OK everybody, lots to talk about today. Let's get to it. There's a lot of logic in moving back though I don't know if they'd get two extra picks. In '08 they got an R4 for moving from 30 to 36. This is how I'd handicap it, though remember I'm just guessing like everyone else: Maybe trade up a couple spots for Queen or Murray, or hope one makes it to 30. If not, try hard to trade back. If you can't find a decent deal to move back, then sit and pick somebody else. That's my guess.
I'm sure there are a lot of things that could go wrong, big and small, but my guess is all in all it will come off fine. Sounds like the league is going to allow some leeway for time to make trades, etc., if there are any kind of technical glitches. I bet everybody adapts quickly.
That's pretty much what I'm thinking. I mean, if they go for size again this year, it presumably will be somebody with more receiving talent than what they have -- Valdes-Scantling was an R5, St. Brown an R6, Lazard and Kumerow UDFA, though Funchess was an R2. So I'm thinking it would be smart to bring in a different kind of guy, somebody more like you describe. That's why I'm wondering if Aiyuk and Reagor would be the best fits for this corps, either would bring something quite different than what they already have. And Aiyuk has that 80-inch wingspan, tied for like fifth-widest of the 54 WRs at the combine, that's a good compensatory quality for being just under 6-feet. But Gutekunst clearly, clearly likes big receivers.
He'd have to seriously think about it, depending on whether he's done anything at ILB and who's on the board at that position. If the ILB Brooks from Texas Tech is still available -- I'd think he'd be long gone -- or maybe Davis-Gaither of Appalachian State, I'd have to think those guys would be possibilities too. Sure sounds to me like Kmet is unlikely to make it to 62 though.
Can't tell you for sure, because it does seem like he could play out there. But he's such a good guard they might just want to leave him there. They also might be leaving the door open to moving him to center down the road too. But he could be a really good guard, and need you need good players to block those top inside rushers.
That's definitely one school of thought. The one thing you don't know is whether there's a guy in that first or second tier of WRs who they think is better than the others. For instance, there might be teams that think Jefferson is the top WR, and if you can get him after the other three guys (Jeudy, Ruggs and Lamb) then you do it. I know a couple scouts who are really high on Aiyuk and think he's a notch better than everybody after the top four guys. In that case there's an argument for picking him later R1 rather than somebody else in R2. But as you suggest there's also the approach that evaluations can be wrong, and if there's all these good WRs you have just as good a chance to get a better one in R2 than mid to later R1, so take another position and then take your chances on a different WR in R2. I don't really have a feel for who would be more NFL-ready. I'm not sure teams do either. I don't know that the Packers knew Jennings was ready to contribute as much as he did until they got him on the practice field. Just from what a couple scouts have told me, the Baylor WRs come from a simple system, and their adjustment to the NFL seems to take longer than others, so that would argue against Mims being a big contributor as a rookie.
If they want Aiyuk or Reagor, they'd probably have to take him at 30 (Aiyuk might not make that far). Maybe they could get Reagor real early 2 if they trade back. A knowledgeable scout yesterday said he doesn't see Love making it 30.
I've seen the reports that he might be interested in going up to get Jefferson, and I have to say that really surprised me, for the reason you state. Again, if he thinks really highly of Jefferson and sees something special there, then I guess you do it. But you better be right, because there's a big element of luck involved in drafting, and to move up to get Jefferson probably would be pretty costly, like a third-rounder I'm guessing. So I'm in your camp. I could see trading up a few spots for an ILB, there aren't nearly as many good prospects available at that position, and I don't think I'd trade more than an R4 to do it. But to go up 8 or 10 spots for a WR seems really risky to me. We'll see what Gutekunst does tonight.
Guess I wouldn't rule it out, though I do wonder how well he fits what they want to do. He's on the shorter side and I'm not sure if he's much of a blocker, which they'd want with the zone-run scheme unless the guy is an outstanding WR. Maybe if they don't draft a WR they'd consider, though they have real cap limitations and some other pressing needs (run stopping DT, maybe Tramon Williams as nickel CB).
