Matty from Minneapolis, MN
With the news of Mark Brunell retiring and his ties to Green Bay, I was wondering if you could give us an insight into what he meant to the Jaguars and what you liked most about him. Love the column.
He’s one of the two best quarterbacks Ron Wolf drafted in his years as Packers GM. Tom Coughlin had his eyes on Brunell the moment Coughlin became the Jaguars’ coach. Coughlin was obsessed then about mobility and being able to extend the play, and Brunell extended the play as well as any quarterback in the league in 1995-96, including Steve Young. Brunell was poised to become one of the top five quarterbacks in the league when his career changed forever in a 1997 preseason game against the Giants, when he sustained a knee injury just a few days after signing a big, new contract. He had several good years after that injury, but he was never the same; he played a different game, a drop-back game. He lost his ability to improvise, to scramble, and that was what made him what he was. It was a pleasure and an honor to cover the best years of his career.
Anthony from Hamilton, NJ
Vic, big fan and an avid reader of your column. I make sure to read it each day during my lunch at the office. Also, I am a Packers stockholder as of December and couldn't be more thrilled to say that. All that aside, my question to you is this: What do you think is a larger factor in Ted Thompson's player rankings? Is it more important to secure purely the most talented player or do you think they rank a slightly less talented player who has a more reliable background higher on their board?
There’s a point at which a player’s behavior can get him red-dotted, regardless of his ability, but football is a game built on the shoulders of tough guys and tough guys are often rough guys, and Thompson has talked often about the need to not automatically dismiss a prospect because he’s had a rub or two with the law. This is not a game for the gentle. If you want guys that’ll hit, you have to accept the possibility that their personalities might require some grooming. Young players grow; they mature. If a guy has talent and the judgment is that he can live peacefully in mainstream society, even though he doesn’t bring with him a clean slate, I say pick him. Based on what I’ve heard Thompson say on the subject, I think he agrees. The only issue is the degree to which the slate might not be clean. Everybody has their tolerance limits.
Gabriel from Appleton, WI
Should the Packers get Big Foot with his long stride, or Frankenstein with his level head?
I don’t like long striders, but I love a pounder with a flat head.
Daniel from Los Angeles, CA
When looking to sign undrafted free agents, how do the Packers (and other teams) prioritize who to go after? How much of a sales pitch do they make?
Along the way, they see guys they like. These guys are the result of the work done by the area scouts. The cross-checkers tend to stick to the higher-ranked prospects; the area scouts are responsible for scouting the depth of the talent in their areas; they’re looking for hidden gems. So, the area scout responsible for the Big Ten says, “I really like this kid from Wisconsin,” and when the draft reaches the seventh round and it appears the kid from Wisconsin isn’t going to be picked, the sell job begins. Teams that like the kid call him and tell him they want to sign him as a free agent when the draft is over. They tell him he’ll get a legitimate shot to make the team, they’ll refer to the number of undrafted players that have made the team’s roster in the past, and they’ll tell him they have need at his position. They recruit him.
Jon from Springfield, MO
Bill Polian said today he only sees 20 first-round grades. Do you think it is more likely Ted will trade into those 20 or trade out of the first round?
The problem with trading out of the first round is that it would likely add picks to a team that already has 12. He could trade out and take future picks in exchange, but that’s not going to help this year’s team. When you have 12 picks, you have the ammunition to go up. Now, can you find a team willing to let you come up without exacting too high of a cost? That’s the real question.
Scott from Wausau, WI
I saw the Vikings coach talking about how top picks need to be impact players, ones who score TDs, sack the QB or make interceptions. He was dissing the LT position. I decided it was all pre-draft feinting, trying to get Tampa Bay to trade up, thinking they'll get their LT at five anyway. Thoughts?
If sacking the quarterback is so important, then shouldn’t it follow that protecting the quarterback from being sacked is just as important?
Bill from St. Paul, MN
Vic, for the people that are having difficulty grasping the philosophy of BAP, let me offer something tangible they can grasp onto. Ron Wolf admitted that the biggest mistake of his career happened in 1998, when Randy Moss was on the board and he let him pass. The Vikings picked him one pick later, and I think we all know what happened after that. He literally set the Packers secondary on fire singlehandedly.
Moss is one of those players that when you don’t draft him, you ask yourself, “What did I do?” And when you do draft him, you ask yourself, “What did I do?”
Andy from Roanoke, IN
BAP is BAPer.
Need is needer.
