Packer Report Chat Transcript

You asked some great questions for Packer Report's Bill Huber and draft analyst Chris Steuber as we talked free agency and the NFL Draft on Tuesday night. We will meet again after the Scouting Combine to see what all of those 40-yard times mean.

Q: So Bill, what do you think is gonna happen to Aaron Kampman?

Bill: I guess I'm in the minority in that I think he's coming back with a one-year contract. I just don't know what kind of offer he's going to get. About half of the league is playing 3-4, so that rules him out. And of course the knee is the big thing. So I think he's coming back with a one-year deal. If he proves he's healthy, he'll get a big payday somewhere in 2011. But I could be wrong ... wouldn't be the first time! With no cap, maybe the Redskins or Eagles or Seahawks — a few 4-3 teams who haven't been afraid to spend money — throw a lot of money at him.

Q: So when do the packers have to make a decision?

Bill: Free agency starts March 5, so that's one deadline. Maybe they wait to see what Kampman is getting offered and go from there. I'd assume the agent, if he's smart, will take any offer back to the Packers to see what they want to do.

Q: When the defense got exposed when they played against a very good qb, was that because of the linebackers or what caused that to happen?

Bill: It all starts in the secondary, where all the injuries caught up to them against one of the handful of teams that's loaded at receiver and with a great quarterback. Kind of hard to play pass defense when you're without your No. 2 corner (Al Harris), No. 4 corner (Pat Lee) and No. 5 corner (Will Blackmon). Lack of pass rush didn't help either, so I assume they'll either keep Kampman or get another outside linebacker pretty early. We've written about a few of them in the last couple days with Eric Norwood of South Carolina, Antonio Coleman of Auburn and Cameron Sheffield of Troy. Oh, and leading off our pre-draft stories was a good bet to be their No. 1 pick, Brandon Graham of Michigan.

Q: Bill, What are you hearing about what Ted is gonna do about Nick Collins?

Bill: I'd fall on the floor if Collins doesn't get the first- and third-round tender. That would give him $3.3 million (and change). The money won't scare off anyone but having to give up those picks would. And, of course, you'd get a chance to match any offer Collins gets.

Q: Bill, what do see the Packers doing with Atari Bigby?

Bill: Toughest call of any of the restricted guys. On one side, he's hurt so much that he's unreliable and his range is limited. On the other side, when he's not in the lineup, the defense really suffers. Not a little but considerably. And who do you have to replace him? Nobody. He got the second-round tender last year and kind of think he will again. One thing though is this is a really deep draft of safeties. And the second-round tender is relatively for peanuts. $1.759 million isn't that much and it's not a guaranteed contract. If you upgrade in the draft you can cut him.

Q: I'd ask who you think will be in the Packers cross hairs at the Combine, but that is a waste of time.

Bill: Yes and no. Clay Matthews and Quinn Johnson were two guys who the Packers were all over down there. Underwood too, now that I think about it. More than most teams, all the workout stuff is pretty trivial for Thompson. You can either play or you can't. It's the interviews and medical stuff that is important. I think most teams work that way, and the media will overreact to most of the 40 times. Not saying it's not important but it's really overblown.

Q: Bill, Do you see Ted looking at a return guy since will Blackmon is coming back from injury?

Bill: In my WRs piece, I mentioned a few big-time returners. Perfect world you get a position guy who can return kicks.

Q: What do you think of Taylor Mays? Can he actually play is the crux of what they want to know I know he's the Packers' guy in your mock and Kiper mentioned Mays the other day.

Chris Steuber: Mays is a tremendous athlete and he's going to turn a lot of heads this weekend at the Combine. If he's still available on the board at No. 23, the Packers have to take him on value alone, not to mention, that he can offer some versatility on defense. He has upside and maybe in a 3-4 defense that potential will shine through.

Q: Can Mays cover?

Chris Steuber: Mays is an intimidator; he has to work on his coverage skills. But he has the skill set to where he can develop into a good cover safety.

Q: I'm afraid May is like Roy Williams.

Chris Steuber: He's a little bit like that, but he's a better athlete.Q: What positions in the draft look strong and which ones weak? How does that match up with needs?

Chris Steuber: This is a strong draft class; the weakest positions are QB and RB. It's very strong in the trenches and defense.

Q: Do you think TT could surprise us all again and take a WR early this year? If he truly goes with the best player available, there can be a few there.

