Don from Watertown, SD
I somewhat understand the draft order for teams, but what are some of the determining factors? Say for instance there are four teams with 6-10 records. What determines the draft order?
Vic: Strength of schedule each team played in the previous season breaks the tie. The weakest schedule among the tied teams draft's first among that group and the most difficult schedule among the tied teams draft's last among that group. Remember, in the draft order, being bad is good.
Brett from Lake Zurich, IL
How likely is the possibility of the Packers trading up in the draft to get a player like Da'Quan Bowers?
Vic: I don't know because I haven't seen the Packers' board, but you must understand that you don't trade for a player, you trade for a pick, that pick has a numeric value to it and you will likely have to give to the team with which you are trading picks that equal the numeric value of the pick you are receiving. The farther up you have to trade, the more you have to give. If you have to trade up too far, it could end up costing you half your draft. Do you really wanna mortgage that much of your team's future for one player?
Morgan from Stetsonville, WI
If we draft Stephen Paea out of Oregon State, could we plug him in at defensive end for the possible loss of Cullen Jenkins?
Vic: Some see Paea as a three-technique tackle in a 4-3, which means a one-gap player who relies on quickness to penetrate and disrupt. Others see him as a hold-the-point, two-gapping 3-4 end. I'll tell you this: He's a good player and he fits at the bottom of one or at the top of two.
Richie from Truckee, CA
Who do you think is the Packers' biggest non-division rival? To me it might come down to Cowboys or 49ers, simply because of history, however, we've had our run-ins with the Eagles and Bucs, as well. Your thoughts?
Vic: I think it's the Cowboys. The "Ice Bowl" makes it so.
Bob from Fargo, ND
I was born and raised in Wisconsin and lived there 25 years, but while I was in college in Minnesota I accidentally married a girl who is a Vikings fan. Now, that I've been away awhile, I'd like to move back to Wisconsin, preferably Green Bay, but my wife won't go because she thinks she'll burst into flames when she enters the city. As someone who has just moved to Green Bay, any suggestions you can give me as to how I can convince her to move there?
Vic: Flowers; always flowers. I give my wife flowers all the time. The flower shop has my credit card number. They've been instructed to send out flowers on her birthday, our anniversary, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Sweetest Day and once a year for no apparent reason, which is the best reason of all. You can't wear out flowers.
Kurt from Cresco, IA
Why not go the safe route and go with Baldwin if he is there? He would be the safest impact player at the 32 pick for Green Bay, in my eyes.
Vic: I would not describe Jonathan Baldwin as a safe pick. I would describe him as a risk/reward pick. His ceiling is extremely high, but the risk would appear to be distinct. Baldwin was sensational in 2009. He showed dominant size and talent. All he needed to do was refine his route-running, but then he regressed in 2010. He one-armed too many throws. His effort wasn't always intense. He would disappear for long stretches. He wasn't the big-play guy he was expected to be. Still, he made enough plays, some of them jaw-dropping, to flash his talent. This is a big, talented receiver. If the light goes on, look out, but he won't be around at the bottom of two and that means you'd have to look past his tape from '10 to pick him in round one. Simply put, Baldwin might be the most intriguing offensive player in this draft.
Mike from Omaha, NE
How about a penalty question to break up all the CBA talk? Can you describe to us what the difference is between encroachment, offsides and neutral zone infraction?
Vic: Encroachment occurs when a defensive player jumps offside and makes contact with an offensive player before the ball is snapped. A neutral zone infraction occurs when a player is lined up offside when the ball is snapped. Offsides occurs when a defensive player has crossed the line of scrimmage illegally as the ball was being snapped.
Garrett from New Knoxville, OH
Who is the biggest draft bust in NFL history? There have been a lot but I want to hear your opinion.
Vic: This doesn't involve opinion as much as it does the cold, hard facts of a failed player's contract. First of all, that player almost certainly has to have been the most recent No. 1 overall pick to have been a bust because he likely represents the greatest waste of money. JaMarcus Russell would probably be the most recent example.
