Nicholas from Louisville, KY
Vic, what is your opinion of Sheldon Rankins?
I love him. He’s another Mike Daniels. Rankins is undersized, which means he’s likely to drop beneath his value. He’s ultra-productive, all out and explosive. He has no negatives, except for his lack of size, which makes him perfect for a 3-4. He’s the kind of squat, physical, block-eating two-gapper that’s perfect for a 3-4 defense. He plays through blocks, which is the key. The next Aaron Donald? I’d love to see the Packers have a chance to draft Rankins.
Mate from Debrecen, Hungary
A few days ago, Hue Jackson made a comment on QB hand sizes. The media picked it up. In my opinion, it is a very bad indication for the future in Cleveland. If a QB has great character and a franchise player that can lead a team, it doesn’t matter whether his hand is nine or 10 inches. What is your opinion?
You want a quarterback with a big hand. It’s OK if his non-throwing hand is small.
Lorenzo from Genova, Italy
Vic, if Jaylon Smith slips all the way to the bottom of the first round and based on your information you think he will recover from his injuries, would you take him with the 27th pick, even if he cannot play in 2016? I think we’re a team that’s in the condition to spend a first-rounder in that way. Or is it too much of a risk?
The risk is to the career of the GM that makes that pick. Tom Donahoe picked Willis McGahee with the 23rd overall pick of the 2003 draft, knowing McGahee would have to sit out his rookie season following a late-season knee injury. McGahee became a solid back for the Bills, but Donahoe was vilified for picking a player that couldn’t play right away, and it went a long way toward costing Donahoe his job. I’d probably be inclined to knock Smith down a round. Beware the howl of the wolves.
Bob from Melbourne, Australia
Public figures may be subject to public scrutiny, Vic, but only if that scrutiny falls within the law. As you say, it remains to be seen if the scrutiny fell within the boundaries afforded all citizens, regardless of notoriety.
I ate breakfast on Friday morning with my favorite southern judge – he picked up the tab, too. I asked for his opinion on the Jason Pierre-Paul law suit. The judge said, “First amendment rights?” Then he smiled and returned to his grits.
Andrew from La Crosse, WI
Vic, do you think teams should consider how to approach asking the athletes at the combine about head injury? It’s relatively important to know if a player will retire after a concussion.
If a player has a concussion history, I think it’s a fair line of questioning.
Brian from Vancouver, BC
I know you like big, powerful backs. Henry displays that in this draft. Elliott looks like a three-down back that can catch well. Who would you rather have as your bell cow?
I favor Ezekiel Elliott, but Derrick Henry is top quality, too.
Andrew from Los Angeles, CA
Yesterday, you told the story of covering the Jags and their cap mess from 1999-2001. Did you know the train was coming at the time, or was the cap too new for you to foresee it?
I knew. It was obvious. I’ll never forget Wayne Weaver’s press conference on the Friday before the 1999 AFC title game. Wayne was being questioned on the Jaguars’ ability to work around the salary cap and sign so many high-priced players. Len Shapiro of the Washington Post was sitting next to me, and he blurted out to Wayne, “So, you’re smarter than everybody else, right?” Wayne smiled sheepishly and shrugged his shoulders. I felt a cold breeze blow through the room. It was the start of what would become the winter of the Jaguars’ discontent, and it lasted for several years.
Weston from Lake Geneva, WI
Tyler Boyd is the receiver I’m going to keep an eye on. I think he’s the player that could bring a little speed back to our receivers group.
Boyd has Larry Fitzgerald speed, which is to say good enough. Boyd also has Fitzgerald-like smoothness, and I genuinely believe it’s going to work against Boyd in the draft. He’s so smooth he appears to lack suddenness. I saw one draftnik comment that Boyd’s not a deep receiver. I can’t imagine that draftnik ever watched Boyd play. Boyd is a classic deep receiver who was overplayed deep, causing him to be used underneath more often this past season. The only criticism I have of Boyd is that when he was used on the jet sweep, I didn’t think he broke enough tackles. I don’t think Boyd will test as well as he plays. I think he has steal written on him.
Aaron from Dallas, TX
It’s funny you mention Mike Mamula. Literally, this morning I was reading an article about how the narrative on Mamula is false. Painted as nothing more than a workout warrior and an NFL bust, further examination might lead many to believe he was a talented college player who was victim to the injury bug. Does he get an undeserved bad rap?
His rise at his combine was so dramatic that he became the all-time example of looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane. What was he supposed to do, warn teams? Yeah, he got a bad rap. Hey, he didn’t draft himself.
Jacob from Madison, WI
Vic, I’m all about the human confrontation you’re always talking about, but stats play a vital role in deciding a player’s future worth, and I fear you too often overlook that in favor of sentimentality.
Micah from Phoenix, AZ
Terry from Manitowoc wants three free agents? Why? Simply because they are free agents? Do they not appreciate the growth and contribution of Sam Shields, Mike Neal and James Starks, to name a few who are staples in our recent success? I do, every game and free-agent signing period. Vic, why do you think some can’t see the benefits of our philosophy?
They covet their neighbors’ goods.
Kyle from Logan, UT
With the draft coming up, I can only hope Green Bay takes a real close look at Kyler Fackrell. He will help.
Here’s my scouting report on Fackrell: Bad name. High risk. Some team will pick him and the media that cover that team will suffer for 10 years.
Joe from Fox Point, WI
Hopefully, with a little more discernment in the future, you can make the distinction between James Harrison, who is an animal with a hard edge and no-nonsense gruff, tough-guy attitude, much like Joe Greene was and even Clay Matthews is. Let’s not confuse that with players like Suh and Burfict.
One of my friends is the editor of bengals.com. He told me he had become ill following a road game, and for the flight back to Cincinnati it was Burfict who took my friend under his wing, sat next to him and offered him succor. Burfict is one of those kind, gentle, off-the-field types that flip a switch on game day. I’ve always done well with those types. I guess sportswriting is not a game for the well-adjusted.
Martin from Grafton, WI
I like the way you handled Terry’s question yesterday. Does the offseason make Vic a nicer person?
I started to light him up, and then I deleted what I had written and said to myself, “Don’t do it, Vic. Be new.” I’m trying.
Mike from Jacksonville, NC
What’s the biggest difference between a QB playing under center and playing in the shotgun formation? It seems to always be a big topic at the combines.
You’d like your QB to be able to step under center from time to time so he doesn’t have to take his eyes off the coverage to receive the snap, and that means he has to possess the footwork to drop and set quickly.
Jeff from Eveleth, MN
The highest guy on your board is a little-known player from a little-known D-2 school. You know you can get him later in the draft. Do you pass on him for a different player lower on your board, hoping to draft him a few rounds later?
If you’re sure you can get him later, why pick him now? Coach Noll loved John Stallworth and wanted to pick him in the second round. The personnel man told Coach Noll they could get Stallworth later – he knew that because the Steelers had destroyed the only tape on Stallworth. They got him in round four. Again, there’s a point at which feel takes over for science. Good drafters know where that point is.
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