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You never know who will surprise you

A vote of confidence can go a long way for young players


Sean-Luc from Oceanside, CA

Vic mentioned it's important to maintain good relationships with agents for UDFA potential. With that in mind, if there are two players, one drafted and one undrafted that appear relatively equal in training camp, could a GM favor the UDFA to preserve the impression that franchise "X" takes on more UDFAs to their active roster and subsequently giving the agents good reason to keep coming back?

The Packers have kept at least one undrafted rookie on their roster in each of the 11 years Thompson has been general manager, but each one earned it. If the team didn't trust them, you'd never see Sam Shields or Geronimo Allison be put in the positions they were to contribute as rookies. The Packers sell their system to undrafted free agents because history has shown they'll have a chance to make the team and contribute. Every year, you never know who will surprise you.

Stefan from Rock Island, IL

If Forrest Lamp falls to 29, it's an obvious decision. But is it worth trading up to 15-20 for Lamp, say by throwing in a third-rounder?

It's obvious for you, but the rest depends on how much the Packers value the player and the position. Thompson has never traded up from the Packers' first-round pick for a player and Green Bay hasn't drafted a guard prospect in the first round since Aaron Taylor in 1994. That suggests trading up would be unlikely, but we'll find out Thursday.

Fritz from Stevens Point, WI

Dare Ogunbowale could be the steal of the draft and a perfect fit. The Packers (wisely) rarely draft backs in the first or second round anymore. Do we end up with him? Will he be taken earlier than Ted would be willing to pick him?

You know what's kind of interesting? I think I've actually received more questions about the Packers taking Ogunbowale than Corey Clement. Ogunbowale looks like a late-round pick or priority free agent at this point, so he could be there for the taking on Day 3. He was an effective third-down back at Wisconsin, which is a plus for the Packers' system.

Braden from Brookfield, WI

Does the draft put your team over the top for the current year, or stock the team for years to come? I have to imagine that the team we see in September is 95 percent put together and if we have a chance to win the Super Bowl it's because of the guys on the team currently, not the guys that will be added this weekend.

It can do both, but as I said last week, the production teams get from their rookie class is usually extra credit. Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliott are an extreme outlier. As much fun as it is to talk about the draft, Super Bowl contenders often get the biggest impact from their second- and third-year players during their championship runs.

Nathan from Dubuque, IA

I caught the tail end of a live draft last night on ESPN where analysts like Ike Taylor, Steve Mariucci and others did a mock draft for each team in the draft for the first round. When the Packers came up, they took T.J. Watt, and then with the next pick, the Steelers took Jabrill Peppers. My question is who do you think would be a better fit for our defense? Watt with his pass-rushing ability or Peppers with his multi-purpose use since Micah Hyde left?

Hyde was an invaluable member of the defense for four years. His durability and versatility were huge assets for the secondary, but the Packers have done it before in replacing Charles Woodson, Casey Hayward and Tramon Williams. They already have several options for how to proceed at slot cornerback, so I don't think you need to draft Peppers because of Hyde's departure. For that reason, I think Watt could be a better fit. He has serious upside, good bloodlines and experience in a 3-4 scheme.

Bob from Grand Rapids, MI

Tony Pauline mentions Chidobe Awuzie of Colorado as a possible pick at 29. What can you tell us about this cornerback?

I'm a fan. Awuzie did it all at Colorado whether it was operating on an island or blitzing from the slot. That suggests he could play immediately in some capacity as a rookie. He didn't have many picks at Colorado and there are some questions about his tackling ability, but I like his measureables.

Andrew from Los Angeles, CA

I'm getting married in Italy the first week of September, and honeymooning in Malta and Morocco the rest of the month. Should I check the scores each Sunday or DVR the games and do a marathon when I return to the states?

If you're disciplined enough to tape the games and watch them when you return, I'd go that route. There's nothing better than the unpredictability of the NFL, whether it's draft or game day.

Niklas from Nykøbing Falster, Denmark

Is there any chance the Packers trade out of the first round, and what would the "price" be for the "buying" franchise, and is there any franchise who would like to trade for the Packers' late first-round pick?

It seems like every team is "reportedly" looking to trade back in the days leading up to a draft. Still, it's become more prevalent since the CBA in 2011 to see teams in need of a quarterback trade back into the first round. The Vikings did it a few years ago with Teddy Bridgewater. It's really valuable getting the opportunity to maintain a promising quarterback's rights for five years instead of four.

Chris from Victor, ID

Here's to hoping this year's first round turns out like 2005 for the Packers, instead that it's a top-rated defensive player that keeps getting passed up until pick No. 29. In fact, here's to hoping that Ted Thompson actually dances the electric slide in the war room while the other teams jockey for QBs, WRs and RBs, and said player slides.

I don't see it. Myles Garrett and Solomon Thomas aren't falling and neither are the top defenders at their respective positions. Not this year, anyway. There are too many teams in need of defensive help.

Bryan from Thayer, MO

Just for fun, the Packers are on the clock and you have Jarrad Davis, T.J. Watt, and Haasan Reddick still on the board. Which do you take?

