Packer Report Chat Transcript

You asked some great questions and Bill had some decent answers as we kicked off our offseason chats on Wednesday. Among the highlights was draft talk centering on Dexter McCluster, Brandon Graham and others.

Are you really that high on Dexter McCluster (first round in my all-Senior Bowl mock draft)?

Bill: Definitely. I'm just intrigued by him. When's the last time the Packers had a weapon who was a threat to go the distance every time he touched the ball? I know he's small. So is DeSean Jackson of the Eagles. You can use him like Percy Harvin. He only got the ball about 10 times a game between rushing, receiving and returns, but look at the impact he made. McCluster was the best offensive guy on the field at the Senior Bowl all week. He's got game-breaking speed.

Q: In your second round, you had Ciron Black. He looked pretty bad against Brandon Graham at the Senior Bowl. What's he going to do against Jared Allen?

Bill: Well, Graham made everyone look horrible down there. When Black was at left tackle, he won his matchups against the guys from Troy, who both are good speed rushers and quality draft prospects. In those matchups, he easily got outside to combat their speed. That was a good sign to me. If nothing else, you can put him at right tackle or guard and he should be fine. He's got pretty good feet for 330 pounds. Good person too, which is important for Thompson.

I'd go with Graham in the first round to put with Matthews and Kyle Wilson (cornerback, Boise State) in the second.

Bill: Graham would be a great pick too. We have a story in the new magazine about the Packers' need to find another pass rusher to pair with Matthews, and I did a feature on Graham for the Web site the other day. Graham was unblockable at the Senior Bowl. Nobody could stop him. At 6-1 and 260, he's not some stringbean who's going to get knocked around in the run game. The Packers obviously need another rusher, though, who knows, maybe that's Aaron Kampman yet.

Wilson was great in Mobile. I went there thinking Florida State's Patrick Robinson was the guy and left thinking Wilson was the best corner there. He's got good (not great) size, can run and is physical. He played offense in high school so he's got that nose for the ball.

Q: Bill what's your opinion of drafting a TE to complement Finley

Bill: I think it's time to part ways with Donald Lee ... or, put better, to see if you can upgrade the position. He's a good guy and he busts his butt and he blocks OK but, lord, he drops so many passes. Iowa's Tony Moeaki is a good blocker and was great in the bowl game. Arizona's Rob Gronkowski is a big kid, so is Alabama's Colin Peek, who was faster than I thought when watching him at the Senior Bowl. Those guys make sense in the middle rounds.

Q: Any thought of who green bay will hire to replace the guy who left to Seattle (John Schneider)?

Bill: I think they just keep what they've got between Thompson, Dorsey and McKenzie. Dorsey is their college guy and McKenzie their pro guy, but they all do the college trips and both were at the Senior Bowl and the other all-star games.

Q: Think they'll add a quarterback?

Bill: I was thinking about QB the other day when I was doing my story on Jarrett Brown from West Virginia, who the Packers like. I think they'll get someone. They have such a history of getting the developmental-type QBs, and there's a bunch of them in this draft. (In other words, there's not a lot of good QBs.) Brown probably will go too soon for the Packers, but I like Northwestern's Mike Kafka as a developmental guy. Troy's Levi Brown has a ton of ability, too.

Q: Any thoughts of Green Bay running the Wildcat.

Bill: Right now they don't have anyone to run Wildcat. When you've got a big-time QB, why mess around with it? That's my thought anyway.

Q: I'm still really sold on Myron Rolle I just love that guys intelligence and he's very physical I think he could honestly bring that Polomalu like SS to Green Bay that we're lacking.

Bill: Won't find a better guy, obviously. It's so hard to say though with a year away from the game. I wasn't all that impressed with what I saw at the Senior Bowl but you've got to grade him on a curve obviously. Late second is probably the right time to get him. I was at the weigh-in at the Senior Bowl with our Chris Steuber. As he said, it looked like his abs were going to explode from his body. The scouts sitting in front of us were very impressed. Just a physical specimen. Now, can he play? I didn't see a lot out of him at the Senior Bowl, but he had a year's worth of rust from sitting out last year with his Rhodes Scholarship. So, probably not fair to draw a lot out of that.

Q: We going to draft a punter?

Bill: The punters are terrible in this draft. The kid from East Carolina, Matt Dodge, can kick it a mile but he's just so inconsistent. I'm not sure there's any immediate help, unless you can live with 50, 30, 50, 30 all season.

Q: Would you draft a Tim Tebow in the second round if he is their to run the Wildcat, and I am not a Tim Tebow supporter at all

Bill: I'm not a Tebow fan either. I just don't get it. He's like Elvis down there, and while I sort of understand why, I can't come to grips with it. Even the 5-year-old girls were screaming for him. With Rodgers, I guess I don't see any reason to fiddle around with Wildcat. Why put your stud quarterback out at wide receiver or on the bench? That's my thinking, for what it's worth.

Q: What'd you think about the Barnett/Grant talks regarding Merriman to Green Bay?

Bill: Merriman had, I think, four sacks this season. I think his time has come and gone.

Q: What about a Taylor Mays in the first round? With the right coaching, he could be a Troy Polamalu for us.


Taylor Mays
SCPlaybook.com
Bill: Our Vikings guy was talking to a former Vikings safety at the Senior Bowl. Didn't like him at all. Said he's the kind of player that the guys in the locker room wouldn't like because he looks like he should be a player but he's not a player. I didn't see Mays do anything all week. He looks like he should be a stud but it just didn't show up. It's like he sits back and is waiting for the hit.

