Hi everybody, we took last week off from chatting because I was on furlough, so lots to talk about with the draft only a week away. Let's get right to it. Yeah, in my opinion WR still is a major need. They need to get more explosive, add some more dynamic play to go with Jones and Adams. So I'd still put WR, T and ILB as their greatest needs, though the more I've thought about it the more I wonder if CB should be up there too. These may be famous last words, but I'd be stunned if they didn't draft a WR in the first three rounds, more likely the first two.
This is one of the big questions Gutekunst has to have answered by now. There are good arguments both ways. My take, though, is if there's a QB the Packers can get and Gutekunst has a strong feeling he can be a winning starting QB in this league, he's gotta take him. Of course that doesn't mean the QB is going to pan out, most don't, and I realize it means having a first-round pick who won't help them win with Rodgers in his home stretch. But there have been plenty of years when their first-round pick hasn't done a lot and they've still contended. It's not ideal, but QBs are so hard to find that with Rodgers this far into his career, if you can get one you really like, you get him and take it from there. Now, they should set the bar high and really feel good about the guy to take him, but if they really like him they should bite the bullet and do it, and find other ways to improve in other areas through the rest of the draft and signing guys after the draft. We're basically talking here about Jordan Love and maybe Eason, though I'm assuming mostly about Love. Very diverse opinions on him around the league. He might be there at 30.
I was thinking about that -- not QB in particular, but how it could affect how they draft this year -- this morning. I kind of concluded they probably shouldn't think about that because there's just no way of knowing what things are going to be like in a month, let alone four months. There are some things you can only plan so much for and with all the unknowns I'm not sure it's productive to let that uncertainty affect how you draft. Maybe there are knowable factors I'm not taking into consideration, but I'd probably just draft this year without planning for whether college will play, or to what extent, next year. The QB question complicates it a little bit, because Rodgers will be a year older next year, and the possibility of adding a potential successor will only be greater. But I'm thinking there are too many unknown unknowns, so to speak. That's a good question for the GM, if he'd answer it honestly.
All's well here, hope you're well also Guy and everyone else out there. As I said to start the chat, I was on furlough last week so couldn't do anything work related. As for your question, don't hold me to this but I'd take Murray or Queen instead of a WR. I'd have to think they'd be really happy to have one of those two guys. There's a decent chance all three of those receivers will be available at 30. From what I know as of today, I'm thinking odds are against either of the ILBs being there. Could be close but not sure either will make it to 30. That's one of the important questions for the Packers' draft.
That's something I've thought about, so I'm just going off the cuff here without really thinking it through. On first blush it's an interesting idea, and a lottery for those rounds would create some extra interest in the draft. I guess the one thing is, when you talk about the same handful of teams picking high year after year, that comes down mainly to their lack of a QB, and those guys are usually picked in the first round or two anyway. So it wouldn't hurt their chances of finding one. At first blush I'm not sure it would create enough extra interest to make it worth doing, though, and I wonder if a lot of teams might object -- I don't know that they would, but I'm thinking a lot them would resist the change, I just don't know that there's enough reason to get them to make the change. It would take two-thirds of ownership to pass such a change, I'm thinking it would be tough to build an argument compelling enough to convince 24 of them to do it. But it is an interesting idea.
From what I've seen so far he seems to be a good communicator with players, and he brings a lot of energy to the job even though he's not a big, extroverted personality. I still don't have a good feel for how good a game planner and play caller he is. I'm just not sure, his QB is really good so it's hard to tell at this point.
The more I've thought about them possibly picking an RB at 30, the more plausible the idea has become in my mind. You stated two good reasons (Jones' injury history and short shelf life of RBs), and another is the importance of the run game in this offense. And having two high-quality backs would juice up the offense, that's for sure, because the Packers were noticeably better when Jones was on the field last year. One of the questions, though, is whether Taylor is the best one for their offense. Assuming all the RBs are on the board there's a good argument Georgia's Swift would be a better pick -- two scouts I talked to about this said he's a better zone runner than Taylor (Taylor is better in a gap scheme) and better in the passing game. Now, when you come down to it, I still think taking an RB at 30 still leans toward the luxury side of things considering their many other needs, and considering that you can find pretty good RBs later in drafts. If they took one at 30 I'd understand it, and if they thought one of those guys was special and everybody passing on him was making a big mistake, then by all means take him. But push to shove I still have to guess at this point they won't take an RB at 30.
