Tom Silverstein answered questions from readers last week before the NFL draft. Read the complete transcript at jsonline.com/packers. CHAT
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.
the packers hope former rams tight end Jared Cook can exploit some matchups down the middle of the field.