Tom Sil­ver­stein an­swered ques­tions from read­ers last week be­fore the NFL draft. Read the com­plete tran­script at json­­ers. CHAT

Packer Plus - - Packers Chat - Tom Sil­ver­stein

Q: Hi Tom, Do you think the Pack­ers trade up to the mid­dle of round 1 to get Ragland? If so, what do you think they would have to pack­age to move up to say picks 14-16?

A: Hello, ev­ery­one. Wel­come to the chat. Thanks for tak­ing part. Let’s get to the ques­tions right away. I don’t see the Pack­ers mov­ing up in the draft to get Ragland. I don’t see them mov­ing up at all. They are go­ing to stay at 27 and get a de­cent player. I think Thomp­son wants to keep those fourth-round picks so that he can po­ten­tially ma­neu­ver around the third and fourth rounds and take ad­van­tage of some depth in the draft. He needs line­men on both sides of the ball and the more picks the bet­ter.

Q: If Nel­son gets hurt again, will the Pack­ers be able to keep the of­fense rolling this year? Or will the re­ceivers get locked down again?

A: If Nel­son gets hurt, they’ll have to run the ball bet­ter and get more out of Ja­nis, Mont­gomery and Ab­bred­eris. But I don’t see a big dif­fer­ence if that were to oc­cur. They don’t have any­one who can flat out beat man cov­er­age and their best hope would be that Jared Cook would be able to ex­ploit some matchups down the mid­dle.

Q: There seems to be a very press­ing need at ILB. Are the Pack­ers that sold on Bar­ring­ton who is com­ing off a ma­jor in­jury? Do you think Ted pack­ages some of these 4th picks (along with 1st Rd pick) and grabs Ragland? Or at least a solid nose tackle?

A: Thomp­son never trades up. The only time he did in the first round was to pick Clay Matthews. I don’t think he’ll be giv­ing up picks to get Ragland. If they can get a big nose tackle with the first pick it will go a long way to­ward im­prov­ing their line­backer play. But I don’t see Ragland as some­one worth chas­ing. I don’t think he’s as good as C.J. Mosely and Thomp­son didn’t chase him.

Q: Hey Tom, Hope you have got­ten your spinach and peas planted. As the Pack­ers look to their 2017 O line can ei­ther Lins­ley or Tret­ter play guard on a reg­u­lar ba­sis? Thanks.

A: Got the beets and spinach in, Steve! Lins­ley no, Tret­ter yes. I may be in the mi­nor­ity of those who think Tret­ter can play in­side, but I think the guy is a phe­nom­e­nal athlete and if I were be­ing asked who to give money to for a con­tract ex­ten­sion he would be one of the first. He could be a start­ing cen­ter any­where else and showed left tackle wasn’t a stretch. He re­minds me a lot of Mike Flana­gan ex­cept health­ier.

Q: With Jordy Nel­son back, and the other Packer re­ceivers healed up, and a slimmed­down Ed­die Lacy, the of­fense is likely to

make big strides for­ward (es­pe­cially if the O-line gets back on track). But last year’s of­fense seemed of­ten out-of-sync, and the prob­lem wasn’t only in­juries. Do you see im­prove­ments in coach­ing and play-call­ing for the up­com­ing sea­son?

A: I think they have to ask them­selves some tough ques­tions. It wasn’t just the loss of Nel­son that hurt them. It was the ab­sence of a WRs coach. It was Rodgers’ in­abil­ity to adapt to not hav­ing re­ceivers wide open. It was stub­born­ness on the coaches’ part in not find­ing some­thing that Ja­nis could do on of­fense. I can’t tell you that those things will be re­solved. But they need to be.

Q: Hi Tom - Thanks for the chat. Can you of­fer any color on why the Pack­ers let Nate Palmer go? It seems like it would have been low risk to keep him around and let him com­pete in camp for a po­si­tion.

A: His clock had run out. They gave him three years to de­velop and found out that he wasn’t ath­letic enough to play out­side and not quick or in­stinc­tive enough to play in­side. It doesn’t pay to keep medi­ocre play­ers. I think they liked the ath­leti­cism of free agent Ler­entee McCray and de­cided he would give them more than Palmer.

Q: Tom, Is a solid pre­sea­son a bet­ter pre­dic­tor of a young quar­ter­back’s up­side or a 3 year col­lege ca­reer on film? My point is I would pre­fer trad­ing for a Hund­ley-type who has 1 or two years un­der a great QB coach and has ob­vi­ous phys­i­cal and men­tal traits? Why is he not worth a late 1st when a kid like Wentz is? Thoughts?

A: Hund­ley is still a work in progress and one pre­sea­son doesn’t make a great pro. He was se­lected in the fifth round be­cause scouts

weren’t im­pressed with his to­tal body of work at UCLA and the prospects of him be­ing a con­sis­tent passer in the NFL. Wentz and Goff have pro­duced in big num­bers and have the phys­i­cal traits you look for in a top QB. I would have never traded what L.A. did to go to No. 1 and draft one of these. Trad­ing a much lower pick for Hund­ley might have been smarter. But the jury is still out on him. He has a long way to go be­fore be­ing con­sid­ered an NFL starter. He’s all po­ten­tial right now.

Q: So tom, great to chat with you again. I’m op­ti­mistic about the club this year — am I nuts? thanks, hope you en­joy the off-sea­son.

A: There’s usu­ally rea­son to be op­ti­mistic with the Pack­ers. They are con­sis­tently in a po­si­tion to chal­lenge for a Su­per Bowl. That’s the ar­gu­ment that sup­ports Ted Thomp­son, that they’re al­ways in strik­ing dis­tance and that the more times you’re in that po­si­tion the bet­ter your odds are for get­ting to the Su­per Bowl. It’s just im­pos­si­ble to pre­dict whether things will fall into place for them.

