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Inbox: They need to be determined and undeterred

His job is to give the Packers a really tough decision

T Rasheed Walker
T Rasheed Walker

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Mike. When I looked up Evan Williams on the electronic interweb it brought up images of Kentucky bourbon whiskey with the same name. Green Bay's first-round draft pick, Jordan Morgan, was team captain at Arizona so he can rightly be called Captain Morgan. Can you imagine if Gerhard de Beer was still on the team?

Is it 5 o'clock yet?

Yotam from Atlit, Israel

I hope it's not too early to ask, but do you think BG will trade up, down or stay put in the first round of the 2025 draft?

Is it 5 o'clock yet?

Jamie from London, Canada

I've long thought the Favre trade in terms of trusting your gut and putting your chips in the middle is a 1-of-1 in all of sports. Can you think of any other trade where a more premium asset was given (17th overall pick) for a player who was drafted a year (or more?) prior, showed absolutely nothing to inspire confidence or build a case to trade for them, and still the move was made?

You sent this question in last Friday and I've been thinking for days but coming up empty. If anyone has a thought, feel free.

Dan from Minneapolis, MN

I don't think it is widely known that the NFL just approved the use of Guardian caps on player helmets during games, not just practice. That is really going to change the look while watching NFL games (no logos on Guardian caps). Thoughts on this? Thank you.

I heard they're working on getting logos on them. I think it's great they're giving players the option to wear them.

Greg from St. Charles, IL

Regarding Morgan, Mike wrote in part: "The Packers do a TON of medical work on prospects, so if their docs checked out the knee and gave a thumbs up, they're not viewing that as a risk." Where does that medical info come from? I don't see him listed as one of our 30 visits. Is there some database of medical records that potential draftees must submit records to?

The medical checks at the scouting combine are extensive, and anyone with a prior injury but without a recent scan will undergo one (MRI, CT, whatever). Those results are then shared leaguewide.

Pete from Las Vegas, NV

No question but just wanted you to know about Evan Williams. As a longtime Fresno State guy I saw him for three years. He is remarkably football smart with great leadership skills. When you get to know him you will see what I mean. Great draft choice Packers.

Sam Seale didn't have to use any fancy words to talk about him. "He's smart. He's instinctive. He's a good kid and he makes tackles. He's always around the ball." Works for me.

Gardner from Circle Pines, MN

We had a few surprises, but it looks like a BG draft from here. The biggest surprise to me was Travis Glover from Georgia State in round 6. Unlike all the other picks, I never heard of the guy, which is why I don't get paid the big bucks. Here's hoping the Pack continues its tradition of turning late-rounder offensive linemen into quality NFL players! Do you have a biggest surprise from the team's draft choices?

I admit I was surprised after trading up 15 spots for Williams in the fourth round, they took another safety, Kitan Oladapo, in the fifth. But then I remembered Wolf's three-corner draft of '99, when the third choice (Mike McKenzie) turned out to be the best player. Or Ted's three-RB draft in '17, when the second pick (Aaron Jones) became the best. Or Gutey's three-WR draft in '18, when the second choice (MVS) again was the best. We'll see what happens.

Paul from Franklin, WI

Guys, with the way the Packers' scouts and assistants working with Gute to provide all this great information is showing to be top notch, why aren't other teams scrambling to try getting those folks on their staff? I would think there is a load of opportunity for this squad?

I said last week several of Gutey's top lieutenants will start commanding attention from other teams if the Packers and their draft classes continue on their current trajectories.

MaryAnn from Pittsville, WI

After the draft, how do you make decisions on who to go after as a free agent? By position? Competitive balance? Best athlete available? Other criteria?

All of the above, and/or a specific standout trait in a player that makes a scout feel other parts of his game are just underdeveloped, so he's worth a look.

Bruce from Jackson, WI

Mike, last week you said… "games (and championships) are decided by elite players. Difference-makers, bear with me, make a difference. If you're not trying to find them, someone else is." Well it was obvious Detroit and Philadelphia thought they found some DMs as they traded up to grab them. They must have followed your Prospect Primers. We had the resources to trade up but fell back on the quantity over quality. When did we draft our last All-Pro? (Bakhtiari in 2013).

