Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Submit your questions for Pete's live chat Wednesday at noon CST.

    With the signing of Funchess, the emergence of Lazard, St Brown coming back etc, can the Packers afford to pass on a receiver in the early rounds, or is it still a major area to strengthen?
    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.
    Hi Pete still hunkered down like me?
    The QB question for me seems like this. If GB can find a possible later round player who can do the job (possibly Brady, Taysom Hill,) great.
    Otherwise seems like GB has too many important "now" needs to use a high pick on a QB. What seems to be somewhat successful is riding this horse long as possible, then having one or two absolutely terrible years and high draft picks then taking one or two high QBs and hoping for the best. GB then has a 5 year low priced QB and can spend the 30-40 QB Mill on top notch team players like other teams have demonstrated and for several years be in a strong position. Seattle, KC etc.
    What do you think?
    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.
    Hi, Pete. It looks unlikely there there will be a full college football Fall season and that it might be played in the Spring. That would greatly affect the 2021 draft. How much do you think that uncertainty would affect Gutekunst as to whether or not he takes a quarterback early in this year's draft?
    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.
    Hi Pete, Thanks for the chats. I missed you last week. Are you ok? At #30, if you have WRs, eg Mims, Aiyuk & Reagor, and ILBs, Queen & Murray, which position player will you take? or do you have any player you particularly like? Is it a dream scenario if we have these 5 players on the board? Are you then looking for a trade-down partner?
    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.
    Hi Pete, thanks for the chat. Since we are in a time of unprecedented change, Here is a heretical suggestion. Why not consider changing the structure of the draft? IMHO the current structure goes too far in trying to compensate for team ineptness and is of debatable effectiveness in producing parity as we see the same half dozen or so teams receiving the top draft choices year after year. Why not leave the first and maybe second round as is but then have a pre draft lottery to assign draft positions for rounds 3 to 7. There could even be separate lotteries for each round. This would generate huge fan interest across all teams and add interesting complexity to team draft strategies. Does the league ever contemplate or discuss changes to the 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.
    Hi Pete, after a year or so of observing how Matt LaFluer is as a coach what do you see as his strengths and perhaps things he needs to work on. Thanks
    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.
    When I saw Russell Wilson in his senior season with the Badgers I knew he would be an exceptional quarterback in the NFL.
    When I saw Jonathan Taylor run for 3 years with the Badgers I know he will be an exceptional running back in the NFL. His excellent patience, vision, and speed are even more impressive than Melvin Gordon.
    Moreover: he can contribute immediately in his first year while a receiver rarely excels in their first year.
    Aaron Jones injuries: (2)2017 knee mcl sprains , 2018 thigh/hamstring pull, and 2018 knee mcl sprain.
    This will be his 4th year in the league.Time to move on.
    If the Packers do not choose JT with the 30th pick: I promise you Gutekunst and LaFleur will regret it for the rest of their professional lives!
    That's a fact Jack!
    Round 2 and round 3 WR and OT.
    Pete what say you?
    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.
    The Packers are relatively tight against the salary cap. Do you see any chance they would ask Rodgers,or anyone else, to restructure his deal to give them more wiggle room?
    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.
    Hi Pete, It seems that teams do not value a player's potential contribution to special teams performance in the draft, with the occasional exception of selecting a kicker or punter. A superior special team can make a decisive difference in close games. The Packers have not performed well in this area for years. Crosby is back, as is Tyler Ervin which I think is positive. But, I am wondering if there might be a truly dynamic return man in this draft that could really boost this unit? Someone like Devin Hester comes to mind. Does scouting include attention to finding exceptional special teams talent? Thanks, Rich.
    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.
    $16 Mill per year for McCaffrey is a lot; however he's not just a rb--he returns, catches, blocks, etc. And they don't have $$ tied up at QB there. Anywhere else he's $9 Mill a year. Thoughts?
    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.
    Hey Pete, Zach Baun is much older (will be 24 in December) than many of the other prospects. How much do you think that will play in Gutey taking him @ 30?
    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.
    Pete
    Draft Day and pick 30 is on the CLOCK...GUTE IS SICK...SO YOU MAKE THE PICK...Lb Queen, QB Love and WR's Jefferson, Mims, Raegor etc are still available and in your tp 5 on board...Cin is offerning the 34th for 30 plus an additional 3rd rd'r. Are you standing pat and picking ( and Who of these) or Trade out worst case end up with the 5th rated of your top 5 anyway? What's the call?
    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.
    Hi Pete, How we going to play football with social distancing and players 6 feet apart? Just joking. Anyway the Packers will probably sometime pick a WR in the draft. So what kind of WR will they be looking at? The tall basketball type they have been playing or the kind that can run and get down the field like a James Lofton type. What player do you think would fit the Packers in the draft. Denziel Mims, Justin Jefferson or Tee Higgins?
    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.
