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It's been an offseason of action

Opportunity aplenty in the Packers' backfield


Fletcher from Fall River, WI

Are you Insiders getting the same feeling I am that this season is going to be something special in Green Bay? Ted's had perhaps his best offseason to date.

It's been an offseason of action. The Packers not only signed five outside free agents but also drafted the most players (10) they have since 2013 (11). We'll find out what it all means this summer, but the moves Ted Thompson has made over the last two months have given the team flexibility with its depth chart.

Jimmy from New Richmond, WI

Biff, which of the three running backs drafted do you think has the most potential for success? In the little tape I watched, Williams looked like he had great speed and vision, but Mays looked like the only way he'd go down is if he was shoved out of bounds.

Opportunity is aplenty in the Packers' backfield. Williams seems tailor-made for the offense – a tough, between-the-tackles runner who doesn't quit. I am intrigued by Mays, though. He's the type of running back you look for in the seventh round – powerful and productive when he's on the field. You wonder where he would've been drafted if he'd stayed healthy as a senior. Mays fits the mold of the 230-pound running back I expected them to draft.

Joel from De Pere, WI

Just saw the question about this draft's sleepers, with special mention of Malachi Dupre. But I need help understanding something. Mays has great athleticism and measurables. His tape tells a story that is unique to our new stable of running backs – he makes yards at the line of scrimmage, blows up defenders in the box, and pulls away at the second level. What am I missing?

It was several factors. First, he only played two years at the Division I level. Then, the injury limited him to only 37 carries as a senior and 202 for his career. There just isn't much tape on him. It's also uncertain what his prospects are as a third-down back after catching only two passes at Utah State, but the Packers feel comfortable with him.

Paul from Milwaukee, WI

We fans never really get a feel for what it's like for a guy like Aaron Rodgers to all of a sudden have new running backs and receivers for weapons. Is there a transition period he has with the rookie and/or free-agent class? Does Rodgers address his new group or have private workouts with them so that when the regular season comes around, these new guys have some idea of what to expect?

Rodgers said last year he tries to reach out to the draft class every year because many can be shy about approaching him. It takes time and energy to develop chemistry. Last year, Rodgers spent a lot of extra time with Ty Montgomery and Don Jackson to help get his new running backs up to speed.

Kevin from Whitehall, WI

I don't understand all the comments stating that the first two picks are basically an indictment against Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins. Sure, they dealt with injuries and had their struggles last year. That is part of a draft-and-develop team. No one ever said it was draft and instant perfection. The Packers will likely keep six corners on the 53-man roster, and I expect that to include Randall and Rollins.

If anything, I view the decision to draft Kevin King as a reaction to Sam Shields' departure. The Packers are young at cornerback and need options. Re-signing Davon House and drafting King are part of the solution. Randall, Rollins and LaDarius Gunter are all very much a part of the cornerback landscape.

Jay from Land O Lakes, FL

We have two new cornerbacks, House and King. Which of these two additions do you think have a better chance of being a starter by Week 1? Going against conventional 'wisdom,' I think the rookie does it.

It's been trial-by-fire for most rookie cornerbacks in Green Bay. Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde, Randall and Rollins all started games as rookies, but it begs the question: What is a starter? There are three cornerbacks and five defensive backs on the field more than 75 percent of the time these days. The Packers are going to need them all, especially if Mike McCarthy wants to get more on the field together in 2017.

Bryce from Ames, IA

Besides his height, what stands out to you about Kevin King?

His times in the three-cone drill and shuttles at the combine. It's one thing for a cornerback to be big. It's another for him to be big and fast, but when you factor in a prospect's quickness, athleticism and ability to flip his hips and move – that's where you find elite football players.

John from Green Bay, WI

Looking back at the draft, I was expecting the trading of compensatory picks to play a larger role in team strategy. With all of the blockbuster trades made in the first round, not one used a compensatory pick as bait. Do you think NFL GMs are weighing these compensatory picks differently than "regular" picks? Note, a compensatory pick wasn't traded until the third round. Coincidence or trend?

Well, compensatory picks don't start until the end of the third round. When teams trade back, they often try to get the earliest pick another possesses (the Packers obtained the Broncos' first seventh-round pick for trading back in the fifth round, not one of their two compensatory selections). I don't know the exact numbers on how many compensatory picks were dealt, but it definitely played a role in NFL teams setting a new record for trades over the three days.

Austin from Schuylerville, NY

What a draft. For some reason I am very excited about this group of guys. Watching tape on Montravius Adams, this guy seems to have a serious motor on him. I think he can provide the spark we've needed at DT.

Adams has good blend of size and athleticism for a defensive tackle. There's going to be a lot of competition and opportunity on the defensive line this summer. Many talk about the snaps Datone Jones and Julius Peppers are vacating at outside linebacker, but also keep in mind how much those two rushed inside in the dime package. The Packers may need to lean more on their defensive linemen in 2017.

Wendell from Porto Alegre, Brazil

Antwan Goodley and Malachi Dupre are assigned with the number 19. How will that work?

There occasionally is some overlap with numbers. While it's not unusual for players on offense and defense to have the same number during training camp, the Packers don't make a habit out of doing that on the same side of the ball. I'm guessing they'll sort it out before training camp.

