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Inbox: They must be put to good use

Teams are always on the hunt for those

Former Packers LB Clay Matthews
Former Packers LB Clay Matthews

Primo from Portland, OR

Good morning! I see you are hiring a junior reporter aged 5-14 to interview players. Will a child this young be spared from having their lunch stolen by Spoff?

Hey, I may be sneaky, but I'm not mean.

Ray from Owensboro, KY

Have you been watching any of the XFL or USFL and what do you think of it?

I'm also not that bored.

Donna from New Auburn, WI

I have a comment rather than a question. Aaron Jones is a true Packer. Had his contract restructured and didn't want to get too greedy. Stated he's a team player and will always be there for his new quarterback Jordan Love. Gotta love this guy.

Wes’s story on Jones from the Tailgate Tour sendoff reiterates everything we already knew about him. I'm grateful, for the team and for him, that he received good advice from his agent when the Packers wanted to rework his deal.

Dana from Eau Claire, WI

What characteristics do you see in Love that "could" make him a great QB?

He has the arm, and his even-keeled demeanor I believe will serve him well. From what his teammates have said, the leadership qualities are there, too. In practices and limited game action, progress has been evident with his awareness, poise and command of the offense, but the rest of that growth has to come from playing real games, week after week.

David from Janesville, WI

Gents, I think the next two drafts will provide an exceptional opportunity to affect the team moving forward. After years of drafting near the end of the rounds, we find the Packers in the middle. Even with a "successful" first year under Jordan Love, odds are we'll be in a similar position for next year's draft. Add to that some capital that will be coming from the Jets in both drafts and the opportunity is beyond what we've been accustomed to. This can be where a title run foundation is laid.

The extra pick from the Favre trade in 2008 was used to move up in 2009 to draft Clay Matthews. Whatever resources the Packers acquire in this transition, they must be put to good use.

Mike from Baraboo, WI

Once the Aaron Rodgers trade is finalized, this year's draft will be scrutinized more than any Packers draft in years. Do you predict the Packers will stick with drafting the best player on their board, or drafting the best player that fills a current void on their team?

If you've followed how this team does business, you know the answer to that.

Eric from Bangkok, Thailand

Hi, fellas. Very fascinating article about NFL draft analytics was linked in a recent ESPN article and it really got me thinking since I'd never thought of the draft through that lens. It reminded me of "Moneyball" and the account of the A's building their baseball team. It basically showed a big cost benefit of choosing an OT, DE, or DL in Round 1 and definitely not a S or TE. How much do the Packers use analytics during the drafting process versus just scouting players and team need/fit?

Every team is aware of the positions that are generally considered "safer" picks in the first round. But games are won and lost by the stars, the true difference-makers, the guys who tilt the field, and teams are always on the hunt for those. There are only so many in each draft, and if your evaluations point to a difference-maker, leaving him for the competition to draft is not ideal.

Ray from Phoenix, AZ

OK, I reluctantly yield to not taking a tight end in the first round, unless we have two first-rounders. That brings up what will be the best player on the board when GB selects. With all I have been reading, my selection would be Lukas Van Ness from Iowa because of his versatility. Reports say he has a very quick and explosive first step as an edge rusher but has the strength and that quickness to also play inside. We all know Gute and versatility. Is the data on Van Ness correct?

That sounds accurate. Van Ness is one of those prospects with so little college experience but so many physical tools that his value is all in the projection, and different teams might project him to become different players, so to speak. We have a Prospect Primer coming on him later this month.

Mike from San Diego, CA

I, for one, can think of no better way to create one of the best running games in the league than by taking one of the best running back prospects available in Bijan Robinson, No. 13 overall (see what I did there). How would you feel about the Packers taking a running back early in the draft?

If they feel Robinson is the next Barry Sanders, then sure. But otherwise, productive running backs are easier to find later in the draft than other positions where the Packers have more acute needs.

Nate from Manitowoc, WI

With AJ Dillon in the last year of his contract, do you believe the Packers will take a running back in the later rounds?

That feels more likely to me, especially with Aaron Jones under contract for just two more years, too.

Jeff from Lake Forest, CA

I'm curious how far you guys think the stock of someone like Jalen Carter has fallen, if at all, with his off-the-field stuff. The legal issue aside, I think the weight gain and not being able to finish his drills at his pro day may have hurt his stock even more. Or is the upside still just too high and he'll still easily be a top 5 pick? I'm sure some team thinks they can rehabilitate him.

Your guess is as good as mine at this point. I don't think anybody knows except the teams themselves as they finalize their draft boards.

Jacob from Menomonie, WI

Who is the Packers' biggest draft bust in the last 20 years?

