Ben from Chicago, IL
Vic, are there any scenarios in which a team intentionally doesn't turn in a pick in order to pick at a later slot? For instance, a team with pick 32 could save some cap money and pay less guaranteed money by picking first in round two.
In 2003, the Vikings had the seventh pick of the draft but twice allowed the clock to expire before they selected defensive tackle Kevin Williams with the ninth pick. Why did they do that? Because they knew the Jaguars at eight were going to select Byron Leftwich and the Panthers at nine were going to select Jordan Gross, so the Vikings effectively moved back two spaces to select Williams, the player they had targeted.
Steve from Montclair, NJ
Now that teams can trade compensatory picks, do you expect more trades by teams trying to find the best values?
Trades have been increasing in number for several years. Why? Because teams are attempting to fit themselves to the player they wish to pick. It's a means for addressing need without relinquishing value. Trading is proof teams are drafting according to the best available player philosophy or, at the least, value is king. When you reach, you pay more for a player than his worth should dictate, plus, you don't get the full value of your original selection.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, what was the atmosphere like around Lambeau on draft day? Were the experiences pretty similar in Jacksonville and Pittsburgh?
My draft days in Pittsburgh were spent prior to the keep-the-media-out days. While I was in Pittsburgh, the media largely had access to coaches and personnel people between picks when everybody was hanging out in the lunch room. I could get some tips from scouts back then because there was nothing I could do with the information since it was prior to the invention of the Internet. The Internet changed everything. It introduced ultra-stealth to the draft. The media atmosphere at Lambeau Field is largely as it was in Jacksonville during my time there. The media is housed in a large auditorium, where they watch the draft on TV monitors and supplement their coverage with comments from coaches and personnel people who are brought to the media room to answer questions following team picks. I liked it better in my old days in Pittsburgh, but everything about my business has changed and it's never going to be again as it once was.
Dave from Jacksonville, FL
Vic, glad to see you’re coming to Jacksonville for the Steelers vs. Jaguars Sunday night matchup. I’m glad Coughlin, Marrone and company have embraced tough defense, create-turnovers and run-the-ball football. What type of football team are the Steelers trying to be?
The Steelers are trying to be what they've always been, but they lack the personnel to be that team. I think we saw Steelers football last season when they played in Cincinnati, but it wasn't something they could sustain after they lost Ryan Shazier. Identity is not something you can will to happen. You have to have the talent to be what you want to be. The Steelers were soft on defense last season. They need to be faster and tougher on defense.
Mike from North Hudson, WI
Vic, you're the GM. With the exception of the QB position in this year's draft, what would be your top 3-5 players of interest for Green Bay to select in round one?
The Packers need a pass rusher. If they can't get a pass rusher, then get a cornerback. If they can't get a cornerback, then get a tackle. Pick No. 14, especially considering the number of quarterbacks that will be overdrafted ahead of the Packers' pick, is too high not to spend it on a premium-position player.
Sean-Luc from Oceanside, CA
What do you tell a fellow Packers fan who refuses to accept this is a rebuilding year?
I don't think it's a rebuilding year. I think rebuilding is too strong of a word to accurately represent where the Packers are. I would tell a Packers fan to have hope, but be cautious and realistic with your expectations.
Mark from Green Bay, WI
Why does Goodell insist on being in charge of all discipline? I would have a discipline committee: two people nominated by the NFLPA, two nominated by the owners, and an NFL referee. I would have an appeals board. I do not understand why in this country management must always see the union as their enemy.
Here's where I stand on players doing bad things: If they're not in jail, put on the pads. I prefer to leave justice to the people who are trained and paid to uphold it. In cases involving crimes against the game, I support the commissioner having full power to discipline violators as he deems fit.
Eric from San Francisco, CA
Which team do you think could make the same leap the Jaguars did last year, going from a losing record to a playoff run? My pick would be the 49ers, now that they have "The Man."
The 49ers are poised to become the surprise team of the year, though it will surprise few.
Matthew from Stockholm, Sweden
Vic, what are your thoughts on the Packers defensive line? With stars in Daniels and Wilkerson, a budding star in Clark, and Lowry and Adams providing quality depth, I think it is the strength of the defense. Can the front wreak havoc on a consistent basis? I saw it in flashes against the Seahawks and Bucs.
The first thing I need to know before I can answer your question is how will Mike Pettine use his defensive linemen. Will they be used as hold-the-point two-gappers, as they were used under Dom Capers' direction, or as penetrate-and-disrupt gap-controllers? Two-gappers don't wreak havoc, they eat blocks so the linebackers can wreak havoc. I like the Packers' talent up front. I think there's a significant decline in talent from the line to the linebackers.
Adam from Wausau, WI
The new GM needs to make a statement with his first draft. Prediction: Gutekunst will either trade up from 14 or stay put and trade back into the first round. Mark it down.
OK, it might happen, but why does Brian Gutekunst need to make a dramatic statement in his first draft? I think he needs to draft good football players. I think that's the only statement he needs to make.
Maggie from Kenosha, WI
Vic, you're on the clock. Make your first-round picks for the Packers, Steelers and Jaguars.
I asked Tony Pauline your question and this is what he said: Packers--Minkah Fitzpatrick or trade up for Denzel Ward. Steelers--Rashaan Evans or Lorenzo Carter. Jaguars--Will Hernandez or Dallas Goedert.
Karl from Albuquerque, NM
Vic, which saying do you agree with more, and which is more important, a good pass rush will make a secondary look good, or a good secondary will make a pass rush look good? Or is it a egg or chicken argument?
I think a good pass rush will do more for a defense than a good secondary.
Adam from Chicago, IL
What do you make of Jason Spriggs?
He needs to get stronger at the point of attack.
Steven from Montclair, NJ
Is the term "War Room" insensitive to use during this weekend? Or are we being overly sensitive?
I don't see anything wrong with it. Ted Thompson was opposed to it and I thought he was being overly sensitive. Hey, it's the draft. It's a crapshoot. Let's have some fun, OK?
Eric from Wausau, WI
Vic, if you could go back to the mid-1970s and see today's game from your perspective as a beat reporter for the Steelers, in what ways would today's game be unrecognizable?
The size of the helmets and shoulder pads would be laughable. Also, the first time a safety was flagged for a head shot on a defenseless receiver, my mouth would fall open. "What was wrong with that?" I'd say. One more thing: I have a photo on my wall of a game from a long time ago and I'm amazed at how few people are on the sidelines, compared to the crowded sidelines of today.
Roger from Houston, TX
What intrigues you most about this draft?
It's the quarterbacks. What teams will pick them and how might the quarterbacks push better players down the board?