Sorry for the late start, technical issues, but let's dive right in. The starting corners? I have to think only one of the three is on the roster right now, Kevin King. So I really don't know who the other two will be. At least one free agent, maybe two, though also possibly a draft pick. Pretty much all the top CBs in free agency have signed, but lots of veteran stopgap type guys still available. Maybe House will be one of them, or Tramon Williams.
I'd think both Graham and Cobb will line up all over -- Graham could line up as a wideout also, as can Cobb on occasion. Best bet for starter opposite Adams is Allison.
I have to think they're going to sign at least one and probably a couple cornerbacks. Going into free agency I thought they'd go for one of the bigger-ticket guys but they're all gone, so now you're talking guys just to get them through this season, create some competition for the starting spot opposite King and also for the slot. A decent chance they'll sign a guard, whether its Jahri Evans or another cheaper veteran, to compete for the starting job on the right side. Maybe they'll sign someone to compete for the starting job at right tackle too, if a bargain is available.
I haven't talked to any scouts about him yet, so all I know is what I've read. But he'd only be worth trading up for if they think he's really, really good, like the caliber of Marcus Lattimore, the Ohio State CB the Saints drafted last year. Otherwise, you can find good CBs after the first round if one they like isn't available when they pick. They do have some trade ammo with those 12 picks, so a trade up is a real possibility, though if I'm them I'd feel a lot better trading up for a pass rusher than corner.
Haven't heard anything, but rumors during draft season are unreliable anyway. From some research on this I did a couple weeks ago, a fourth-round pick could move them up three spots, maybe four if they're lucky. So if that would land one of the guys they like,then yeah, that's not a super steep price for a team with 12 picks, including a couple in the fourth round.
Like I said earlier, I really thought they'd have made a big move at CB by now, especially after trading Randall. They haven't. Five weeks until the draft so lots of time to add players. The best ones are gone, but sometimes you can find somebody who helps. They could sign several cheaper CBs and treat it like a draft and not minding cutting any of them if they don't look good in camp. The draft definitely can help. But they need a lot of help on defense, and unless they swing a big trade it's looking like they're going to need a really, really good draft pick or two if they're going to be a top-10-type defense. It's hard to do but can be done. The Saints did it last year with Lattimore, though they already had a really good pass rusher in Jordan. If Gutekunst hits big on a pass rusher, that could make a big difference, but it's also hard to do and takes both skill and some good luck.
The Packers like to keep around $8 million or so going into the season to give them some flexibility if they need to sign someone during the season, or want to do a trade, or a contract extension or two. I'm not sure how teams get these enormous amounts. Although I don't know the biggest amount carried over this year -- Cleveland had like $100 million in cap room to start the offseason, but I don't know how much that was carried over and how much was just not having many (or at least expensive) contracts in place for '18. Teams do have spending floors they have reach per the CBA, but those are like 90 percent of the cap over a three-year period, something like that.
Trying to figure that out myself. They've clearly been more aggressive as far as inquiring into guys, kicking the tires, maybe making offers. But I could have seen Thompson signing Graham -- he signed Bennett last year --- and Thompson definitely would have signed Wilkerson because he was such a bargain for a talented guy who underachieved and had some issues with the Jets last year. So in actually bringing in guys, it hasn't been that much different. It could be that they set price limits on guys heading into free agency and stuck steadfastly with them, and were fine with that. It also could be that the costs in free agency were higher than they anticipated and caught them off guard. I'm not entirely sure which it is, but they're definitely on to contingency plans either way.
You're not the first to ask. Janis is a tall guy and long strider, not a quick-twitch change of direction guy that you need to be to play cornerback in the NFL. Shields played CB in high school if I remember right, and then his last season in college, plus he's a lot better change of direction guy than Janis. Janis is just too much of a straight-line speed guy to be a corner.
I'm guessing they just go with what they have and draft a WR, though wouldn't be a surprise if they drafted one with a high pick.
I've always been inclined to think it was more the talent, but this year might give us a better indication, depending on the quality of personnel they add.
I agree. Now, there definitely would have been some risk, and you'd have to be convinced your CB coach could work with him, because he has a history of having issues on-field with coaches, going back to college at Washington. But with how highly the Packers regard Joe Whitt, who was promoted to passing game coordinator on defense, I would have thought that they'd think they could make it work with a guy like Peters. Unless Whitt said no, it wouldn't work. But I agree, Peters is a really talented guy.
I haven't seen that. In fact, the Wilkerson signing has gotten really good reviews from the national media I've seen. A cheap price -- I think it's $4.7 million plus incentives of up to $2.5 million -- for a guy who had double-digit sacks a couple years in a row. I could understand the mixed take on Graham, he is getting old (31), but after talking with some scouts in the league I personally think they made the right move signing him and cutting Nelson to help create cap room.
I have to think he's in the mix. I know our Aaron Nagler has talked to a lot of people about the draft and remains intrigued by Landry from Boston College -- he had an excellent season in '16, then had an ankle injury early last year and didn't have nearly the sack numbers. In mock drafts he seems to be going in the later 20s, but that doesn't mean there aren't some teams that rate him highly and would take him in the middle of the first round.
