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The Packers leave no stone unturned in the scouting process

Compensatory draft picks can be a powerful tool for NFL teams


Sam from Sioux Falls, SD

Hey guys, did you see Zak Showalter's buzzer beater to force overtime? And then he stared right at Aaron Rodgers in the crowd and did the belt. How awesome was that even though the Badgers fell to the Gators? I'm gonna miss those seniors for the Badgers. What a great moment in Wisconsin sports history.

The shot was incredible and the belt was even better. What truly made it an instant-classic moment was how quickly Showalter found Rodgers in the crowd without any hesitation after making arguably the biggest shot of his life. Not to mention having Showalter step up at such a clutch moment with Bronson Koenig visibly hobbling. Onions.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Davante Adams played above expectations last season. Who do you expect to play above expectations this year?

Damarious Randall. He reminds me the most of Adams. He has all the tools. Six interceptions in his first 25 career games speaks to his talent. He just needs to get healthy. Don't make the mistake of discounting a young player because of one up-and-down season. Adams made a lot of folks eat their words in 2016.

Jake from Franklin, WI

The answer yesterday from Vic about drafting Rodgers with no noticeable impact for three years got me thinking, why do people think the Patriots will trade Jimmy Garoppolo? Why not let him be the Rodgers to Brady's Favre?

I think it has to do with Garoppolo being a free agent next year and the rising costs of quarterbacks. You've seen a couple backups over the past few years – Brock Osweiler, Mike Glennon, Tyrod Taylor, Chase Daniel and even Matt Flynn if you go back a few years – get large contracts based on relatively small sample sizes. The thing the Patriots have to weigh is: A) Will you be able to re-sign him? B) Is someone willing to give you more than the third-round compensatory pick he could fetch if he leaves as an unrestricted free agent? Quarterbacks are currency.

Paul from Milwaukee, WI

With so many colleges and potential players wanting to enter the NFL, I can't imagine the Packers or any team for that matter, to be able to cover all the talent that is out there. With that being said, is there some weight or time constraints that only allow certain schools and players to be considered? Is there some small Division III school that has the next Adrian Peterson most teams will miss?

I don't know about that. The Packers leave no stone unturned in the scouting process. I don't know how many NFL personnel departments were keeping tabs on Division III Wesley (Del.) College quarterback Joe Callahan last year. There's always going to be some prospects who fall through the cracks, but college free agency usually collects most of them. I don't know about finding the next Adrian Peterson, but Danny Woodhead and Arian Foster carved out nice careers for themselves.

Ron from Tama, IA

Do you think next year is the year the Packers draft their QB of the future, or is he on the roster now?

Yes. His name is Aaron Rodgers.

Shawn from Fort Collins, CO

Last year we struggled with our CB position later in the year due to injury and depth. If we didn't lose Casey Hayward to free agency, do you believe he would have made the difference or were we still lacking a more consistent pass rush?

Sure. Hayward is a good football player, but there's two things I'll add to that. First, as Mark Murphy said at the NFL Owners meetings, you cannot re-sign everyone. That's just the reality of the NFL. Secondly, football isn't played in a vacuum. Nobody can say for certain what would have happened if Hayward played in Green Bay last year. It's all hypothetical.

Carlos from Munising, MI

How do the Packers' facilities compare to the rest of the teams in the NFL?

I think the Packers have to be near the top of the league following the addition of the CRIC (conditioning, rehab, and instruction center) a couple years ago. Mike McCarthy frequently praises Murphy and the organization for the investment the Packers have made into that initiative. I don't know firsthand the landscape of other NFL locations, but I've talked to many veterans who have said the Packers rank among the best.

Jenny from Rochester, MN

How much communication does the team have with its players during the offseason? Is that regulated? How closely do/can they monitor players' rehab from injuries or surgeries?

Players stay in constant communication with the training staff during rehab with some like Jordy Nelson opting to spend most of their offseason in town to properly monitor their progress after a significant injury. There isn't a right or wrong answer. It just depends on how the player prefers to rehab and train.

