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It came together quickly

TE Luke Musgrave, TE Ben Sims
TE Luke Musgrave, TE Ben Sims

Josh from Seattle, WA

Did you see any free agents on the elevator this morning?

Good one.

Arn from Kenosha, WI

I liked your explanation of the draft board to Paul from Ledgeview. I wonder if maybe there should be a third dimension to the spreadsheet? One that keeps track of what the needs and/or desires are of the other teams?

That's certainly part of the process and that research is consulted as everything unfolds. All folks in the draft room are ready to provide any information the decision-maker needs at a moment's notice.

Gary from Tompkinsville, KY

I was fortunate enough to attend the GB-Washington game in 2007. Lynn Dickey and Larry McCarren were signing autographs at the Packers Pro Shop. I forgot Larry was his center. Also, we stayed at the Radisson the night before the game. Charles Woodson was getting on the elevator at the hotel. I said good luck tomorrow. He said thank you. He returned a fumble 90 yards to give Green Bay a 14-10 win in the rain. Great memories.

Ha, such a great memory you added 33 yards to Woodson's fumble return. Also for the record, the Packers were actually trailing 14-10 when he scooped it up and ran it back for a 17-14 triumph.

Roger from Roseville, MN

I understand, based on when they were eliminated in the playoffs, and the 9-8 record, how the Packers have the 25th pick in the first round. Shouldn't they then be picking 57th and 89th overall in the second and third rounds? I see the spots are 58th and 88th. Is there some sort of rotation based on (whatever)? Hopefully this does not qualify as "math." Thanks.

For draft order, the Packers and Buccaneers finished "tied" by being eliminated in the divisional round and having 9-8 regular-season records. Tampa Bay beat Green Bay head-to-head, so in the first round, the Packers pick 25th and the Bucs 26th, and then they rotate each succeeding round. GB and TB have picks 88 and 89 in the third round (rather than 89 and 90) because Miami lost its third-round pick this year as part of the punishment from the "integrity of the game" investigation into owner Stephen Ross that also cost the Dolphins their first-round pick last year.

Bill from Clive, IA

Good morning! If GB decided to bundle our two second-round picks to trade up, what do the trade value charts say would be the single-selection equivalent to that? Same question for our two third-rounders. Thanks!

The Packers' two second-rounders (41 and 58) could get them as high as the low 20s in the first round. The two third-rounders (88 and 91) could get them back into the very bottom of the second.

Jim from Edgerton, WI

I just read that the Packers are cutting De'Vondre Campbell and designating him as a post-June 1 cut. I've read and re-read the impact on the salary cap and still don't really understand the benefit of designating him as a post-June 1 cut. Can you explain? Thanks.

Releasing Campbell will create a roughly $11M dead cap hit, and by designating the move as post-June 1, the Packers can spread out that dead money over two years rather than count it all at once. So, they're sacrificing some cap space in '25 for a little more in '24.

Chris from Marshfield, WI

When teams "push money into the future" with signing bonuses paid out immediately, where do they come up with that money? Is it sort of a loan from the NFL paid back in future years?

Uh, no. Signing bonuses are paid immediately, and teams must have that cash on hand to make those payments. Pushing money into the future has nothing to do with cash on hand. It's just salary-cap accounting for money that's already been paid.

Jim from Midlothian, VA

Follow-up to Joe from Dartford's question regarding considering division rivals' strengths when drafting players. If memory serves me correctly, didn't the Packers draft three defensive backs one year in response to the rise of Randy Moss as a difference-maker for the Vikings?

Yes, and several folks brought up Ron Wolf's '99 draft that featured DBs Antuan Edwards, Fred Vinson and Mike McKenzie as the first three picks. I remember it well, but the fact it was so long ago and it's the only example anyone can recall tells you how rare the approach is. Gutey reminded me in Indy during our media chat that while McKenzie was ultimately regarded as the best of the three players, Vinson, became the most valuable to the Packers. He was traded to Seattle for Ahman Green.

Wayne from Stevens Point, WI

In five years' time, which QB from this draft will be regarded as THE player? I am putting a stake in the ground and am predicting Jayden Daniels. Based upon my extensive research, of the top 15 locked-in QBs for this coming year, six have names that start with J. They are Josh, Joe, Jared, Justin, Jalen, and Jordan. Not only that, those six J's are in the top eight alphabetically. Without a doubt, five years from now Jayden Daniels will be the star from this year's draft.

With such infallible and foolproof reasoning, how could you be wrong?

Dave from Comer, GA

Mike, do you have much opportunity to interact with the opposing team's writers on gamedays? Are there any "enemy scribes" with whom you are particularly friendly? Ever have a beer with them after the game and discuss gerands?

I know some and a quick hello in the press box is the norm, but grammar stays out of the conversation. There's certainly no time for postgame beverages.

Barry from Cody, WY

Mike based on need and where the combine revealed good talent I would be surprised if two of the first five picks were not DB x 2 and OL x 2. Based on Coach Hafley's defense, where else will the Packers need to add talent that is not already on the roster?

