With the 2012 NFL Draft just days away, I thought it might be interesting to rank Ted Thompson’s previous drafts as General Manager of the Green Bay Packers.
This activity will incorporate his first draft in 2005 through the 2009 draft. The 2010 and 2011 years will be omitted based on the reasoning that the players from those drafts are too young in their careers to accurately gauge. (But feel free to leave a comment on how you’d rank them if they were included.)
Now, in order to grade or evaluate something, you have to base your decision on a set of criteria. So here is what I will base the ranking on:
- How much have the players in a specific draft contributed to the success of the Green Bay Packers?
- Secondary to the first criterion is how well has the player has succeeded in the NFL overall.
- How many “busts” did a specific draft include?
- How much value did Thompson get with each selection based on overall pick number and the player’s future performance?
For the sake of brevity, I won’t go into detail about each of these questions for every draft year; however, I will mention some of the booms, busts, and quick thoughts about each. That way you can at least get a sense of where I am coming from, and I will leave you to discuss your agreements/disagreements in the comments below.
#5. 2007 NFL Draft
|3||78||James Jones||WR||San Jose State|
|3||89||Aaron Rouse||SAF||Virginia Tech|
|4||119||Allen Barbre||G||Missouri Southern State|
|5||157||David Clowney||WR||Virginia Tech|
|6||191||Korey Hall||FB||Boise State|
Booms: Desmond Bishop, Mason Crosby
Busts: Justin Harrell, Allen Barbre, Clark Harris, David Clowney
Quick Thoughts: How do you recover from the complete misfire in picking Justin Harrell? The two biggest stars came from the bottom of the draft, and even they took a few years to really reach “boom” status. Brandon Jackson and James Jones were the best they got from the top rounds. This was just an “okay” draft overall, and though not completely horrible, it was easily Thompson’s worst.
#4. 2006 NFL Draft
|1||5||A.J. Hawk||OLB||Ohio State|
|2||47||Daryn Colledge||G||Boise State|
|2||52||Greg Jennings||WR||Western Michigan|
|4||104||Cory Rodgers||WR||Texas Christian|
|4||115||Will Blackmon||CB||Boston College|
|6||183||Johnny Jolly||DT||Texas A&M|
|6||185||Tyrone Culver||DB||Fresno State|
|7||253||Dave Tollefson||DE||Northwest Missouri State|
Booms: Greg Jennings, Johnny Jolly
Busts: Abdul Hodge, Cory Rodgers, Ingle Martin
Quick Thoughts: This will forever be the “A.J. Hawk Draft” in the minds of Packers fans, though we shouldn’t forget that Thompson also snatched up one Greg Jennings in the second round. Not a whole lot of big “busts” in this draft, but a good number of “backup” caliber players. Jolly was a boom until he got arrested, and the first two picks never quite played up to their draft status.
#3. 2005 NFL Draft
|2||58||Terrence Murphy||WR||Texas A&M|
|4||115||Marviel Underwood||DB||San Diego State|
|4||125||Brady Poppinga||LB||Brigham Young|
|5||143||Junius Coston||C||North Carolina A&T|
|6||180||Mike Montgomery||DT||Texas A&M|
|7||245||Kurt Campbell||CB||Albany State (NY)|
|7||246||Will Whitticker||G||Michigan State|
Booms: Aaron Rodgers, Nick Collins
Busts: Junius Coston, Mike Hawkins, Craig Bragg, Kurt Campbell, Will Whitticker
Quick Thoughts: Were it not for Aaron Rodgers, this draft could easily compete for last among Thompson’s draft classes. But an MVP-caliber franchise quarterback coupled with a Pro Bowl free safety like Nick Collins counts for a lot, despite the vast lack of talent acquired in the rest of the draft. I also have to wonder how Terrence Murphy would have progressed without his career-ending injury.
#2. 2009 NFL Draft
|1||9||B.J. Raji||NT||Boston College|
|4||109||T.J. Lang||T||Eastern Michigan|
|5||145||Quinn Johnson||RB||Louisiana State|
|5||162||Jamon Meredith||T||South Carolina|
Booms: Clay Matthews, B.J. Raji
Busts: Jamon Meredith
Quick Thoughts: Overall, the 2009 class really seemed to play in line with their draft level. The Packers got some good players at the top, with some average guys at the bottom (though not much in the middle). It’s hard to peg anyone outside of Jamon Meredith as a true “bust,” while Raji and Matthews have been essential parts of the defense.
#1. 2008 NFL Draft
|2||36||Jordy Nelson||WR||Kansas State|
|4||102||Jeremy Thompson||DE||Wake Forest|
|4||135||Josh Sitton||G||Central Florida|
|7||209||Matt Flynn||QB||Louisiana State|
|7||217||Brett Swain||WR||San Diego State|
Booms: Jordy Nelson, Jermichael Finley, Josh Sitton, Matt Flynn
Busts: Brian Brohm, Pat Lee, Breno Giacomini
Quick Thoughts: I was almost hesitant to rank this draft first, since it seems fairly unglamorous at first sight. But Thompson really nailed some picks here and got a lot of good value from where they were drafted. The depth of talent acquired in 2008 makes it his best draft as Packers GM.