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Who's the sleeper in this draft class?

Life moves pretty fast for the rookies


Jeff from Loves Park, IL

All this talk about TT choosing to basically pass on Watt. We don't have access to their draft board. How would we even know if they were high on him to begin with?

Exactly. Though I understand the talk when he's a Wisconsin guy many analysts thought Green Bay would choose, and he was taken one pick later at No. 30.

Michael from Jacksonville, NC

One of my favorite traits about Clay Matthews has been his pursuit, and how he seems to turn it up a notch when the quarterback starts scrambling away out of the pocket. It seems like Vince Biegel shares that trait.

I agree, but let's not get carried away. How high that notch is represents the difference between the first and the fourth round.

Joey from Farmington, UT

I've watched Taysom Hill for a lot of years (he's 26). The Packers picked him up as an UDFA. He is not accurate enough a passer to be a viable QB in the NFL; however, he is an incredible athlete with some off-the-chart numbers. Do the Packers try to use him as a RB or LB? I can see him doing a lot of good things for the team if he stays healthy.

I'm curious to see what the Packers' plans are for Hill. Which brings us to our annual reminder, that will not be posting the official list of undrafted free agents until the players arrive and pass physicals later this week.

Braden from Brookfield, WI

I was just drafted by the Green Bay Packers. What's next? How quickly do I hear from the team? Do I get to pick my number? How quickly till I'm in Green Bay? Do I get the red-carpet treatment, a steak dinner and a night out? Or is it down to business? How fast do I sign my contract? Does the team find my housing or is that on me? The process leading up to the draft is fun for us. I'm curious what it's like for the players once they are drafted.

To steal a line from Ferris Bueller, "Life moves pretty fast." Rookie orientation begins Thursday, with all arriving, going through physicals, getting their equipment, etc. Numbers have already been assigned to the draft picks (they're at the bottom of the roster on our site now,**under the heading “Unsigned draft pick.”**) The team traditionally has a big dinner and video presentation for all the rookies that first night. Then they get a two-day "minicamp" of meetings and practices, their first taste of the playbook and what the practice structure is like, so they aren't completely lost when OTAs start toward the end of the month. A lot of the draft picks will sign their contracts this week, but getting all 10 done right away could be tough. The team has resources to help with housing. Some players stay at a hotel out by the airport until they find something. It's a whirlwind for these guys.

Ana from Brasilia, Brazil

You know what? I loved Kevin King's attitude. Kid didn't hear his name get called Thursday, no doubt a great disappointment. He still had the guts to return Friday and put himself on the hot seat again. Loved how resilient he was, how he didn't allow himself to get defeated. I think the Packers made a great choice there.

Me, too. If there's any drawback, it's not having a fifth-year option, which the Packers exercised Monday on Clinton-Dix, but it's the least of Green Bay's concerns the way the draft played out.

Damon from Bismarck, ND

How do you feel today if a new draftee is assigned your current jersey number?

I've never seen the Packers do that. To me, if there was any small nugget of information in the numbers that were assigned, it's that Adams was given No. 90.

John from De Pere, WI

What do you think the reason is Corey Clement did not get drafted or picked up free agent-wise to my knowledge? Is it the lack of success of WI backs or just thinking that anyone can run behind the UW O-line?

The Eagles signed Clement after the draft. Given what Melvin Gordon and James White have done in recent years, I don't think there's any stigma with UW backs. I was surprised he wasn't drafted. Maybe Clement was just a victim of such a deep RB crop. But that doesn't matter now. He's getting his shot, and there's no reason to look back.

Dan from Golden, CO

I was very pleased with our draft this year, however, the fact they only drafted one pass-rusher is very concerning. Given Matthews', Perry's and Elliott's injury history, it seems extremely risky to rely on Fackrell and Biegel as the only backups. I don't like playing with fire and this certainly is the case.

