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Ask Vic

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Will Packers fans support the pick next season?

Posted May 6, 2014

The Packers passed on Jim Brown twice

Ken from Long Beach, CA

Vic, Bart Starr was drafted in the 17th round. What was the strategy back then with so many picks? How could a draft board be established that deep?

First of all, there was no true players union to negotiate the number of rounds of the draft. The more, the merrier. What sports league doesn’t want competition? Secondly, NFL teams didn’t have scouting departments as they have today. A lot of teams drafted right out of “Street and Smith’s.” Scouting was hit and miss and the more rounds of the draft there were, the more likely it was a hidden talent wouldn’t be missed. Get to know the history of professional football. It’s every bit as rich and colorful as baseball’s history. It’s a shame we don’t appreciate the history of professional football as we do the history of Major League Baseball.

Diana from Three Rivers, MI

What will your mailbox look like at 10 p.m. on Thursday night?

It will be wildly supportive of the Packers’ pick – if they make a pick – which is the wont of the winsome. What will my mailbox look like next season? That’s the more appropriate question.

John from Clovis, CA

I just graduated from Fresno State, so I’m excited to see Derek Carr’s future. What do you and Tony think of him?

I thought he was one of the stars of the Senior Bowl. He moved with grace, he threw with force and accuracy, and he conducted himself with aplomb. He was the only quarterback that cut the wind. Here’s the problem: He has a reputation for seeing the rush. That’s a big, big problem.

Mavis from Ann Arbor, MI

Vic, I’m standing fifth in line at a donut shop. The chances of the last marble-frosted falling to me at five are slim. Trade up to get the donut I’ve targeted, or trade back and stock up on serviceable jelly-filled? Rank ’em, pick ’em, right?

Be patient. There are a lot of donuts in the donut shop. Never fall in love with a donut.

Tom from San Antonio, TX

Vic, I must congratulate you. After many years of journalism, you have finally managed to discuss good shrimp and good football in one sentence.

You don’t draft the conference or the school, you draft the player, and you don’t eat the restaurant, you eat the shrimp.

Mark from Stewartville, MN

Vic, in Cliff Cristl’s story about the Packers’ all-time top five draft picks, he wrote that the Packers picked Paul Hornung as the top overall selection in 1957, but at the same time passed on Jim Brown, who was picked sixth that year. Should the Packers have picked Brown?

The Packers passed twice on Brown. If I was a GM, I would have a sign on my draft room wall: “Never pass on Jim Brown.”

Nathaniel from Wheaton, IL

Should the Packers draft a receiver?

I think you need to draft a receiver or two in every draft, mostly because they are great athletes that make your overall roster more athletic. You need them as return men. You need them as kick-coverage men. You need them to make your practices more competitive. Every receiver doesn’t become a star. Don’t always think in terms of catches. Think in terms of team speed.

Jeff from La Crosse, WI

Where do you see the run on quarterbacks happening?

I think Clowney is too good for any team to overdraft a quarterback ahead of Clowney. I’m hearing the same about Mack. So, the decision would seem to begin at No. 3. Will the Jaguars overdraft a quarterback? If it doesn’t happen there, then the Browns at No. 4 are the next likely team to do it. If they do, the run is on. I was talking to Mike Spofford about this a few weeks ago in my office. I said “four quarterbacks will be taken in the top 10,” and he wrote it on my chalkboard, grease board, whatever the thing is called. It’s still on there. When the quarterbacks started to fall, I thought to myself, “Uh, oh.” Well, maybe not. It’s quarterback. It’s the most overdrafted position in the draft. Five in the top 15, anybody?

Kris from Marinette, WI

I know teams don’t like to trade draft picks for players due to the value of draft picks. Why don’t you see more teams trading players for other players?

In many cases, it’s trading one injury for another. Plus, bonus amortization stays with the trading team, and that can create a dead-money problem.

Rob from Handlin, CA

I have been talking to my friend the draft expert. He tells me Ryan Shazier is the second coming of Greg Lloyd. Thoughts?

Oh, great. Vic: “Greg, what are your thoughts, if any, on the upcoming season?” Greg: “Just to get the hell away from you.” I know a guy who still has a tape of that exchange.

Walter from Irving, TX

We should draft Mike Evans, WR from Texas A&M.

Tony said a lot of teams have pushed Evans above Sammy Watkins.

Joe from Two Rivers, WI

What are the odds some coach says after taking a player in the seventh round, “We were surprised he was still there,” or “We had him rated much higher”?