Nick from Chicago, IL

My confidence just sky-rocketed in the defense after the signing of Ricky Jean Francois - phenomenal free agent signing. You go, Ted!

Jean Francois makes a lot of sense for the Packers' defense. These type of signings don't draw much attention, but often can make all the difference throughout the course of a long season. He's experienced, durable and can play multiple positions. It's good to add another veteran to the mix on a young defensive front.

Tuomas from Helsinki, Finland

Went back and watched the Week 3 game against Detroit and was blown away how good the D-line actually was against the run. Mike Daniels and Nick Perry, among others, absolutely dominated. Kenny Clark will be an absolute beast. Secondary did have its faults even back then, but LaDarius Gunter played well. I really don't think we are that far away from being a really good defense, don't you agree? Feeling really excited for the defensive guys.

The run defense wasn't able to stay on the record-setting pace it was off to during the first month of the season, but it still was a very good unit. Statistically, it was the Packers' best since 2010. When people ask me why the defense will be better in 2017, I point towards that defensive line. Defense starts with stopping the run and the Packers have the makings of a great front. The return of Nick Perry not only gives the Packers a premium pass-rusher, but also arguably their best run-defending outside linebacker.

Luke from Oconomowoc, WI

Vic mentioned that a player's 40 time can be misleading when they have natural instinct on the field. That leaves me wondering: Speed Instinct = _?

Sticking with the Wisconsin theme, I think Nigel Hayes had such a great quote after the Badgers beat No. 1 Villanova. There are all these rankings and statistics, but none of them measure desire and toughness. That "It" factor is what separates players. You can have all the ability in the world, but it doesn't matter if the instincts aren't there.

Maggie from Kenosha, WI

Which away game are you most looking forward to this coming season?

Probably Atlanta. It'll be interesting getting a chance to see the Mercedes-Benz Stadium after closing the Georgia Dome last year. Plus, it should be a fantastic game to watch.

Mike from North Hudson, WI

This year's draft will be the first where compensatory draft picks can be traded. With the significant losses that the Packers have taken during this year's 2017 free agency period to date, is it out of the question that the Packers could receive four 2018 compensatory draft picks between rounds three to seven? With that amount of added draft pick ammo, 2018 could be the year of "Trader Ted"....

I think it's absolutely possible when you consider the caliber of players the Packers lost in unrestricted free agency. Murphy was asked about it in Arizona. It doesn't drive your decision-making, but definitely can be a very powerful tool for NFL teams. If such a scenario unfolds, Thompson will have a lot of options with all those draft choices.

Jaime from Georgetown, Guyana

Do the Packers believe that they can plug the holes we have on defense through the draft without picking up a big name free agent or two especially since we let Micah Hyde go?

There's no question Hyde and Julius Peppers were important to the Packers' success over the past few years, but the moves Thompson has made this offseason have helped fortify those affected positions. Nick Perry and Jayrone Elliott were re-signed at outside linebacker, and Davon House also was brought back. There's still more work to be done, but that's not a bad start with the draft one month away.

Josh from Magnolia, TX

Everyone seems to be so worried about what will happen in the draft and will it help the Packers be a Super Bowl contender, yet they're already ranked No. 3 in the NFL's post Free Agency Power Rankings. Are the fans overreacting or are the Packers just viewed as a force to be reckoned with in the NFL every year as of lately?

Thompson brought back his top two pending free agents, David Bakhtiari and Nick Perry, inked Martellus Bennett to a deal, and signed more free agents than any other offseason in the past decade. I think that's a pretty solid haul. Murphy also praised Thompson and Russ Ball for keeping the Packers in good cap shape, another important factor when considering these moves.

Chase from Fort Huachuca, AZ

One of Vic's favorite sayings is you pay it, you cap it. Will you explain how the veteran salary exemption works?