C'mon, man. Adams and Linsley (drafted in 2014) weren't named All-Pro? Jaire Alexander (2018) hasn't been second-team All-Pro twice? Meanwhile, Kenny Clark (2016) and Aaron Jones (2017) have been darn close, Elgton Jenkins (2019) is right there, Love (2020) certainly appears on his way, and several guys drafted in 2022-23 could have a chance. Trading up assures nothing. Gutey has traded up for Jordan Love and Christian Watson. He's also traded up for Jace Sternberger and Amari Rodgers. And last year he traded back twice to turn one second-round pick into Jayden Reed, Dontayvion Wicks and Karl Brooks. The draft is about trying to maximize the value of the selections at your disposal. My "difference-makers" comment last week was in response to a suggestion the Packers should just look for "sure things" and not try to bet on any upsides, which is a one-way ticket to mediocrity in a league dominated by elite players.

Dave from Germantown, TN

While I think the Packers had a solid draft, I am not sure we have any "game changers" in the mix. The Bears and the Vikings both had two first-round choices and Detroit chose the arguably No. 1 DB in the draft. All of these players have the potential to be game changers. Did the Packers make enough progress to stay ahead of the competition?

The Bears and Vikings are starting over at QB, so there's really no comparison there. The Lions, understandably, feel they're right on the verge so they spent two picks to get a top corner they believe can upgrade their defense. The Packers have, hands down, the youngest offense in the league that's expected to grow and improve, while they're revamping their defense with a whole new look. I know that doesn't answer your question, but that's my perspective on the division.

Rich from Grand Rapids, MI

Versatility on D has the added advantage of making it more difficult for game planners and play callers, and especially unproven QBs (of which there are between 6-8 on GB's schedule, depending upon how you rate them) to know where the ball should go on a given play. One criticism of Barry was that he was too predictable, affording the other team a game-planning/play-calling advantage. Harder to do that when the personnel on D are fluid in identity and roles from play to play.

I'm not disagreeing with your point, but based on what we've heard this offseason from LaFleur, the bigger difference in this defense will be its play style, not so much its scheme.

Theresa from Sylvania, OH

According to my research, which could be wrong, the Minnesota Vikings only have three picks going into next year. Yikes! Can someone recap for me exactly how we always seem to end up with so many? Is it primarily due to player trades? Or compensatory picks? I personally like the "more bites of the apple" approach and feels like Minnesota just decided to eat the whole apple in one bite.

The past few years, the combination of the Adams and Rodgers trades plus compensatory picks has upped Green Bay's numbers. As of now, the Packers are projected to get just one comp pick next year (for Nijman, with the Jacobs-McKinney signings canceling out the Runyan-Savage departures), and there are no extra '25 picks gained from trades (yet).

Patrick from Albertville, AL

This is actually an observation. I am so impressed with the approach the Packers have taken regarding competition in every room. I think the kicking competition was a foregone conclusion. But I noticed that a lot of the missed kicks last season came from poor snaps. Daniel Whelan did a great job getting them down for Anders Carlson but they seemed to rattle him. So I was pleased when I saw that Gutey brought in a long snapper to compete. It seems like no big deal to most, but not to the Packers. GPG

I think it's an exaggeration to say "a lot" of the misses were on the snaps, but I fully expected competition at long snapper, and it's a Wisconsin Badger of all things.

Randy from Bayfield, WI

Rounds 4 through 7, who do you think has the most upside?

It's a toss-up for me between Jacob Monk and Kalen King.

Megan from Quincy, IL

I think we need to get a Monk jersey to Tony Shalhoub.

If he's not wearing one on his next visit to Lambeau, I'll be disappointed.

Dennis from Parrish, FL

Sam Seale has 11 career interceptions in the National Football League!

Had. He retired 30 years ago.