Chris Steuber: Anything is possible in the draft and if there's a WR that has great value at a certain selection they should consider it. LaFell is interesting and may very well be a late first round. USC's Damian Williams has received first-round consideration as well. He improved as a receiver even without Mark Sanchez last year.

Q: Where do you guys see the Oregon duck running back getting drafted

Chris Steuber: LeGarrette Blount; he could be a late second, early third rounder.

Q: In some draft classes, they refer to the class as weak regarding their skills, despite being in the top rounds... would this year be considered a strong 1st and second round draft class... as in, they are highly skilled verses some past years when the 1st rounders in other years would be second rounders?

Chris Steuber: I think it's a strong draft class through the first three rounds.

Q: Do you have a few guys at corner you would like to see wearing Packer colors next year? Safeties?

Devin McCourty
Rick Schultz/AP Images
Chris Steuber: I really like Devin McCourty at CB; I think he will emerge as a late first-rounder. Earl Thomas is a very good safety; a big-time playmaker. The safety class is very, very deep, potentially the best ever!

Q: In this strong draft, would moving down for more picks make sense; do you think TT will be able to?

Chris Steuber: The Packers could move down, because I'm sure there will be teams trying to trade back into the first round. It's possible, especially if the guy they want is off the board.

Q: Do you guys see Ted drafting an offensive linemen in the first rd?

Bill: I wrote about offensive tackles for one of my Combine preview stories. Bulaga of Iowa may or may not be there at 23. Maryland's Bruce Campbell or Charles Brown in the first are possibilities too. Selvish Capers, who I really like personally and physically, a little later.

Q: I see NE has two 2nds, anyone else have multiple picks in the first 3 rounds we could trade down with?

Chris Steuber: Tampa Bay has two picks in the second round.

Q: Would be awesome to have 3 2nd-rounders!

Bill: Sounds good on paper, but they had three second-rounders in 2008 and wound up with Brian Brohm, Pat Lee and Jordy Nelson.

Q: Along that thinking, will there be a quality left tackle that you could get by moving to, say, 30 or 35.

Chris Steuber: Bruce Campbell could fall into the late first, early second round and the Packers could move down for him.

Q: What's the knock on Campbell?

Chris Steuber: Campbell is very raw; he has to get stronger as a run blocker.

Myron Rolle
Phil Coale/Getty Images
Bill: I got a couple e-mails from guys who couldn't make it on Myron Rolle.

Chris Steuber: Rolle is a physical freak, but is limited as a football player. His speed is really being questioned.

Bill: I didn't think a ton of him at the Senior Bowl. No surprise really considering he'd been away for a year. But what are your thoughts on him? Other than, as you told me at the weigh-in, his abs were popping out of his stomach.

Q: I have a question about the Combine and it is at the Combine does Ted rely more on the medical then the other stuff.

Bill: Ted relies on the interviews more than anything. It's 60 chances to get to know someone for 15 minutes. A lot of those will be used on the juniors, who the scouts haven't gotten a chance to really get to know.

Q: Do you know how precisely TT really has draft prospects ranked; 1-n, a few bands within rounds?

Chris Steuber: I don't know how the Packers draft board is lined up, but I have to think OT and S are highly rated

Bill: Ted and his guys have the whole board set based on film study. Now it's a matter of tinkering after the Combine and Pro Days. Most guys are grouped together by grade. When they say "best player available," usually there's a choice of four or five or six guys and they pick the one that fits, based on need or potential or gut instincts.

Q: You guys do a good job on reporting who the packers talk to at the combine. Last year you guys mentioned a lot of the guys we drafted.

Bill: Thanks. I got a lot from the players and agents, and guys like Chris and Ed Thompson get more of that. We really did hit it last year. I had a hunch about Clay just from talking to him there. Same with Quinn .... couldn't stop talking about Edgar Bennett.

Q: Did the Packers pay any special attention to anyone specific at the Senior Bowl?

Bill: They had their whole scouting staff there so they had eyes on all of the position groups, so I don't think so. Ted seemed to be taking special interest in the offensive line. That's where he was quite a bit ... probably more than the other position groups.

Q: he should

Bill: Gee you think! I know the Packers met with the real big guns of the linemen ... Iupati, Cyron Black and Selvish Capers ... Vlad Ducasse as I check my notes.

