The NFL combine in many ways is the first real start of the offseason. With most of the draft’s top prospects, agents, and representatives of all 32 teams descending on Indianapolis it is a critical time for the Packers this offseason. The Packers combine goals that Brian Gutekunst has laid out will be multilayered but essential to the plans he has made to create the 2022 roster.
First and foremost, will be the primary purpose for the combine: the draft prospects. Gutekunst and his team have been scouting these players all year, and in many cases several years. The Packers draft board is likely nearly complete from a film standpoint. They likely have a long list of prospects that they like, and the combine can help fill in some of the blanks.
Often the physical testing at the combine can do one of two things; confirm the evaluation of a player or make a team go back to the film. If a prospect performs either way above or way below what the Packers expected, they’ll head back to the film to see what they missed. The Packers have proven over the past few drafts that they value athletes at most positions, so if a player they like has a bad workout, that could raise some eyebrows amongst the Packers scouts.
The more important aspects of the combine are the interviews and medical checks. So much of what makes a great NFL player is not how fast they run or how strong they are (although that definitely helps). The mental makeup of a player and the intrinsic drive that they must have to push themselves isn’t something that can be found on film. Additionally, the medical check will be illuminating for prospects who are recovering from various injuries. A lingering issue could be a red flag which pulls a player off the draft board.
The next major aspect of the combine is how many agents are present. Face to face conversations with them can spark negotiations which can lead to contracts. With the new league year around the corner, these negotiations are critical. With the Packers having 15 pending unrestricted free agents, contracts can be had over the next few days. Beyond that, contract extensions for players like Adrian Amos and Jaire Alexander can get started, or even better completed! These negotiations, coupled with the deadline of the pending new league year could spur action.
The final component of this week is simply the presence of all 32 teams in one location. Rarely will Gutekunst and his staff have the opportunity to bump shoulders will their equivalents throughout the league. This could lay the groundwork for a draft day trade or a discussion that leads to the Packers acquiring a player. The combine never stops, and deals are to be made over dinner and drinks.
Jordan is a lifelong Packer fan who grew up in Idaho and now lives in Seattle, Washington. You can follow him on twitter at @jordantwolf.