I wouldn't put too much stock in the combine having "revealed talent." As I noted in a Three Things video from Indy, very smart people told me many moons ago the combine is one piece of a much larger scouting pie. That said, your projection is certainly a realistic possibility, but the roster for now and the future also needs more running backs, edge rushers and off-ball linebackers, and I wouldn't mind another interior D-lineman, too. The Packers won't be able to address everything in those first five picks, but then they'll have six more on Day 3.

Joe from Wausau, WI

Packers haven't drafted an IOL in the first round since 1994 (Aaron Taylor). Does Gute have to believe a guy can play OT in the NFL to have a first-round grade on him?

Not necessarily, but most college programs put their best O-linemen at tackle and center. I've always wondered, thinking back to 2019, when Gutey had the No. 30 pick (after already drafting Gary at 12) and traded up for Darnell Savage at 21 … if he'd sat at 30 and Savage was gone and, say, he couldn't find a trade partner to move back, would he have taken Elgton Jenkins in the first round? He got him at 44 and I know the Packers were very, very high on him. We'll never know.

George from North Mankato, MN

Hello Mike. I saw a list of "confirmed" pro days for colleges today. It made me wonder if the NFL limits the number of pro days on a given day, are schools scheduled for their days, or do they get to pick? When did pro days become a thing? Also, after reading Sam's story by Cliff, I got to wondering how many other prominent players were "discovered" by scouts looking at another player during scouting trips or pro days?

I don't know how the scheduling of pro days works, but to your latter query, that happens all the time. I always love the stories of the small-school guys who go to the big school's pro day for some exposure they otherwise wouldn't get and end up getting picked in the seventh round or signed as undrafted.

Joe from Hampshire, IL

Hi Mike, with proliferation of podcasts, blogs, and aggregators expanding the reach of trusted writers, is the concept of a sleeper draft pick all but gone? Years ago, I remember being caught off-guard by even early-round picks by the Packers. These days it seems even the round 6-7 picks and many UFDA names are recognizable.

Welcome to the Draft Industrial Complex.

Craig from Brookfield, WI

Are there any examples of NFL teams in full-blown rebuild mode who also had a legitimate shot at the Super Bowl in that same season? It's exciting to talk about the future of this team, but I still have my jaw in the dropped position from what we saw last season. The players, coaches, and front office pulled off something truly special. Perhaps, unprecedented?

Take a look at the 2021 Bengals, who reached the Super Bowl and nearly won it. Burrow was coming off his rookie ACL injury, Chase was a rookie, Higgins in his second season, two starting O-linemen in their second seasons, a linebacker as a first-year starter … it came together quickly.

Chris from Waukesha, WI

I am trying to understand the salary cap better, after hearing about teams with more than $70M in space, and the dead money hit Denver has to take after cutting Russell Wilson. I assume there is a minimum percentage of the cap that teams must spend; what is that minimum? I believe unspent cap space can carry over to the next season; is that how teams can have such absurd amounts of money to spend? Green Bay's management team has to be commended for managing the cap so well over the years.

Yes, unspent cap carrying over is usually how a team winds up with a glut of space. Or by cutting a high-priced player who doesn't carry a big dead cap hit. There is a minimum, but it's not in a given year. The minimum spend is 89% of the cap over a four-year period for a team, and 95% over a four-year period for the league, per the CBA.

Benjamin from Evergreen Park, IL

We are a draft-and-develop team. Do you see any prospects that have put in time on the practice squad along with a gameday elevation here and there to make a case for 2024's 53?

Wes mentioned fullback Henry Pearson recently, and I'd concur. Safety Benny Sapp III is another who comes to mind, as is Grant DuBose, a seventh-round pick at receiver last year who dealt with injuries during training camp and spent his rookie year on the practice squad.

Ross from Summerville, SC

Gents, seems like a bad time to be a safety in the NFL. First RB and now safety being devalued?

Are they being devalued or were they just overpaid in the first place? Your guess is as good as mine. I've never seen the market so oversaturated at one position like this. Strange times.

Paula from Apple Valley, MN

Much has been said about the importance of character/cultural fit in the draft process, and it seems Brian Gutekunst and team have figured out the secret sauce. How different is this aspect when considering free agents, especially those highly sought? The time element alone seems to present challenges.

It does, and teams doing their best to assure the right fit still consult everyone they can – coaching contacts who have worked with those players previously, for example, or who know other players who have. A veteran's reputation isn't too hard to track down in this league, but it's not advisable to leave that homework to the last minute.

Darrel from Pueblo, CO

II, among Luke Musgrave, Tucker Kraft and Ben Sims, the TEs had a 69/728/4 line, which seems pretty good for the TE production and they can block. A few more TDs would be nice, but how do you rate/like our TEs?

I like that they're just getting started.

Dan from Minneapolis, MN

Given your proximity and experience in covering the Packers, what one misconception do you think fans carry that is furthest from reality in the NFL?

That play-calling is as simple as it is in the high school ranks, and that plays that fail must be bad calls, while those that work must be good ones.

Al from Green Bay, WI

The legal tampering period starts this week! One question. If it's legal, is it really tampering?

That's why I always refer to it as the negotiating window, which officially opens in a couple of hours.

Kurt from Sartell, MN

So you two aren't allowed in the draft room, that's too bad. It would clear up some confusion around draft time. Have you ever considered asking nicely?

They would still strenuously object. Happy Monday.

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