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

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Ted Thompson covets his draft picks. Who might he target in a trade-down?
Ted Thompson covets his draft picks. Who might he target in a trade-down?

Packers general manager Ted Thompson covets his draft picks like nothing else. He often trades down, gets the player he’s targeting and adds late-round picks in the process.

And at first glance, this draft appears tailor-made for Thompson.

The Packers hold the 26th overall pick in this year’s draft, and the team will certainly have plenty of options at that point. Perhaps Thompson would consider moving up if a player falls to a certain point in the draft, but in my opinion, moving down is a much more likely scenario.

There are a few scenarios in which I think the Packers would be wise to stay at No. 26 and make their pick. In the unlikely event that Kenny Vaccaro or Jonathan Cyprien fall to the Packers, either player would be a great pick. If Datone Jones is available at 26, he would also be an option.

But this year’s draft lacks star power at the top, and rounds two and three figure to be loaded with NFL-ready talent, especially at some of the Packers’ positions of need. Let’s take a look at five potential targets if the Packers trade out of their first-round pick.

#1) DE Margus Hunt – Southern Methodist

The Packers have a handful of guys on the defensive line that are effective in one specific area. Mike Neal is a solid pass rusher in the nickel, C.J. Wilson and Ryan Pickett are stout against the run, while B.J. Raji is probably the Packers’ best all-around defensive lineman.

But between Neal, Wilson, Raji, Jerel Worthy and Mike Daniels, the Packers lack a prototypical body type for a 3-4 defensive end. Margus Hunt would fill that void.

Hunt (6-8 277) has a monstrous frame to which he could afford to add 15-20 pounds and keep his explosiveness. He blew people away at the NFL Scouting Combine in February by clocking a 4.53 in the forty-yard dash and putting up 38 reps on the 225-pound bench press.

It’s definitely possible that the Packers would consider drafting Hunt at No. 26, but he’d be a much better value with one of the last picks of round one or one of the first few picks of round two.

Hunt didn’t start playing football until 2009, but he set an NCAA record with 17 blocked kicks during his time at Southern Methodist. If the Packers can move down several spots, grab Hunt and add a third or fourth-round pick in the process, they’d probably be pretty happy with the result.

#2) WR Quinton Patton – Louisiana Tech, Robert Woods – USC

After Greg Jennings left Green Bay for purpler pastures, the Packers’ depth at wide receiver got a little thinner than in years past. And with James Jones scheduled to hit free agency after 2013, the team could be in the market for a young receiver relatively early in the 2013 NFL Draft.

No. 26 may be a bit high for Quinton Patton, but he likely won’t be on the board much longer than that. If the Packers find themselves out of options at the end of round one, they could move down and take Patton at the top of round two.

Patton doesn’t have blazing speed (4.48) but he runs crisp routes, and he’s crafty after the catch. To me, his ceiling is somewhere between Reggie Wayne and Greg Jennings.

Southern California wideout Robert Woods is very similar to Patton. Woods had the opportunity of catching passes a much better quarterback (Matt Barkley) and across from an elite wide receiver (Marquise Lee) while Patton often carried the weight of Louisiana Tech’s offense on his shoulders.

Both are candidates to come off the board as early as the late-first round, but they’re more likely to be selected in the second round.

#3) RB Gio Bernard – UNC, Le’Veon Bell – MSU or Eddie Lacy – Alabama

Although DuJuan Harris was effective late in the season, the Packers will likely add a running back at some point during the draft.

And without an Adrian Peterson or Trent Richardson in the top ten this year, Green Bay could land the top running back in the class, perhaps with a second-round pick. On most draft boards, Eddie Lacy is at the top of the position.

I’ve openly discussed my “draft crush” on Gio Bernard. I realize Harris and Bernard are similarly sized, but Bernard is a much more versatile player, and I think he’s the perfect back for the Packers offense. He’s my No. 1 back in the draft, and I think it’s a close call at No. 2 between Lacy and Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell, who has grown on me throughout the draft process.

No running back may be worth the No. 26 pick this year, but if the Packers move down 10-15 spots, perhaps they could take a runner at the top of the second round.

Bernard, Bell and Lacy are all candidates to come off the board in the second round. One of them could be available when the Packers are scheduled to pick at No. 55, but if there’s someone they really like, they could address the position earlier.

#4) S Matt Elam – Florida or Eric Reid – LSU

In my opinion, Kenny Vaccaro and Jonathan Cyprien are clearly the top two safeties in this year’s class. Vaccaro should come off the board in the top-half of the first round, and I don’t think Cyprien will be available at No. 26 either.

But after the top two, Florida’s Matt Elam and Louisiana State’s Eric Reid figure to come off the board somewhere in the second round. Elam could garner some interest at the bottom of round one, as some prefer him over Cyprien.

There are a handful of teams picking at the bottom of round with a need at safety. There’s a chance that all four could crack the first round, although that would seem to be unlikely.

But if the Packers aren’t sold on any of the available prospects at No. 26, they could very well trade down and grab Elam or Reid in the second round.

Of the top four safeties in the draft, Elam (4.43) ran the fastest forty-yard dash. His straight-line speed and aggressive nature may appeal to the Packers, perhaps even if they stay at No. 26.

But while this is a relatively deep safety class with quality players likely to still be available into the fourth round, the Packers would do well to grab one of the top guys at the position early in the draft.

