Jay from Janesville, WI
Vic, how is it that a player who wins the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award isn't even looked at in the NFL draft?
He was evaluated and will likely sign as an undrafted free agent. The award to which you have referred was presented for what the player did. Players are selected in the draft for what they will do. The draft is a forecast, based primarily on a prospect’s ability to project his talent onto the next level. Jason White won the Heisman and he wasn’t drafted.
Ryan from Cottage Grove, WI
The Packers have 15 players coming back from IR and at least 15 players they picked up to fill in for them. Now, they’ve drafted 10 more players. Can all of these players attend mini-camps and OTAs? When does the roster limit start to be enforced?
The 80-man roster limit is always in effect. Even when teams have to cut to the mandatory 53-man active roster, the 80-man limit is still in effect; the 53-man active roster plus the practice-squad players and players on injured reserve may not exceed 80. In the offseason, there is no 53-man active roster, just the 80-man. When teams are allowed to sign undrafted free agents, the Packers may add players up to the 80-man limit and they will be eligible to attend mini-camp, OTAs, voluntary conditioning and training camp, up to the mandatory cutdown. Then the roster rules begin to change, but the 80-man is always in force.
Andy from Abbotsford, BC
Hypothetically speaking, if Mallet wouldn't have gone to the Patriots and fallen another two or three places, do you think the Packers would have picked him up? He likely would have been the BAP on the board.
Ryan Mallet didn’t slip to the third round because of a lack of talent. He has first-round talent; maybe even top-10 talent. He slid due to concerns other than for talent. It’s impossible for me to answer your question because I don’t know what the Packers’ position on Mallet was. It would appear that some teams red-dotted him. Red-dotting is something teams do to players about whom the team has, for example, medical or character concerns. Red-dotting a player’s name effectively takes that player out of consideration for drafting, or until he reaches a point in the draft that the potential reward is worth the price and the risk. I don’t know when that point was for the Packers. I think the Patriots got a player of immense talent at a ridiculously low price. Bill Belichick has a strong system of player development. If Mallet buys into that system, he could become the steal of the draft.
Andy from Lee, BC
How did you enjoy your first overall draft experience with the Packers?
I enjoyed observing a new way and new ideas. Ted Thompson showed me something on Saturday I had previously not seen. He showed me a little trade two-step that was new to me. Usually, when a team trades back, it gives its pick and gets two in return. Thompson kept doing these two-for-two deals that I didn’t quite understand at first because it seemed like a lot of bother for little gain. He traded, for example, picks 129 and 204 to Denver for picks 141 and 186. So, he moved back 12 spots on the front and moved up 18 on the back, which doesn’t seem to present much of a numerical points gain. What he was doing, however, was moving to where the players he wanted fit. He was making sure he didn’t reach and when a guy goes to that kind of trouble in the late rounds to make sure he doesn’t reach, you can believe him when he says he sticks to his value line. Even in the late rounds, he was sticking to his value line. He originally had picks 129 and 131, but he didn’t have two targets graded two picks apart, so he moved back to where the second of those targets, D.J. Williams, fit. In the process, he was able to move up 18 spots on the back and draft D.J. Smith. Would Smith still have been available at 204? We’ll never know but what if he wouldn’t have been available and Smith becomes a killer special teams player? It’s attention to detail and all good drafters practice it. I learned something on Saturday from a master of the art.
Dave from Ankeny, IA
You refer to the team’s “value board” regarding the highest-rated player. Can you explain what goes into determining value?
A player’s value is determined by his grade. The higher his grade, the greater his value.
Chris from New Orleans, LA
What are your opinions on the Saints’ draft picks? Do you think it was smart to draft Mark Ingram right after they re-signed Pierre Thomas, still have Reggie Bush under contract, as well as Chris Ivory, the diamond-in-the-rough RB from last year?
Chris, why do fans want only one of everything? Please, somebody answer that for me. The Saints have a great-looking draft. As I’ve said, I’m not big on straight-line runners, so I view Ingram with some skepticism, but the Saints made three picks in this draft that I absolutely love. First of all, they got the player, Cameron Jordan, I hoped would fall to the Packers. I saw him falling and had he fallen one more pick, to Seattle, that’s where I think a trade might’ve become possible. Jordan is great value for the Saints at pick 24. The other two picks I love are Martez Wilson in round three and Greg Romeus in round five. Wilson is a thumper and we undervalue those kinds of linebackers. Romeus has star blindside pass-rushing talent, but he’s coming off a late-season ACL so he was, in effect, a futures pick. The Saints’ draft is all about value.
