INDIANAPOLIS – All four general managers for the Packers, Vikings, Bears and Lions spoke to the media Tuesday as the NFL Scouting Combine kicked off.
It's a chance for each top executive to give a brief state of the franchise address ahead of the start of one of the most important stops in the pre-draft process, the NFL Scouting Combine.
Here are some key observations from those media sessions:
View photos media availability at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine on Tues., Feb 25, 2020 in Indianapolis.
Brian Gutekunst, GM, Green Bay
1. Gutekunst is really excited to see what quarterback Aaron Rodgers does in Matt LaFleur's offense in year two. He compared it to Matt Ryan in Atlanta when Ryan was the league MVP and Atlanta went to the Super Bowl in Ryan's second season with LaFleur as his quarterbacks coach.
2. One position where Gutekunst said his team is still kind of evolving is at inside linebacker with Blake Martinez's pending free agency. There are a lot of moving parts with some of the other players there, and it's a position Gutekunst says is definitely in flux.
3. Count Gutekunst among those who think this is a deep draft class of wide receivers. He said 7-on-7 camps and AAU at an earlier age prepares these receivers for college and then the NFL.
4. The Packers are really happy to continue to have stability at the kicker position with the re-signing of Mason Crosby to a three-year deal. Gutekunst said Crosby is a leader in the Packers locker room, and it was an easy decision to make to re-sign the 14-year veteran.
Rick Spielman, GM, Minnesota
1. Spielman didn't sugarcoat the fact that Minnesota currently has less than $1 million in cap space.
"I know we have a lot of tough roster decisions to make, with where our cap situation is right now," he said. "As much as we'd like to keep everyone, I know that's not always going to be the case."
2. The offensive line is an area Spielman and the Vikings are continuing to look to improve. They like foundational pieces Brian O'Neil and Garrett Bradbury, and want to continue to build around those two.
3. Running back Dalvin Cook is entering the last year of his rookie contract, and there's been some question as to whether Minnesota will look to re-sign him with their cap issues and the emergence of rookie running back Alexander Mattison last season. Spielman said he's in the business of re-signing foundational pieces the team drafts, and he considers Cook as one of those players.
4. Spielman sees second-year tight end Irv Smith Jr. being a big part of the Vikings' offense in his second season.
Ryan Pace, GM, Chicago
1. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky had offseason surgery on his non-throwing shoulder, but Pace expects his fourth-year quarterback to be full-go by the time OTAs and minicamp get going.
2. Pace said his focus is on the combine and free agency before having to make a decision in early May about the fifth-year option for Trubisky. He said waiting a bit before deciding what to do isn't meant to create doubt that Trubisky is their guy. He is ... at least for the 2020 season.
3. Pace also talked about the coaching staff additions of OC Bill Lazor, QB coach John DeFillipo and pass-game coordinator Dave Ragone:
"It's been awesome. Our whole motto is no egos and whatever is best for the team. I think it's very collaborative. That's the word that keeps coming up. It's early but those guys are all like-minded. I think it's been strong."
Chicago finished 29th in total offense and 29th in points scored last season.
4. The Bears don't have the cap space they've had in years past entering free agency, but Pace said his roster also has fewer holes, so he thinks they're still in a good spot to fill the needs they have in free agency and the draft. Chicago doesn't have a first-round pick, but they have two second-round picks, and Pace thinks this is a very deep draft where they can find some immediate impact players in Day 2.
5. Pace said it was no secret that adding talent and depth at tight end is an area of focus for the Bears this offseason, whether that's through free agency or the draft.
Bob Quinn, GM, Detroit
1. Quinn has not and does not plan on having any trade talks about quarterback Matthew Stafford. Quinn said Stafford is his guy, and he expects the 11-year veteran to play out the three years remaining on his contract in Detroit.
2. The Lions have talked to other teams about trading cornerback Darius Slay, however. Quinn said those discussions are exploratory at this point. All options are still on the table when it comes to Slay, whether that's extending him, trading him or having him play out the final year of his contract.
3. Quinn hasn't ruled out any position with the No. 3 overall pick.
4. Where does Quinn view this draft as being particularly strong?
"The wide receiver position is really deep," he said. "I think the running back position is really deep. Offensive line has some depth. The secondary has some depth. D-line has a couple guys that are really intriguing. Across the board, it's pretty deep (draft class)."
5. Quinn said Stafford's back injury that caused him to miss the final eight games of last season is not an issue, and Stafford should be full-go when the team begins the offseason training program.