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Mike's Mid-Week Chat: Will the Packers trade up or down in the draft?

Senior writer Mike Spofford answered fan questions in a live chat

GM Brian Gutekunst
GM Brian Gutekunst

Hey everybody. Hope everyone is staying healthy and safe. I see there are a bunch of folks already logged on, so let's get to it.

Hi Mike, can we please avoid anything and everything coronavirus related during this chat?! I know it's hard to escape from as it's everywhere but I think we need a reprieve from seeing questions/answers about it. I know I do.

We won't have the topic dominate this chat, but I know people have questions. There are also a ton of questions I absolutely cannot answer because nobody knows the answers, as I indicated in the Inbox on Monday. But let's start getting some questions flowing in ...

Mike, I'm looking forward to the NFL Draft, and hoping that the broadcast will be more like it was back in the 1980s, when it was all about football, and not so much about the glitz. Do you anticipate the Packers having any issues with the limitations in place?

Everyone will be playing by the same rules, and with 16 days between now and the first round, that's plenty of time to work out technical and logistical issues. It will be different, there's no doubt. It will behoove the Packers, as they always do, to get all their debates and discussions completed in advance, because you can't have a big argument over a selection ensue while you're on the clock. The teams that have done all their homework in advance will handle everything the best, as is usually the case.

Under the current rules, do you think Boykin caught that pass in XLV?

I'm trying to remember the specific play you're referencing, but I know the receiver wasn't Boykin because he wasn't on the team yet.

The Packers's cap is tight. And Aaron Rodgers's cap number increases by $15 million in 2021. Will Gute have to release Corey Linsley to sign Kenny Clark this year?

Great question. I don't want to make any predictions on that, other than to say this: Clark will be expensive, and the Packers won't be able to re-sign all of their pending free agents. No one ever can. Priorities will have to be established and choices made.


There we go. I'll have to go back and look at the play again. The details escape me at the moment.

Don't be shy folks ... ask away.

Thoughts on Tanner Muse playing ILB?

I don't know much about Muse, but he would fit the profile of the hybrid player if the Packers are interested. I don't know if he could be a full-time ILB at 225, though.

Mike, what's the ratio of people you hear from who like the 17 game season vs not?

The vast majority of fans I've heard from are in favor of it. If there are going to be 20 games, replacing a preseason one with a regular season one benefits fans. There's a lot more opposing to the new playoff format, and I'm certainly one who's not crazy about it, but we'll all adjust.

Clay Matthews-yes, no, maybe?

Very interesting question. I don't know what the Packers' evaluation of him is in terms of how much they think he has left. He certainly had his moments for the Rams last year, but he's also not going to play for free. With a lot of veteran guys like Matthews who are still on the market, I think a lot of teams want to wait and see how the draft falls before they make a commitment.

The key is not 1 more regular season game, but one less preseason game.

Precisely. It's a big ask for players, though, because 16 games is already a really long season. What these guys put their bodies through should not be discounted. I know they get paid a lot to play, but the physical demands with each added game are significant.

Tramon Williams status update?

I haven't heard anything. Again, I'll refer to the comment on teams possibly waiting to see what happens in the draft first regarding veteran free agents on their radar.

If we select a top OT or ILB at 30 and a top DL slides to 62, does Glute hold off on WR until the 3rd round? If so, do we end up with just another guy?

This draft's depth at WR tells me a third-round guy could still be awfully good, but we'll just have to see how it falls. The Packers have a lot of needs, but the signings of Christian Kirksey, Rick Wagner and Devin Funchess give them flexibility in the draft where Gutekunst won't be forced to take a guy at a certain position to fill a hole. He can let his board talk to him (which maybe a virtual board can?)

If the NFL season happens to proceed without live fans in the stands, which team or teams would stand to get an advantage because of the lack of crowd noise? i would think Green Bay would have a little advantage in the away dome games no?

I have no idea if things will get that far, but games without fans in general would reduce home-field advantage considerably, I would think.