Q: tom, with the free-agent losses this spring — Casey Hay­ward, tolzien, etc. — what com­pen­satory picks do you think GB might get next year?

A: Sorry. I have no idea. It de­pends on how much those guys play. I wouldn’t ex­pect more than a fourth maybe? Se­ri­ously, that’s a guess.

Q: thomp­son will prob­a­bly draft a WR and an Ot or 2, but don’t you think the first two days of the draft should be DL and ILB? thanks.

A: I think it de­pends on how the draft falls. If Aaron Rodgers falls to you, do you take a DL or ILB be­cause you kind of need one? DL is the most likely be­cause of the depth in the first round, but ILB is not a pri­or­ity on Day One. You’re ba­si­cally talk­ing about one guy, Reg­gie Ragland, un­less you con­sider a nickel guy like Dar­ron Lee as one of those guys. It will be in­ter­est­ing to see if Thomp­son does. But if they can get a good guard in the sec­ond round, they should do it. I wouldn’t stretch to get a DL or ILB if there was a re­ally good guard sit­ting there. Q: tom, I re­ally be­lieve that the new tight end Cook will be a dif­fer­ence maker this year. His phys­i­cal abil­ity is im­pres­sive, I think that he just needs to have a de­cent QB throw­ing to him. What is your opin­ion on him?


I don’t have a strong opin­ion one way or the other. He might just be an­other Don­ald Lee. I don’t think he’s Jer­michael Fin­ley, but maybe he will pro­vide them with some­thing down the mid­dle of the field. I still think the Pack­ers are go­ing to be a re­ceiver­centric team and that the tight ends will play a com­ple­men­tary role. But let’s see how he adapts to the of­fense and see if he has taken care of his body.

Q: Let’s say Brett Hund­ley con­tin­ues to de­velop this off-sea­son in McCarthy’s quar­ter­back school, takes a very mean­ing­ful jump over the course of camp, and be­comes one of the top NFL backup QBs. When is the op­ti­mal time to trade him dur­ing the course of his con­tract, and if the Pack­ers were to trade him, what kind of draft pick com­pen­sa­tion should be ex­pected in to­day’s QB driven league?


Op­ti­mally, you’d trade him af­ter Year 3. You get as much out of him as pos­si­ble and then un­load him be­fore he be­comes a free agent. Un­less you get an of­fer you can’t refuse, you keep him. You still need to win games if some­thing hap­pens to Rodgers.

Q: Hi tom: Lot’s of talk and lot’s of pre­dic­tions. What do you think are the Pack­ers’ top pri­or­i­ties in this draft and does it all go out the win­dow with “the best avail­able?” thanks!

A: Pri­or­i­ties are of­fen­sive and de­fen­sive line. They’d love to get an ILB but they have to re­place Raji and they have to pre­pare for the po­ten­tial loss of Lang, Sit­ton, Bakhtiari and Tret­ter, all of whom are set to be free agents.

Q: LeRoy But­ler men­tioned that the Pack­ers need to draft a wide re­ceiver with speed early to com­ple­ment Nel­son and Cobb. I find it dif­fi­cult to dis­agree with him. When was the last time the Pack­ers had a real blazer out there? that kind of player could put the Pack­ers over the top. What do you think?

A: I’m not sure if they need to do it early, but I agree they do need to ad­dress it. They don’t have a speed burner other than Ja­nis. But you have to be care­ful draft­ing just on the ba­sis of speed. They’ve al­ways leaned to­wards guys who run good routes over guys who run straight and fast.

Q: Any chance ted is en­joy­ing the chal­lenge of pick­ing in be­tween Seat­tle and Kansas City?

A: He might be able to trade with them if it makes sense. It gives him a lit­tle flex­i­bil­ity.

Q: tom, thanks for the chat. Wolf al­ways likes to take a QB in the draft. What are the odds tt grabs a QB some­where in the mid­dle rounds again this year?

A: I don’t think it will be in the mid­dle rounds un­less some­one is just sit­ting there with tremen­dous value the way Hund­ley was last year. You can’t have too many good quar­ter­backs and if one is there that you re­ally like, you might as well take him. With three fourth rounders they could cer­tainly af­ford to do that. It would make it eas­ier to trade Hund­ley if that op­por­tu­nity ever arose.

Q: Look into your crys­tal ball to a year from now and what do you think the pro­jected start­ing OL will be? Hard to fathom 4 of the top 6 be­ing free agents.

A: Great ques­tion. They can’t keep all of them. I could see ei­ther Lang or Sit­ton leav­ing. Hard to say which one. Both have suf­fered their share of in­juries and are get­ting older. Bakhtiari they need to keep. Un­less they draft a LT prospect, they’ve got to re­tain him. Once you find a good one, you’ve got to hang onto him. Tret­ter, to me, is a must re-sign, even if it means los­ing a Lang or Sit­ton, or both. I can’t give you a pro­jected start­ing line but don’t be sur­prised if Thomp­son uses some fairly high picks to ad­dress that po­si­tion. Well, that’s all the time I have for to­day. Thanks for all the good ques­tions. I hope to see you all on draft day in the live blog, where we’ll be break­ing records with at­ten­dance, right?


Los­ing wide re­ceiver Jordy Nel­son to in­jury wasn’t the only thing that ham­pered the Pack­ers of­fense last sea­son.


Pack­ers backup quar­ter­back Brett Hund­ley is still a work in progress.


TOMMY GIL­LI­GAN / usA tO­DAy spOrts

the pack­ers hope for­mer rams tight end Jared Cook can ex­ploit some matchups down the mid­dle of the field.

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