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Inbox: They have a chip and work ethic, too

No team can do everything it wants

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Former Packers G Marco Rivera

David from Janesville, WI

Mike, with the big news regarding the soccer game being held at Lambeau, I didn't see any announcement as to whether Vic would be an honorary captain for Manchester City or Bayern?

I'm going to install blinds on the windows of Vic's luxury suite for that game, just so he can close them.

Woody from Kill Devil Hills, NC

Spoff, "efforting"? It appears that you can make anything a word if you verbize it.

I thought a non-serious answer deserved a non-serious word.

Patrick from Folly Beach, SC

II, over the years that you have covered professional football, in what areas of football knowledge have you grown the most? I have read you guys for quite some time now and you seem to know your stuff. Most writers/reporters fall short.

I by no means consider myself an expert, but I'd probably say I've learned the most about the salary cap by looking at how teams structure contracts, and about X's and O's from watching game film. And the more I learn about both, the more I realize I still don't know.

Jim from St. Paul, MN

Mike, I've seen too many responses from you and Wes that border on being disrespectful to consider your statement truthful. No doubt you're (got it right this time) overwhelmed with inappropriate submissions every day, but to suggest your responses are always respectful is simply laughable. You control who gets in and who does not, and you have the last word, and you are not immune to misusing that advantage. You're as human as all of us, and it often shows.

We must have different definitions of disrespectful, and what crosses the line. A playful jab, scoffed-at opinion, correction of facts, terse disagreement, and/or total exasperation at having one's point misunderstood all come with the territory, and they cut both ways. Anyone who can't handle any of that shouldn't play in this sandbox. But profanity, personal attacks, demeaning insults, questioning honesty/integrity and the like, I have no time for that. I've never communicated with any fan the way the MT5 reader addressed Mark, and I've never published anyone who's written to the Inbox in such a manner, which is what prompted this discussion in the first place. The rest of your objections to this forum are part and parcel of the structure, so I won't apologize for them.

Statham from Pineview, GA

Where do your team needs stack up after WR and pass rusher?

I'd argue interior defensive line and offensive tackle are roughly equivalent needs to the two positions you mentioned, if not a tad more acute than the latter.

Steve from Toronto, Canada

I find it funny how the Packers express wanting to center the offense around RBs Aaron Jones/AJ Dillon after trading the best WR in the game. Even if they draft a WR in the first round, defenses are going to load the box and keep their safeties close, which makes running the ball exceedingly difficult. How on earth can they keep a defense honest at this point? The last three Super Bowl champs all featured at least one All-Pro wide receiver.

If defenses want to load the box against Aaron Rodgers piloting a Matt LaFleur offense, I say let 'em. I'm going to trust one of the best QBs of all-time and a very creative offensive mind to make that work. Deep safeties and the inability to run the ball against that have stopped Rodgers far more often than loaded boxes.

Craig from Cortland, NY

Hey, Spoff! In your response to Dave, you listed the top four CBs in terms of average annual salaries (Ramsey, Lattimore, Humphrey, Howard). Adding Jaire Alexander into the equation, how would you rank them in terms of ability and performance? Are there other CBs that should be in the discussion? What then is the number going to have to be to get an extension done with Alexander? Seems like sooner rather than later is better as the price tag will just keep going up! As always, thanks and GPG!

Sooner is always better than later from the team's perspective, but the player's camp knows what might be in the works out there (like the Howard extension) and likes to see how the dust will settle. The top five in APY are the four listed plus Tre'Davious White, and the numbers range from $20M to $17.25M. Ramsey is a three-time first-team All-Pro, so the Packers shouldn't have to go that high, but somewhere in that top-five range is what I expect.

Benjamin from Bear, DE

I'm a little curious. How does the Eagles' and Saints' recent swap of multiple first-round picks affect the Packers? I gotta believe the Saints are looking for a QB, but are either team in desperate need of an edge rusher or WR that may throw a little ice water on Packer plans?

Receiver is definitely a roster need for the Saints, so (barring more trades) them picking at Nos. 16 and 19 in front of the Packers at 22 could take another top receiver off the board.

Jake from Decatur, GA

What is the conversion rate between 2022 and 2023 picks? Would one of our firsts this year be worth a first and second next year, or would one of our seconds this year be worth an extra first next year? To me, that's one of the most exciting elements of this trade – it seems like enough draft capital both to help substantially in the short term and to grow into a gift-that-keeps-on-giving kind of situation.

I've never gotten a good handle on how future first-rounders are valued. There isn't a hard-and-fast rule or consensus opinion, really, and how the trading team fares the following year – which is impossible to predict – ultimately determines how much that pick is worth. Eye of the beholder, like most things in the draft. I'm sure if the right offer comes along, Gutey wouldn't hesitate to pick up an extra first-rounder like he did a few years back, but I don't see him going into this draft with that as an objective.

Nicholas from Baltimore, MD

With the crazy market for WRs brought on by the league's pass-game friendly trends, do you think that teams needing a WR might descend on those available in this draft like desperate home buyers in today's market? While we've got a lot of early picks, might we get baited into reaching due to a run on receivers early in the draft because of our needs in the position?

You don't learn the GM trade under Ted Thompson without developing discipline. Gutey is his own man, but he will have a plan for different scenarios as they relate to specific positions on the board.

Jon from Andover, MN

I'm not reading anything about Brian Gutekunst's lack of drafting a receiver in 2020. For all his wins in the draft, this has to be looked upon as a significant mistake.