Aah why's every page here gotta have imbedded video on it & auto -play on too, is that a NFL mandate, i see their site is similar... ok a real q - how is technology helping you thru these times.. and how is it hindering you? stay safe stay stronggg all II

Well, so far the internet bandwidth at the house has been able to handle the needs for my job, my wife's, and my kids' school responsibilities, so we've got that going for us, which is nice. We've been working on using video conferencing to record video interviews and such, so it's not ideal obviously, but it allows us to still produce some of that content.

Do you think Gutekunst will lean on the offensive side of the ball in this draft?

I don't know about lean, because the Packers have plenty of areas to address on defense, too. But I would be surprised if this is a draft like 2017 or 18, when all the Packers' picks the first two days were on defense.

Your, thoughts on drafting offensive and defensive lines high round or low round?

The Packers have had a lot of success over the years finding offensive linemen in the middle rounds. Sitton, Lang, David Bakhtiari, Linsley, etc. Interior offensive linemen are a little easier to find there. Bakhtiari is the exception, not the rule. I think high-impact defensive linemen have to be drafted early. There aren't that many middle or late-round D-linemen who reach that level.

Who do you think will be GB's first rounder? WR, LB, OL? With the departure of Bulaga, G-Mo, & Martinez, we have some spaces to fill. What say you?

As I said, I think Gutekunst can let his board do the work. If the next Kenny Clark or Bryan Bulaga is there at 30, that would be much harder to pass on than a WR in my opinion.

Do you understand the moving of Rashan Gary to OLB? Makes no sense to me. He's 10 pounds heavier than Bosa and SF didn't think of moving him. DE is a need on this D as well. This move didn't work for Neal, Datone Jones or Perry really. Bad idea.

The Packers started Gary there, but they also drafted him where they did because he has the ability to put his hand on the ground as an in-line player. I expect Gary to get a lot more playing time in 2020, and I'm very curious to see how the Packers use him.

Do you see the Packers trading out of the first and second round?

First and second? I doubt both. A trade back at some point early in the draft wouldn't surprise me, though.

As much as I want play makers to start the draft, I want the trenches taken care of first. However, Dbak, Sitton, Lang, Linsley, Daniel's, etc. all found in the mid to late rounds tells me both can be had. Is it draft day yet? Let's gets this shindig started.

I'm with you ... 16 days away seems like a really long time, especially in these circumstances.

How seriously are the packers looking to move up or back in the 1st? Who might they target in such moves and why?

I have no idea how the Packers have built their board and what they think of certain players. They don't share that information. So while someone might speculate about the Packers trading up for this guy or that guy, that's only based on where a guy is rated by the pundits, not GB's opinion of him. I don't rule out trading up, but I think a trade back is the more likely of the two.

I feel like after the way our season ended our young defense is going to be uber-focused and hungry for this upcoming season. With a lot of youth on that side of the ball, would an explosive style offense like 2011 make this team potentially unstoppable this year? I want to see a heavy offensive draft.

Anyone would love an explosive offense like '11, but one step at a time. It'll be just Year 2 for Rodgers and LaFleur, and the Packers have areas to address on defense, too, for the immediate and long-term future.

I don't see a path where we make the jump past the niners this year too many holes to fill in my opinion. That said I'm assuming Gute is counting on major jumps in 2nd & 3rd year players. My question is do you think he rolls the dice at WR and stands pat and puts his draft stock into the final pieces of a championship caliber defense?

He's not formulating that type of strategy either way, because he's going to see how the draft falls and take the best players based on all the homework they've done. Improvement from within is always a must for teams to take another step. Look what Aaron Jones did in his third year, Alexander in his second. Yes, the Packers need more of that. As for the Niners, how many fans of NFC teams thought a year ago there's no way their team will catch the Rams? Then LA didn't make the playoffs. It's a year-to-year league.

Who do you like in ANY round at Defensive Tackle?