Josh from Long Beach, CA

The teams to knock us out of the playoffs the past few years, namely the 49ers and Tampa Bay, have defenses known for their fast inside linebacker play. Do you think this factored into BG using premium picks on Walker and then Cooper?

I don't think it was any specific effort to emulate other defenses, but Gutekunst has made it clear he's been trying for a few years now to upgrade the Packers' speed on defense, across the board.

Troy from Westminster, CO

Hats off to what I'm sure is quite a taxing weekend for you guys. Regarding the safeties, does it seem the Packers' approach as to what type of player they were looking for this year is a bit altered from who they've gone for in the past or did they simply just draft more of the same guys they've always drafted? IMO, it seems they've transitioned from hybrid LBs to hybrid safeties.

As Wes mentioned yesterday, the slot corner abilities of Javon Bullard and Williams definitely factored into the Packers' interest in them.

Jeffrey from Eveleth, MN

I can't recall a draft that addressed positions of need to such an extent. Incumbents on the offensive line should be more nervous than long-tailed cats in a rocking chair factory.

If they're nervous they've already taken a step back. They need to be determined and undeterred.

Tim from Olathe, KS

Emanuel Wilson was trusted to carry the ball late in the divisional playoff game and he was effective. He also greatly improved his pass protection and never put the ball on the ground last season. With Josh Jacobs, AJ Dillon, and now a rookie earning rave reviews, where does Emanuel Wilson fit in?

In the competition, where he must prove he's a more well-rounded back than he was as a rookie, and that he can stay healthy. His job is to give the Packers a really tough decision as to who's on the 53 at running back aside from Jacobs and MarShawn Lloyd.

Venny from Montgomery, AL

I think seven of the rookies from the 2023 draft class saw a significant amount of snaps last season (Van Ness, Carlson, Valentine, Kraft, Musgrave, Wicks, and Reed). With another 11 picks in 2024, would you say something went right or terribly wrong if seven members of this draft class see a similar snap count as the 2023 rookies?

Many of those 2023 rookie opportunities came about via injuries. More are bound to crop up because they're part of the game. If three players in the '24 class are Week 1 starters and a few others get chunks of snaps as injury fill-ins, would that mean things are going "right" or "wrong"? Feels like neither, honestly, in this league.

Peter from Sterling, VA

Are you confident that the GB run game can be as good this year after losing Aaron Jones?

I'm confident it can be better than it was for a good portion of the season. Can it be better than it was from Week 16 through the two playoff games? That's a tall order no matter who's RB1, because that was some hot streak.

Peter from New London, WI

Every year there is excitement after the draft, but this year feels different. Watching the after-draft press conference of the GM and Head Coach, I would like to know why it was so hard for them to hide the enthusiasm for the 2024 season? Was it because they feel like they hit the draft out of the park or more to do with the returning players?

I'm guessing more the latter, but they feel good about the former, too. They know this team has a chance to be really good. They also know how this (still young) team handles the expectations and added attention will factor into its success.

Jeff from Omaha, NE

If I had to sum up this draft in one word I would say disciplined. Or confident. Maybe validating? It sent the message to me that the lean toward the fancy shiny skill-position guys the last few years, along with key free-agent acquisitions, resulted in a draft focused on a couple of key spots and the always important depth pieces every team needs for deep payoff runs. Am I on track here?

To me it's a collection of potential immediate starters and future considerations, along with plenty of depth and competition, with none of those categories mutually exclusive. It's like a Venn diagram with a whole lot of Venn-in' goin' on.

Greg from Colorado Springs, CO

I'm really looking forward to watching the TV coverage of the NFL Draft next year in Green Bay. Has it been announced as to where the stage will be? And will Lambeau Field be a featured part of the foreground or background?

That's all up to the NFL and I don't know if/when any kind of announcement will be made.

Philip from Hobart, WI

Is there any truth to the rumor that the "pedestrian" construction on Lombardi Access Road is hiding a "bat-cave" style entrance so y'all will be able to get to work next April?

Let's hope. Happy Wednesday.

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