All right, we're off and running this morning. Welcome to our live chat. Just returned from Phoenix, site of the annual NFL meetings, last night. Happy to take all questions. As for who the Packers will take at the No. 29 spot in the first round, I think you can probably narrow it down to the best edge rusher, corner, running back or even guard available, in that positional order. Who that will be is anybody's guess.
Because Ricky Jean Francois is a defensive tackle, and Datone Jones is not. The only time you'll see Datone Jones line up on the interior defensive line is as a situational rusher in subpackage. Two different positions. That, also because Datone Jones is not an up and coming player.
Well, the substance abuse isn't much different for most teams, including the Packers. Letroy Guion had a drug arrest two years ago and remains on the roster. As for the other situation, it's something every team will have to sort out and decide for themselves. It's a fine balance in professional sports between winning and optics.
Short of running back, I think at this point you're looking at the Packers filling the rest of their needs through the draft. That's always going to be their primary avenue for player acquisition. Ted Thompson helped himself this year signing low-level free agents to fill roster holes and take pressure off the draft, but it'll still be important.
I don't think you're the only fan that feels this way. What will be interesting to me is how fans react if the Packers draft Joe Mixon, who they brought in for a visit.
That's a good question. I don't think he was surprised as much as he didn't overly appreciate me pointing out five straight first-round picks have been spent on a defense that hasn't cracked the league's top 10 in yards or points during that time. The Packers have made a huge commitment to building that side of the ball ever since their 2011 playoff loss to the Giants. Thompson said he likes the investment return. I don't know how that's possible if you remember the last game the Packers played.
Everything there sounds fine, except I don't see moving Damarious Randall to safety. He's talented enough to play corner. Needs a bounce-back year like Davante Adams had last season. If you were to move a young corner to safety, I think Quinten Rollins would make most sense. He doesn't shy from contact, and his speed is plenty to play the back end. Ultimately, though, the Packers might be OK even if they move Morgan Burnett inside the box more, because Kentrell Brice showed flashes last year that he could play a more prominent role.
It's going to be a heavy defensive draft, but one exception for early rounds could be running back. If the Packers feel like they can get a game-changing running back who fits what they need off the field as well, that could be a possibility at No. 29. Ted Thompson has never drafted a running back in the first round, and it's something you general should wait to see before you believe. But if there was ever a year he'd do it, I think this would be the year. As far as LB and D-lineman, I don't see those as high-priority needs. The Packers like how Kenny Clark came on late last year, and they'll expect more out of Dean Lowry. At linebacker, they'll likely tinker with things within their roster to help bolster that position.
You're a tough talker, Jordan. Not sure it's accurate to suggest guards are making much more than tight ends. There are five TEs making over $40M on their contracts, per Over the Cap. There are nine guards in that company. Guards are making a little more, but that's mostly been a recent trend. What I can tell you is the Packers clearly believe tight end is more important than guard. They've let two Pro Bowl guards go in the past year. Mike McCarthy said at the NFL meetings tight end is "pushing the envelope" on being a premier position; he does not feel that way about guard. If we're talking about perspective, let's look at the Packers specifically compared to the rest of the league. The guard market's rise is largely because of the need (even desperation) to protect quarterbacks throughout the league. You're seeing teams like Detroit with shoddy offensive lines paying more for a guard. The Packers have one of the best bookend tackles in the league, and a quarterback that can make things happen when protection breaks down. It's a different situation in Green Bay. That's why.
I'll be briefer: It's going to be interesting to see what happens. Mark Murphy has said he knows what Ted plans, but nothing is decided until it's decided.
I don't understand why fans are trying to evaluate the offseason before the draft. It just doesn't make sense. If the Packers evenly split between offense and defense next month, then sure you can scratch your head and wonder why they're not focusing on D more. But this is a defensive draft, and the Packers are going to focus on that side of the ball. Once everything settles, both free agency and the draft, then you can make your offseason judgments. Right now, the grade is an I -- incomplete.
You're right, they're certainly thin in those spots. It wouldn't surprise me if the Packers loaded up at CB and edge rusher and took two apiece in the draft. Both positions are strong classes.