Q: A lot of scouts say Mays' stock will drop because they'll like look at him as an OLB @ the next level.

Bill: I can see him as a 4-3 LB. Don't see it in a 3-4 because, as Kevin Greene will tell you and tell you and tell you, you've got to play the run like a defensive end, rush the quarterback and play coverage like a safety. I'm not sure he can do No. 1 and No. 2 on that list.

Q: Bill, what are the chance of something like this happening. Brandon Graham in the first, Kyle Wilson in the 2nd and then grabbing Rolle in the 3rd?

Bill: I can't imagine Rolle there at the end of three. Some team will see the intangibles, see his body and figure he'll develop. First two rounds, that would be a dream (minus not getting a left tackle).

Q: If we drafted a LT in the first round, do you bring back Tauscher and put Lang at left guard? I mean, I don't see Colledge coming back.

Bill: I think you draft a left tackle and let him sit behind Cliffy. Clifton at LT, Spitz at LG, Wells at C, Sitton at RG and Tauscher/Lang at RT. No reason to not bring back both tackles. Just not sure why it hasn't worked out with Colledge, other than the Packers moving him from here to there to everywhere.

Q: But doesn't Cliffy want a lot of money?

Bill: Not sure what Clifton wants. He might get it ... he's the only unrestricted left tackle who's any good. If you think you've got a championship team, and it seems like they do, then you have to bring him back. Just can't go into next season hoping that Lang is the answer or some rookie.

Q: Jamon Meredith seemed like a good replacement. Why didn't he make the 53 last year and why didn't green bay try and keep him?

Bill: Meredith didn't impress me at all in camp. He was a disappointment ... I can see why he went in the fifth rather than the second or third, like me and a lot of others figured. He just didn't finish his blocks at all. Not a whole lot of fire. The potential is there though. All things being equal, I'd have kept him and gotten rid of Giacomini.

Q: I say we trade A.J. Hawk and draft Curran (Rennie Curran of Georgia) as his replacement. See what Bishop and Chillar can do.

Bill: Hawk isn't going anywhere. And what would you get for him? He's due something like $4.6 million this year and $10-million-plus next year.

Q: Good evening Bill. My question is do you see the Packers drafting a running back in the later rds?

Bill: I think they have to get a running back who can catch and be a change of pace. Small and quick. They don't have that, for as much as I like Grant and for as much as Jackson grew on me last year.

Q: How about Chester Taylor from the Vikes?

Bill: Good call. In my free agent part of the next magazine, I mentioned him twice. How perfect would he be? That and you weaken a rival. Too perfect.

Q: But isn't Taylor just a short-term solution to a long term problem?

Bill: Sure he's short term. No doubt. He's 31 but he caught 90 passes the last two years. Grant is your workhorse. What they need is someone to come in as a receiving threat. Those little dumps to the RB are the easiest yards in the game. I like Jackson as a blocker. He was great. Really, really great. But you look at the YAC leaders, and most of them are RBs. Then you look at Jackson and his career-long reception is 18 yards. Just not good enough.

Q: Do we really have the right people to run the 3-4, or do we need more time with what we have?

Bill: Shoot, they finished second in total defense last year. Add in a couple corners (don't forget the injured guys) and that solves a lot of things. Injuries are not an excuse. But when you get wiped out at a key position ... a position where there's just no depth in the league ... you're up a creek. You can get by for the most part because there are so few good QBs, but when you run into a QB with more than one legit receiver, then you get Minnesota and Pittsburgh etc.

Q: Which players do you see Ted re-signing to contracts

Bill: Of the restricted guys, I'd say he'll tender all of them. Maybe not Colledge, but maybe you do and hope someone signs him and you get a draft pick. I'd tender Colledge and hope somebody wants him. Those restricted contracts aren't guaranteed so it's really not much of a gamble.

Q: What do you think will happen with Aaron Kampman?

I think he's going to be back. Who's going to sign a guy who may or may not be ready for training camp? Just chit-chatting with him after the season, it sounds like he wants to give 3-4 another try.

What do you think about Julius Peppers?

Bill: I don't get Peppers. I said this all last offseason. Just because he wants to be a 3-4 OLB, it doesn't mean he can actually play it. He's going to get $50 million over six years (just throwing out numbers to make a point). Do you want to pay that much, with $20 million guaranteed, to someone that you don't know can play? I've heard one thing about Peppers: What happens when he gets his money? He had 2.5 sacks in 2007. In 2008, with a contract on the line, he was a monster. In 2009, again with a contract on the line, he was really good too. What happens when he gets a $20 million bonus? Again, not saying he's going to be a fat toad but you don't know. To me, it's a gamble.

Q: I hope Ted does it again ... need quality not quantity in the draft.

Bill: That's the way to go when you've got a good team. I give Ted credit for that. He knew that wasn't a 6-10 team when a lot of people thought otherwise.

Q: What are your thought of Brandon Spikes from Florida?

Bill: A bit of a character risk so he might actually be in play while on paper he's a top-10 or top-15 talent. For what it's worth, Charles Woodson is really high on him. But can he rush enough to play outside?

Q: Isn't he an ILB project?

Bill: Exactly ... but the Packers are fine at ILB.

Q: What's Woodson say about him?

Bill: I was talking to Woodson about his Heisman vote, asked if he takes that seriously considering his "real" job takes up a lot of his time. He said yes and talked about how much college football he watches on Saturday. He mentioned (this being midseason) that he was thinking of voting for Spikes. He wound up voting for Suh.


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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. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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