Andrew from Maquoketa, IA

Is Paul Dawson worthy of a late first-round, early second-round draft pick, or can good inside linebackers be found in the middle rounds?

LeVon Kirkland and Jack Lambert are the best 3-4 inside linebacker and 4-3 middle linebacker I’ve ever covered, and they were each drafted in the second round, so I would say the second round is a good place to find an inside guy. You find them where you find them.

Josh from New London, WI

So you’re staying in Green Bay for the draft to hang with Coach McCarthy and Ted Thompson. Who do the Packers send to Chicago and what do they do?

Teams send someone to the draft to turn in the piece of paper with the team’s pick on it; that’s it. In recent years, the Packers have sent Chris Kirby from the video department and Bryan Nehring from the equipment staff. Everybody else is back at the team’s facility. It’s been that way since I began doing this. What’s going to happen in Chicago is nothing more than a stage production.

Tom from West Bend, WI

You’ve used a lot of my questions lately. What makes them so good?

You’re banned.

Jason from Toronto, ON

Vic, I really don’t know how Ted did it. The Packers were listed as having the eighth-most salary cap space remaining, but he has the highest paid QB in the league, picked up a very expensive free agent last year in Peppers, has one of the highest-paid defensive players in Matthews, and has two of the highest-paid WRs in the league. It shouldn’t add up but somehow it does.

You really don’t know how he did it? It’s the draft. It’s how you keep a team young and a salary cap healthy. This is a game of replacement and the draft provides the youngest and most affordable replacements.

Martin from Montevideo, MN

Vic, did you ever cover a game of the extinct United States Football League? Did you ever think a merger with the NFL was coming?

I covered the Pittsburgh Maulers’ first game. Three Rivers Stadium was sold out. That’s a good start. Why didn’t the league succeed? It wasn’t patient. It wasn’t committed to the long haul.

Joe from Clio, MI

Only four teams have four or fewer players over age 30: the Packers, Rams, Bucs and Jags. This must make you happy.

It’s a young man’s game, and this information should make all Packers fans happy because two of those four teams are in rebuilding and the Rams are just coming out of rebuilding. Elite and young is a very good combination.

Alexander from Byron, MN

Which type of inside linebacker do we need more, a thumper or a chaser?

If you’ve got the thumper, you won’t have any trouble finding a chaser.

Mike from Jacksonville, NC

What’s more important, drafting the more talented player, or picking the player that’s not as talented but fits the team’s system a lot better?

I favor talent over fit.

Nathan from London, UK

Like all other NFL fans, I am currently doing my pre-draft research and, in my opinion, there is no standout player likely to be available at pick 30. What are the chances we trade down to acquire more picks in rounds two or three?

I don’t like trading back for the sole purpose of adding picks. I like trading back to draft a guy you’ve targeted, or trading back because there are several players at the same grade level and trading back will add value and produce a player at a lower pay grade. Maybe this draft class will produce a lot of players at the same grade level.

Eric from Prosser, WA

How involved is Mike McCarthy on draft day? Is it purely Ted Thompson’s show?

I think Coach McCarthy would tell you it’s Thompson’s show.

Travis from Blaine, MN

Vic, if Mariota fell to Green Bay, you could trade the pick, but only if you could find a trade partner that is going to give you appropriate compensation. Let’s say the unthinkable happens and Mariota somehow falls to the Packers and Green Bay is unable to find a trade partner. If Mariota is the highest-rated player on your board, you take him, right?

Yes, you take him. If Mariota is there – who is advancing this ridiculousness? – and he’s sitting at the top of your board and you can’t trade him, then pick him because his value is too great to pass. It continues to astound me how we struggle with the best available player philosophy.

Terry from Manistee, MI

How cool would it be to see teams’ draft boards 15 years later?

I think it’s cool to look back on drafts and see how they turned out. In 1990, Jeff George was the No. 1 overall pick and Emmitt Smith was the 17th overall pick. LeRoy Butler was picked 48th overall by the Packers, and John Randle was undrafted.

Jason from Pine Island, MN

For any of the teams you’ve covered, have you witnessed a team be less likely to draft a certain player because his agent is difficult to negotiate with? Does that sometimes play into the decision?

Jerry Argovitz scared teams away.

Bob from Kennesaw, GA

What percentage of an NFL player’s makeup is physical genetics vs. work ethic?

A lot of guys with great work ethic didn’t make it because their parents were non-athletes.

Tony from Burbank, CA

Vic, what are your thoughts on Sarah Thomas becoming the league’s first full-time female official?

The game continues to grow. This is a seminal moment in NFL history and I’m all for it.

Don from Cedar Rapids, IA

How long has long snapper been a specialized position?

The long snapper was largely a product of the ’80s, along with special teams coordinators. Mike Webster stayed on the field to do the long-snapping, so when Kendall Gammon came along to do one thing and one thing only, it seemed kind of silly to me. Not anymore. Today’s game is about specialization.


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