Sounds like Howard is available, though at what cost I'm not sure. I saw a report yesterday that said TB wants a lot for Howard and is fine with keeping him to pair with Gronkowski. Also, Howard has only a year left on his contract, so it could end up being a one-year rental. How much are willing to give up for that? An R5? Don't know if TB would take that.
I actually was talking with someone else on the beat earlier this week about that exact topic, whether Gutekunst openly saying he's open to drafting a QB in R1 was a smokescreen. Very well could be. Agree that Favre had already been talking about retirement at this point in his career whereas Rodgers is saying he wants to play into his 40s. But there's another difference cutting the other way, Rodgers has had some injuries, and there's a chance another one could diminish him quicker. When you get down to it, I'm guessing they don't draft a QB high until next year or the year after.
There's no easy answer for that, that's why scouting is so hard. I remember when they drafted Spriggs, I talked to two OL coaches in the league and both were really high on him, thought it was a really good pick in R2. And then the guy totally busts. He was a really good athlete as a tester, looked like one on tape in college, but in the NFL he lacked strength and didn't play as athletically as he looked. Then you take a guy like Mark Tauscher, he was hardly body beautiful, a seventh-round pick, but it turned out he was just a really good athlete despite that chunky physique, just natural athleticism and strength. Scouting budgets in the NFL are huge now, and they have all these analytics, yet there's still a big element of luck in picking players. It takes skill, for sure, to be a good scout, but there's also a decent amount of luck in drafting, too, because all these teams have their share of good scouts.
So i did a couple different mock drafts. I think in the LA Times draft Aiyuk was still on the board, and Murray and Queen were gone, so I took Aiyuk. In the USA Today draft, Murray and Queen were gone, so was Aiyuk, so I took Cleveland. In my own pick prediction, which went online this morning, I guessed they'll either get Queen at 30 or maybe more likely trade up three or four spots to get him. I talked to a handful of scouts yesterday, three thought Murray would go before Queen and that there was a chance Queen makes it to 30, and a pretty decent chance he'd at least make it to 26 or 27 for a trade up by GB. Another scout who I respect greatly said the opposite -- no way Queen even gets close to 30, Murray might. So I guessed Queen will get through. I'm still not sure either one gets close within striking distance of 30, but we'll see. I'm thinking if neither is there or in striking distance, try hard to trade back, though I don't know if Gutekunst is thinking that way. A trade back still allows for a shot at a good WR prospect, maybe an ILB prospect (Baun or Brooks), a tackle prospect (Cleveland?) or a DL (Blacklock?). Then by picking up, say, an R4, you have an extra pick to trade up in R2 or R3 for a guy you really like, or keep the pick and hope you land a good player (Bakhtiari, Sitton and Lang were all R4s).
I've got to think FB is still a position he wants to fill. He's a Kyle Shanahan protege, and look at the emphasis Shanahan puts on that position. I thought Vitale was underused last year too. He wasn't a good blocker but he had real skill as a WR. Wonder if they'll draft one late on Saturday.
I've wondered all along if Gary will end up being an inside player because of his size -- 277 is almost big enough to play in there, and I agree, you'd think he could add a few pounds. But during the season Pettine seemed pretty adamant that Gary is an outside guy, and Gutekunst and LaFleur strongly echoed that after the season. They seem him as like Za'Darius Smith -- an outside guy who can run from the inside on passing downs. Maybe their thinking will change in a year, I don't know. But they seem to see him the same as when they drafted him. Gary is probably best built for a 4-3 left end, but really if a guy's a good player, schemes and coaches have to be flexible enough to make use of his best skills.
I have to think the ratings will be off the charts, relatively speaking. I think I saw a post on ProFootballTalk where someone in the know was predicting ratings at least as high as a Monday night game. The appetite should be huge. Everybody's is Netflixed/Amazon Primed/Hulued-out. There's nothing knew on the networks. Sports fans are craving anything live and new.
