Skip to main content
Powered by

Inbox: With gratitude

The NFL Draft is the fastest three days of the year

QB Aaron Rodgers
QB Aaron Rodgers

Jay from Altoona, WI

Good luck to Wes on handling the draft coverage by himself this week. Apparently Spoff took an unannounced vacation.

Spoff just had to go to that Brewers game.

Kevin from Athens, GA

No question just a personal experience. Aaron Rodgers, back in his early days at GB, repeatedly visited a gas station north of Green Bay on 41. My sister worked there on the late shift, and he came in there often. According to her, he was very friendly and respectful to her, including signing autographs for her and her children. For instance, "Follow your dreams." He also signed a Coke carton produced by the company I worked for which still hangs in their Alabama office. A class act and a good man.

That's a touching story, Kevin. Thank you for sharing. Yesterday was a whirlwind. I actually didn't find out about the trade until Larry told me after I walked into the media auditorium for Brian Gutekunst's pre-draft news conference at 3:30 p.m. I had my head dug in the sand with Inbox before that. I had to laugh because A) it's like the first time I've ever not been on my phone for 10 minutes and B) on my way down to the presser, I just happened to take an extra second to appreciate all the historic Lambeau Field moments that decorate the walls leading up to the Packers' locker room. Predictably, Aaron Rodgers is featured prominently on several of them. I took the same path to my desk after Gutekunst's 30-minute presser, and those images took on added meaning for me. The entire time only two words kept circling through my mind: "With gratitude."

Matt from Sierra Vista, AZ

While I'm ready and excited for whatever may come next at the quarterback position, I would like to take a moment to recognize Aaron Rodgers for 15 years of amazing memories. It was a fun ride and I'm grateful to have been part of it.

We'll have an opportunity to revisit Rodgers' incredible run here once the trade is finalized, but a wave of nostalgia is hitting me. I also dug into some of Rodgers' stats on Monday evening, including one reflecting his dominance against the NFC North. Rodgers fashioned a 107.6 passer rating against Chicago, Detroit and Minnesota from 1,771-of-2,650 passing for 20,673 yards, 175 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. Alone, those 20,673 yards would be good enough for 112th all-time among quarterbacks. As the end of this era draws near, all I can think about is what a privilege it's been to watch that man play the game of football for the past 15 years. It has been a pleasure.

Mike from Toronto, Canada

What, if anything, changes how the leadership approaches the draft going from pick 15 to pick 13 (other than simply picking earlier)?

It's not insignificant. As I wrote about last week, the difference on a draft-value chart between those two spots is roughly the same value as a pick late in the third round. Whether the Packers stand pat or move, it gives Gutekunst and Co. even more options on how to approach things. There are still conditions to be ironed out, but this apparent deal gives Green Bay a solid foundation to build for the future.

Dave from Edina, MN

I saw the conditional 2024 second-round pick becomes a first if Rodgers plays 65% of the plays this season. That seems very fair. Man, I sure hope they remembered to put "offensive" plays in the actual agreement.

If the reports are accurate, I feel that's a good compromise between the two sides. The Jets get protections in case of injury, while the Packers get fair compensation for one of the greatest players in league history.

Reed from Myrtle Beach, SC

I imagine Packer fans will now be watching twice as many NFL games this season. And Jets ratings are going to soar with so many Packer fans also tuning in. Must-see TV.

The Jets will go from having one primetime game last year (Thursday Night Football) to probably getting the max in 2023. The A-Rod effect.

Scott from Hayward, WI

I just wanted to say congratulations to Aaron Rodgers. Many thanks to Aaron for the fantastic memories and exciting games. I look forward to his name going up on the ring of honor in Lambeau Field, as well as the Hall of Fame someday. Also, congrats and thank to Jordan Love for hanging in there to finally get his big chance. How about leading us to a Super Bowl showdown against No. 12 and the Jets? And finally, congrats and thanks to our management for getting it done before draft day.

Amen to that. OK, let's get back to the draft questions.

John from Livermore, CA

Draft day is almost here, and I was wondering how the days unfold for you? Is there a pattern to the chaos for you or is every year different?

If a pattern has developed in the 13 drafts I've covered, it's gone over my head. To me, it's the fastest three days of the year. I can't tell you how many times I've walked into Lambeau, blinked, and suddenly I'm walking back into my home at like 2 a.m. Capturing the calamity of the NFL Draft is like drinking from a fire hydrant, but fans make it all worth it. Like usual, Spoff and I will do our best to provide accurate and timely information regarding all the incoming picks.