Sam from Dallas, TX
How much are the coaches involved in evaluating college players and in the rankings on the draft board?
Vic: That varies from team to team. Paul Brown wanted his coaches doing all of the scouting. Brown, of course, was a coach. In situations in which GMs have complete control, some GMs prefer to use coaches in a cross-check capacity. The issue is scouting for talent vs. scouting for technique. Scouts tend to lean toward the talent side; coaches like technique and attitude. I think Ted Thompson uses all of the resources available to him. He has a strong talent for accumulating information and knowing how to use it. I know that Dom Capers' opinion was sought in the evaluation of Clay Matthews. Good GMs use what's available to them. Why wouldn't you wanna use Coach Capers' eye for talent?
Mike from Jacksonville, FL
In the last few drafts, it seemed like there was a lot of trades. With this year's draft being limited to only this year's picks and no player trades, do you think there will be fewer moves made?
Vic: The trend in recent years has been for an increase in trading during the draft and I expect that trend to continue, despite the fact that teams can't trade players, or can they? Hey, that's something on which we have to wait for direction from the league today. The league's request for a stay of Judge Susan Nelson's injunction against the lockout was denied. Does that mean this is the first day of the league year? Does that mean it's business as usual and teams can, in fact, trade players for picks in the draft, which begins, of course, tonight? One way or another, teams are going to trade with each other because teams are becoming increasingly manic about fitting themselves to the pick, which is another way of saying draft the best available player. Everybody wants to draft the players they've targeted where those players fit in the draft because not only does that represent maximizing value, it represents paying players according to their talents.
Holger from London, UK
What is the bigger event, the NFL Draft 2011 or the royal William marrying Kate Middleton on Friday in London? Don't know what to watch on TV.
Vic: Weddings make me cry. I'll watch the draft.
Clell from Bee Branch, AR
Vic, I know you will surely come to "Toad Suck Daze." The festival begins Friday and runs through Sunday.
Vic: Dog gone it. I'm gonna miss it again. Tell everybody I said hello.
Jamal from Brooklyn, NY
Shouldn't Patrick Peterson be the hands-down No. 1 prospect in this draft? The way to win the game in this day and age of football is to pass it well and stop the pass well. Seeing as there aren't any QBs who are given to be elite (like Andrew Luck would have been, in my opinion), shouldn't it be obvious that Peterson comes off the board at No. 1?
Vic: Maybe he will. If he's No. 2, is that so bad? In my opinion, the No. 1 overall pick has to be a quarterback or I don't want it. Why? Because I don't wanna pay quarterback money for any player that isn't a quarterback. Yes, defending against the pass, protecting the quarterback and rushing the quarterback are all critically important to winning, but nothing approaches the value of the man throwing the football. Is there a quarterback in this draft worthy of the top pick? That's probably the No. 1 question in this draft. Some people think Cam Newton has that kind of talent. A part of me thinks Blaine Gabbert has that kind of talent. Is he that much different from Sam Bradford? If I'm Carolina, that's the call I have to make. If I decide a quarterback doesn't fit, then I'm trading out or I'll pass. I understand that might mean passing on my BAP – it might not, too – but we're talking about serious money here and I can't justify that kind of money for anybody but a quarterback, especially with the possibility lingering that a new CBA might include a more definitive rookie salary cap. I don't wanna be the last team to get fleeced.
Randall from Hugo, OK
We hear about the center making calls for the offensive line. Can you describe how that happens? Is it in coded terms so the defense doesn't recognize them?
Vic: Yes, there are coded calls, but there are also adjustments made at the line of scrimmage that are made by the simple act of pointing, and the defense understands what's happening but it doesn't matter. What matters is getting a hat on a hat, so to speak. If the defense shows blitz or overloads a side, then you'll likely see the center point to a defensive lineman. He's probably pointing to the man he'll block and now everybody else on the offensive line counts right and left from that man, as it relates to their position. The right guard, for example, would count one man to the right of the man to whom the center pointed and that defensive lineman would be the guard's man to block. Football isn't always rocket science. Sometimes it's as simple as I'll block him, you block him.