There has been a lot of trading, the most I can ever remember. A question or two in this chat has asked about Patrick Peterson. He's 27 (turns 28 in July), not young but not old either. Have to think a guy that talented has a couple really good years left, so he might be worth trading a second rounder and perhaps even a later pick on top of that. I have no idea if that would be enough to get a deal done.
You can't rule it out, but if I'm them, I'm not taking an offensive player unless he's clearly ranked ahead of all the defensive players on the draft board and I think he has a chance to be special. Not sure if Ridley falls in that category.
I seriously doubt he's under their consideration because of height. Their minimum historically has been 5-10 1/2 and Gutekunst has said he's sticking those size standards Ron Wolf set for each position.Gaines is 5-9 1/2, well below that. That doesn't mean they'd never sign a guy under 5-10 1/2, just makes it really unlikely, and they'd have to think the guy had an exceptional quality or two to compensate. That's why I wondered if they might have some interest in Tyrann Mathieu as a slot cover guy even though he's even shorter (5-8 1/2). Early in his career he was a true playmaker. But he's also torn both ACLs and isn't what he was early in his career. There wasn't any indication they went after him.
He can be cut at a cap savings of about $5 million ($6.7 million if it's after June 1), so it's still a possibility. We don't know for sure, but if I had to bet, I'd bet he'll still be on PUP when the regular season starts, which would mean he'd miss the first half of the season. If that happens, he'd provide insurance if things don't work out well with whoever is the RT to start the season. And maybe he makes a faster recovery and is ready for the start of the season. But if they feel like they really need the cap room, he's one place they could turn to get it.
Your second question first, agree a really good or great edge rusher is harder to find than the equivalent CB, and more importantly can do more for a CB than vice versa. From looking at trades going back 10 years, it looks like their second-round pick might be enough to get them from 14 to 6. These trades don't have hard and fast standards -- there's a lot of wiggle room, and to some degree it's on a case-by-case basis (how badly the team wants to trade up, how the trading partner feels about the players available at its spot as opposed to who will be available later, etc.). But from what I could tell, the Packers' second-rounder just might be enough to get them to No. 6.
No, it's pretty clear they simply didn't want Randall in the locker room and were going to unload him one way or another.
Well, it would be an indictment, that's for sure.
Yeah, they definitely do this, that's a big part of the job of pro scouts for the offseason. And I agree, Gutekunst and Ball and his scouts had to have gamed the offseason in numerous ways, so I have to think they still have a contingency plan now that the dust of the first week of FA has settled. You very could be right that they're anticipating or at least waiting to see if a couple guys might get cut later in the offseason, guys they'd be interested in. Also, as said earlier I'm sure they have some stopgap CBs in mind now that the the better FAs at that position have been picked over. I tend to doubt that they're thinking any of their younger guys who struggled last year are going to make such a big leap that the team is relying on them to play a lot. Not saying it's not possible, but we saw all these guys and it just doesn't seem likely, does it? I surely wouldn't bank on it with any of them if I were the Packers.
Hawk was a high pick but I don't think we can say he ever was an impact player. I'd move Matthews inside for the most part if I were them. I have to think they'll draft an ILB but the first couple rounds seems high, considering all their other needs. Not that ILBs don't matter, but even the best ones have trouble matching up in the passing game when going up against the top QBs.
Sounds like he can play all the positions in the defensive backfield.
I have trouble seeing anybody trading anything for him. They have to think there's a good chance the Packers eventually will cut him (and keep Kizer), so when that happens he can be had for free.
There's something to what you say. There are very few teams that play great defense in the NFL.The Seahawks for a few years there, the Broncos for maybe two seasons. But look at even the Vikings. They were one of the top three defensive teams in the league last year, and Philly blistered them in the NFC championship game. So I get what you're suggesting. It is an offensive game, a scoring game, and the good QBs can pick apart any secondary. Still, in the end, to win, you have to get at least a couple stops. And the best way to do that is with pass rush. You still have to keep trying to improve your defense, because every little bit helps,and even just one stop can win you a game, as it did for Philly in the Super Bowl.
That's a viable take. Jason Pierre-Paul was traded today to Tampa Bay, he could have been an immediate fix. Short of something like that, any pass rush help has to come from Wilkerson (who's primarily another inside rusher from what I can tell) and the draft. And as you say, they could draft a guy who ends up being a very good rusher but is only OK as a rookie. They really need to find someone who does for their rush what Clay Matthews did as a rookie. Not impossible, of course, but hard to find. At CB I have to think they'll be able to find a way to get by if they sign two or three veteran free agents, guys who aren't very expensive, and then draft maybe two cornerbacks, and have them compete for jobs in the top three. But I thought they'd sign one of the more accomplished FAs at CB. So to upgrade that position beyond just getting by, they're going to have to hit big on a draft pick. Let's see though, as suggested by an earlier question, they might have some guys in mind they think are going to get cut. Or maybe they swing a trade for a CB or a rusher.
This will have to be the final question, other duties to attend to. But many, many good questions. Thanks as always for taking the time to come by and share your thoughts, and my apologies if I didn't get your question, too many for me to even have time to read them all. We'll do it again next week, probably on Wednesday, from the owners meetings, so try again then. As to your question Brett, with their draft capital I'd have to think that's a possibility. They have two fourth-rounders and three fifths, that gives them some ability maneuver. That '09 draft with Raji and Matthews was huge for that team winning the Super Bowl a year later. Thanks again everyone and until next week, take care.