Vince from Chicago, IL
If at least one of the following four is not available at 28, I am going to be really upset: Mercilus, Upshaw, Perry, McClellin.
What you’re describing is the potential for a run on tweeners. I would expect at least one of those players to be available, but it depends on when the run begins. If it begins at seven, look out.
Hans from Front Royal, VA
Vic, I can't remember if you addressed the WR position? Is it deep this year?
This is a very strange wide receiver class. It lacks speed at the front, but has speed at the back, where it also has some depth. So, if everybody wants speed, then why isn’t the back the front? I sense that a lot of draftniks are struggling to get a feel for how the WR class should fall.
Dan from Waupun, WI
After the NFL draft, are you going to start looking for the BAG for your golf event?
The date is tentatively set for July 11 at Thornberry Creek. We’re going to put together something real good and, I promise, it’ll be about value. What I’m looking for now is some feedback from interested golfers. If you think you’ll play, drop me a line.
George from Hutchinson, MN
You seem to print the draft opinions of draft guru Tony Pauline many times. Is this more of a case that you have a good rapport or because you value his opinion above other draft pundits?
I think every publication needs a draft guy and Tony is the guy I’ve used for a long time, going back to the days when I found him at a little-known draft site. I think his work is outstanding. He can give you the fine details on any player in the draft and into undrafted free agency. I genuinely believe he’s the best in the business and I feel very fortunate that he shares information with me that I may share with packers.com readers.
Jacob from Green Bay, WI
I liked your article on draft facts. Have you seen the movie “Moneyball” with Brad Pitt? It sounds similar to what the young stat buff in the movie did, right?
I haven’t seen that movie but I’ve received several e-mails comparing it to Tony Villiotti’s work. The purpose of the story I did was to introduce readers to Tony’s site. It’s a treasure trove of draft stats for the draft-obsessed. I was stunned by the push-back in the reader comments at the bottom of my story. It’s just food for thought. Why the anger? Hey, those are the facts. Just the facts, ma’am.
Dan from Green Bay, WI
While I used to love the pre-draft talk and speculation leading up to the NFL draft, in the last few years I have seemed to care a little less as each year goes by. I place the blame on Ted because I feel helpless that I never know what he is scheming. Do you think he could just say something every once in a while? Even if it means he has to lie? For the fans’ sake.
Tell me lies tell me sweet little lies. Dan, it’s either lies or guesses; that’s what the draft hype is all about. The beauty of the draft is that if you tell enough lies or make enough guesses, something has to become the truth, and the person that told that lie or made that guess becomes a genius. It’s fantastic fun.
Eric from Fort Atkinson, WI
Why do the players that are invited to the draft in New York dress so nice? I mean, I know it's good to look nice for the camera and to represent yourself well, but most of these guys dress like millionaires and they don't even have that kind of money. I just think it would be nice if they dressed decently, but not as if they are some huge celebrity with millions of dollars.
The draft is a big TV production and you don’t go to a big TV production dressed like some hack sportswriter in a plaid sport shirt, khaki pants, canvas shoes and no socks. The players have agents and the agents make sure the players go to New York lookin’ real nice because, when they leave New York, they ARE going to be huge celebrities with millions of dollars.
Joe from Milford, OH
I always wonder if the Packers never selected Rodgers what would the Packers be like today. Any thoughts?
I think it’s highly likely the Packers would still be 12-time NFL champions. A reader sent me the link to a story authored by former Packers cap man Andrew Brandt. Brandt described the scene in the Packers’ draft room on draft day and he talked about the circumstances involving the selection of Aaron Rodgers. Brandt said Rodgers was the last guy on the Packers’ board that carried a first-round grade, but the Packers went deep into the clock waiting for somebody to call and try to trade with them. When nobody called, the Packers picked Rodgers. What if somebody had called?
Nate from Port Washington, WI
Vic, just read your comment about shopping habits. Are you a hoarder?
No, I’m just the opposite. I’m a value meets need guy. I’m usually looking for something I need, but I’ll only buy it if it’s on sale, and I’ll often buy something I don’t need now but will need later, if it’s an especially good buy. I also don’t buy much, use what I buy and then throw it out when it gets old or used up, so I can go buy new stuff. That is the absolute truth.
John from Milwaukee, WI
I have this pet theory that a good-hands fullback is very much like a tight end that can block.
Nowadays, a good-hands tight end is very much like a fullback that can block. The fullback position is disappearing in front of our very eyes, replaced by the motion tight end.
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