It's a measure that was added to make sure veterans weren't run out of the NFL due to their salaries. The rule allows teams to pay a veteran the minimum salary based on his accrued seasons (plus a small bonus) and get a slight discount on his cap number. It's a win-win.

Rob from Spring Lake, NJ

Do you guys have any thoughts on Obi Melifonwu, the DB out of UConn? As Vic is wont to say - "you can never have enough big men" it seems like you can never have enough tall (6'4") big (225 lbs) and super-fast (4.40 sec 40) guys in your defensive backfield. I recognize that he is listed as a safety rather than a CB, but with his size and speed he could play almost anywhere except the D line.

He's one of the most fascinating prospects in this draft class. I had a chance to bounce a few questions off him at the combine and came away impressed. His physical stature obviously stands out. As you mention, he tested through the roof. I'll be following him closely to see where he gets picked next month and what position he plays in the NFL.

George from Hutchinson, MN

When free agents arrive to a team for a visit, what exactly goes on there?

They visit the facilities, talk to the coaching staff and personnel department, and get an idea of how their talents might be utilized. It's just an opportunity to put faces to names and determine whether it would be a good fit for all parties.

Al from Valley City, ND

It seems to me that fans are putting all their draft focus on RB and CB, but hasn't a jack-of-all trades defensive back been one of the most vital pieces to a Dom Capers' defense and a Ted Thompson roster? A blend of safety, nickel corner & linebacker that Charles Woodson and Hyde played during their time here. Do Packers fans need to focus on a guy like Jabrill Peppers more (if he makes it to pick 29)?

Based on the Inbox, I'd definitely say fans have set their sights on Peppers. However, I'd argue Morgan Burnett is the player they should be concentrated on. McCarthy reiterated at the scouting combine last month Burnett's hybrid role in the defense is here to stay. The Packers have big plans to maximize his versatility.

Darren from Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Here's a follow-up comment and question to your desire to one day cover a Packers game in London. The Packers are a solid team and draw so most opposing teams won't choose to play their "home" game against the Pack in London. If you could choose to cover a Packers game anywhere in the world - considering both the location and potential fan base - what city would you choose and why?

I really would love to cover a game in London. I've never been to England before and heard it's an awesome experience from beat writers I know. I think it would have been cool to go to Canada when the Bills were playing games occasionally in Toronto, but not sure what the forecast is for that going forward. The Packers previously played Kansas City in Tokyo during the 1998 preseason. I wouldn't have a problem if that would happen again, though I'm sure it wasn't easy for the players and coaches.

Christopher from San Francisco, CA

Why did the Packers vote yes to allow the Raiders to move?

Prior to the vote, Murphy told reporters in Arizona the projections for growth in the Las Vegas market have been encouraging to the league. The biggest issue is getting the funding for a stadium. If you're playing in an older facility, it's difficult to keep up with the Joneses. The Raiders feel a relocation to Vegas will solve that issue for their franchise.

Ben from Rochester, NY

I thought we made a trade with the Buffalo Bills where we received a 2017 late-rounder for a free agent LB we signed from the Denver Broncos? Could this have been a conditional trade and the player did not meet the "conditions?" Want to see as many draft picks as possible!

The pick acquired in the Lerentee McCray trade is for the 2018 NFL Draft.

Dan from St Paul, MN

What's up with Jared Abbrederis? I loved watching him with the Badgers, and the injuries have obviously been a serious bummer for him, but can we expect him on the field this season?

Yes…for the Lions.

Brian from Fanwood, NJ

Let's say we opened a sandwich shop and listing our sandwiches without the Oxford comma. We've got a tuna melt, ham and cheese and peanut butter and jelly. Now we've got this ham, cheese, peanut butter, jelly sandwich that nobody (or maybe somebody) out there will eat. Oxford commas are necessary.

That's why I typically use them when listing items.

Bob from Colby, KS

My wife and I watch a lot of "House." The show seems to like "You can't always get what you want" by the Rolling Stones. What should theme song for the Insider Box?

I'm not sure. Welcome to the Jungle? Piano Man?

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