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Mike's Mid-Week Chat: Which draft picks will make an impact as rookies?

Senior writer Mike Spofford answered fan questions in a post-draft chat

TE Josiah Deguara
TE Josiah Deguara

Hey everybody. Thanks for logging on today. Hope everyone is safe and healthy. It was a busy weekend in the football world, so let's get to it. I'll wait a few minutes for some questions to come in.

Do you think Jordan Love will win the QB2 job this fall or is that Tim Boyle's job to lose?

I think it'll be a legitimate competition. Boyle has the experience in the preseason, and Love won't have any traditional on-field offseason work before training camp rolls around, so there's no guarantee the first-round pick will be the No. 2 right away. I expect all 3 QBs to be on the 53-man roster this season.

It appears to me we'll be better at TE, WR, RB and DL this year mainly due to young guys getting better. Your opinion?

That's what the Packers are counting on. AJ Dillon and Josiah Deguara are additions at RB and TE who I think could play significant roles as rookies, but the WR group and DL will hinge mainly on progress from within. Though also, Devin Funchess is a seasoned pro added at WR, and I look at Reggie Begelton from the CFL as almost like a sixth-round pick or so.

I find it hard to believe AR is affected by Love being drafted. He'll know when it's time to retire from football. I don't see someone of his caliber being forced out while still playing at a high level.

I thought what Rodgers said on a Wisconsin radio show before the draft was very telling. This was before the Packers drafted Love, just about the possibility of a high pick at QB. He said he doesn't plan on getting beat out for the job anytime soon, and he essentially put it on himself to play well enough so the Packers don't want to move on. He gets it.

Hello Mike! Thanks for the chat. With everyone calling for free agents to be brought in what position would you like to see bolstered? DL seems like a good bet... I know Snacks has been discussed. What about Solomon Thomas? Never really got going in SF but he went third overall.

The Packers don't have a ton of cap space, and Gutekunst has said they'd like to get Kenny Clark signed to an extension sooner than later, so I'm wondering if they're going to pursue that as diligently as they can with the cap space available before making any other significant moves.

How soon do you think we see AJ Dillon? What odds would you give to him being a featured part of our offense by the end of the season? 2nd round pick makes me think he's going to be expected to play.

I do think he's going to play, and I can see him sharing the No. 2 role with Jamaal Williams. Aaron Jones will still be the feature back in this offense, I believe, but Dillon brings a dimension the other two guys don't have. If he proves he's ready, he'll play.

Why are nearly all the so-called NFL exports so uptight about Aaron Rodgers and the drafting of Jordan Love?

It was obvious this move was going to create news, speculation, and the like. It's part of the deal. A lot of people out there want to have the hot take on what they think is going to happen, and they'll only remind people what they said if they're right. This has a long time to play out, so I'm just going to let it do that.

Mike, I think the OL depth added in the draft is being greatly undervalued by the media. The Packers have no reliable swing tackle, assuming Veldheer isn't brought back, and there's a strong possibility the Packers don't think they'll be able to resign Corey Linsley next offseason. In addition, they could be looking for competition at RG and Lane Taylor is on the last year of his deal. That pretty much leaves Lucas Patrick and Alex Light. Thoughts?

The Packers appear to have plenty of depth on the interior of the offensive line, but not as much at the tackle spots. They have Light, Yosh Nijman and John Leglue for tackle depth right now, all unproven. Turner could play at tackle if needed. I wouldn't rule out Jon Runyan, either, though it sounds like they're going to try him at guard. I think it's a fluid situation at tackle, but the Packers have plenty of interior options moving forward.

I laugh at the draft grades. I looked back to 2015. Bleacher Report had the Pack at a C+. We know how bad that turned out. They had the Browns at an A. Not one of their guys is left on the team even though they had 2 first rounders an 5 picks in the first 3 rounds...

Post-draft grades are clickbait and nothing more. I get it. Everyone wants to hear opinions, and that's fine, but it all needs to be taken for what it is, which is relatively meaningless until any of these players see an NFL field.

Mike; thanks for the quick turn-around for a Chat after the Draft! A J Dillon seemed very focused/committed in his first interview as a Packer. Would BG and ML addressed any "career nutrition concerns" in a pre-Draft interview? Weight control doesn't seem to be an issue with Derrick Henry, but it certainly was with E. Lacy?

I don't see that being an issue with Dillon at all. My understanding is he was in the low 240s coming out of high school, and he leaned up even more and gained more strength to reach 247 in college. His body fat is less than 6 percent. Dillon is put together.

If the stadiums are forced to stay empty this fall even if the games are played, where does all the money come from? TV revenue won't be the same either, will it?

Those TV contracts are signed. If the games are on TV, the networks are forking over the money.

Dillon has the lower body, but doesn't it take a powerful upper body as well to be a pounder?

He's not going to carry the ball 20 times a game as a rookie, not with Aaron Jones in this offense.