    Hi Pete! When you pick in the high 20's and beyond I have always thought trading back into the early second is best. Similar talent and you're not stuck with a first round contract. This year I think it would be especially productive with the WR talent available. If they could secure two seconds, I'd like them to consider Lynn Bowden, Jr.of Kentucky. I think the upside is worth the risk. He's projected third round, but his versatility is hugely intriguing. He was originally a WR, but out of need played QB. He returned punts and kick offs. He was 5th in total yards. He makes the first guy miss. And he did it all in the SEC. I could see ML scheming some slot, WR, RB, and even wildcat. Thoughts?
    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.
    Hi Pete great article on the receivers the PACK might be able to draft. Only Jefferson and Aiyuk would be worth drafting at 30. If they are gone as well if Murray and Queen as Ilb’s are gone then would you consider a RB DL or DB with that choice? I also don’t think this would be the yr to draft a QB because that player would have to sit for 3 yrs because of AR’s guaranteed money. Better options this yr.
    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 always thought Taylor Gabriel who last played for the Bears and is now a free agent was pretty good. Do you think the Packers would be a good spot for him? He seems like he would be a good slot receiver. Thoughts?
    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.
    Dream draft scenario would be one of the 3 LB's to fall to Pack. In order, Murray, Queen, then Baun. Then might have to trade up to draft Reagor or Aiyuk in 2nd. I would be extremely happy if that unfolded. Still need OT, DL, and RB, plus another corner. Probably too many needs to address and fill in this draft.
    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.
    What's your plan for the three days of the draft? Stay healthy Pete.
    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.
    Pete, I just watched some highlights of WR Jalen Reagor. His nifty footwork reminds me a lot of Davante Adams the way he can feign one direction and as soon as the defender shifts his weight in that direction, he suddenly is going the other way, making the defender miss. His punt returns are something special, too. Do you think he'll last to the Packer pick? Is there anyone comparable to him that might make it to the 30th pick? Thanks again for another chat, Pete. Keep up the good work and stay safe!
    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.
    Have you heard if Gute is having any "extra" accomodations with phone lines, WFi, dedicated email accounts etc. for the times during the draft when simultaneously there could be multiple trade offers, potential confirming draft choices willingness to play multiple positions, background check sources with new info . . . all coming in at the same time? Could a family member help screen calls if he has multiple phone lines??
    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.
    There is chatter the Pack may use a high pick on a QB potentially. Rodgers is known for being a little sensitive. Do you think that decision (1st or 2nd round) could cause problems with him and in the locker room?
    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'm concerned with minimal or no minicamps about the prospects of getting a rookie WR ready to go to make an impact to start season. Does this push the Packers to move up and take a more dynamic ready now receiver?
    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.
    Why didn't Packers pursue Diggs? Would have been nice to put him with Rodgers v. Vikings twice a year.
    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.
    Pete since McCaffrey signed a huge contract that will cost the Pack big money to bring A Jones back. Should the Pack go # 1 for a RB ?
    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.
    Hi Pete. They generally say that if a GM bats around .300 on his draft picks he's successful. Do you think that will change this year with all the new rules & format?
    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.
    Welcome back! I'm a paid subscriber, so doing my part to keep good sports content flowing. I'm beginning to feel more and more like the Packers will actually select a OL in round 1. Am I crazy?
    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).
    Should the Packers move up to ensure they get either Murray or Queen at ILB? These seem to be the only two difference makers at the position.
    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.
    Hey Pete Whats the possibility of the Packers getting into the OBJ trade talks? If the Vikings get him its all over for the rest of the NFC North teams
    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.
    Hi Pete...are the players who live in Green Bay year round able to access the Lambeau Field weight room/training facilities or are they completely closed? On a related note...given the impending virtual off-season team activities is drafting players with a perceived higher ability to learn the playbook and adaptability to remote coaching something that now takes on higher importance than in previous drafts?
    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.
    Did you ever have a chance to interview or otherwise talk with Willie Davis? If so, any insights or impressions you can share? I’m saddened by his passing. He seemed like an amazing guy.
    OK, this will have to be the last question, two hours flew by, so much to talk about with the draft. We haven't set the schedule yet for next week, but we'll do one chat before the draft (not sure whether it would be Tuesday, Wednesday or maybe even Thursday), then I'm guessing like last year we'll do another on Friday. As for your question, in case others haven't heard, the great Willie Davis died today. No, I didn't not ever interview him but did a column on him three years ago, and through the work on that I learned a lot about him. Here's the link (not sure if you have to be a subscriber to read it: https://www.packersnews.com/story/sports/nfl/packers/dougherty/2017/02/17/dougherty-willie-davis-stood-up-ali/97995320/). He was a great, great player and in his own, understated way an effective Civil Rights advocate. From what I can tell, he was an exceptional human being. We can all only hope we live as full and accomplished a life. Condolences to his family and friends. We'll end this chat thinking of him. Thanks to one and all for joining in, the questions just poured in but I hope I hit on the topics the majority of you were interested in. If I didn't answer your question, try again next week, as I said, we'll have one chat pre-draft, and one on Friday before the second and third rounds. As said earlier, thanks to all of you, and especially the subscribers, it costs a lot of money to cover this team as we do, and you foot much of that bill. Considering the circumstances, like all of you I'm looking forward to this draft more than ever. Until next week's chat, stay safe and healthy, and take care!
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