Hey Craig, good question to kick things off. Generally speaking it would be a lack of experience for Brice and Evans if they were to switch to the cornerback position. There's no doubt position changes can work at this level. It happens around the league. But that doesn't mean it's easy. If you spent your entire life playing RB, for example, it's not always going to be a smooth transition if you move to another position. Brice was a cornerback in high school and switched to safety immediately in college. I'm not sure about Evan's background before college. There were times when Brice played slot corner this year as an emergency option. I still don't think they would move him there fulltime, but he has the experience in the past.
Of all the Packers' free agents, Lang and Perry will be the most difficult to re-sign in my opinion. The reason I say that is because I think they will have the largest markets, which in turn means the highest price tags. I talked to one source at the combine who said Lang could make a minimum of $8 million per year on the open market, and that would be the low end based on recent contracts. The same source said he did not think the Packers would match that price. Is that true? Who knows. But that was one opinion floating around the combine. As for Perry, I think his market skyrocketed after teams applied the franchise tag to many of the best pass rushers available. Jason Pierre-Paul, Chandler Jones, etc. With those guys off the market, Perry moves right near the top of the group. He could make a lot of money. If he leaves, the Packers must prioritize OLB in the draft. It's a good draft for them to do so.
The problem with this idea is that Tretter is also an unrestricted free agent. And as I reported at the combine, he has a large free agent market. He is expected to receive offers larger than the Packers are willing to match in order to become a starting center. I don't think he would stay in Green Bay to play guard. He wants to play center. Unless the market changes, I can't see him coming back to the Packers.
I'm not sure if Guion has played his last game as a member of the Packers, but it's pretty clear the Packers should move on from him. He's not good enough for them to put up with the headaches he's caused in a short time with the team. If he were an All-Pro caliber player -- or even just a solid starter -- you could see the organization tolerating his mistakes. But Guion faded big time last season, and Kenny Clark should be the starter moving into this season. His importance to the defense is decreasing.
Hey Steve, thank you very much for the kind words. I appreciate that. Coaches play an important role in the draft evaluation process. All the position coaches for the Packers travel to the combine in Indianapolis to interview players both formally and informally. They get a feel for personalities, intelligence and all kinds of off-field things that will influence their opinions of each player.
For the sake of this question, let's assume Lang leaves and the Packers have to use someone currently on the roster to replace them. Don Barclay wouldn't apply in that scenario because he is also an unrestricted free agent. I think the most likely offensive line would be Bakhtiari-Taylor-Linsley-Spriggs/Patrick-Bulaga. Spriggs did not perform well as a tackle last year, but he performed a bit better as a guard. I still don't think he should play that position for a full season, but it's an emergency option. Lucas Patrick, who was on the p-squad last year, is another player the Packers like. He has a chance to earn himself some playing time if he performs well in OTAs and training camp.
Interesting question. Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt Jr. does not like comparing players to Charles Woodson for obvious reasons. But he has said in the past that Damarious Randall has the potential to do some of the things Woodson did in terms of versatility. At the time he was referring to Randall playing in the slot in order to blitz and make plays. But I wonder if that could expand to a third safety role the way Hyde played the last few years. It's not something I've heard discussed, but I think it's an interesting idea.
I would be surprised if the Packers don't end up re-signing Cook in the end, even if they have to pay a bit more than Thompson would like. He made too much of a difference in the offense to completely discount him moving forward. I spoke to a source at the combine who seemed to think Cook would hit the open market. He could have a decent market around the league, but there are also teams who will think Cook's production was a product of playing with Aaron Rodgers more than anything else. Remember, Cook was not this influential with other QBs.
I'm not sure about major upgrade, but the rest of the logic makes sense. Don't forget, House got benched this year and lost his starting spot. That's part of the reason the Jaguars cut him. I think his familiarity with the system, the coaches and the organization make him worth exploring at the right price. Especially since he is a few years older than the current corners and could serve as a mentor.
Haven't heard anything new since yesterday, when I reported that the Packers have expressed interest in House.
The argument for re-signing Lacy is this: He has a tremendous amount of talent if you can get him cheaply. There's no doubt Lacy has some self-control issues when it comes to his weight. There's also no doubting the talent he has for running the football. His feet and natural ability are extremely high. If you can get those skills at a cheap price, you do it. Remember, taking a running back in the first or second round could end up costing the Packers more than a short-term contract with Lacy.
I'm not sure why anybody would give a first-round pick for Spriggs. He was a second-round pick to begin with and he played very, very poorly last season. If anything, his value has gone down. So I'm not really buying this one.
I think it's far too early to give up on either player. However, I don't think the organization can have a ton of confidence in either player entering next season. In other words, counting on them as your top two corners -- or at least two of the top three -- is very risky. Randall in particular should bounce back from last season. I think the groin injury bothered him more than he was willing to admit. As for Rollins, he's still very raw because of the shortness of his football career. He's only played a few seasons of high-level football dating back to college.
Just my interpretation of the Packers' actions....from most important to least important: 1) Price 2) production/stats 3) age 4) familiarity with system
Much like I said with Randall and Rollins, it's way too early to label Spriggs a bust. But he has a lot of areas to improve. Strength, aggression, toughness, etc. I expect him to make a step forward this season. Mike McCarthy thinks Spriggs has the talent to play left tackle in the NFL, which is a pretty big statement.
I have a feeling Oklahoma is one of the schools you have to visit for pro day every year simply because they have so much talent on a regular basis. Due diligence. See who is there and check out everyone.
I didn't talk to him or see him at the combine. You'll have to wait for Bob's draft series in April.
I think the Packers would like him to be good enough for trade bait. That's part of the reason why they were so disappointed with his ankle injury during camp last year. Had Hundley turned in another series of strong performances in exhibition games -- like he did as a rookie -- his value would have been sky high. He needs to stay healthy in order for the organization to figure out what they have or don't have.
I enjoyed Kauai when I was there last year. Maybe I'll send Ted a brochure.
Davis signed a three-year deal worth $15 million. I don't believe the terms of Gresham's deal were made public. But he signed a four-year deal.
I did not visit St. Elmo's during the combine week. I had the flue, so most of the week was spent in bed when I wasn't working. I think Guion will ultimately be released, yes. But it might not be for a couple months.
It's really hard to project the Packers' draft needs without knowing how free agency is going to finish. What if the Packers re-sign Peppers and Perry and Jones? Do they really need another pass rusher in that situation? Obviously if they can't re-sign any of them, pass rusher becomes a huge need. Too early to make those kinds of predictions.