I expected multiple edge-rushers to be drafted, too, and a ton went flying by on Friday. The Packers stuck to their board, which had Biegel at the top Saturday. They've done well finding undrafted contributors at that spot over the years, such as Frank Zombo, Dezman Moses, and Andy Mulumba. Maybe there's another young unknown coming in who will show himself, or practice-squad holdover Reggie Gilbert will be the next one. Time will tell, but I'm with you on the where the depth of the OLB unit stands if injuries strike. By the way, did you notice how "our" was in the positive part of your comment, "they" in the criticism? I don't mean to pick on you, because you're certainly not alone. I love fans.

Allen from Zephyrhills, FL

This is my most important question ever. Why didn't the Packers take JuJu Smith-Schuster? I really needed to hear Ha Ha and JuJu mentioned in the same game.

Week 12.

David from Suffolk, VA

Good day, gents. Vic stated that we should grade a draft three years later (seems fair). How should we grade/evaluate the 2014 draft class?

I consider that class above average, with the contributions we continue to see from Clinton-Dix, Adams, Linsley, Rodgers (Richard), and Janis. Three will be starting in Year 4 (assuming three-WR sets on offense). Three potential long-term starters from one draft is awfully good. If you can do that every year, you don't complain.

Joe from Bloomington, IN

Surprised by Vic's gratuitous attack on the crowd. The NFL opens the floodgates on fan participation and Vic throws a flag, whereas Drew Pearson embraces the moment, turns the event into a fan sport, and earns the NFL untold millions and goodwill. My question is, do you think Goodell's good-natured swallowing of his incessant boos will earn him some warm and fuzzies with his detractors?

No, but I think the NFL is more likely to reduce the commissioner's trips to the podium before it tries to overtly suggest how fans should behave. You pick the city, you get the city, for better or worse.

Dan from Milwaukee, WI

Do you think Ted gave even a sliver of preferential treatment to Vince to help Badger fans forget he didn't select T.J. Watt, or did that pick solely come down to talent?

The latter, without a doubt.

Shawn from Kissimmee, FL

Who do you think will make the biggest leap going into this year? I'm really excited to see Kyler Fackrell and what he brings this year after an offseason of conditioning and more opportunities to compete.

I've been saying all offseason that Fackrell's development is key to the team's overall pass rush in 2017. I'm not changing my tune now. He was drafted 20 spots ahead of Biegel (88 vs. 108). The Packers are counting on him.

Brandon from Appleton, WI

I realize that injuries and special teams will play huge roles in this decision, but the Packers seem pretty stacked as far as depth in the secondary goes now. How many of these players do you actually see the Packers keeping on the 53-man roster?

I see six corners and four safeties as the bare minimums for 2017. The minimum might be 11 total, and if the defensive backfield contains 12 next season, I would not be surprised, especially after what McCarthy said about playing more DBs and expanding sub-packages.

Jim from Malone, WI

Do you think Trader Ted's success at matching value and position will lead to teams being less likely to want to trade with him?

It hasn't stopped anyone for 13 years.

Tom from Cornelius, NC

Can you speak to the risk of the Cleveland Browns' draft strategy with regards to the NFL salary cap? Specifically, the potential stars selected from numerous top picks in a single draft with rookie contract expiration in the same time frame?

Well, they'll get a fifth-year option on the first-round players to spread out the new deals if they're in a jam, but if they draft so well that they truly do get into a jam, they'll be thrilled.

Martin from Koblenz, Germany

Hey Insiders, regarding all these questions about the Packerspass rush, arent we missing out on Dean Lowry? Might he be our new elephant?

The discussion of the pass rush has focused on edge-rushers, not the D-linemen. Pass rush from the interior will certainly matter, too, meaning the development of Kenny Clark and Lowry will be big factors. But I'm not taking a 6-6, 296-pound defensive end and trying to slim him down (a la Mike Neal, Datone Jones) to put him on the edge. Julius Peppers is going to the Hall of Fame for a reason.

Bob from Colby, KS

Two words, "I think," should be eliminated from the coaches' comments about the Pack's draft picks. Those two words shake my confidence in the choices.

You want them to lie to you? Nobody knows. Nobody.

