Chat transcript: Pre-draft edition

In our final chat before the draft, you asked some great questions and publisher Bill Huber tried his best to give some semi-intelligent answers. Our next chat will be held on the Monday after the draft, though Bill will try to sneak into the chatroom during the lull in the action between the first and second rounds on April 25.

Editor's note: These are highlights from Packer Report publisher Bill Huber's 1-hour, 45-minute chat with subscribers on Monday night. To take part in future chats — the next chat will be held on the Monday following the draft — and to read our huge list of draft exclusives, subscribe today!

Whatever happened to Malcolm Jenkins? One draft had him listed as a safety.

Jenkins is considered too slow to play corner ... or to at least be a No. 1 corner. Now, does he play faster on game days than he runs in shorts and a T-shirt? That's what teams have to figure out. Do those slow 40 times mean he can't play corner? I don't know. He seemed good enough against big-name competition in college. Frankly, I can't figure out why one-tenth of a second over 40 yards is such a big deal.

Do you think Ted Thompson will surprise us all and pick someone no one has heard of like Harrell?

No, I can't see any Justin Harrell types this year. Just my hunch is it's B.J. Raji ... and if Raji is gone, he trades down for Tyson Jackson, the DE from LSU. Just my hunch though. The Packers certainly aren't tipping their hand. If Thompson stays at No. 9, I really like Aaron Maybin, the pass-rusher from Penn State.

I like the Maybin pick if Oher or Smith are gone.

I wouldn't be surprised by an offensive tackle in the first round. If they trade down, Michael Oher could be a target. And if Thompson has done his homework on Andre Smith and thinks he's really not that bad of a kid, maybe he takes a shot. The more I think about it, the more I like Maybin. I think he'd be a great fit in a 3-4. He might not be ready to play the run from Day 1 but he can go get the quarterback.

Is Raji really worth the hype?

I haven't had one person tell me a bad thing about Raji's on-the-field production. He's a big guy who can stop the run, but he's athletic enough to get to the passer. Those guys don't come along every year.

What's Mark Tauscher's future?

There doesn't appear to be anything going on with Tauscher, either here or around the league. I think Tauscher has plenty of football left in him. It's just that he might not be ready to play until mid-October or mid-November. It's unfortunate for him and horrible timing to be a free agent.

Could they wait and see how his recovery is doing, then re-sign Mark?

That's what the Packers want to do. But will some team make a run at Tauscher before that time comes? That's the question.

Read in my copy of Sporting News they have us taking Beanie Wells from Ohio State. What do you think??

That's crazy. I just can't see that.

Aaron Kampman trade was just rumors, right?

Not even rumors. Speculation from people who don't know what they're talking about. There are a lot of people with a hobby of writing about football. 95 percent of them have no clue what they're talking about/aren't credentialed/have no sources.

Do you believe he can make a seamless transition to outside linebacker?

Yes, I can. Kampman's a lot better athlete than people give him credit for. Greg Ellis made the transition in Dallas and he's done just fine. I'd say Kampman is a better athlete.

Tom Silverstein (of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) thinks Kampman will just play this season then make himself available as a 4-3 guy.

Tom might be right. I think it's a wait-and-see sort of thing. Kampman might love playing linebacker and the Packers might love him playing it.

Would we not been better off keeping the 4-3 and hiring Capers to run that system? We would only need a DE opposite from Kampman and a better linebacker than Poppinga and we would be set on that side of the ball.

Capers is a 3-4 guy and that's the direction McCarthy wanted to go. Remember, and McCarthy has said this all along, the 3-4 is the base defense. But about 60 to 65 percent of defensive snaps are played in something other than a base defense.

Was the 3-4 switch a knee-jerk reaction to the way the D regressed last season?

Last year, McCarthy spoke of the challenges of matching his offense against a 3-4 defense. So, no, I don't think it was a knee-jerk reaction. He saw the defense needed a change and he thought about what challenges him. Hence the new direction. Obviously, they need some linemen. That's why I think Tyson Jackson of LSU could be the guy in a trade down a little ways in the first round. Jackson and Cullen Jenkins would make a fine pair of ends. If you can add Ron Brace of Boston College to Ryan Pickett in the middle, that's the start of something good.

Vonnie Holliday is still out there, right?

Yes he is still out there. So is Kevin Carter from Tampa Bay. I still think Thompson will add a veteran DE before all is said and done. There's just no urgency now, and hasn't been since Chris Canty was signed by the Giants. Canty was the only DE in free agency. Once he was gone, everyone else was just a guy.

I would hope Capers is involved with who he would pick in the draft or is Ted listening to anyone?

All the coaches and scouts get together to talk about the draft board. It's Thompson's call on who gets taken, but they're all pretty much on the same page by draft day.

I am an LSU fan. I never thought Tyson Jackson jumped off the screen at me. I didn't hear his name called an awful lot when I watched there games.

His name probably won't jump off the screen here either. DE in a 3-4 is a blue-collar position and there's not a lot of glory in playing it. But if the OLB next to him is having a big game, you can thank the DE. Canty's stats weren't special but DeMarcus Ware's stats were incredible.

What's the odds that TT gets to grab Chase Coffman? Chase is slated as a third-rounder?

Yes, third-rounder. He just hasn't gotten over that foot quickly enough to work out for scouts. That, and as we've talked about in the forums, you don't know if he can block. I'd take him in a minute, though. One scout told me that he doesn't look like anything special but he just catches everything thrown at him. He just has that knack for positioning himself.

