Pretty much agree. Look, with a healthy Rodgers for 16 games, that almost guarantees nine or 10 wins unless they lose just about everybody else to injuries. One great draft could make a huge difference -- the most recent example of that is Lattimore with New Orleans. The Saints had three straight 8-8 seasons, then hit big by picking him in the first round last year, and they made a big jump. If Gutekunst doesn't pick a guy like that, then a couple real contributors would be the next-best thing. But, as you suggest, the hard part is hitting on those picks. Takes both skill and luck.
They can use him more strategically, yeah. I do wonder though about playing him as a running back, which McCarthy said will remain his primary position. Now, if they use him 10 or 15 snaps a game and motion him out for most of them, that's one thing. But we've learned this about Montgomery the last two years: While he can to some degree do real running back stuff, like run between the tackles and in the red zone, he's not a real running back. Watching Jones and Williams last year, well, the contrast with Montgomery was pretty stark.
Essentially have to agree. I'm not saying they must trade up, but if I'm them I'm seriously looking at it. Of course it depends on how they have guys graded and how the picks come off the board, but your chances of finding an impact guy get higher every couple picks you move up the board -- there are still a lot of busts, not saying there aren't, but the odds for getting a really player still improve. They don't pick as high as 14 very often, and if moving up a couple or few spots gets them a shot at a guy they think is a cut above, then they should do it.
I can't give you a definitive answer. The Packers clearly thought Nelson was hitting the wall and in for real decline, if they thought otherwise they would have offered him significant pay cut but not the drastic cut (and greatly reduced role) that they offered. If Graham still has a good year or two left in him, then that's a net gain and becomes more of one if Allison improves. Wilkerson could be a big signing if he gets back to being a double-digit sack guy (or close to it). They think getting him out of his home state of New Jersey and the motivation of a prove-it contract and reuniting him with Pettine will help him do that We'll see, certainly a possibility. They still could end up signing one veteran OL in the Jahri Evans mold (maybe Evans himself, though you do wonder if he's finally going to hit the wall this year) that could plug at least one hole on the line. The secondary still looks like a problem -- Tramon Williams should help but it's still thin -- same with the outside rush because among other things you're counting on Perry to stay healthy, and that's been a rarity. So they really do need at least two picks who come in and help -- a CB and an outside rusher. Tough to do but not impossible. I'm really surprised they didn't sign or trade for one of those better CBs who were available. It does still seem like they're cautious in Gutekunst's first year, if not as cautious as under Thompson. As noted in an earlier answer, even one really strong pick can make a big difference, but those are hard to find and take skill and luck. Your choice on whether to stay on the ledge.
Yeah, I'm thinking more likely than not he'll draft a WR fairly high, in the first three or four rounds. Wouldn't rule it out for the second round. If he thinks Ridley is special, maybe even the first.
If I'm them, I'm looking to Josh Jones, he flashed real ability in the offseason, had a big game against Cincinnati, then was so up and down thereafter he has to rate as a disappointment as a rookie. I guess Montravius Adams too. No idea what they have in him, he was hurt and then couldn't play his way on the field after that.
This stuff is all contingent on the board and how they have guys rated and separated and grouped. But as I said earlier, they don't pick this high very often, so if I'm them unless there are unusual circumstances I'm picking at 14 or moving up.
My hunch is no, but I don't know that for a fact. If I'm them, I'm of the mind-set that Rodgers is playing until 40 if his health holds up, and I find a way to make it work for both sides. Your scenario takes Rodgers until he's 38, so who knows, maybe he'll be done by then. But Kizer will be five years in, so they'll have had to sign him to a second contract. Would he do that if he's played well enough to prove he might be the successor, or would he want to go elsewhere to get a shot at starting? Lots of ifs there. But maybe you're right, maybe that was part of their thinking, sort of a best-case of how things might go with Kizer and worst-case with Rodgers. I'm more of the opinion they wanted to get rid of Randall and liked Kizer in last year's draft, and McCarthy was intrigued by working with the guy, and Cleveland didn't want him, so it was two teams unloading guys they didn't want for guys they're kind of intrigued by.
Yeah, what an advantage to have a good QB on his rookie deal. One other way you could do it is to just go for it on offense and try to become so dominant on that side that nobody can keep up. New Orleans was kind of that way the year it won it all, Indy to a slightly lesser degree when it won it with Manning (I think the Colts had a low-rated D but got Bob Sanders back from an injury late in the season). It does seem like the Packers are counting on Pettine to make a difference, that things had become stagnant with Capers and something wasn't getting through. I still think talent was primarily the issue, but this year might help answer that, depending on how much help they get from this draft.