Eric from Hampton, VA
Since Green Bay drafted two tight ends, does that mean they are worried about re-signing Finley?
First of all, it means the Packers were staying true to their value line. Secondly, it means Mike McCarthy loves to scheme on offense and tight ends of differing styles allow for more creativity than any other position.
Brian from Little Rock, AR
Do you feel like the Bears should give the Ravens the fourth-round pick since they botched the trade?
Should the Ravens compensate the Vikings for not having consummated the trade for the seventh overall pick of the 2003 draft before the clock ran out? This is much ado about nothing. Stuff happens. The Bears apologized.
Lewk from Iowa City, IA
Do successful teams usually get more or less attention from undrafted free agents?
Undrafted players aren’t looking for teams that win, they’re looking for teams that offer a real chance to make their roster. Some teams will throw extra money at a preferred college free agent and that’ll often work, but the bulk of the college free agents look at a team’s track record. Do they give free agents a real opportunity to make the team, or do they just use them as training camp fodder? How many undrafted guys have made their roster in recent years? What is their roster depth like at the free agent’s position? Those are the questions a free agent prospect asks. Winning is the last concern. First, he’s gotta make the team.
Conor from Pinedale, WY
I noticed we picked up two more tight ends in the draft. We have three great tight ends in Finley, Quarless and Crabtree. By drafting these two other tight ends, are we trying to build some trade power? Or what do you think we will do with them?
Tight end used to be a position; now it’s a concept. You can use the tight end as an in-line blocker, a deep-seam receiver, a fullback, slot receiver and wide receiver. If you had one guy who fit in all of those roles, then you wouldn’t need as many tight ends, but the John Mackeys of the world are few and far between. Jermichael Finley is a wide receiver type of tight end, which creates great mismatch potential, not only in covering Finely but in potentially causing a defense to get too small, which makes a defense vulnerable to the run. D.J. Williams is an H-back type of tight end, which means you can use him as a fullback and slot receiver, a la Dallas Clark. Williams will allow McCarthy to do things according to formation. From what I remember of Andrew Quarless from his days at Penn State, he would seem to be a deep-season receiver with some in-line blocking ability. Coaches love tight ends because they address so many roles and they also have the perfect size and skill set to play special teams.
Otis from Pearland, TX
The Packers now have an A.J. (Hawk), a B.J. (Raji), a C.J. (Wilson), two D.J.s (Williams and Smith), and a T.J. (Lang). I don't suppose your middle initial is J., is it? We don't have a V.J.
You do now. Yeah, it’s a J.
Ryan from Appleton, WI
What do you think the Packers will do with all the running backs on their roster right now? They have one proven starter, one who proved himself in the playoffs last year, one who they just drafted in the third round and a slew of backups. Do you think they'll keep more than four?
When I did my pre-draft position analysis for the running back position, I wrote: “Quality? Yes. Depth? Not exactly, and that’s why the Packers can be expected to add to their stable of running backs in either the draft, undrafted free agency or both.” You just can’t go to training camp with what the Packers had on their roster at running back. Those guys carry a huge load in team drills and you don’t wanna burn out your frontline backs. Don’t think in terms of one. Think in terms of many. That’s what a general manager is attempting to do to his roster. He’s attempting to acquire many good players at all positions.
John from Jacksonville, FL
Do you think the Vikings would have selected Blaine Gabbert if the Jaguars had not moved up ahead of the Vikings to get him?
That’s what I get out of it. Gene Smith knew where had to get to draft Gabbert. Since the Vikings picked Christian Ponder, it would seem they were committed to drafting a quarterback. I’m just guessing Gabbert was higher on their board than Ponder. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out.
Sandy from Sheboygan Falls, WI
I've heard it stated that a “core” of players is expected to be back this season. Who makes up this core? Is there a list somewhere of players we have locked into contracts?
A core player is one who figures prominently in the long-term future of the franchise. Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji, for example, are core players. Yes, the Packers have committed to each of those players contractually. Fringe players are guys who have to compete for a roster spot on an annual basis.
Randall from Hugo, OK
We hear about linemen using three technique or five technique. What does that refer to?
Three technique refers to lining up between the guard and the tackle, or shading the outside shoulder of the guard. Five technique means lining up on the outside shoulder of the tackle. For a more detailed video explanation, click here.