In all the talk about ILB I don't hear Ty Summers mentioned. He had a good preseason last year. Is he still on the team?

I think the ILB competition for the spot alongside Christian Kirksey will feature Oren Burks, Curtis Bolton, Summers and Kamal Martin, the fifth-round pick from Minnesota. May the best man win.

If there's a 55 man game day roster is there also a 55 man roster coming out of training camp with 2 additional guys who don't have to clear waivers before being put on the practice squad?

I'm not sure it's going to work that way. I'm still not clear on it all, but my understanding is the 55 is only for during the regular season to allow for PS promotions.

How do you think the WR position will shake out with the players they have, coming back from injuries etc.

I think Equanimeous St. Brown and Begelton are the two biggest unknowns with the WR group, with the former coming back from the injury and the latter coming from the CFL. Otherwise, Funchess is on a prove-it contract, and growth and progress is expected from Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Jake Kumerow .

Tell us Mike, in your professional opinion what is the relationship be Rodgers and LeFleur. Please put all the pundits opinions to rest. Thank for all your hard work, it truly is appreciated.

I saw two guys who enjoyed working with each other, and said as much. Like anything, there are challenges with these dynamics anytime, but I got the sense at the end of last season Rodgers was looking forward to Year 2 in the scheme and LaFleur has a strong sense of where this can go with him at the helm. I don't think that's changed, as long as the distractions are kept at bay.

I watched Dillon's highlights. You wouldn't know he weighs over 225 with the way he looks and moves.

That's the impression I got, too. Apparently his legs are just huge, and powerful.

Difficult question. Given the current pandemic do you think a shortened season is possible?

Anything is possible. There will be a lot to work out in order for any of the major sports to play. I just hope science can make rapid progress to help everyone, sports included.

Mike, I appreciate that the announcement of jersey numbers is becoming a thing, along with editing photos to show what a player will look like in the green and gold. Back when TT was GM, I felt like announcing jersey numbers took forever, except for the first round pick. Also, who got to tell Darrius Shepherd he was changing to #9?

I'm not sure who makes those calls now. Speaking of jersey numbers, there's a funny one on the U of Minnesota's website. Kamal Martin wore No. 21 for the Gophers, and it appears they photoshopped him into an old action photo of Woodson or Clinton-Dix. It gave me a chuckle.

I thought the Packers biggest weakness was stopping the run and it's not apparent that this was adequately addressed in free agency or the draft. I've heard Petine's scheme can be changed to help. What is your take?

I'm one who's been mentioning scheme changes just because that's how I read between the lines of everyone's comments about not adding any personnel to the defensive front. I think they know what went wrong in SF and they believe it's not a personnel problem. If you aren't going to fix it with personnel, you have to try to fix it somehow.

Any news yet on the UFA's?

Still waiting on the official announcement. It could be any day or hour now.

Any "insider" info on when the schedule is coming out?

The league originally said by May 9, which would mean sometime next week, but I saw a report indicating it could be delayed. So there's no telling now. I guess we'll see.

Will games be played in London and Mexico City this season?

No idea.

Hi Mike, Non-Packer question here... What are your thoughts about MLB's 3 Division realignment possibilities for this year?

Whatever it takes to play if they can play games safely for all involved.

I think if we got a QB of the future, a stud RB, and another weapon at TE, this will go down as an incredible draft. What say you?

If Love turns out to be a productive QB of the future, or if this goes the Garoppolo route and he doesn't play for the team that drafted him and is turned into another future draft asset, all the uproar over this draft will be forgotten.

Is Deguara/Sternberger the new Chmura/Jackson?

Not really. The two young TEs are guys who could line up all over in the offensive formation, including the backfield. It's a completely different offense.

Do you see any possibility the Packers sign Clay Matthews or Jadeveon Clowney if their market price fits the cap?

I would never rule anything out, but it's not really about the cap space this year. It's about future cap space with Clark, David Bakhtiari, Jones, Linsley, Kevin King all entering the final year of their current deals.

I'm a big Tramon Williams fan. Has he ever said anything about coaching after his playing days are done?

He hasn't, to my knowledge, probably because he never wants to give the impression he's thinking about being done. Williams is a marvel, in my opinion. I don't know if he's coming back to the Packers or if he'll continue to play somewhere else in 2020, but he goes down as one of my all-time favorites for a lot of reasons.

Waiver acquisitions form the Dolphins?

Those aren't official yet, but they essentially function as a couple of undrafted rookie signings on the D-line, except they were undrafted rookies last year.

A lot has been said about the quarterback pick. Front office must have anticipated the drama, do you think their current reaction will suffice? We can't have this drama hovering around the team the entire year...

The drama now is to be expected. Rodgers will address it at some point. LaFleur will answer more questions about it. So will Love. Everything now is flying around, but it's not going to be like this, in my opinion, when we're back into a more normal media access period and into the actual schedule of the season.

