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Packers could have their pick of any running back

Players at combine in process of slotting themselves


Phillip from Brighton, East Sussex

Who do you think will be the No. 1 pick outside of a quarterback?

There doesn't appear to be a quarterback who is a prospect for the No. 1 overall pick, but you never know what might happen between now and draft time. What if Geno Smith lights it up on Sunday? Quarterbacks are always overdrafted and using the No. 1 overall pick on a player other than a quarterback is problematic. Let's use Jake Long and Mario Williams as examples. They begin their careers with such huge contracts that by the time they reach their primes they're unaffordable. Nevertheless, if you have to pick a guy other than a quarterback, then you're probably going to turn to one of the other premier positions, such as left tackle or pass rusher, as was the case with Long and Williams. This year, Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel appears to be the guy.

Shay from Hattiesburg, MS

I read an article on nfl.com about the top 40 times of all time. None of the records were earlier than 2005, proof that players are getting faster.

As far as I know, Bo Jackson still holds the combine 40 record, 4.12. Of course, that was before Mike Mayock, so it probably doesn't count.

Dan from Rothschild, WI

Do players have to have played in college to be drafted or signed as a free agent?

Everybody is draft eligible once in their life. If they're not drafted, they are immediately a free agent.

Simon from Mountain View, CA

Given that guys who perform well in underwear don't necessarily perform equally well in pads, should we be rooting for the guys we like to have bad combines so they'll slip down the draft board right to where the Packers are picking?

I think some of that exists. I think teams target players before they go to the combine and then use the combine to tweak their list of targets. In the end, however, you have to be flexible because when one guy jumps up, he pushes another guy down. I think Bruce Irvin and Dontari Poe did that last year.

John from Gladstone, MI

If a state like Florida, which does not have a state income tax, can sign a player at a lesser number, doesn't that give the teams in those states an unfair cap advantage? They can offer players a smaller contract number than other teams, which results in more money in the player's pocket.

That's correct.

Cory from Mauston, WI

Vic, I enjoy reading your column every day, but all this cap talk is starting to bore me and makes me miss the regular season. I like ignoring the behind the scenes stuff in the NFL and just watch football. Do you really enjoy this cap talk as much as you seem to?

When the cap was introduced in 1993, I tried to write around it. I hated having to learn all that stuff, but I quickly discovered that it was at the heart of the new NFL and that I had no choice but to learn this new form of accounting. Now, I find it intriguing because when you know a team's cap, you know the moves a team has to make. The cap tells all.

Chris from Fairfield, CT

Can you think of a player who did very poorly at the combine but turned out to be very successful in the NFL?

Vontaze Burfict had the combine from hell last year, but he was a rookie sensation.

Terry from Cary, IL

You mentioned the difference between Florida and Wisconsin in state taxes. Are players responsible for taxes in states where they play games other than their home state?

There are some places that tax visiting teams, including the team website editor. I think I had to file tax returns in three states last year to get some refund money.

Brandon from Houston, TX

Vic, who would you consider the Jerry Buss of the NFL?

Most people would probably go right to Jerry Jones, but I wouldn't. Jones bought one of the great brands in professional sports. Buss made the Lakers a great brand, which is what Bob Kraft has done with the Patriots, with the same kind of marketing expertise Buss used.

Tony from Madison, WI

What is to stop a team from giving a player a million-dollar signing bonus every year?

What you're describing is a roster bonus. Why do a new contract every year? Just set it up as a roster bonus, so the player gets a specific amount of money on a certain date if he's on the team's roster.

Dirk from Munich, Germany

How would a hard cap permit teams from pushing out money? It would make signing bonuses count in the same year, but what about base salary?

Think of it like this: What's in the year, stays in the year.

John from Neptune Beach, FL

If the Ravens had gotten what they should have for the Derrick Harvey pick, the disaster would have been complete. Oh, and the beach was great today.

That's why I think teams have to be flexible in applying the numerical table of point values. In a weak draft class, or for weak spots in the order, the points have to be adjusted downward, and vice versa.

Greg from North Little Rock, AR

Vic, I believe people get confused between retiring from a certain team and entering the Hall of Fame. In the NFL, players enter the Hall of Fame as a player, not with a team affiliation. Am I correct?

That's correct. When Charles Woodson is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, his entire career will be represented. The Hall of Fame will make no team distinction for Woodson. How fans choose to remember Woodson is up to them.

Raynard from Brentwood, MD

Do you think good running backs like Eddy Lacy and Stepfan Taylor will still be available in the draft for us?

At 26, I think the Packers will have their choice of any back in the draft. Will one be deserving of selection that high? Or might Ted Thompson do what he did when he selected Jordy Nelson, which is to say trade back to where the player fits? There's a lot to be decided between now and draft day. You could say teams are in the process of scouting players, but you could also say players are in the process of slotting themselves.

Cole from San Diego, CA

Are the Packers considering trading up for Chance Warmack in the draft or is that out of the question?

When I interviewed Jonathan Cooper yesterday, I thought I was interviewing a guy the Packers might draft at 26. Later in the day, however, I was informed by someone I trust as an insider that there's no way Cooper will get past the Cowboys. Immediately, my attention turned to Warmack, but then Tony Pauline told me Warmack has a terrible sweating problem. "Wadda you mean?" I said. Tony said Warmack sweats too much and teams are concerned about that. Armed with that bit of critically important information, I am now absolutely sure Warmack would be a good pick for the Packers. What better place for a guy with a sweating problem than Green Bay?

Justin from Roswell, NM

What do you think about the new aptitude test that will accompany the Wonderlic at this year's combine? How much does football knowledge mean for a player compared to talent?

I like guys that hit. If they're smart enough to do that, they're smart enough to play for me.

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