Tadd from Salt Lake City, UT

Vic, we now enter one of my least favorite weeks because every talking head will declare winners and losers of the draft and grade teams’ drafts. Are they daft? What do you think is a good time to wait to grade a draft class, three seasons?

Yeah, three seasons is long enough to wait to grade a draft class, but don’t let the draft hype get to you. From where we sit, it’s all about entertainment. For us, the draft is for fun. For example, I thought Buffalo had a killer draft – I think their draft is gonna kill them – but I’ve seen others praise the Bills’ draft. Who knows how it’ll turn out, but the divergence of opinion is fun.

Nick from Juneau, AK

Now that the draft is over, can we expect Ted Thompson to be active in the undrafted free-agent market? I really like Robert Lester, the safety from Alabama who went undrafted. He would provide depth and competition in the secondary that I think we need.

Thompson is a big-time undrafted guy. The Packers scouting department goes to great lengths to find the little-known players, as evidenced by the selection of Charles Johnson from Grand Valley State, and it’s the teams that look the deepest into the talent pool that tend to find the most undrafted players that make the team’s roster. The Panthers signed Lester and I think that’s a blue-chip undrafted addition for them. I watched Lester at the Senior Bowl and I liked him a lot. It’s difficult to understand why he seemed to fall off his game after a sensational start to his career at Alabama. It could be for a variety of reasons specific to his circumstances at Alabama. Maybe there was just too much talent around him for him to get big stats. Maybe the only reason he wasn’t drafted is because the safety class was so deep in talent this year. I’m stunned that he wasn’t picked.

J.D. from Eden Prairie, MN

I’ve heard the term a lot lately, and it’s probably not new, but explain what it means that a player has length.

It refers mostly to a player’s height and reach. It’s a basketball term and an example of how basketball continues to creep into the football culture.

Jason from Summerville, SC

Wow! Two running backs drafted. Did you see that one coming?

No, but I should’ve seen it coming at the start of day three because it was outrageous that Johnathan Franklin was still on the board. By the time the Packers picked him, he almost had to be the pick. It was extreme value and Ted Thompson is a value picker. He confirmed that fact with the Franklin pick. Franklin reminds me of Maurice Jones-Drew, and I love the way Mo plays. He was a lights-out kickoff returner early in his career, and Franklin also has that in his skill set.

Andrew from Rockford, IL

I love the receivers the Packers drafted. In my opinion, they are exactly what we needed, two big possession receivers. Do you think either will get any playing time this season?

I view the selections of Charles Johnson and Kevin Dorsey as belonging in the development category. I knew absolutely nothing about Johnson; I had never heard his name mentioned. So, when the Packers drafted him, I looked hard for information on him and when I saw what he had done at Grand Valley State, I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t heard about this guy. Frankly, I felt guilty for not knowing about him. Based on what I’m finding out about Johnson, he’s a lot more than a possession receiver. From what I’m hearing and reading, he’s a playmaker. You know, some teams seem to excel at drafting certain positions. The Packers might be the best receiver drafters in the league. They always have top pass-catchers – it helps that they also always seem to have top quarterbacks – and Thompson doesn’t spend first-round picks to find them.

David from Racine, WI

Eleven new Packers? Why draft so many players?

Drafts picks keep your roster young and your salary cap healthy. Nothing beats young and affordable.

Mika from Turku, Finland

I feel the Packers should have gotten higher or more picks from the 49ers on day two. Were those trades too cheap?

What a team receives in a trade is the result of how desperate its trade partner is to move up. The Packers got what the 49ers were willing to give. What was most important to the Packers, I suspect, is that they move down. They likely had players targeted and they wanted to move to where those players fit and still recoup the value of the original pick position.

Paul from De Pere, WI

If Montee Ball is still on the board when the Packers select in round two, do we still pick Lacy?

We’ll never know. I have no doubt that Ball was a strong consideration. The Packers liked him and, as I’ve said, he’s a cutback runner that would’ve fit perfectly with the Packers’ zone-blocking scheme, but I get the feeling the Packers wanted a true pounder. They wanted a back that could pound out the third-and-ones and force teams to commit an eighth defender to the line of scrimmage. Power is what does that. Cutback runners are best in space. They’re not downhill runners; they’re finesse runners and a defense can scheme to stop cutback runners without committing extra defenders. The Packers did that in Houston last year. If Lacy is the back with the Packers that he was at Alabama, defenses will have to crowd the line of scrimmage to stop him. My guess is the Packers had targeted Lacy for those reasons and figured they could move back to get him because of the injury situation. His hamstring injury caused him to not participate in the combine or in his pro day, and he wasn’t asked to submit to a medical recheck in Indianapolis a few weeks ago. That probably dropped Lacy on some boards and allowed the Packers to pick Lacy later than his original projected place. Apparently, the Packers were satisfied that Lacy will make a full recovery from his hamstring injury.

