This will be Ted Thompsonâ€™s 10th NFL Draft as the Packers general manager. He has been arguably the biggest lightning rod for criticism over the years.
There is inherent value in every round of the draft, but the most consistent value lies in rounds 1-3, which is where I also focus my attention.
Thompson did a masterful job early on. When you land a guy like Aaron Rodgers as your first pick to begin your new job, things are looking pretty good. He added safety Nick Collins and wide receiver Terrence Murphy, who were both forced to leave pro football early after suffering neck injuries.
The next year, Thompson did another excellent job by adding fifth overall pick in linebacker A.J. Hawk, second rounders in guard Daryn Colledge and wide receiver Greg Jennings and third round guard Jason Spitz. The only guy that was a question mark was third round linebacker Abdul Hodge because injuries forced him to only start one game in four NFL seasons.
But after hitting so many home runs in his first two seasons, Thompson was due for some whiffs. And thatâ€™s exactly what happened in 2007. Justin Harrell, arguably the worst pick of Thompsonâ€™s career, started just two of 14 games in his three-year career. It was a little head scratching that the Packers even used a first round pick on Harrell, who entered the league hurt after tearing his biceps at Tennessee.
Brandon Jackson is another strikeout. The former Nebraska track star/football player was able to play bit roles but is now looking for a job. James Jones gave the Packers a good return on its third-round investment. He proved he could start but was never capable of winning the top receiver job. The final whiff of 2007 is Aaron Rouse. The safety played just three seasons before signing with the now-defunct United Football League.
The following year, there were two more whiffs sandwiched in between a couple of home runs. Obviously, second rounder Jordy Nelson has carved out a pretty nice career as one of Rodgersâ€™ go-to targets. However, second rounder Brian Brohm, after not being able to get comfortable with the speed of the NFL game, is now playing quarterback for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL. The other miss was second round cornerback Patrick Lee, who only started one game in his Green Bay career. The other great get that Thompson secured was third rounder Jermichael Finley. Although his mouth got in the way early on, Finley was one of the most athletic tight ends in the game when healthy.