Rodgers did a contract restructure in December, and if I remember the rules correctly a player can only do one restructure a year (not calendar year, but a year has to pass between restructures). I won't swear that's the rule but am pretty sure that's the case. I'm sure they're trying to avoid that but circumstances could compel them, for instance if they want to add an expensive player. They can probably create a little room by doing a contract extension with Bakhtiari.
They definitely look at those things when scouting players, and Ervin was a big upgrade when they picked him up in the middle of last season. So I think they're OK there. But Aiyuk and Reagor are really good return guys, so if they drafted either of them, for instance, they'd probably be an upgrade in the return game.
It is a lot, though it's worth pointing out that's the new money only, which is one of the money games that agents/teams play to make contracts sound bigger than they are. So they added four years at $64M total to the one year at just under $3M left on his contract, so really he has a five-year deal worth $67M, or about a $13.5M average. Still a lot of money but not quite as much as it sounded. I think a lot of teams would use him like Carolina does, so he'd still be doing all those different things. Not paying a QB $30M-plus makes it easier for them to do that deal, though with his all-around skills I'd bet other teams would pay him that too. It's risky because of the injury rate at that position, but the dual threat is really valuable and creates headaches for defenses and favorable matchups for the offense.
That's still probably just young enough to not be much of a factor. The younger the better of course, and at a certain point it's definitely a factor -- Fackrell was a year older than Baun when the Packers drafted him, and I thought he was borderline as far as age goes. So I'm thinking Baun's age won't be a big factor for Gutekunst, though I can's say that for sure. The bigger question will be whether he thinks Baun can transition to playing primarily as an ILB. Interesting player and definitely a candidate for 30 if he's still on the board.
That's a very specific scenario and not unrealistic as far as the players available, though if I had to bet, I'd bet Jefferson is gone. It would come down mainly to one question: How much do they like Love? My opinion on him isn't worth much. I've asked a handful of scouts and coaches about him, very mixed evaluations. Assuming I'm not convinced Love is a sure winning starter in the league, the trade would be tempting because if you're talking Cincy's own third-rounder, that's the first pick of the round. I don't think they'd offer than much to move up only four spots (the Packers got a fourth when they traded from 30 to 36 the year they picked Nelson). But if they did offer that, the choice in my mind would be among Jefferson, Queen and the trade. I'd probably do the trade for that early third.
Gutekunst definitely has a type, right? But I"m still thinking he'll look more for pure explosiveness and quickness than size in the draft, try to add something he doesn't have on his roster. Higgins is more like the guys he has already has -- more talented, I'm sure, but tall, long and not real fast (4.58) for the position. Jefferson is more about quickness and speed, but if I had to guess, I'd guess more likely than not he's off the board. I've seen some mock drafts have Mims going in the 20s, otther not until well into the 30s. I wonder if Aiyuk or Reagor would appeal more in this one instance because they are speed-quickness guys, and if they want to add someone they can hit with short throws and possibly turn them into big plays, those are good candidates. Mims does have size and speed, he's one guy who has some of both, though he's not as quick as Aiyuk and Reagor.
I teams still prefer to use the first-round pick, because that fifth year is a team option (though it has to be exercised after the player's third season), and if the guy is a good player it gives the team leverage on a contract extension. It's helped the Packers with Clark, gave them the flexibility to wait until this year to do an extension with him, which they surely will be doing. They might have been smarter to do it last season, probably would have gotten him for a little cheaper than they'll pay now, but they had their reasons for waiting I'm sure. Still, I see trading back into the early second round as a real possibility. The obvious comparison for Bowden is Cobb -- Cobb went to Kentucky as a QB and switched to WR, did some wildcat stuff while there. For what it's worth, Gil Brandt really likes Bodwen and based on his rankings of the WRs has him as an R2.
I'd think they'd have to consider all three of those positions in the scenario you present, though tackle would be a big, big consideration as well. There are four tackles who could be on the board and possibilities there: Cleveland of Boise State, Jackson of USC, Jones of Houston and Wilson of Georgia. At least a couple of those guys will be there, and maybe three or all four.
I thought so too until I looked into him more just before the start of free agency and saw he missed a lot of games last season because of two concussions. That would make me shy away if I were the Packers. Also, one scout told me that even though Gabriel looks like a slot guy (shorter guy, fast), he doesn't play the slot all that well and is more of an outside guy.