Reddick really intrigues me. He reminds me a lot of Ryan Shazier in terms of an athletic 3-4 inside linebacker who could handle dime responsibilities and offer something as a rusher, too. He's on the smaller side of the spectrum, but a ridiculously gifted athlete. I'd go with Reddick, though I doubt he'll be available at No. 29.

Jeromy from Milltown, WI

That statement by Aaron regarding his O-linemen was yet another genius move on his part. Don't you think it provides both inspiration as well as a challenge, and instills confidence to his returning linemen, in a very clear and supportive way?

Rodgers is such a strong communicator. When adversity hits, he always knows what to say. He has confidence in his offensive linemen and doesn't mind putting his name on it. While everyone is dissecting the film of all the guard prospects in this draft, Rodgers is quick to point out the Packers already have a few in-house candidates in Kyle Murphy, Don Barclay and Lucas Patrick. The draft and college free agency will take their course over the next week. Then, may the best man win. Still, Rodgers' vote of confidence goes a long way for a young player replacing a veteran. It did with Lane Taylor, David Bakhtiari, Corey Linsley and Evan Smith when they were thrown into the fire.

Greg from Perkasie, PA

How much of a headache is it for teams to get news of a prospect's failed drug test this close to draft weekend?

The data collection never stops. As Ted Thompson said last week, the first day of the draft is littered with scouts calling to gain more information on players, and looking into possible reports and rumors. Is it tricky getting a curveball at the last minute? Sure, but it's not their first rodeo.

David from San Francisco, CA

Do scouts and GMs use the same grading metric on draft picks as they do veterans? Could a WR in this draft class have the same grade as say, Randall Cobb?

There are college and pro personnel boards, but I've never heard of any team mixing the two. It's apples and oranges.

Ralph from Bethany, OK

I've never held Ryan Leaf in high regard. Recently, my opinion has done a 360. The man has emerged as a wonderful story of redemption. I find myself rooting for him. Any thoughts?

I've always rooted for Ryan Leaf. A few years ago, I tweeted at him after an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show. We ended up trading tweets back and forth, and started following each other on Twitter. Did he make mistakes? Obviously, but he's worked hard to put his demons behind him and use his story to help others. That's somebody I want to see succeed.

Ryan from Lake in the Hills, IL

What will happen to Hundley after this season?

It probably depends on what happens this preseason. He's under contract until 2018, so there's no real rush. Enjoy the depth.

Jim from Pekin, IL

If you trade out of the first round could you get a high second and a high third-round pick?

That's what the draft-value chart says.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

How many players will the Packers draft with their eight picks?

Eight. One trade up, one trade back.

Derk from Chippewa Falls, WI

What will your Inbox look like Friday if a) Packers draft T.J. Watt, b) Packers don't draft Watt, c) Packers don't draft defense at all, or d) Trade out of the first round?

Sunny. Cloudy. Rainy. Overcast.

Steve from Anchorage, AL

Do you think it's better to draft by position or by athleticism in the later draft rounds?

*Athleticism. If you find talent, you trust your coaches to develop it. Some of the Packers' best draft picks over the years have been at stacked positions. *

Barrett from Lubbock, TX

I don't care if y'all answer some off-topic questions. I live in Lubbock, Texas. Obviously there is no local media here covering the Packers. Also, sometimes I imagine it's hard to answer 20 of the same questions like, "Who will we draft?" "Why hasn't Ted done this, that, and the other thing?" I bet it gets old. Lastly, if Patrick Mahomes lands to the Bears I fear for the future of the division.

Hey, we try to keep things fresh. I'm as interested as all of you to see how Mahomes' game translates to the NFL. It seems his stock rises in popularity every day we inch closer to the draft.

Ronald from Dumfries, VA

'Tis the season for grilling. Gas or charcoal?

Gas…only because I won my grill in a raffle, though.

Joe from Sharman, IL

Vic, my mom passed away Sunday morning. The Packers lost to the Eagles on her 26th birthday in 1960 when I was 6. They beat the Raiders on her birthday when the Lambeau Leap was invented. I will miss her most for arranging her Sundays around church and Packer games as a young boy growing up in the 60s. I love you, Mom.

We're sorry for your loss, Joe. However, I'm glad you were able to bond over the Packers and forge a lifetime worth of memories along the way. I hope those thoughts bring a smile to your face during this difficult time. Hang in there.

Mike from Somerset, WI

Wes, Larry no longer refers to you as Biff and you now have your own microphone. Has Larry warmed up to you in your sophomore campaign?

Warm is a strong word. Maybe tolerate? No, Larry has been great. He's a true legend who may call me whatever he desires. I think he's earned that.

Ricky from St. Charles, MO

I feel like Packer Nation is going to laugh at me, but is Wayne the announcer that screams "YESSSSS" after a big play, or is he the one always talking about daggers? And who is the other one? I only get the nationally scheduled games down here with the networks' announcers.

That would be Larry.

Anthony from Milwaukee, WI

Can someone tell Vic that 224 million people is equivalent to 3 percent of the world population, and thus 224 million Americans cannot be in the top 1 percent of wealth worldwide?

It was my understanding that there would be no math.

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