2013 NFL Draft: Trade-Up Scenarios for Packers GM Ted Thompson

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Who might Ted consider moving up for?
Who might Ted consider moving up for?

Packers general manager Ted Thompson is armed with eight picks in this month’s NFL draft. At this time last year, Thompson had 12 picks in his arsenal, which allowed him to double-dip in the second round to bring Jerel Worthy and Casey Hayward to Green Bay.

Thompson may not have as much ammunition to move up in this year’s draft, but moving up is still certainly a possibility.

If he chooses to trade up in the first round, there are a handful of players he could target. This year’s draft lacks true star power at the very top, but it’s extremely deep with potential Day 2 prospects.

But if Thompson sees a gap after the top player at a position of need, he could consider moving up to acquire him. The Packers have several needs on both sides of the ball, and with several other NFC powerhouses having been engaged in an all-out arms race this offseason, Green Bay with rely on the draft even more than usual.

Considering the draft has so much value on Day 2 this year, I believe the Packers are likely to move out of the first round entirely before making multiple picks in rounds two and/or three. But with a little over a week before the 2013 NFL Draft, let’s take a look at three players the Packers could target in a first-round trade-up.

#1) FS Kenny Vaccaro, Texas

Widely considered to be the No. 1 safety in this year’s draft class, Vaccaro could step in and be an immediate starter for the Packers. And if Thompson sees Vaccaro as the missing link, perhaps he could pull the trigger and move up in the draft to select him.

Coming into the 2012 season, the Packers envisioned Charles Woodson as their starting strong safety in the base 3-4 defense. But in the nickel sub-package, Woodson was slated to bump up to play slot cornerback. This role is nearly identical to what Vaccaro played this past season at Texas.

Some mock drafts have Vaccaro going as early as No. 10 to the Tennessee Titans. If that’s the case, it’s highly unlikely that Thompson would be willing and/or able to pony up enough assets to move into position to select Vaccaro.

But if Vaccaro gets past the St. Louis Rams’ first pick at No. 16 overall, then the Packers could consider moving up nine spots with the Pittsburgh Steelers. One pick later, the Dallas Cowboys would surely benefit from drafting Vaccaro with the 18th pick.

According to the NFL Draft trade value chart on DraftTek, the 17th pick is worth 950 points. The Packers pick (No. 26) is worth 700 points, so they’d need to come up with 250 points to make it an even trade.

Green Bay’s second-round pick (No. 55) is worth 350 points, so if the Packers trade their first and second-round picks to the Steelers, they could receive Pittsburgh’s first round, fourth round and fifth-round picks in return. The Steelers would “win” this trade by a narrow 4.5-point margin.

#2) DL Sheldon Richardson, Missouri

The Packers clearly wanted to upgrade their defensive line last offseason. On top of bringing in veterans Phillip Merling and Daniel Muir to compete in training camp, the Packers drafted Michigan State’s Jerel Worthy in round two and Iowa’s Mike Daniels in round four.

Worthy and Daniels each appeared in 14 games last season, but Worthy suffered a torn ACL on December 30 and his 2013 season is in serious doubt. Mike Neal recorded career highs in games played (11) and sacks (4.5) during a breakout 2012 season, but depth is lacking at the position.

Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson is the ideal candidate to play defensive end in the 3-4 scheme.

For a recent NFL comparison, Richardson is similar to Fletcher Cox, the No. 12 overall pick in last year’s draft to the Philadelphia Eagles. Strong, powerful and quick as a pass rusher, Richardson should step in and make an immediate impact as a rookie.

This is a strong defensive line class, and Richardson has been slightly overshadowed by Sharrif Floyd and Star Lotuleleli. But Richardson will surely come off the board in the top-half of round one; the most common landing spot for Richardson among mock drafts is Carolina with the No. 14 pick.

If he gets past the Panthers, perhaps the Packers would consider trading up for him.

#3) G/C Johnathan Cooper, North Carolina

Last offseason, the Packers signed Jeff Saturday to replace departed center Scott Wells in the starting lineup. Saturday flopped during his time with the Packers and was replaced by Evan Dietrich-Smith in week 16.

But with Dietrich-Smith hitting restricted free agency, the team slapped him with the lowest tender, meaning if a team wanted to sign him, the Packers would get no compensation in return. Ultimately, Dietrich-Smith signed his one-year tender worth $1.323 million to return to Green Bay.

If the Packers view Dietrich-Smith as their starting center moving forward, why did they only designate him the original-round restricted free agent tender? Adam Czech tackled that question earlier this week.

Despite Dietrich-Smith signing on for another year with the Packers, the team could very well be in the market for one of the top centers in this year’s draft. California’s Brian Schwenke, Wisconsin’s Travis Frederick and Alabama’s Barrett Jones are all candidates to come off the board in the second or third round.

But North Carolina guard/center Johnathan Cooper is viewed by some NFL teams as the top interior offensive lineman in the draft, and he could come off the board in the top-half of the first round.