Yeah, i was reading something yesterday that said all the NFL CBA calls for is "good faith" negotiations between the union and league for the 2021 cap, which obviously have to take into account the revenue shortfalls if there are no fans for some or all games, or a shorter schedule. The lower cap could create some problems for teams, no question. Wonder if they'd try to lower the cap growth in subsequent years instead, so cap growth over several years would be flatter than in recent years. All part of the uncharted territory we're in.
I've been thinking about that. My guess is they'd be hesitant to take him in R1 but maybe would do it early R2 if they traded back and he's still there. The reason is, there's a lot of projection with him, because he played mostly OLB at Wisconsin but would be primarily ILB with the Packers. He appears to have the ability to do it, but it's still a projection, they haven't seen him do it much on tape. They tried the position change with Randall as an R1 and that didn't work. They're trying it with Gary now. The scouts in the league I've talked to said they'd wait until R2 to take him unless maybe you're like NE or Tennessee and your ILBs and OLBs are kind of interchangeable. So that's my best guess on when they'd be willing to draft him. If they picked him in early R2 I'd have to think they'd expect him to play a fair amount as a rookie even with no offseason practice. They are awfully think at ILB. He was a HS QB, made the change to OLB in college, so you have to think there's football smarts there.
Again, these are famous last words, but I'm thinking they're definitely taking a WR in the first three rounds, and probably an ILB too. They don't have much at ILB after Kirksey, and he's been so injury prone the last two years, they'd be crazy to bet on him making it through the season healthy. They do have a little more leeway at tackle, though even if they re-sign Veldheer, they really don't want him starting more than a couple games in a row as a backup, his body is just so beaten up. WR and ILB are the biggest holes IMHO.
His first draft looked pretty promising after one season, not so hot after this past season. But Alexander is a good player, and if he becomes a stud, that counts for a lot. Second draft looks promising, again after only one year, and a lot will depend on Gary and Savage this year. Drafting is huge, I don't mean to undersell, but GMs in the end are graded on the big picture. So if you don't draft great for a couple years, how do you do in building your roster in other ways? He hit big in FA last year with the Smiths. That counts for a lot too. The job is to win, by hook or crook. Eventually you have to draft well, and he'll need to hit on picks, there's no getting around it. I'd think his leash is relatively long, though we are a "what-have-you-done-for-me-lately" species.
There's a plausible argument for an RB because of the importance of the run game and Jones' durability issues. But in the end, with their numerous other needs and the position value (seems like you can find good RBs in mid-to-late rounds) I'm still thinking RB is a little too much of a luxury with their first pick. As for CB, the more I've thought about it the last few weeks, the greater I see the need. Right now Chandon Sullivan their No. 3, and King, who has a worrisome injury history, is in the last year of his deal. They really need to upgrade the No. 3 CB immediately and be ready for the possibility of King departing next year. Now, they can sign Tramon Williams after the draft for the nickel job, but still ... Josh Jackson's prospects are not looking good, and unless they think Ka'Dar Hollman is going to develop into a lot more than a special teams player, they need corners. Just not sure i see the value in late R1 or early R2 at corner relative to WR, T or maybe ILB though.
I have learned more, though I would in now way take this as a definitive answer or anything like that, because none of us knows how Love is going to turn out. From what I've heard in the last few days, there's not much chance Love is going to be there at 30, somebody is going to trade up to get him in the 20s if he's not taken before then. If he's there at 30, I'm guessing the Packers would look hard for a trade partner who really wants him, and if that happened they'd pick somebody else. I don't have a lot to base that on other than they'd have to like him a lot -- I'm thinking, they'd have to think he has at least a 40 percent chance of being a winning NFL starter to consider taking him -- and with the way his evals are all over the map, I just have doubts that they'd think his chances are that good. So I'm thinking they'd pass on him. But that's just a guess.