Jack from Black Mountain, NC

The draft selections of course have to excel with talent for their respective positions. But the Packers appear to have a unique and special team and community culture. How much does personality and personal fit factor into Gutey's decisions? Are personality and psychological tests administered to possible draft picks before the draft to help determine fit with the team culture?

When a team drafts a player, it's investing as much into the person as it is the player – and that's especially true in Green Bay. I don't know everything that goes into how the Packers set their board, but they do their homework on prospects. I think the collective character of that locker room speaks for itself.

Jacob from West Allis, WI

Do you guys ever get hung up on certain prospects that you would love to see in the Green and Gold? I normally don't, but I can't help but think that Darnell Washington would be a perfect fit for this team. If Marcedes Lewis somehow found his way back on the roster to mentor him and pass the torch, I would lose my mind.

Every year…and Washington absolutely falls into that category for me. Even if the Packers don't draft one of my favorites, I still enjoy following them throughout their careers whether it's been Brian Burns, Ryan Shazier, Byron Jones, Curtis Samuel, or Alfred Morris.

Michael from Pound, WI

Gents, a lot of talk this year about getting Jordan Love weapons in the draft. The Pack really only has one pick high enough (depending on the Jets) to possibly get a starting weapon. JL's weapons are on the team already most likely or will emerge part way through the season or next couple. We hope a rookie will come in and knock our socks off, but the odds are against it, doesn't matter how good the GM is. If we had 2-3 picks in the top 15, that would be a different story.

Without question, Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs are 1A and 1B on the receiver depth chart for 2023. I just think it would be wise to add another receiver in the first four or five rounds to A) get another prospect in the pipeline and B) build depth behind Watson and Doubs. If last year proved anything, it's how quickly a team may need to dig into its reserves like they did after Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb and Sammy Watkins were banged up.

Tom from Rochester, NY

Many Packers fans and press folks think edge is a bigger need than IDL. I know we are confident in what Devonte Wyatt and T.J. Slaton have shown but behind them and Kenny Clark, they're all unknowns. I can see Gutey trading back and getting an interior lineman if Bryan Bresee isn't available. There are a lot more edge guys available in this draft and we have Kingsley Enagbare and Justin Hollins as backups plus Quay Walker can play edge in certain packages as well. There just seems to be more of a drop-off with IDL in this draft than edge guys.

I'd say it's a stronger draft class for edge rushers than interior defensive linemen. The Packers have drafted a college defensive lineman every year since 1998. It's a good bet that streak will continue, and my guess is it will come on the interior. Bresee has the size to fill the five-tech role Dean Lowry vacated in the base defense, while also possessing the power to rush inside on third downs. Things get a little dicey after Bresee, though. Calijah Kancey and Adetomiwa Adebawore are smaller three-tech rushers and Mazi Smith is more of a run-stuffing nose tackle who can push the pocket.

Brian from Urbana, IL

Hello fellow humans, which non-Packers team's picks are you most intrigued to see? And/or which team has the most "riding" on this draft? And/and/or, which team's fan base will become the most rabid with an odd-looking draft class? Thanks.

I'm interested in what Minnesota does. By now, I'm sure you've read or heard the rumblings about the Vikings' potential interest in Will Levis. Does Kwesi Adofo-Mensah move up to draft Kirk Cousins' successor? Depending on how things play out, the Vikings' fanbase may have the inside track on the answer to your last question, as well.

Vince from Dickinson, ND

Why is the Packers' management so negative about free agency? It seems all the Super Bowl contenders seem to take more big chances on free agency than the Packers.

I'd rather keep Elgton Jenkins, Aaron Jones, David Bakhtiari and Keisean Nixon than win some pundit's meaningless offseason championship. Say what you want about the Packers, but they roll with their guys. They don't chase the flavor of the month in free agency just to say they did something.

Arthur from Eau Claire, WI

Joint practices with the Jets this year or the team drafting a placekicker in the second round this year? Which would stun you more?

The Jets practice, somehow.

Michelle from Ringgold, GA

What do you think will be the biggest challenge for the Packers this year?

Staying focused on what's in front of this young team and not worrying about what onlookers are saying. Rodgers, Mike McCarthy, Ted Thompson, and the rest of the team did a masterful job of that in 2008. This 2023 campaign needs to be about the people inside the locker room and nothing more.