The draft has given me some of the best memories of my years covering the NFL. Here’s one of them: In 1984, the Steelers drafted a wide receiver named Weegie Thompson in the fourth round. I knew nothing about him so I looked at my Joel Buchsbaum book. “Long arms,” the book said. I asked one of the writers near me to look into his draft book. “Very long arms,” the book said. I asked another guy to look into his book. “Unbelievably long arms,” the book said. I love the draft.

David from Chuluota, FL

Who’s the one player you never covered but wish you could have?

I’ll take Alex Karras in a good mood or Mike Ditka in a bad mood.

Nick from Blaine, MN

What do you think of Kelvin Benjamin?

I look at Benjamin and I see Jermichael Finley.

Ron from Broken Arrow, OK

Vic, noticed your comment yesterday to the question about the Lions trading Suh for a first-round pick, and your doubt that they could do this. As a long time Packers fan, I can remember trades from the past when picks were traded (John Jefferson) or at least one (Brett Favre) and, at the time, it wasn’t considered out of the ordinary. Do you know when the value for these picks changed to what it is today?

They were out of the ordinary then, and the Favre trade is one of the few player-for-pick-or-picks trades that worked. Maybe you were just so traumatized by the John Hadl deal that you thought all teams were doing that. They were not. Picks, not players. It’s been that way since I began covering the NFL.

Sean from Merton, WI

Do you think C.J. Mosley or Calvin Pryor would still be available and an option for the Packers?

At least one of the two, and in most cases both, have been available for me to pick in the mock drafts in which I have participated.

Jeremy from Sobieski, WI

Vic, is there any way you could make up your own draft board?

I did it for years and it was fun, but I stopped doing it because people began taking it seriously. I started leaning harder on Tony Pauline at that point. Tony puts serious work into ranking prospects. I didn’t. I watch a lot of college football and I have strong opinions, but I’m not qualified to create a value board that should be taken seriously.

Matthew from Little Chute, WI

That Bradshaw line about the rings was hilarious. I agree with the image issue, but sometimes when people show their true colors, it can ruin them.

I prefer the truth. Do you want to live by the lie? I don’t. The truth is more fun, more honorable. It’s real. Not everybody succeeds in marriage, and it’s not a crime to fail. There’s no shame in it. The thing I always loved about Terry Bradshaw is that he never took himself too seriously. I was walking across the Steelers locker room one day when Brad called out, “Hey, Vic.” He motioned me over to his locker and then took out his wallet and showed me a picture of his new dog. I complimented him on his new family member, but I feared his wiener dog, the one we always took back to Pittsburgh with us following the last preseason game in Dallas every year, had died. “What happened to the old dog?” Bradshaw had been going through a divorce from skater Jo Jo Starbuck. He paused, and then said, “She even took the dog,” and I sensed genuine hurt in his voice. You want spin? I don’t. I like the players best when they’re real, just like us.

Dustin from Plover, WI

Vic, any idea on why the crowd at Radio City Music Hall usually boos the commissioner when he first comes on stage?

They’re bored. They live in New York City and they’re bored. Oh, to be winsome in Wisconsin.

Joel from New York City, NY

Just read an article on Pierre Desir. Your thoughts on him?

Desir is proof that you find football players where you find football players. I saw him at the Senior Bowl but, again, the wind didn’t allow for players in the passing game to make a big impact. The book on Desir is that he’s raw and that gives him a lot of upside for a patient, draft-and-develop team. Desir’s size and athletic ability are extremely attractive – he doesn’t have shutdown-corner speed and might be a better fit as a zone corner – and he’s a high-character guy any team would love to have in its locker room.

Tony from San Luis Obispo, CA

Vic, talent notwithstanding, do the present Packers defensive players possess the smash-mouth, pier-six-brawl mentality that is obviously necessary to successfully challenge San Francisco and Seattle?

The Packers lost to the 49ers last season by six points in San Francisco and by three points in Green Bay, and the last time the Packers played the Seahawks, the Packers were robbed of a win in Seattle. Stay healthy, develop the young talent they have, add a playmaker in this draft and the Packers won’t need that pier-six stuff.

Don from Las Vegas, NV

“There is no time. Let us speak no more of this.”

“There is another fight coming and we need you. We need every man. You must take what I have told you and learn from it, as a man does. There has been a mistake. It will not happen again. I know your quality. The matter is concluded.”


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