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Inbox: Those are the pillars of any great team

Day 3 is as much about finding talent as it is filling depth charts

CB Jaire Alexander & LB Rashan Gary
CB Jaire Alexander & LB Rashan Gary

TK from Grafton, WI

As I understand it, the "premium" positions in the draft are quarterback, tackle, edge rusher and cornerback. Did I miss any? How special does a "non-premium position" player have to be to warrant a first-round pick?

Those are the pillars of any great team. If one is missing, then the positions around them better be spectacular. This is a quarterback league and the positions that most directly affect the QB often take precedent – protecting the QB, pressuring the QB, and intercepting the QB. That's not to say players outside of that category wouldn't be worth a first-round pick. It's just that if a running back, defensive tackle or guard is taken in the first round, they're going to be viewed as the best at their respective positions and expectations will be set accordingly.

Mike from Baraboo, WI

What will be Jordan Love's biggest learning curve once he takes over as the QB of the Packers?

Just dealing with the ebb and flow of being a starting quarterback in the NFL and defenses specifically game-planning to stop him on a weekly basis.

John from Livermore, CA

With a fair number of later-round picks, where do you think the team will be filling positions at?

The Packers have 25 roster spots available after signing only two outside free agents, safety Tarvarius Moore and long snapper Matt Orzech. So, they'll hit water wherever they throw their draft stones in April. At the end of the day, however, picking on Day 3 is as much about finding talent as it is filling depth charts. History shows Green Bay isn't afraid to oversaturate certain positions in hopes of finding a Pro Bowl player, whether it was drafting David Bakhtiari and JC Tretter in 2013, selecting Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams within a round of each other in 2017, or the trio of receivers they picked last year.

Paul from Ellensburg, WA

Hey fellas, with all the draft questions about taking a tackle, why don't we just draft the next Bakhtiari in the fourth round again? Seems simple to me.

What a crazy year 2013 was…there were five offensive linemen taken in the first 15 picks and only Lane Johnson (No. 4) is still on an NFL roster. Meanwhile, there's David Bakhtiari, a Hall of Fame-caliber left tackle just sitting around, chilling, waiting to dominate. Football is a funny, funny game.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Wes. There were lots of questions yesterday about the OT position. Isn't Zach Tom still in the mix for a starting job at RT?

Zach Tom is in the mix for a job everywhere, including my spot on the website if I'm not careful.

John from Jupiter, FL

Morning Wes. If Jordon Love takes all the first-team snaps in training camp as he should, how do you prepare a backup with no NFL experience to back him up? Thanks.

The same way the Packers did with Love and Tim Boyle. Love will take virtually all the first-team reps this summer and rightfully so, but that doesn't mean all the practice snaps. The No. 2 QB will still run the second-team offense in training camp and the scout-team offense during the regular season.

Henry from Brown Deer, WI

How much do you think he has left? I know there was a fractured thumb that limited play. Does his play return and to what level? Will there be enough supporting cast?

I assume you're talking about Aaron Rodgers here and not Mike Spofford's baseball career. Rodgers still has plenty left in the tank, especially with the way he takes care of his body. He still performed at a high level in spite of the thumb injury last year. Like I said last week, the Jets have a great defense and an offense flush with talent. They're contenders in the AFC the moment Rodgers walks into their facility.

Matthew from Janesville, WI

In your opinion, does the value of AR12 change if he's traded after the draft? Would the Packers be able to get more for him if the picks would be next year and not this year? If I'm the Jets, I would not complete a trade until after the draft. They have three picks in the top 43 and I would want those to be as impactful as possible to help win the SB this year.

I don't think the value of Rodgers changes, but the compensation formula might because there is no longer any certainty with the compensation Green Bay is acquiring. Again, I don't want to debate leverage. All I know is Jordan Love was in town Monday for the start of Green Bay's offseason program, which means this team is one step closer to 2023.

Eric from Green Bay, WI

Insiders, this thought has often bugged me. I try to put myself in the shoes of a regional scout. You spend a good portion of your fall flying/driving all over a region trying to uncover college talent. You watch and put together the film. You analyze. You report to the GM. You're convinced you unearth a talent...the crowning achievement of your career. And then your GM trades those picks away over multiple years. Your work...useless. Have you ever spoken to scouts who've endured this?

That's just the nature of the scouting business. A scout's job is to the organization. They do the best they can to identify talent and present their findings to their key personnel folks. If their work is true, it'll be appreciated. It also isn't like that research and intel isn't valuable to an organization in the long term, either. For example, the Packers did a vast amount of homework on De'Vondre Campbell in 2016, but he was off the board before Green Bay could take him. It took another five years for the Packers to finally land Campbell, but it eventually happened.

Mike from Charlotte, NC

Math in the Inbox is not required for fans to use their brains to figure out that A) The NFL Draft hasn't happened yet. B) Rookies are not cap free. C) The Rodgers trade hasn't happened yet. Any signings right now would be reckless. While there are some scenarios that involve the Packers getting some extra money and then spending it, that would require willing players. I blame the emotionally manipulative press coverage that has been a USA trademark. Back away and the truth is obvious.

Were there really any free agents Packers fans were clamoring for this year? Sure, it would've been nice to retain Allen Lazard, but generally this wasn't a great year to be spending big in unrestricted free agency. Plus, as we've written several times, Brian Gutekunst has made some of his best free-agent deals in May and June. Be patient and let everything come into focus.