Q: He doesn't have the best track record drafting o-line. kinda scary

Bill: He's never drafted one in the first round and only Colledge in the second. That's the scary part. Four wide receivers in the second round compared to one lineman.

Q: Ciron Black is only a good right tackle?

Bill: I'm in the minority. I thought he was fine at left tackle at practice. He probably is a right tackle but I sure wouldn't be afraid to put him on the left side to start with to see if he can do it. I charted almost all the left tackle snaps. He was good. Feet weren't bad for 331 pounds.

Q: Speaking of offensive linemen what position do you see T.J. Lang playing this upcoming season?

Bill: I talked to T.J.'s agent the other day. T.J. will be based on this offseason. If they get a left tackle, then Lang is on the right side. If they don't draft a left tackle, then that's T.J. to sink or swim.

Vladimir Ducasse
UMass athletics
Q: Do you think Ducasse and Iupati could be good tackles sooner or later or ever?

Bill: Probably later. Iupati is just so impressive at guard. I think he could make the move and be fine. But he's an All-Pro at guard. Ducasse, I didn't think much of him compared to some of the other guys. Jump in competition probably got the best of him. Thought he got better as the week went on. If I draft Iupati, I'm putting him at guard and leaving him there. If I draft Ducasse, I put him at left tackle and see what you've got.

Q: Bill, Do you see Daryn Colledge getting a new contract with the Packers?

Bill: I think I tender Colledge and see what happens. Maybe somebody wants him and you get a decent draft pick out of it. Like I wrote about Bigby, the tender isn't that much and it's not a guaranteed contract so the risk ... well, there really isn't a risk You know, if you could just stick Colledge at one spot and let him take every rep at that position, maybe he's OK. He was pretty good in 2008.

Q: Do you see Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher coming back this season?

Bill: Clifton yes ... unless some team offers him a boatload of money. Which is possible. He's the only unrestricted left tackle ... without the slightest exaggeration. He's the only one who's any good. Maybe somebody wants him for a year. But that's probably not likely and I'd assume he's back. The Packers need him. As for Tauscher, I think he'll be back but I'm not convinced. Maybe they plug in Lang and go from there.

Q: One other question about OT. Do you think it would be worth it to sign restricted free agent Jared Gaither from Baltimore and give up our first for him? He is only 23. Be more game ready now.

Bill: That's a great question. He's a good player ... personally, I'd rather have a sure thing than the draft pick. I'd certainly check into it. Will be interesting to see what level the Ravens tender him at. They could give him the first and third to make sure they keep him. He played LT last year for the Ravens with Oher mostly on the right side. I know the Ravens ran the ball whenever they wanted.

Q: Bill, If the vikings qb does not come back would you say the Packers have the best chance to win the division then?

Bill: Nice one. I think they've got the best team regardless. I think they've got the best coach and the best quarterback. That's a good starting point.

Q: With the eagles releasing westbrook and the chargers releasing LT do you see the Packers considering them?

Bill: I'm guessing nothing happens with either of those guys for awhile. I don't see any team signing one until after the draft. And then, do Tomlinson and Westbrook want to share carries with Grant or do they want to be "the man"? The Packers might want them but they might not want the Packers. It takes two. I wouldn't pay either a lot of money. A lot of wear and tear on both. Tomlinson was below-average this past season.

Q: Do you think TT will do more in free agency? In your opinion, do you think the fact we don't really have a big dollar greedy owner looking

Bill: I talked to a couple agents and front-office types for a story I did a week or so ago. Just talking free agency and not really about the Packers but those guys all thought that Thompson would spend this year. It's his market. You've got teams cutting salary to take advantage of the lack of a salary floor. So that gets rid of teams. And then the Final 8 rules eliminates those playoff teams. So suddenly the "spenders" are down to maybe 10 or 12 teams. And on top of that, and you're already seeing it, are the teams who are getting rid of players rather than adding. So we've gone from what I expected to be a really ho-hum free agency to something that could be pretty good. Still, it's a really weak class. That's the problem. It's silly to spend money on undeserving players. There's a lot of undeserving unrestricteds.

Q: What do you see the Packers doing with johnny Jolly

Bill: Got to keep Jolly. He had a great year. Second-round tender is $1.759 million. That's not a lot of money and, again, it's not guaranteed. So if he's really got serious legal problems, then you're off the hook. The second-round tender basically puts him off-limits. Would you give up a second-round pick (and the contract) for a guy with legal problems and no pass rush ability?

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