It's probably a toss-up between Justin Harrell and Ahmad Carroll. Make it 25 years and then Jamal Reynolds and Antuan Edwards are in the mix, too. I don't see the point in ranking them.

Steve from Toronto, Canada

If NFL teams can only be scheduled for five primetime games, then does that also apply to flex scheduling as well? Or does that only apply to the initial schedule as it's released?

Only the initial schedule.

Chuck from Gold Canyon, AZ

Top of the morning, Mike. Do you think not having a projected HOF QB will lead to home teams being more likely to sacrificing a home date against GB for an overseas game, or is Packer Nation still too much of a draw to stop this from happening?

History says the latter.

Jim from Midlothian, VA

Follow up to Terrance's question on what the Packers can do to help the transition to Love. Assuming the opponents have and study the film from the KC game in KC, the film suggest opponents blitz Love often and play man coverage. Does one of the better running games (emphasis on runs vs. releases to the flat by a back) together with one of the better O-lines mitigate this strategy?

The running game helps mitigate blitzes by staying out of third-and-long. But honestly, I don't know if Love will ever see as many blitzes as he saw that day at Arrowhead. The shortcomings didn't all fall on Love. The Packers as an entire offense had no answers for the blitz that day, so the Chiefs just kept coming, fearlessly. Love probably learned more in that first NFL start than he'll ever learn from a single game again.

The Packers Tailgate Tour continued on Tuesday afternoon with visits at both Wausau West and Eau Claire Memorial High School to speak with students and athletes about the importance of a positive culture and goal setting.

Al from Green Bay, WI

In his first four years as Packers head coach, ML's success was somewhat discounted. After all, he had an MVP quarterback under center. What will we learn about Matt LaFleur in the upcoming season?

I don't think LaFleur is going to change much, if at all, as a leader. He's shown what kind of leader he is, and he's going to be true to himself. I've maintained all along we'll learn more about his offensive scheme in its more pure form. I also suspect the fact that he's adapted his system once to a QB's strengths was a valuable learning experience he can draw upon as he does so again with a different, albeit much younger, QB.

Craig from Milwaukee, WI

Do you think the Packers need a veteran WR?

It would help, but I believe the cap situation is dictating they be patient for the price to drop.

Ian from Kirkwhelpington, UK

Gents, normally you explain the bottom of the 53-man roster is made up of young players who will play ST. This year, we have established ST players already. Does Gutey package up his Day 3 draft picks to trade up for guys who should make the first 40 roster spots rather than keep them for guys who might make the last couple of spots?

I don't see it that way. With the expanded practice squads here to stay, there are so many more avenues to develop players. Also, while it's tempting to bundle up a bunch of late picks to draft the next Aaron Jones in the fifth round, having more opportunities in the late rounds to find players increases the odds of a significant payoff or two. Remember, the Packers had two fifth-round picks in 2017, and Jones was the second selection of the two.

Roger from McGrath, AK

Mike said that there are 10 minutes on the clock between picks, but doesn't that change depending on the round?

Yes, it drops from 10 minutes to seven for the second round, then five minutes for rounds 3-6, and finally four minutes for the seventh. The question I answered pertained specifically to the first round.

John from Livermore, CA

Morning gents, how do you think the OBJ signing in Baltimore impacts the Rodgers situation?

Not at all. The Jets might've been interested in OBJ, but not at the price the Ravens paid.

Matt from Clarkston, MI

To finalize the Packers-Jets trade, my money (not at Bushwood) is on how the draft falls on Day 1. If the player(s) the Jets are targeting aren't available at 13, then they trade first-round picks. If the player is there, the Jets make their pick and GB gets the two second-rounders.

That's a plausible scenario, but if you're suggesting all the Packers are going to get for Rodgers is a move up from 15 to 13 in a first-round swap, no way.

Mike from Cascade, ID

Hi Mike, although I don't put a lot of faith in mock NFL drafts, it's interesting to me that two of the ones I've seen have the first four picks being QBs. Do you think that if it turns out that way then it will present more opportunities for the Packers' first-round pick, at positions they are targeting?

I don't know if the first four picks will be QBs, but if all four top QBs go in the first 14 selections, that'll help the Packers for sure.

Paul from London, UK

I realize there's no gambling in the II but we've one of our biggest horse races in the U.K. this weekend with the staging of The Grand National. There's a horse called "The Big Dog" running who is worth an each way bet, plus one called "Any Second Now" (the trade could be done?) whose jockey is wearing green and gold! That's enough for me, a few quid will be going on each, I'll let you know how they get on?

If you lose, does that mean your quid no grow? I'll see myself out.

Joe from Spooner, WI

I'm wondering what it takes for you to respond to my questions? I've written in four times and been ignored.

Be pleased with your progress. Happy Wednesday.

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