I certainly thought he would and was surprised he didn't. He said at the time the receivers he targeted in the first and second rounds were gone by the time the Packers' respective picks came up. If you look at the rest of that receiver draft from the third round on down – 24 more selections – only two jump out at me as having established themselves to any extent (Darnell Mooney, fifth round; Donovan Peoples-Jones, sixth round). In retrospect, with the early rounds not working out, it's hard to say he really missed out later on.

Marty from New Orleans, LA

This column reads like a perpetual pep rally. There has to be some constructive criticism if there is any hope of pushing the front office to be better. In addition to cheering for their successes, we must also call them on their failures. This sort of balance is what would make for a healthier fandom.

I'm not sure what you want called out here in early April. The Adams trade took place over three weeks ago, and I'm quite certain I said at the time it wasn't the Packers' preferred outcome and they're working to make the best of a disappointing situation. The rest of the offseason/free agency beyond the QB has included bringing back two key defenders (De'Vondre Campbell, Rasul Douglas), extending another (Preston Smith), making necessary cost-cutting moves (Turner, Za'Darius), re-signing the team's best tight end, not signing a veteran receiver (GB's own or otherwise, in my opinion to avoid overpaying given the current market), changing punters, adding D-line and special-teams help (Jarran Reed, Keisean Nixon), and seeing some meaningful depth depart for greener pastures (Patrick, Sullivan), which happens every year. No team can do everything it wants, and plenty of decisions don't pan out. How leadership pivots to mitigate the damage of the inevitable failures and create successes elsewhere is the name of the personnel game.

Michael from Berrien Springs, MI

Hi Mike, reading the Prospect Primer on Devonte Wyatt, it sort of reminded me of the Rashan Gary situation. Gary was not as touted as other D-linemen on his team (mostly concerning sacks, I believe) and I even remember some pundits criticizing the pick. We all know how that turned out. Like Gary, Wyatt is in the shadow of Jordan Davis. That doesn't mean he's not going to be a great lineman. Thoughts?

Georgia's defensive line had three players who all could go in the first round – Travon Walker, Davis and Wyatt. I've read as many as nine players from Georgia's defense could get drafted. They won't all be great, or even good, pros. History and the odds say so. Scouts/GMs study what a player brings to the table regardless of scheme and play calls, how they see those skills and abilities developing, and make the best decisions they can. I don't pretend to know. I had a draft guru tell me the following in April 2019, when I had no idea whom the Packers were interested in: "The player in this draft who has bust written all over him is Rashan Gary." Nobody really knows, even those who do this for a living.

Matty from Durango, CO

It's amazing how different each draft can be. Last year, 4-5 potential starting quarterback first-round picks, this year 0-2. Must make long-term succession planning interesting.

The quarterback position plays a major factor in how any draft unfolds, just as it does with the games on the field. What intrigues me about this draft is there appears to be more depth in the upper rounds on the defensive line than I've heard about in a while.

Christopher from St. Louis, MO

Building off of Mike from San Antonio's question, it should really help the young receiver corps coming in to practice against Jaire, Eric Stokes, and Douglas every day. Great players make other players great. That's an encouraging thought.

The more exposure young players get to the top-level competition they're going to face weekly in the NFL, and the sooner they get it, the better.

Matt from Fitchburg, WI

Hi Mike, this is in regard to Gordon from Newport Beach's question about UDFAs. I assume some of reason UDFAs are more likely to be Pro Bowlers is because there isn't much difference talent-wise between the players drafted in rounds 4-7 and the UDFAs, but the UDFAs probably have an AR-sized chip on their shoulders coming into the league. Maybe they just work harder.

Certainly some of them do, but I wouldn't make a blanket statement to that effect. Sixth- and seventh-rounders turned Pro Bowlers like Marco Rivera, Donald Driver and Scott Wells, they have a chip and work ethic, too.

Dana from Eau Claire, WI

While excited to hear who fills the receiver chairs, also excited to hear stories about the undrafted and underdogs. It's amazing to me what some of these young men go through to make it to the NFL. Have you ever seen one of these guys that you thought would never make the team stick around for multiple years?

It's pretty rare for me to think a guy would "never" make the team, but there's good reason for that, and it dates back to Week 13 of 2006, my first season here. A few days after Thanksgiving, a somewhat scrawny-looking cornerback was added to the practice squad, and in my naivete I chalked him up to an afterthought on a (then) 4-7 team. He'd only go on to play 14 years in the NFL and make a case to wind up in the Packers Hall of Fame someday. Tramon Williams is why I'm very careful with the word "never."

Mike from Las Vegas, NV

You probably don't have this list in front of you, but I'm curious if there were "better" WRs taken in the first round ahead of Jennings, Jordy, and Davante in their respective drafts.

Here they are, in order in the first/second rounds prior to the Packers' picks: Drafted ahead of Jennings in '06 were Santonio Holmes, Chad Jackson and Sinorice Moss. Ahead of Nelson in '08 were Donnie Avery and Devin Thomas. Ahead of Adams in '14 were Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham, Brandin Cooks, Kelvin Benjamin, Marqise Lee, Jordan Matthews and Paul Richardson. For good measure, ahead of Cobb in '11 were A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Jonathan Baldwin, Titus Young, Torrey Smith and Greg Little. To note, Watkins, Evans, Beckham, Green and Jones were drafted in the top 12 overall.

Dale from Prescott, WI

Mike, you gonna be able to attend the Brewers' home opener this year?

Nope, but I plan on going to the second home game, next Friday night.

Chuck from Sun Prairie, WI

I can't wait to read the next NFL Times bestseller "To Kill A Mocking Draft." The real deal can't come soon enough.

Amen, Atticus. Happy Wednesday.

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