I doubt they could trade up from No. 62 to get Aiyuk, if he's not gone in the first round I have to think he'll be one of the first picks of R2. It would cost an R1 next year to get in the early second, I'd think. Not sure about Reagor. I think I saw a mock that had him going in the early 50s or upper 40s, that could be in reach with a trade from 62. But one of the scouts I talked to this week was really high on him and thought he'd go higher than a lot of the mock drafts project, that he'd probably go late R1 or early R2, so he might end up out of reach for the Packers in the second round also.
I'll be covering the draft from home, just like everyone else on the beat. That will be strange, no getting around that. I'm assuming we'll still have teleconferences with each player after he's picked, and Gutekunst will do teleconferences or Zoom after the first-round pick and at the end of the Days 2 and 3. I'm sure they'll do the same with some of the scouts and position coaches of players selected over the course of the last two days two, as well as a draft capper with LaFleur on Saturday late afternoon/early evening.
One of the scouts I talked to said he didn't think there was anyone quite as dynamic and explosive who's also a good all-around receiver after Reagor. As of now, I'm thinking he'll be on the board when they pick, though that may change with new info.
I haven't heard specifically for him and the Packers, but yes, it sounds like everyone in the league will have a setup like you suggest with multiple perpetual conference calls -- one with the league, one with the coach and top couple scouts, one with all the scouts (and maybe coaches). I think every team will also have a dedicated land line with the league as a fallback to make the pick if there are connectivity issues. I read where Thomas Dimitroff is going to have his son (or was it sons?) answering phone calls from his top scouts (who are fielding trade calls) and GMs of other teams. Usually they're all in the same rooms, so when the trade offers come in the scout can say, Baltimore on line 1 offering X for Y. This is a little more cumbersome but I'm sure the IT staffs from these teams have been really busy working on the home setups for their GMs and scouts. I also read where each draft designee per team (usually the GM) can have an IT expert in his house to help deal with any technical issues that might arise.
Though he said otherwise in a radio interview with Jason Wilde last month, I'd think he would not be happy. I'm sure he'd much rather have them use the pick on a guy who can help him win now, rather than on a guy who might replace him in a few years. I have no doubt I'd feel the same way if I were him. But I don't think Gutekunst can worry about that, he's got to do what he thinks is best for the franchise.
I'd think that will be an issue with rookie receivers this year no matter the round in which they're selected. Again, file this under famous last words, but I'd think with the quality depth of WR in this draft the one thing I'm thinking they won't do is trade up for a WR in R1.
The Vikings might not have been willing to trade him to GB. Also, would you have given up a first-rounder for him, like Buffalo did? I don't think I would have, sounds like he's got a lot of diva in him.
I still think that because of Jones' injury history the Packers can get him to sign an extension this year that's a lot cheaper than McCaffrey's -- maybe in the range of a $7.5M average in real money, as opposed to McCaffrey's $13.5M in real money. I could be wrong, maybe he wouldn't go for that. But his injury history is real.
No, the same players for the most part will get drafted, just maybe in a slightly different order than if there'd been pro days and team visits.
First, can't thank you enough for subscribing. I know there are a lot of tough choices you have to make with your money, so it's greatly appreciated, journalism was suffering before the shutdown and even more since. But it's the main way we learn about what's going on in the world, right? We badly need more journalism, not less. So many thanks. And no, you're not crazy. I'd say there's a decent chance they'll take an OL. I'm still thinking it will be a WR, ILB or T at 30 (or if they trade back to the early second).
That's a tough one. Where we sit right now I'm thinking they'd have to move up to get either. The cost for even moving up just a couple spots I think is a fourth-rounder. When you have as many needs as this team does, that's not a no-brainer. Bakhtiari, for instance, was a fourth-rounder, as were Lang and Sitton. Maybe they think Brooks from Texas Tech is just as good, or at least a big upgrade, and that they can get him in R2. I don't have a good answer for you at this point, but I'm predicting their pick next week I'll have to answer it. Put it this way, if they trade up, that would be the most likely position they'd move up for.
Just my gut feeling, I'd guess not very good. I'm guessing he'd want a new contract, for one thing, and from all appearances he's a really, really, really high-maintenance guy, so you're not doing your locker room any favors. Playing with Rodgers presumably would help him a lot. But I'm thinking the baggage (contract and major diva) is more than Gutekunst is willing to take on. That's just a guess.
They're completely closed. Might be more of an emphasis on learning ability, though I'm not sure I'd put too much into that if I were running a team. You have to think beyond just this year and project how good a guy is going to be in two or three years.