Wolf did a lot of need picking -- remember he took a CB with each of his first three picks in 1999 -- and Thompson did a fair amount of BPA. For instance, WR wasn't their biggest need when he took Nelson, and I don't remember DL being a glaring need when he picked Harrell. Here's how a really highly ranked scout put it to me this week when we talked about this: He said you pick the best player available within reason. You do have to use some common sense. If things are pretty close between two or three players, you probably should take the one that's the greatest need. If you think there's a real difference, you take the better player unless it's a lower-value position and you're already good there (like for instance, center or guard). Then they also need to take into account the positions of strength and weakness in the draft. If there are a lot of guys at one position of need and maybe not many at another, you have to think about finding the weaker position first. It's as much art as science.
I can't say I've gotten that feeling. I mean, with all the other cities available in the league playing in Green Bay isn't for everybody, and it's always been that way. It's still really attractive because they have great facilities, they treat their players great, and they can pay as well as anybody in the league. They have great resources. And some players love the smaller city. But there are some who would much rather be in a bigger and/or warmer city, and it's always going to be that way. Every once in a while that could be a determining factor for a free agent, but in the end money talks, so the contract is the biggest recruiter, and having a top QB is huge too, because guys want to win. Rodgers is still very much a draw for the Packers. What will be interesting is whether things change when he's gone.
Looks to me like they're seeing what happens in the draft before committing to him. My guess is nobody else is trying to sign -- he is 37 after all -- and he has more value to the Packers because he knows the system, so they know they can wait. I guess if I had to bet, I'd bet they end up re-signing him, and that he'll play a lot, either as their nickel guy or rotating in a lot. Again, just a guess.
Adams was a more talented and savvy receiver -- he wasn't as straight-line fast as Valdes-Scantling, but he had a much better feel for the game. But yes, Valdes-Scantling will get a shot at redeeming himself this year. He has great size and speed, that counts for something. He also expresses the desire to be a great player, and if it's not just talk, that counts for a lot too. But he's got become a more sophisticated receiver. He could have really used the practice reps this offseason.
They could easily keep seven. Adams, Funchess, Lazard, St. Brown and the high draft pick count for five if all stay healthy. Everybody else would be on the bubble IMHO.
Mainly because football is a young man's game, and you have to constantly replenish your roster with younger and -- this is important too -- cheaper talent. Even high picks are relatively cheap. Guys get old so fast in this league. At 26 they're playing their best football and at 28 they're often starting to show age from all the wear and tear and injuries.
Very relevant question, and it's not just Gutekunst but Pettine. Yes, it would be a departure, but it looks to me like the league is starting to emphasize ILB a little more the last few years because it's such a hard position to fill and offenses try to exploit it. If you go small and play dime all the time, like the Packers do, you're vulnerable to being run on. And if you go bigger, offenses will match those LBs against good TEs and good-receiving RBs. It's hard to find a guy who's big and explosiveness enough to play the run fairly well and also hold up covering all that ground in the middle in the field. To get a guy like that you usually have to use a high pick unless you get pretty lucky in the later rounds. Among other things, we'll have to see if Pettine will play more nickel (instead of dime) than the last two seasons t if they draft an ILB high. Will they put the rookie and Kirksey on the field together a decent amount?
This addressed an earlier question, I forgot that, thanks for the reminder.
This will have to be the last question, other duties to get to as the draft closes in tonight. Groundhog Day ends for at least three days. As for your question, I took that and his other comments to mean he wants maneuver up and down the draft board. Sure sounds like he's hoping to be an active trader. The beauty of it is, all the talk is coming to a close, and now it's time for action. Finally. Just want to say thanks to everyone who stopped by with a question or comment, they poured in so I didn't have time to get even half of them, but I'm hoping I addressed in one way or another what most of you were wondering about. Special thanks to our subscribers, our thorough coverage wouldn't exist without you. And a reminder, if you don't subscribe you can get the Packers News app, I think the introductory offer is $1 for the first month, then only $4.99 a month after that for all the Packers coverage we produce, which is a lot. And with that, we'll wrap this up and get ready for the big happenings tonight and all weekend. Take care everybody, stay safe and well!