Alan from Richland, WA

I have watched his entire career and I am very high on Army outside linebacker Andre Carter who could go higher in the draft than any academy player in living memory. Do you think Green Bay would take him?

I'm thankful the federal government changed its policy that now allows a premier prospect like Carter to play in the NFL immediately and complete his five years of military service afterward. Any young man who elects to go to Army, Navy or Air Force should not be penalized for his commitment to serving our great nation. At 6-6, 256, Carter has the makeup to be a developmental prospect for a 3-4 team.

Chris from Toronto, Canada

Whoever coined the phrase "defense wins championships" didn't know the current NFL. The appropriate mantra now is "offense attracts eyeballs," and Roger et al have done everything imaginable to tilt the scale in favor of offense and scoring. With that I contend GB must add offensive weapons in the first three rounds, think TE and WR. Stop worrying about stopping the run, move the chains and score...and keep us from changing to a channel covering the AFC.

Bold strategy, Cotton. But I'd ask the 1983 Packers how well it worked out for them having a top-ranked offense and the league's worst-ranked defense. For every action there needs to be an equal and opposite reaction in this league. I agree the NFL is an offense-first league but it's hard to win shootouts consistently in this league without having 11 men pushing back against the opposition's arsenal.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

If AR isn't traded until after June 1, can the Packers still put the entire cap hit onto the 2023 season or must it be split between 2023 and 2024? It would seem since they are obviously prepared for the entire hit this year that it would be best to just take it this year, not matter when the trade is completed.

No, the Packers can take the full hit now. The June 1 exemption just allows a team to push dead money of one player into the following year. It's a provision the NFL and NFLPA put into place to avoid veterans getting cut in the middle of summer for salary cap purposes. But in my opinion…if the bandage is coming off, then rip it off and move forward.

Mark from Carlsville, WI

Are teams allowed to put players through on-field testing during official pre-draft visits?

Nope. Players can tour the facility, but on-field work is strictly prohibited. Team doctors and trainers are able to perform evaluations, though, to gain clarity on a player's situation. This is particularly valuable when you have an elite prospect coming off a significant injury (e.g. Jameson Williams, Jeffery Simmons and Jaylon Smith).

Tony from Cedarburg, WI

The recent talk of running backs got me thinking of Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen in the backfield. They were such a dynamic duo. Any memories of them?


The Green Bay Packers kicked off the first day of the 2023 offseason program inside the Don Hutson Center & the team's weight room.

Dennis from De Pere, WI

For the draft this year, wouldn't a continual live broadcast of the Packers media room with ambient sound be a good idea? Listening to the cacophony of the media banter during the draft process could give a transparency that Arte Johnson might call "Very Interesting...but Shtupid."

Rob Demovsky's presence in the auditorium makes this idea untenable unless it's on HBO.

Rebecca from Madison, WI

Hey, in Wes's defense regarding sunflower seeds, it's what we use on trips to keep ourselves awake. The very mere fact of having to shark them in your mouth, keeps your mind occupied and not prone to sleepiness. Shell on, Wes!

Ding, ding, ding.

Mark from San Antonio, TX

Ahh sunflower seeds. Since we're on the topic, do you have a favorite flavor? Ever tried mixing flavors (like pickle and ranch)? Go Brewers!

Straight salt, homie.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Leading up to the draft, April is doing what it can to climb up people's draft boards. It showed a lot of versatility, explosiveness, and shock factor at its pro day this week. We all know that it specializes in "showers to bring flowers" because of its large social media presence, but I didn't expect sunbathing and snow shoveling in the same week. As a GM, what do you do with this information coming in this close to the draft?

And I thought we had it bad here in Northeastern Wisconsin. I wouldn't blame those in the western portion of the state if they removed April from their draft boards entirely. Too many questions.

Rob from Springfield, IL

In response to Bil from Stateline, NV, my go-to snack in the car is also sunflower seeds, but also a Strawberry Quik. Simply drink the milk first then use the container to spit the shells into. Perhaps Wes does something similar, avoiding the need to vacuum the car out?

Ha, you're only the second person I've ever heard who likes Strawberry Quik. My best friend drinks it, too, and I always give him grief about it. But yes, I purposely pair sunflower seeds with iced tea, so I have a receptacle to dispatch my shells into.

Michael from Pound, WI

Gents, after reading one of Matt LaFleur's sayings/mantras in the Inbox the other day, I was wondering if there are any go-to's you fine fellers use to motivate yourself or get through a day? I have three, "Don't tell me, show me," and "Never limit yourself with goals," and if you're into those Hemmingway six-word life story things, "All I pray for is strength."

I, too, have three – Mark Twain's "Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first." George R.R. Martin's "A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge," and lastly "Nobody cares. Work harder."

Dustin from Kansas City, MO

I have a very serious question for you that has been bugging me for some time. When reading the Inbox and someone uses the abbreviation II, do you pronounce it in your head like Aye-Aye? Or do you read it as the Roman numeral for two? My brain keeps going back and forth between the two pronunciations, so I thought maybe if I had the official ruling, I would be able to get my brain consistently reading it one way or the other. Thanks!

I don't know if this counts as an official ruling, but I internalize it as, "Eye-2." Now, bye-bye.

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