't know where he'd play for the Packers, but I just think Jenkins has 10-year NFL starter written all over him.

Robert from Scottsdale, AZ

Most drafts seem to have one historic bust as a player even though he scores off the charts in the physical components. The Packers have had their share, including Tony Mandarich. Where do you think the blame falls? On the team or the player?

Society. While some players are their own worst enemy – and Mandarich admittedly didn't do himself any favors –many times we like to build prospects up just to tear them down. Like Jamal Reynolds, for example. What did he ever do to anybody other than put on the "G" on draft day?

Nate from Minneapolis, MN

How many season records do you expect to be broken with the addition of a 17th game next year?

Six. Wait, no, five. Maybe six…but likely five.

Dan from Ashwaubenon, WI

What is the chance of having two St. Browns in the green and gold after the draft?

One in 259.

Ed from Des Plaines, IL

Good morning Mr. Hodkiewicz, Mr. Spofford answered Steven's question from San Diego, CA, "What are the Packers missing in order to make it to the Super Bowl?" with "One more win, and playing their best game on the day that win is needed." Thank you, Mr. Spofford! I hope this ends the "one player away" conversations. The Packers have been to the conference championship games and not gotten the job done. Maybe 2021 will be the year they play their best games when needed.

If I've said it once, I've said it twice – football is an imperfect science and what allows a team to succeed one year isn't always going to work as well the next. So, you put together the best roster and coaching staff you can and hope beyond hope that it's enough to win.

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

Can a tender be revoked? I'm not saying this is likely or a good idea, but could a team hypothetically draft a player at a position where they have a tender extended, and if the other player hasn't signed theirs yet, decide then to part ways?

Yes, until it has been signed. But keep in mind restricted free agents (e.g. Robert Tonyan and Chandon Sullivan) must sign their offer sheets by Friday – six days before the NFL Draft.

Matt from London, UK

While people say this draft class is thin, there also seems to be several really good players who didn't play in 2020 and who could fall if teams are hesitant about drafting them in the top two rounds. Seems there could be some real steals available at the top of the third round. Am I crazy in thinking that trading the Packers' late first- and third-round picks for a top-five pick in the second and third might be a good idea?

I get what you're saying but I'd still want to pick earlier than later this year. There's still going to be a lot of ultra-talented players drafted in the top 100. Yes, there will be a few more questions than traditional years but I think the uncertainty multiplies as the draft progresses.

Jarrod from Superior, WI

Hello! Longtime reader here, first-time question. I was re-watching several Packer game highlight videos from the last 20 years or so and noticed that in both 2007 and 2011, the Pack played Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium. My understanding of the current scheduling rules was that every four years an NFC division team played against a certain AFC division. Under that rule, shouldn't the Pack have played the Chiefs at Lambeau in one of those contests? I can't get my head around it! Thanks!

The NFL changed that schedule rotation in 2008, I believe. It's the reason the Packers didn't play at the Oakland Coliseum for eight years. The league switched the "pairs" from the AFC West, so KC and Oakland switched partners, which led to the two anomalies described.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

I know there's no gambling here at Bushwood, but what are the odds Brian Gutekunst actually makes all 10 picks in this draft? I'm guessing it's at least a 20-to-1 longshot given his past propensity for moves.

Call me crazy but I still think Gutekunst makes 10 picks…or at least nine. Gutekunst likes being active during those opening rounds, but I also think Green Bay needs this year's draft class to add depth to the roster after a quiet run through free agency due to the COVID cap crunch.

Michael from Burnsville, MN

When is the latest a fifth-year option can be exercised on a former first-rounder?

I couldn't find an official date for this year but last year's deadline was May 3, prior to the player's fourth season.

Timothy from Cameron, WI

Granted, the Chiefs lost last year's Super Bowl. However, they've been there two years in a row with an offensive-dominated approach and a so-so defense. Perhaps the best approach going forward and into the draft is to find as many offensive weapons as possible? Should the Packers follow suit and complement their offense with two or three more explosive weapons and roll with their current defense?

Timothy, I think you're a year late with your suggestion. You're not wrong, per se, but Tampa Bay reset the field this year by suffocating KC's high-octane offense with a deep and athletic defense. An offensive weapon or two would be obviously welcomed next weekend, but I also don't think the Packers can afford to turn a blind eye to the defense.

Michael from Montréal, Quebec

Greetings II from snowy Montréal. Do NFL scouts invest much time in prospects playing college football in Canada? There never seem to be many Canadian players drafted who play on this side of the border. Are you aware of any Canadian prospects who are on anyone's radar for the upcoming draft? Thanks for your consideration. Stay classy...

The Packers don't have a scout assigned solely to Canada, but several of them take a part of surveying the Great White North, which led to your favorite Alouette, Marc-Antoine Dequoy, signing with Green Bay last year.

Take a look at the top prospects at offensive line heading into the 2021 NFL Draft.

Robert from Verona, WI

I wasn't surprised to see Jamaal Williams identified as the player who would be the best fit for pro wrestling, but before I read the answer, I was sure that Clay Matthews was going to be the pick. It seems to me that he checks all the right boxes, as well.

Clay would be a good pick, too. He even appeared on WWE television in 2011. But I've watched Williams cut a promo or two in the Packers' locker room. If you'd seen it live, you'd be stumping for Williams, too.

Scott from Grovetown, GA

Well, we have the answer now – May 12. So, May the fourth times three be with us. No? Door?

Door.

Rob from Muskego, WI

So, if the Packers draft a QB in the first two rounds, do you end Insider Inbox or just hand in your retirement papers and let someone else deal with all of us?

Tempting.

Rusty from Eustace, TX

Okay, I'll bite. What's determines a Tier 1 or 2 status and where are y'all?

Tier 1 was players, coaches and essential football personnel. We were the other one.

Júlían from Reykjavik, Iceland

Dear Spoff and Wes, I've always so enjoyed the wonderful joshing and "insider" jokes often displayed on II; the sense of GB camaraderie is simply refreshing and heartwarming. On the other hand, I'm assuming you must get the occasional abusive and foul-mouthed letter. You obviously don't publish them, but what kind of percentage is it, and how does it affect you both personally? I'm sure as experienced journalists you can shrug off such stuff, but does it ever upset or disturb you nonetheless?

Here and there, but it doesn't bother me. I've had parents, fans and total randos questioning my very existence for 15 years. You become immune to it. Like Muay Thai kickboxers who dull the nerves in their shins and legs, so it doesn't bother them in real fights.

Clipton from Pasadena, CA

Hi Wes, Wisconsin native but living in LA most of my life. Local news here keeps running stories about how the Rams' draft HQ will be a rented, seaside Malibu mansion with an infinity pool and that a few selected fans will be invited to stay there for three days. As for me, I'd rather spend the draft in the basement of Gary, The Guy With The Nice Lawn At The End Of The Block. Go Pack!

And I promise his garage fridge is stocked.

Eric from St. Jacob, IL

Thank you for answering my question about the playoff roster rule being considered, and which you expect to pass. That was my fourth question answered by the Insiders team. If I have one more question answered, am an Insider Inbox ace? Will that be an option on the T-shirts?

Yes. It reads: "I had my question answered in Insider Inbox and all I got was this lousy shirt."

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