I looked up post-2010 drafts for notable offensive players and saw in the 2015 draft Jake Ryan was the only Packer to see out his rookie contract in Green Bay and he finished 2018 on IR. Damarious Randall is the only draftee still starting in the NFL with Ty Montgomery, Ryan, and Brett Hundley in backup roles on NFL squads. On the bright side, we now have the Smith Bros. and Adrian Amos from the 2015 draft class, so we have that going for us, which is nice.
And a quick word of caution to Packers fans to temper expectations this winter. It’ll be difficult for Green Bay to be as active in unrestricted free agency this time around because of how productive their 2016 and ’17 draft classes were. Dean Lowry was already re-signed, and Kenny Clark and Aaron Jones are both eligible for extensions, as well.
How does this defense, which Mike Pettine even admitted is focused on the pass first, not get gouged again next year by running teams?
That’s what Pettine and his coaches have to figure out once the 2020 roster takes form and they know what they’re working with. The Packers defended the run well at times last year but not consistently enough to be a top unit. I think it would help if Green Bay added a space-eating defensive tackle to the rotation, but improvement won’t come from just one player. It takes that whole front doing its job to make strides against the run.
You’re a player coming out of college and you’re projected to be drafted around the late first or early second round. Are you hoping to go in the late first with the esteem that comes with being a team’s No. 1 pick, or would you rather get picked early in the second round and have an earlier shot at that big-money second contract?
I know there’s been some controversy about the fifth-year option on first-round picks but I’d still rather go in the top 32 if I’m a player. Yes, you lose a year of contractual freedom but the signing bonus is better for first-rounders and the option year pays pretty well. I also believe that fifth year can be beneficial for both the team and the player to come to terms on a long-term extension.
Dean from Leavenworth, IN
Mike Renner of PFF ranked the relative strength of each position group in the 2020 draft class. At the top, he had WR and OT ranked one and two, respectively, DT fourth, ILB eighth, and TE 11th. These are all positions I expect Gute to address in the draft and/or FA. How will the strength or weakness of these positions in the draft affect availability and cost in FA?
The 2019 NFL Draft wasn’t a particularly strong year for defensive backs so I guess that could have played a role in the Packers making Darnell Savage the first guy off the board at his position. But the Packers signed arguably the best outside linebackers and one of the top safeties last year and still drafted those two positions in the first round. So I’m not sure how applicable it really is.
With the new CBA being negotiated, what do you think of a “quarterback” cap? I could see the benefits of the CBA declaring that the most any one player could be paid would be a set percentage of the total cap, around 18%. Owners would support it because it keeps QB salaries from escalating so high that it starves the rest of the roster. The other players would support it because it leaves more cap space for them, and the QBs would still be eligible for $30-plus million contracts.
I wouldn’t be in favor of it. Quarterback salaries have risen with the salary cap. While QBs often are the driving force behind championship teams, it’s not the only way to win (e.g. the 2015 Denver Broncos). The cap is what it is. Make of it what you will.
One last LeRoy Butler story. He was a guest speaker at a high school football fundraiser I attended about five years ago. His 20-minute speech was based on his path to the NFL. However, LeRoy never left the spotlight the entire evening! He drew raffle winners and handed out prizes while taking photos with whoever asked him. Then when the auction came, he personally paraded the item in such a fun showcase that it started a huge bidding war. He energized the entire room.
Butler was a Hall of Fame football player but he’s also extremely relatable to media and fans. My generation, specifically, has grown up with Butler on our TV screens. He represents a special time in Packers history. I think that’s why he means so much to this fan base.