I wouldn't think they would, but Mike McCarthy had every opportunity to rule it out and didn't at the NFL meetings. That doesn't mean they'll sign Adrian Peterson, of course. It would be a break from Ted Thompson's tendencies. He values youth at running back. But it's not quite impossible. I don't see it happening before the draft though.
It does come off as misguided at times. Especially this year, when Ted Thompson has actually signed free agents. I think Thompson is having a fine offseason. He's used free agency the way you're supposed to, filling enough roster holes to make things easier in the draft. Ultimately, he's always going to make the draft a priority, and he's had a lot of success with that approach.
Great question. I look at it as 1A and 1B on their needs list. They're both huge, and there's a gap between those two positions and RB, which would be third. I'd say outside linebacker for two reasons. First, the need at OLB is different than CB. At OLB, the Packers need youth; they have plenty of youth to develop at CB. Then there's also the question of where Clay Matthews plays this season. If they move him off the ball more, then it's even more important to get an edge rusher who can rotate with Matthews opposite Nick Perry. But cornerback is a huge need as well. The Packers need speed on their CB depth chart, and it's a good draft to find it. Twelve corners ran a faster 40 than Damarious Randall's 4.46 at the combine, and Randall has the best 40 on the Packers CB depth chart.
I can't say there's no chance. I'd think it's unlikely. If you're going to take a guard in the first round, especially with big needs at premier positions, you better think he's going to be a borderline All-Pro talent. Like the Cowboys with Zach Martin a couple years back. If they think Forrest Lamp is an impact player, then sure they could take him if he's available. Anything less than that, I'd suspect they're more likely to fill a more prominent positional need.
Hey, a Packers fan who likes Ted Thompson. How about that.
I honestly don't know a lot about him. His 4.69 40 was almost identical to Clay Matthews, but Matthews had a 10-yard split that was off the charts (1.49). I haven't seen a 10-yard split on T.J. Watt. He's clearly got great bloodlines, he showed a lot of improvement over the course of last season, and he's a high-motor player. Will he be a good pro? I'd think so, but you never know.
Boy, putting me on the spot here. We're talking over/unders here, not snap-count predictions. So I'd say 450 for Kenny Clark, 800 for Blake Martinez, 350 for Kentrell Brice and 800 for LaDarius Gunter.
See, the Cowboys are scheduling a lot of visits with CBs too though. At this point, who really knows? It's March. There's still a month to go. It's impossible to predict how the first round will shake out right now.
I think you pay a little more attention to the 40 times than usual, because speed is something they need to add to the position. Makes me believe Teez Tabor is a no. I would have thought Fabian Moreau was a real possibility (he even meets the criteria of being from UCLA) before his injury. Not saying the chest injury rules him out; it's much, much better than Sidney Jones' situation. But a little more uncertainty there.
Not this offseason. Still too early. They need to keep him healthy in the preseason and showcase what he can do in games to the rest of the league. There's also value in having a good backup quarterback. Eventually, their hope is he'll be a nice trade chip.
His "class act" comment came at the end of a 57-minute conversation. It was the second time he was asked about Peterson. It also came in the confines of being around him at the Pro Bowl, and observing him as a football player. McCarthy meant it as a comment on how Adrian Peterson conducts his business as a professional athlete, not a statement on how he's conducted himself in his personal life off the field. I think that's an important distinction.
There's always a lot of things you hear when you're at a place like that. Maybe the most interesting was Mike McCarthy's views on the tight end position, specifically wanting to use more of an in-line tight end with Martellus Bennett. It's going to be a different offense, a different approach. And I think it's going to be a good one.
I think that could be a little interesting. They are two extremely smart, talented people with big egos, necessary for what they do. Ultimately, I think they both understand they can benefit from each other.
Length is important for leverage. In LaDarius Gunter's case, it helps him in press-man coverage because he can gain control against receivers at the line of scrimmage. His length also helps him recover to contest receivers when he gets beat, which is why his slow 40 time at the combine hasn't prevented him from producing.
OK, folks. That's a good place to stop today's chat. Thanks to everyone for following along. I encourage you to go to PackersNews.com for full coverage from the NFL meetings in Phoenix. There will be more coming out from the meetings next week. Until next time, take care everyone.