Nathan from Philadelphia, PA

It seems like a lot of Packers fans would be excited to get Jaxon Smith-Njigba, but most mock drafts have him gone before the Packers' pick. If you were GM, would you trade, say, this year's third-rounder to move up for him if he's the best player available? Or would you resist wide receiver fever?

Anyone who has followed our column or "Packers Unscripted" knows how much I like the Ohio State standout. If JSN is there at No. 13, GM Hod would be tempted.

Florian from Kronach, Germany

Keisean Nixon on his return to Green Bay: "I didn't really wanna go anywhere." Can you – as a team – receive a greater compliment?

Nixon was extremely complimentary of the Packers during his interview with Larry. I especially enjoyed his final comment about how Nixon feels he still hasn't accomplished anything yet, adding: "All I did was get my name out there (in 2022). I feel like this year is going to be the year I show them who I really am; what I bring to the table wasn't a fluke." K9 has that dawg in him.

Gene from Columbus, GA

No doubt a player's ability to contribute on special teams will be a factor in some of the Packers' draft picks this week. From the II's perspective, do you see a player's special-teams ability something more innate than derived from coaching? Take nothing away from Coach Bisaccia, but players like Keisean Nixon just seem to "get it" when it comes to special teams.

It's definitely a mixture of both. You gotta remember that you saw Nixon in Year 4, not as an undrafted rookie. On the other hand, I think Isaiah McDuffie had a lot of traits you look for in a special-teams stalwart, but it was Bisaccia and Byron Storer who helped pull that potential out of him last year. Special teams are not glamorous. Players have to "want it" and McDuffie certainly does…but you still need a coach pointing you in the right direction.

Dave from Germantown, TN

How many UDFAs do think the Packers will sign after the draft? Could the fact that the Packers' roster offers opportunity to make the team entice players to elect to come to Green Bay?

To some extent. At the end of the day, players are going to go wherever they feel they have the best shot to make the roster at their position. The Packers currently have 64 players on their roster and 10 draft picks (before the Rodgers trade). If they stand pat and take 10, they'll likely sign 13 or 14 guys afterwards and keep a couple spots open for a couple tryout players at rookie minicamp.

Jason from Austin, TX

Speaking of draft busts, to be fair to the players, I think there should be a distinction between a draft bust because of injury (Derek Sherrod) or draft bust because the player wasn't meant for the NFL (Tony Mandarich). What do you think?

I would never label a player who sustained a major injury as a "bust." It's disrespectful to both the player and the sport. Football is a dangerous game and unfortunately players such as a Sherrod, Terrance Murphy, Jeremy Thompson, and Johnathan Franklin endured career-ending injuries before they could scratch the surface of their potential. I give Sherrod a lot of credit for mounting a comeback after undergoing multiple surgeries to repair the broken leg he suffered in Kansas City. A lesser man would've called it a day.

Kevin from Savage, MN

Keith from Bakersfield's question on gambling brought a few things to mind. Is the "no gambling in II" more an NFL rule or a Bushwood rule? Seriously, I am curious what feedback II gets concerning how the NFL is moving more and more toward gambling acceptance. Not players gambling of course, but in general. Personally, I think it sends a poor message and it's only a matter of time before the cheese hits the fan in some very bad incident, and the NFL will come to regret going down this path.

I have my reservations about it, but this is the direction all professional sports are moving – not just the NFL. So, I get the league's thinking. You either catch the wave or get dragged in with the surf.

Fran from Green Bay, WI

In response to Zak discussing a Packer mascot, we had Packy Packer for a season or two in the '80s. To say the least, it was not a good look.

I thought this was a joke, so I searched "Packy Packer" on Google. I wish I hadn't.

Dennis from Parrish, FL

"Tin Cup" is the best sports movie all time! Just say no to the mascot, although the name Cheddar has a nice ring to it. Also never forget, candlesticks make nice wedding gifts!

You know a movie is a classic when a 35-year-old son looks back at his 61-year-old father after slicing a drive off the tee box and saying, "A little chili dipper there" with a smile.

Gretchen from Dousman, WI

You guys really knocked it out of the park with the first episode of “Total Packers.” You certainly have me excited for the next season of Packers football! Go Pack Go!

Thank you, but that's all Larry and our broadcast team. Spoff and I just sit there and try not to embarrass ourselves.

Benjamin from Evergreen Park, IL

When our pick comes up and the highest-rated prospect on our board is available, but we find out none of his college teammates went to his 21st birthday party, are we still sticking with the board?

Welcome to draft week.

Insider Inbox

Insider Inbox

Join writers as they answer the fans' questions in Insider Inbox