ML is very excited about Deguara's ability to line up in multiple positions. For the run game, are the plays much different with an FB alignment with another TE in line vs. an in-line alignment with two TEs?

I'm not an X's and O's expert, but some of them are basically the same. You're just trying to get the defense to react differently by showing them a different formation.

Is it unusual for a team to cut a draft pick during the pre-season? Asking because I am hopeful that a receiver we missed during the draft might become available through waivers... Sure would be nice to snag one of the 30+ receivers that were drafted without having to actually use draft capital. Malachi Dupri was a casualty during preseason for us a few years ago if I remember correctly.

Draft picks get cut all the time, and if they showed enough, teams like to see them clear waivers and come back to the practice squad. It's far from unprecedented to cut a draft pick.

Do you think AJ can be as good as Derrick Henry someday? Do you think Jordan Love can be a star in the league someday?

Can they be? Sure. Will they be? I have no idea. The jump from the college to the pro game is not small. Some guys aren't phased by it, others are. I've never been able to know how or why it works or doesn't with certain guys. If I did, I'd be a scout.

Just realized today there are exactly 88 stairs to get to my apartment. What could than mean?

Oh, brother.

Is MVS the fastest player we have on offense?

Probably, but Tyler Ervin is no slouch in the speed department. Longer range, MVS would most likely outrun him.

Deguara looks like a very willing run blocker. Great way to get yourself on the field as a rookie, I imagine.

No doubt. That's one of the things I found most intriguing about Jace Sternberger's insertion into the offense late last season. The knock on him coming out, after just one year at Texas A&M, was he had such long way to go as a blocker. He stuck his face right in there and held his own.

Hypothetically, if there are as good as no real training sessions, only virtual. Do you think the NFL let's the season start? Or are real training sessions required to be able to start?

You have to allow for some kind of training camp to get on the field, and at least a couple of preseason games, for teams to choose their rosters and for players to get prepared.

Do you think we need a full back on the team since we have multiple players that can do that position

With what Sternberger showed last year, and the plans we've heard for Deguara, I don't see fullback as high on the priority list for the final roster. But if someone proves he belongs, you find a way to use him.

Do you know Aaron Rodgers has only thrown 1 touchdown pass to a first round pick? That seems crazy to me.

Yeah, it's a stat that's getting a lot of attention. The 1 is Marcedes Lewis, last season. It's easy to put that up there and forget about all the TD passes to second- and third-round picks, though. Jennings, Nelson, Cobb, Adams, Jones, R. Rodgers, Finley. The Packers haven't drafted a receiver in the first round since 2002, and even that guy (Javon Walker) didn't get a second contract in GB. Make of it what you will.

What do you think will be the Packers keys to success next year?

First and foremost, handling expectations. Last year they had been out of the playoffs for two years, and it was the honeymoon period for a new coach. They were a feel-good story, going 13-3 and coming a game from the Super Bowl. That's all out the window. Now they're the defending NFC North champs, and the expectations will have to be managed effectively. Aside from that, young players in their second, third, fourth seasons have to fulfill their promise in 2020 for the Packers to make another run at this thing.

Saw an article on the "experts" 2005 grades for the Packers draft. Gives some perspective - Nick Collins considered "a reach" in the second round.

Of course he was a reach. He was from Bethune-Cookman. I think in the final analysis Ted Thompson's first two draft picks were the two best he ever made, and that's not a knock. He had a ton of good ones.

Hi Mike - apologies if already asked but who do you think the Pack thought would take Love if we didn't trade up. The Titans at 29 or another trade partner? Excited to see how these draftees shape up over the next three or four years.

My best guess is they thought the Colts might come up from early in the second round to take him.

Should they reduce the number of games this season, what would you prefer, lose the AFC games, or lose the NFC non divisional games?

After the two placeholder NFC games, losing the AFC games would be more fair to the overall playoff picture I think.

Do you see Dillion playing in the backfield with Aaron Jones on occasion? Kind of the old running FB as an optional twist to their offense? He sure is big enough if he can block...

That could be an interesting twist. We'll just have to see. I don't see it as a FB set so much as a two-RB set where both guys could be involved in different options.

Mike, I hope you and your family are doing well during these challenging times. Does your gut tell you that Aaron Rodgers will reach another Super Bowl before he retires?

I do. Rodgers has said himself the window is open, and the Packers are right in the mix. A lot has to go right, but just keep giving yourself chances and see what falls into place. Every year is a long year, and no team looks in January like it does in September, let alone April.

Nach and I had the same thought!


The real takeaway for me about those 2005 grades is don't get too wound up about the 2020 draft.

Right now, no. No one knows how this is going to turn out, on many fronts.

How are you getting your lunch during the crisis? Stealing from one of your kids?

Bingo. And I probably missed my chance today, but I do need to sign off. Thanks for all the participation today, folks. Enjoyed it. Take care and stay safe. Best, Mike

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