Mark from Naperville, IL

Are teams restricted to signing UFAs until after the last pick of the draft or is there a longer grace period after the draft before teams can start signing UFAs?

Teams will work the phones, gauging interest and talking to players in case they go undrafted, but I don't think they're permitted to agree to terms until the final pick is in. It's a rapid-fire process.

Christopher from Kansas City, MO

With the influx of new DBs that we didn't have last year, players may have to move around more and play at positions they aren't as familiar with. Is it easier for an outside CB to move to the slot or a slot CB to move outside on the boundary?

It depends on the guy. Tramon Williams played inside and outside without issue for years. Charles Woodson made a successful transition, as well. Davon House and Demetri Goodson were strictly outside boundary cornerbacks in the past, but that's not to say they couldn't move inside.

Pat from Federal Way, WA

Why did they release Christine Michael?

Without talking to Ted Thompson or McCarthy, my guess is they felt comfortable with their current stable of running backs and wanted to give Michael and Don Jackson a chance to catch on with another NFL club if they didn't have a legitimate chance of making this roster. If a player isn't going to be in the running for reps, it's sometimes better to release them to the open market.

Sean from Milwaukee, WI

I hear a lot about young receivers needing to be better route-runners. What makes a receiver a better route-runner?

Experience, studying the playbook and attention to detail. The only way to improve your craft is to keep doing it. Repetition makes you better.

Chris from Victor, ID

I can't wait to see what the Packers do to get Josh Jones on the field. Not only could he develop into a solid backup for Morgan Burnett, but he could have the speed to play in the slot and the nose to mix it up against the run. I don't think depth was the reason for this pick.

Hyde demonstrated the importance of versatility in the secondary. You need at least one or two of those players to survive a season. Jones gives the Packers a big-bodied defensive back who can play all over the secondary and special teams.

Rich from Manitou Springs, CO

Now that we're in the UDFA short era of this year, I'm wondering about the situation of Jalen Robinette of the Air Force. With the AF declining his opportunity of an NFL career for two years, can any team sign him for future considerations? He led the nation in YPC with 27.5.

From what I recall, NFL teams are allowed to sign players with military commitments and place them on the reserve/military list until they're eligible to play. My guess is Robinette would rather see what the landscape is like in two years, though.

Erich from Wauwatosa, WI

What is the obsession with people wanting Clay Matthews to play inside more? His best plays and seasons came when he is on the edge. Stats back this up.

I'd challenge everyone to stop paying so much attention to where Clay Matthews is playing and start taking notice of what Morgan Burnett is doing in a hybrid role. That's the future. While it doesn't matter where Matthews is lining up, the Packers need him rushing the passer.

Jason from Johnston, IA

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the two additional wins Mike was referring to are the NFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl. As long as we get those two extra wins it doesn't matter what playoff seed we get.

That may be true, but that No. 1 seed increases the chances of making a deep playoff run substantially. Twice in the past three years, the Packers have come two wins shy of the ultimate goal. The question they asked themselves this offseason is what more do they need to do to get those last two wins.

Derek from Houston, TX

If the draft were to be held in Green Bay during any of the upcoming years, do you think the commissioner would be booed? Even given there'd be a lot of folks from out of town coming in, the majority would be Wisconsinites, and from all my time there I can't see it happening.

Wisconsinites usually aren't booing people…unless, of course, you don't play well in the first half.

Chris from Katy, TX

Last year a few of the rookies were unable to attend all parts of the training through the spring due to academic conflicts (Northwestern and UCLA, I believe). Will any of the 2017 draft class have the same issue?

Not that I know of, but we'll get a better gauge on that Friday during the first day of availability at rookie orientation.

Bill from Fort Worth, TX

Before people get too down on selecting Biegel instead of Watt, if memory serves correctly, Clay Matthews wasn't the consensus "top prospect" from USC's linebackers the year he was drafted either. How about we sit tight on the judgment and let the new guy play?

I remember thinking Rey Maualuga was the better player. He wasn't even an outside linebacker. I knew nothing, Jon Snow.

Matt from Green Bay, WI

I met Vince Biegel at the Packers Pro Shop on Monday afternoon! (It really is where the pros shop.) I stopped by for the tent sale and parked right next to him. I said hi and congratulations. He was really excited that someone recognized him. We talked for 5-10 minutes and it was really obvious his dreams came true. It was awesome to see his level of excitement with his new job. I also got the inside scoop. The mullet will eventually make a comeback.

I think everyone is in agreement the Packers' locker room needs more mullets. In fact, when was the last time a current player actually donned one?

Greg from New Britain, CT

Do the players' agents ever help with getting their players settled at their new gigs? I feel when I see agents in movies they have almost a "caretaker" role for the "talent" they represent rather than just negotiating the contract and walking out the door. Maybe NFL agents operate similarly.

The good ones do. A few agents I talk with mention how they constantly preach to their clients that playing in NFL is only one part of your life. It's what you do after your career is over that matters most.

Braden from Brookfield, WI

Biggest laugh of the day, 2018 mock drafts are out. What a joke.

Does anyone have a mock draft from after the 2016 NFL Draft ended? I'd be curious which players were projected in the first round.

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