Are there any late-round CB's that TT may have his eye on?

Domonique Johnson from Jackson State ... I know the Packers were one of just a few teams to watch his pro day. Greg Toler, that D-II kid I featured last week, has come to Green Bay. So has Jason McCourty of Rutgers. All of those guys are late-rounders with good size and speed.

What are your thoughts on Matthew Stafford. Do the Packers have someone to worry about if Detroit takes him? Or don't you believe he is franchise QB material?

I never worry about a rookie quarterback. More often than not, they fail and fail miserably. Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan last year were exceptions. Problem is, these top QBs go to teams with no talent. Remember David Carr? He just got killed in Houston. Never had a chance and his career is basically over and he's only 26 or 27. Stafford has a lot of talent but he tends to force the ball into coverage. What's going to happen when the Lions' line can't protect him?

With the Bears trading for Jay Cutler, do you think the Bears overpaid for him?


New Bears QB Jay Cutler
Jim Prisching/Getty Images

No, I think the Bears made the right decision. You've always got a chance if you've got a quarterback. He's got a lot of talent, obviously. He doesn't have anyone to throw to this year, but this trade is about the next 10 years.

Da Bears have gone through, what, 23 QBs since Brett Favre took over in Green Bay?

It's incredible, isn't it? Think about that number. Assuming Rodgers doesn't get a big head or suffer a career-threatening injury, the Packers will have an upper-echelon QB non-stop for 30 years. The Bears, Vikings and Lions have been looking for 100 years combined.

With Aaron Rodgers now in his second season as a starter, do you see Coach McCarthy giving him more freedom? I just want McCarthy to open up and let Rodgers play with some freedom. That will make all the WR's look better and have more success

Part of me thinks that will be the case. The other part remembers McCarthy and his "Pittsburgh macho" stuff when he was hired. He wants to run the ball. But, McCarthy was smart enough to just let Favre throw it all over the field in 2007, when the Packers couldn't run it at all.

Do you think that Brohm leapfrogs Flynn this year?

I think Brian Brohm is terrible. I know I've told the training camp stories here a few times. Brohm threw for a million yards and a million touchdowns at Louisville. In Green Bay at training camp, he threw a screen pass that landed short of the back's feet, then would air-mail a short out that would ricochet off the fence. And the wounded ducks were an everyday occurrence.

That was a waste of a second-round pick.

In retrospect, yes it was. But after the draft last year, there were more than a few pundits who figured Brohm would challenge Rodgers for the starting job. Quarterbacks are hard to draft. Ask the Bears, obviously. Who would think Brian Brohm, who threw for 10,000 yards and 71 TDs in three seasons at a big-time program, would be so bad last year? With that said, he wouldn't be the first quarterback to look bad one year and good the next. I'm not ready to give up on him.

Our offensive line is a big question mark. I keep reading about Josh Sitton and Breno Giacomini being good, but if they were, they would beat someone out.

As for the line overall, don't forget, Daryn Colledge and Jason Spitz are young guys who have a lot of starting experience. One of them might make a big jump this season. That has to be the hope. No clue on Breno. During the season, we don't get to watch much practice. The coaches said Breno improved a lot by facing Kampman every day at practice. Kampman agreed with that assessment. But I'm not buying him as a starter in 2009.

The question for me is, will Ted Thompson worry more abut increasing his number of draft picks, than grabbing the first two picks on what we need?

It depends at what's available at No. 9. He could probably trade down and get Oher or Smith and get the outside linebacker later. There's nothing wrong with trading down if there's depth at your positions of need. That seems to be the case this year. There are a couple of good OTs that could be there early in the second. I just think it's as simple as this. If Thompson really likes a guy with his pick, he'll take him. If there are guys he likes better that he can get by trading back, he'll do that. Last year, they had decided on Jordy Nelson right about this time in the draft process. Thompson knew he could trade back to get him, so he did.

What do you think of the conditioning coach? Do you think we will have less injuries?

Even the new strength coach, Dave Redding, joked that he carries two really big rabbit's feet for good luck. I said this about the old strength coach. So much of staying healthy is just luck. The Packers were remarkably healthy in 2007. With the same regime, they were hammered by injuries in 2008. If there was a "right" way of doing things, every team would be doing it. It's just luck, a lot of it.

Some players are always in the hot tub and we keep holding on to them.

Come on, you aren't talking about Justin Harrell, are you?!?!! All I can say in that regard is this. Remember Mike Flanagan? Darned good center. Well, the Packers kept him on IR for two years. That worked out well. Will Blackmon was an injury wreck too, and now he's arguably one of the top five punt returners in the NFL.

I would like to know how Brady Poppinga fits into the OLB role of pass rusher in the new D scheme?

You know, I think this scheme might be good for him. He's such an aggressive guy. Even in the locker room, he's just Mr. Intensity. The 3-4, where you just have to go get whoever has the ball, might be good for him.

Is that true that at the Packers' offices, they have their draft board under lock and key

I hadn't heard that but I'd be surprised if it's not true. The fewer people who know, the fewer people who can blab to people like me.

What do you think is the Packers' biggest position of need?

Nose tackle, I'd say. Pickett will be fine but he can't play 60 snaps a game.

Will they go NT at No. 9?

It's B.J. Raji or bust in the first round, but he's probably going to be gone. Brace or bust in the second. Chris Baker from Hampton in the third. Those are the guys.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Bill also is giving Facebook and Twitter a try. Find him on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport


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