I'm mostly familiar with the guys listed at the top, and I really like Blacklock's personality when he spoke at the combine. Plenty to like about Madubuike too. Davidson also intrigues me as the "second" guy from Auburn.

I'm hoping that Love is available at 30 and somebody drafting in the mid 30's in round 2 knocks on our door wanting to swap and throw in an early 4th.

I could see that happening and the Packers making that move.

I was really happy when the Packers got Josh Jackson in the 2nd round. Obviously he does not fit the Packers scheme with his coverage skills nothing like he did at Iowa. Is it the Packs scheme or Is the NFL game too fast for his skill set? Does he have any real trade value?

I don't know why everyone is so quick to give up on Jackson. He had a significant injury in training camp last year, it set him back, and other guys moved in front of him. I'd like to give him a fresh start and see what he can do.

How are you getting physical exercise these days? I've been fortunate having 2 weekends in a row with excellent weather so I could do some cycling.

Taking walks and doing yardwork have been about it for me. It's better than nothing, but I definitely miss my twice-weekly racquetball games.

Do you think Tua will be a top 5 pick?

If teams are confident in his medical reports, I believe he will be.

Been enjoying the many replays made available. It really fills the void! Made a point to watch AR12 to see if I notice a "drop off" to recent years. The one thing that jumped out at me was his velocity on EVERY throw. Even the touch passes had zip. Dude was (IS) amazing

There's never been a lack of arm strength. His style has changed over the years as he's gotten older and his body has endured the rigors of the game. That's true with any of them. His release has gotten quicker over the years, in my opinion, which is the adjustment timing-wise to fewer full-velocity throws.

Which rookie receiver do you think would make the quickest impact?

I have no idea. My layman's view of it would lean toward the guys in leagues like the SEC that produce more NFL cornerbacks, but at the end of the day, you're still drafting the player, not the team or the conference. Scouts know what they want to see on film to show how ready a guy is, and who's more of a project. I have no such expertise.

Can you ballpark the amount of money Russ Ball needs to reserve to sign draftees?

I want to say most years it's around $7-8 million in cap space, but that might have gone up a tad. Even though the Packers are going into the draft with 10 picks, there isn't as much space needed as last year when they came out of the draft with two first-rounders and a mid second-rounder.

It seemed ARod was beginning to develop more touch on screens and short passes. He's never been great on screens and shorter plays ala Favre... did you notice same? Impact of Laflur?

I've never felt that was a deficiency in his game. The Packers over the years have had their share of bad-looking screens, but it's usually because the defense snuffs it out and it makes the throw difficult if not impossible. What I noticed last year with LaFleur was Rodgers taking the checkdown throw to the RB or TE more often than he had in recent years. The Packers gained more yards than usual on checkdowns both in the middle of the field and along the sideline. The option wasn't always in the same place, and it served the offense well.

I heard there are only 2 polling places open in Green Bay. True? If so, at 6 foot minimum spacing the lines must go all the way to Milwaukee!

I've heard there are long lines. My absentee ballot is supposed to arrive today, so I'm going to fill it out and get it postmarked by the end of the day. Fingers crossed.

How high are the packers on Equanimeous St. Brown? seems to be forgotten but a huge target who had a year to develop, do you see him stepping into a much bigger role next year?

I think the Packers are eager for St. Brown to get a restart, too. He was the best of the three 2018 WR draft picks at the end of his rookie season, in my opinion, but last year was unfortunate. He will get his opportunity, no doubt.

Getting back to my absentee ballot, I should go check the mailbox so we'll call it a chat. Thanks for logging on today, everybody. Take care and stay safe. Best, Mike

With the discussion on virtual orientation and even training camp, what precautions will GB and other teams have to take given all the hacking into Zoom and other services. Sounds like a field day for the Patriots to reengage SpyGate !

Saw this come in last second ... that's a great question. Teams are definitely going to be monitoring their online security, and it'll start with the draft. We're in a new world, and I wouldn't be surprised if we hear a story of some team getting hacked at some point. You just never know. Thanks again everyone.

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