Offensive guards tend to fall on draft day. A year ago, Stanford guard David DeCastro was considered to be one of the “safest” picks in the entire draft, possibly coming off the board as early as No. 11 to the Kansas City Chiefs. But DeCastro fell all the way to the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 24th overall pick.

Cooper is capable of playing either center or guard, so he could certainly catch the eye of Thompson, considering the Packers value versatility among their linemen.

Some think the Buffalo Bills could consider Cooper or Alabama guard Chance Warmack as high as No. 8 overall, and at this point, it looks unlikely that either player would get past the St. Louis Rams at 16. But assuming Cooper gets past the Rams, he could be on Thompson’s radar.


Follow @MJEversoll

Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.


26 thoughts on “2013 NFL Draft: Trade-Up Scenarios for Packers GM Ted Thompson

  1. If the draft is deep with Day 2 prospects, it seems like better bang for the buck to go down, not up.

    It seems to me the Packers could benefit greatly from better play at OLB, ILB, Safety, DE, LT and OC. With the departure of Jennings and Driver, another WR would not be a bad idea. The Packers run game has floundered since Ahman Green left. That’s 8 spots where I’d like to see another quality prospect. With guys coming back from injury or gaining experience, they might be ok at some or all of those positions. But I would feel a whole bunch better by hitting as many of those positions as possible as early as possible during the draft.

    1. “If the draft is deep with Day 2 prospects, it seems like better bang for the buck to go down, not up.”

      I couldn’t agree more. If the Packers had one or two holes to fill, or if the kind of player that can compensate for many weaknesses were to slide into a manageable pick range, then maybe. But finding a way to stockpile Day 2 picks would be far better.

    2. “Considering the draft has so much value on Day 2 this year, I believe the Packers are likely to move out of the first round entirely before making multiple picks in rounds two and/or three. But with a little over a week before the 2013 NFL Draft, let’s take a look at three players the Packers could target in a first-round trade-up.”

      1. Thompson will only move up to get a player that fits a big need AND if that player falls well below his projected draft slot on the Packers board. The players you listed would be moving up to get a player at his projected slot. Theres quite a bit of evidence of this.

        Matthews was rated about #12 on Packers board and they even considered him instead of Raji. They moved up when he fell into the 20’s. Burnett was considered a 2nd rd talent and they moved up to get him when he fell to top 3rd. Worthy and Manning were rated higher than were they were drafted last year. I’m assuming Hayward was also.

        I don’t think its likely Thompson would move up to get the players mentioned. He would wait for them to drop to him like he did Bulaga.

        I can’t see any of those players being a great value worth moving up for. They are rated mid 1st round at best, so if they fall he would take them, but he isn’t likely to move up to get them in the mid 1st.

        If Thompson moves up it has to represent excellent value, he won’t move up to get a player at his projected slot, only if they fall below that projected slot.

        I don’t think those players would represent the value of moving up for. It would be getting them at their projected slot, but not at a value spot. Its far move likely Thompson moved down this year, as has been mentioned the players from about 15 to 45 are all similar and wouldn’t represent the value Thompson would want to entice him to move up.

      2. However, if a player rated as a top 10 on the Packers board fell to 20, Thompson could move up, since it would represent excellent value. IMO, say Lotuilelie (sp?) checks out medically and is considered a top 10 player and he fell from top 10 to 20, that would make it worthwhile to move up for.

  2. Trading up seems less likely than trading back to get more action in the 2nd and third rounds. It would be nice to get a stud big man on the D-line. Worthy and Daniels are not the missing pieces for this line. When Pickett is done at the end of this year, we will be right back to shoring up the line

    1. “Considering the draft has so much value on Day 2 this year, I believe the Packers are likely to move out of the first round entirely before making multiple picks in rounds two and/or three. But with a little over a week before the 2013 NFL Draft, let’s take a look at three players the Packers could target in a first-round trade-up.”

      As Al said, we’re looking at all potential options this year. I’ll put together a trade-down scenarios piece soon, which I personally think is very likely this year.

      1. You make it sound as if we’re going to be patient and rational in our posts. We’re Americans, dammit, and we have opinions AND a need for immediate gratification!

  3. Not sure how finding a replacement for Woodson helps. Woodson’s presence in the defense didn’t replace Woodson. With him in the lineup/with him out of the lineup, the defense performed about the same.
    Capers will utilize the strengths of the players he’s given. Let’s get him some players.

  4. We like to examine all possibilities, whether likely or not. That’s what Marques is doing here. And don’t worry, we’ll have some trade-down scenarios, also…

    1. Right. As for the above comment “lets get him some players”—the Packers used NINE picks to get Capers SIX players last year. Essentially, the entire draft save for a few PS after-thoughts. How many years/players are we supposed to feed into Capers’ system without realizing that maybe it isn’t the players so much, as the DC’s unbending pride that’s holding this defense back?