Jay from Eveleth, MN

Why trade back when Shamarko Thomas was there for the taking? The man is a beast. Maybe it was too early for Thomas.

You’re probably right. Remember, there is no universal board. Mel Kiper’s board isn’t the Packers’ board. Everybody does their own board and they vary greatly, as evidenced by picks such as the selection of E.J. Manuel in the first round. Thomas is a great story. He lost both parents within a nine-month period and then became the care provider for his siblings, and he did so without leaving college. He’s a true character guy and he’s a lights-out hitter. If there’s a weakness to his game, it’s that he’s not a play-the-ball-in-the-air type of defender. The Packers were probably more in the market for that type of safety, which is the kind of player Georgia’s Bacarri Rambo is. It’s too bad we can’t know who all the players are that teams considered picking. That would explain a lot that remains a mystery. Hey, you can’t pick everybody.

Anthony from Durham, England

Vic, I think we have drafted some nice jars to put on our shelf. Do you like the look of the new jars?

Consider the young offensive linemen the Packers have acquired the past couple of years: Don Barclay, Andrew Datko, Greg Van Roten, David Bakhtiari, J.C. Tretter. When you’re drafting at the bottom of the order, the plug-and-play Eric Fishers and Luke Joeckels are long gone when it’s your turn to pick. Jars on the shelf become very important. You have to draft a lot of guys and have a steady stream of big guys in the development process or you could find yourself with an empty shelf someday. I’m not going to tell you I know much of anything about Bakhtiari or Tretter, except that they have big bodies and obviously offer the potential to be developed into NFL-caliber offensive linemen. I like young offensive linemen, period.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

“The board is still full of big space-eaters, guys like John Jenkins and Brandon Williams. Give me one of those guys and I think the Packers can become an elite defense.” We passed on both John Jenkins and Brandon Williams to take a RB with some injury concerns in the second, and then traded up to take a running back in the fourth that many seem to think will be the better back. Do you think we just missed our best chance at becoming an elite defense?

No, I was just trying to convey how much I really liked those two guys. Everybody has guys they like; those are two of mine.

Joe from Bloomington, IN

You create “Ask Vic” in your image and certain people take that as egotistical. I admire it as entertainment. You turn an asynchronous media form into a personal conversation, which is what the Internet enables, but it’s not easy to do. Superlative job, Vic. As for the chat, pick up the pace. It’s more entertaining if it’s snap and pop. My two cents.

As for “Ask Vic,” it’s written by the readers; they deserve the credit. As for the chat, I was going as fast as I could. Every time I raised my hands to apply them to the keyboard, it felt like Hannibal Lecter was eating my shoulder. Joe, you got everything I had in me from round one through round seven.

Jason from Wausau, WI

Vic, what was the draft like before being nationally televised? What has been the biggest change between then and now?

Mel Kiper. He invented the modern draft. For what he’s done in making the draft the event it is, the NFL should put him in the Hall of Fame. Before Mel, all the reporters sat in a smoke-filled room and entertained themselves with pick and time-of-pick pools.

Gezim from South Milwaukee, WI

Vic, I have read you time and again say that wide receivers are a dime a dozen. Now you are concerned that the Vikings drafted a wide receiver.

The truly special ones, the Larry Fitzgeralds, are not a dime a dozen. Cordarrelle Patterson has talent that makes me wish an AFC team had drafted him.

Jani from Helsinki, Finland

I have a theory that Ted Thompson traded down to gather picks to get as many cheap rookies to replace more expensive veterans. After Rodgers’ deal, the team can’t have enough cap room to re-sign a couple of key veterans. This might be the way to do it. Your thoughts?

Of course he did. That’s what everyone is trying to do. Young, affordable rookies replace old, expensive veterans. It’s the way of the NFL jungle.

Felipe from Edinburg, TX

I noticed San Francisco got several players you liked or talked about. It seems like the rich got richer to me. Why were we trading with them? They are the enemy.

I think they had a very strong draft, but they are not the enemy. In the draft, all teams are each other’s friend because they need each other to be able to move and fit themselves to the players they’ve targeted. In the draft, the cap is every team’s enemy.


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