I'm in the process of calling some scouts about some of these guys, and agree he's interesting. He was hurt last year and had bad numbers but led the nation in sacks the year before. All the mock drafts have him going in the early 20s, but maybe Gutekunst really likes him and would draft him at 14. He doesn't quite have Matthews' length, and his 10-yard split in the 40 was 1.59, whereas Matthews' was an absurd 1.49. But I do wonder if he'll end up going higher than the mocks are saying.
I get your point but have trouble with generalizations like that. There have been a lot of lighter pass rushers who have produced and stayed healthy. Bruce Smith supposedly was only like 245 pounds, something like that, even though he was listed bigger, and he was one of the best ever. The game is so much about speed and explosiveness, and it keeps getting more that way, not less, which generally means lighter rather than heavier. Von MIller is listed at 237, and he's the best rusher in the game. We'll only know this from what they do, but it does sound like Pettine switches from 3-4 to 4-3 based on personnel and game plans/calls, so maybe they'll be open to more body types of outside rushers now.
I'd doubt it, that would cause such an uproar for teams with traditional uniforms dating way back, like the Packers and Bears. Don't know if you were around that, but in the '90s Wolf broached the idea of going back to the Notre Dame-style uniforms the Packers had used way back, and that might have elicited more phone calls and letters to the editor and general uproar from fans for anything since I've been covering the team (since '93) except for the Favre unretirement/departure.
He has suggested he values rushers more than CBs -- at the combine he said something to the effect of, 'You have to have a dominant pass rush.' I still think they had financial flexibility. If they'd signed someone such as Allen Robinson, they could have free up money by cutting Cobb. I also thought they'd sign one of the CBs even if they had to overpay. The season will prove out whether he made the right call. There might be a move or two to come, also.
Gutekunst is definitely doing this part differently than Thompson. Thompson never brought in top-pick prospects and used the visits mostly on guys they wanted to sign as undrafted free agents. Gutekunst might be seriously considering trading up for, say James, if need be. Teams also use the visits for smoke screens, so you can't rule that out.
I'm thinking not very good, at least as of right now, because it still seems like he probably won't make it out of the top five. I don't think they can get to the top five without trading next year's first-rounder, and I just have trouble seeing them doing that unless they think this guys is a Von Miller-type. I haven't heard anything yet to suggest he's that caliber a prospect. That's my best guess.
There will be competition, Brice is back. But if Jones isn't the starter, that's a bad sign that they missed on him as a high draft pick.
I'm wondering that too, if he'll maybe sign one or two relatively cheap veteran CBs and one or two cheap OLs as competition.
OK, sorry about that, computer/internet issues, took a while to resolve. I'd answered several questions but they're now lost so we'll just pick up where we were. I'm thinking they'll draft two tight ends, McCarthy considers it a very valuable position because of the rules changes regarding hitting defenseless players that have opened the middle of the field. I don't blame them for not getting into any bidding on Richard Rodgers. He has good hands and knows the offense, but he has no quick twitch and is a poor blocker. They need a blocker or a guy who can run a little, or better yet, a guy who can do both.
From trade history going back about a decade, I think a fourth-rounder could move them to 11.
I've gone back and forth on Janis as a receiver a lot. He is big and fast. When he played he often ended up making a play or two. His hands were shaky and he didn't track the ball great on deep throws. The quarterback and coach clearly didn't trust him, so there were issues with his route running. Like you I wonder if they could have found a way to get something out of him at receiver. I'm not quite as convinced as you that he's going to do something at WR in Cleveland, but I do wonder and talked with people from the team who thought he should get more of a chance. But if the QB doesn't trust him, that's huge. He's not going to throw him the ball.
Looks like it's probably going to be Murphy, Spriggs and a draft pick battling for the starting job, with Bulaga as a midseason fallback if he's not a cap casualty.
He clearly didn't have his strength when he came back, that's a sign he came back too early. No quarterback had ever come back that quickly from a broken collarbone on the throwing side, and he just didn't have enough time to build up the strength as a thrower. There's no such thing as zero concern, but I spoke with a doctor for another team, and he said the reason for undergoing surgery is to ensure that the collarbone length doesn't change from healing naturally, which could change the throwing motion and possibly cause arm issues down the road. Based on what the doctor said, the long-term concern for Rodgers should be minimal.