      That said, no way Thompson trades UP for a safety or G. He had the perfect safety sitting there last year in Harrison Smith, only to take Nick Perry instead, only to watch Capers try to force the DE into an OLB position. After a few pass coverage attempts they got Perry off the field pronto in passing downs. Then, as per form with most GB DLine picks—Harrell, Neal, Worthy—Perry was soon injured and on IR.

      1. They did get Capers some players, BUT some of those players got hurt. We still don’t know what Nick Perry can do. I feel Bishop was a huge loss, and then his replacement Smith goes down shortly after. There is still something wrong with Tramon Williams, Shields played very well when he came back and I think House will be a player. I also like Worthy and hope he can get back. I don’t know if Capers “needs” players as much as he needs these guys to make it through a full season healthy.

  5. I’d take Jonathan Cyprien over Vaccaro anyway. Would hate to see the Vikes grab him right before us. We should have taken Harrison Smith last year, if the Vikes team him with Cyprien they’d have an intimidating safety tandem.

    1. Lebowski, I think it’s close between Cyprien and Vaccaro. After them, I think there’s a gap before Elam and Reid.

      As far as Harrison Smith, I loved him last year. When the Packers were on the clock, I was hoping for Smith or Courtney Upshaw. You’re right though, Smith and Cyprien would be a tough, hard-hitting safety duo in Minnesota.

  6. Both Cyprien and Vaccaro run in the 4.6’s. Does that sound like a player GB would draft?

    Here’s your pick if he’s there—Daytone Jones. Played 5-tech at UCLA, unlike all the other ill-fitting DT’s GB has tried at end in Capers’ floundering scheme. TT loves to take linemen and LB’ers in one. He can’t really justify yet another LB (Perry, Hawk, CM3) but he’ll draft DLinemen until the cows come home.

    1. I couldn’t care less if they run .14 seconds slower in the 40 than Sam Shields. I want a safety who will freaking hit somebody.

      1. You might not but Thompson seems to like speed. But I agree we need more physicality in secondary.

        1. Yes, TT likes 5’11” or bigger and ideally, 4.3 speed. Most of his current DBs are in that category, including safeties.

          The one most obviously outside that range(speed-wise) was Charlie Peprah, who was released a while back.

          If you want physicality, campaign for safety D.J.Swearinger, he loves to bring it, but with 4.6 speed I doubt Thompson takes him.

          As for my favourite, it is Zaviar Gooden, a weakside OLB type who played safety earlier in his career. Over 6’1″, 234lb and 4.4 speed with great agility, he might just make an awesome safety, if the Pack were to try him there. He could be a major intimidator with great range. Normally OLBs don’t have the loose hips for Safety, but he just might.

          1. Disagree about Gooden and moving him from LB to safety. Don’t see it happening and it would be a longer learning curve. I like Eric Reid a lot. He’s got a major physical presence, loves to hit and is a strong tackler. Run same as Burnett so his speed is good. Also like Phillip Thomas in 2nd or 3rd.

          2. Peprah came off Miami’s scrap heap, didn’t he? It wasn’t a draft pick, but a flier on a street guy.

    2. Yeah Jones played 5 tech that doesn’t make an NFL 5 tech. He’s only 280 or so and he’s got really short arm. His ht is fine but he lacks lenght. Kawann Short would be a better choice. He’s got great length to disrupt passing lanes.

      1. Some scouts think Kawann Short’s recent tape show a more consistently active player. He could be a very good starter for a guy many think is a mid second rounder. I’d move up half a dozen spots in round two to snag him.

  7. Im going to try and hit a few of these thoughts. 1 Cooper is a top 10 player this year in every big board ive seen. The only reason he might not get drafted high is he’s a guard / center and they are under valued. So trading up for him would make a lot of sense because we need a center and left guard yes left guard Lang gave up as many sacks as Newhouse or DAMM close. Also do you think EDS is the answer the PACK must not or why do you tender him with the lowest possible without a backup on the roster. He’s better than Saturday but he was in his what 15th year. Just think maybe the PACK could run the ball like every body wants!!! Plus he has played in the zone scheme. An interior O-LINEMEN is a need badly in early to middle rounds to start or at least better backup depth!!! 2nd I agree we should trade down and pick up more players were the value seems to be in the second and third rounds. The player I would target high in the 2nd is John Jenkins NT GEORGIA. It would allow Raji to move outside on running downs and then replace Pickett next year. The more beef you have up front the easier it’s to stop the run which they need to do. 3rd if you want a safety to hit somebody and play center field TJ MCDONALD from USC 6’3 219 runs 4.52 to 4.58 is the guy. He has played in a pro system against top teams in bigger games. Plus he has pro bowl nfl bloodlines to help guide him like cm3 and you can get him in the third easy.

  8. My general philosophy is if they can’t get Tyler Eifert, trade back/out of the first round.

    1. I like Eifert, too, but some mocks have shown him at the top of round 2 rather than round 1. That would be great value.

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