Lucas from Stevens Point, WI

MM said we need to "get two wins better than last year." Do we have our theme of the year? It would make sense as two wins could mean home-field advantage in the playoffs.

I don't think that's what he was getting at, but if he was, then he meant to say four wins.

Ron from Tama, IA

Guys, in my eyes I think Malachi Dupre is the sleeper in the Packers' draft choices. Who do you believe is?

Nothing against Dupre or any of the third-day picks, but I want the sleeper to be Josh Jones. Meaning, if he proves he should have been a first-round pick, not a late second, the Packers will be better off than if any of the late offensive guys make a splash.

George from Hutchinson, MN

The Packers did not select a true center in the draft. Which players on the O-line do you see being groomed as the possible backup?

Assuming Evans will be the new starting right guard, I think the top backup center will be Don Barclay, though Jacob Flores will get camp and preseason reps there, and maybe they'll try Kofi Amichia, too, just to see.

Rob from Edmonton, Alberta

Mike, did you finally get to watch "Draft Day"? If you did, what are your thoughts?

I was entertained. That's about it.

Dave from Lake Bluff, IL

Spoff, Ted has been a disciplined proponent of a best-available-player draft approach. Not a complaint as I love this year's draft class and agree with all of the selections and moves from this weekend. However, it seems fairly apparent this was a fill-the-need draft for the Packers more than a best-available (either that or it was the most serendipitous draft in NFL history as the best available aligned perfectly with our needs). Do you think this modification in approach is reflective of Ted going "all-in" as 12 pleaded post-NFC championship loss?

No. Players are rated similarly, in clumps you might say, all the time, especially after the first two rounds. When you're on the clock and you have your pick of similarly graded players, you take the one that fills a need. Going with a need who's not in that top group is how you get away from BAP. I thought the selection of Jones late in Round 2 showed strict adherence to BAP with all the pass-rushers that were flying off the board. To me, that was a classic Thompson pick, like Cobb in '11.

Jordan from North Charleston, SC

What does the new draft tell you about our roster? It tells me that it doesn't matter that Randall and Rollins were hurt for much of the year. We needed to add competition to the back end of the defense. It also tells me that a traditional middle linebacker is losing importance quickly.

Fair way to look at it. If the Packers are going to use more of the hybrid inside linebacker on passing downs, as McCarthy indicated at the combine with Burnett and this draft points to with Jones, the "traditional middle linebacker," as you say, is on the field for fewer snaps.

Paul from Oshawa, Canada

Insiders, having recently found out that Ben Boulware has signed with the Panthers it makes me wonder, how (or why) does the nation's top linebacker and captain of a championship defense not get drafted in the NFL?

Six feet and 4.85 in the 40. Those are the only things not to like about him, but those were enough, apparently. His instincts obviously made up for the lack of speed and quickness in college. Now he has to prove they can in the pros, too, which is no given.

Andrew from Oklahoma City, OK

I expect to see some of these rookies, specifically the first five selections, receive a significant number of snaps during the regular season. Did anyone else sense a not-so-subtle message from leadership that they are prepared to go with this youth and athleticism if that's what it takes to win games?

When has this regime ever shied away from youth?

Jon from Bloomfield, NJ

I'm sure this will be asked, but I have to know, so I'll make sure of it. How many members of our draft class did you do a Prospect Primer on?

Two, Jones and Adams. I really wish I had done one on Biegel. The Abbrederis one from three years ago was a huge hit on draft weekend.

Greg from Ann Arbor, MI

Judging by Coach McCarthy's post-draft press conference, "competition" will be a watchword for the team this summer. Running back, wide receiver, right guard, cornerback: Which position battles are you most excited to see play out during camp?

The running backs should make this the most fun preseason to watch in a while.

Nate from Minneapolis, MN

Hey Vic, Wes and Spoff look great on paper, but the tape shows they play too tight, upright, and have no chance of flipping the hips. Please coach them in dropping their shoulders during prime time.

As long as I have a high football IQ, can flash ability, and my best football is ahead of me, I've got that going for me. Which is nice.

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