#5) NT Jesse Williams – Alabama or John Jenkins – Georgia

Most consider outside linebacker and nose tackle to be the most important positions in the 3-4 defense. And when the Packers converted to the 3-4 in 2009, Thompson drafted B.J. Raji (nose tackle) at No. 9 and Clay Matthews (outside linebacker) with the 26th pick.

But Raji seems to be better suited to play the five-technique at defensive end with veteran Ryan Pickett at nose tackle.

Pickett is scheduled to hit free agency after the 2013 season, and at age 33, he’s probably in the twilight of his NFL career. If Pickett is not re-signed for next season, the Packers will either have to move Raji back to nose tackle or look elsewhere at the position.

Alabama defensive tackle Jesse Williams (6-3 323) will likely come off the board late in the first or early in the second round. His combination of size and athleticism (4.92 forty, 30 reps) translate well to the nose tackle position in the 3-4.

Georgia’s John Jenkins (6-4, 346) is a mountain of a man and, like Williams, would fit in well at nose tackle.

There’s a good chance that both players will be available at the top of the second round. If the Packers move down about 10 spots, Williams and Jenkins could certainly be on their 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.


31 thoughts on “2013 NFL Draft: Trade-Down Scenarios for Packers GM Ted Thompson

  1. Man i can wait to see how the draft goes but i hope we do trade down I’ve been feeling a lil shaky about our #26 pick for a while but i guess it depends on who falls to that spot.

    1. The late first round always seems like a no-man’s land. The blue-chippers are gone and the talent distribution is so broad that many picks look like reaches on paper (even if it’s a very sensible pick for your team).

  2. I’d trade down and pick up Brandon Williams, who I think could end up being better than either Jesse Williams or John Jenkins. He is a div 1A, which has him sliding a bit. he is 6’1″, 340, fast and very, very strong. Nose tackle is no problem for this guy.

    Is Matt Elam is on Ted’s short list ? Maybe, but not in the way fans of his play would like. He has talent, but an extra two inches would have made a huge difference. Ted likes speed, but he also likes guys in the 6 foot range.

    1. I like Brandon Williams, maybe in the late 3rd round. He’s unlikely to come off the board in the second round, I was just previewing who the Packers would take with their first pick if they move down from 26.

      1. That is a round and a bit later than I’d expect him to go. I guess in one week we find out what the movers and shakers REALLY think.

        It’s fun speculating though and passes the loooong wait between end of playoffs and draft.

  3. Marques, your Hunt idea intriges me. I like the idea of a 6″8″ guy attacking from the center area of the field. If he plays the right side with CM3 just think of the things that will open up.

    The problem with trading down from 26 is you need someone who has a specific player in mind that they really want. It’s easy to speculate but hard to do. Only one week from tomorrow and we’ll see.

    1. I’ve heard Miami as a possible partner given their activity in the off-season and a few extra picks through days 1-2 of the draft, but you’re right: they need to want the pick.

    2. Absolutely, Ron. It takes two to tango.

      Should be interesting to see how everything unfolds.

  4. I think the natural follow-up to this post is: who has the ammunition to deal up into #26 and enable TT to move down? Given the broad distribution of talent through the second day, finding a trade partner might be hard as others would likely see the value there as well.

    I personally would love to see the Packers find a way to parlay their #26 into a bunch of second-day picks…2nd rounders would be great, but it takes two (or in this case, a couple trade-downs) to tango.

    I have to admit that when watching the draft, and the Packers are coming up, it always feels like a let-down when you hear they moved down (mostly because you’re seeing who is on the board right at that time)…I don’t think that will be the case this year.

    1. That may be a good post idea, Dobber. I could look into who may be looking to trade up into the late 1st round.

      For example: There’s always a run on QBs. Whether that’s in the top-half of the first round, the second round, or the late first, it’ll happen. Maybe a team tries to move into 26 to grab EJ Manuel, Ryan Nassib or Matt Barkley.

      I’ll try to put something together on that.

      1. I think that the most common situation that people think about when a team is looking to trade up to the late 1st round is when there are teams that want to grab a QB. However, there have been precious few QBs taken in the mid-to-late 1st round since 2009 (J. Freeman, Tebow and Weeden).

        That’s not to say that it won’t happen, but I think it is tougher than most people think to find a willing partner for the “tango.”

        It’s fun to pencil it out though, and see what could be possible!

        By the way, I think Margus Hunt goes in the mid 1st round. (The Bruce Irvin Effect)

  5. Pickett is entering the twilight of his career, but he was every bit as good last year as he’s been for the past 5 years. He’ll bet another 2 or 3 yr deal after this year at a reduced salary. He’s not going anywhere and all this talk that Raji is a 5 DE more than a NT is ridiculous! He’s playing DE out of position just like Pickett did for a couple years cuz Pickett doesn’t have the mobility to do it anymore. Raji is still the NT of the Packers future. No need at all to waste a draft pick on another one.

    And Hunt is as big as he’s gonna get! He’s a 43 DE and will be an utter failure as a 34 DE. He’s an outside pass rusher and get manhandled inside.

    1. I have to agree. I don’t see Hunt as much more than what you’ve described. Something about him reminds me of Sean Jones…maybe it’s just the dimensions, but Jones would’ve never held up as a 3-4 end, either. I could be dead wrong (and if the Packers take him, I hope I am).

    2. Like about Pickett and agree. Expect the Pick to be there for another 2 or three years.

      I don’t know if Hunt can’t add the weight in next year or so. Dom might like a 43 DE in his sceme’s. I do like that Hunt will play ST and add another dimention. TT and team will need to determine if they think he can grow into that role.

  6. Well thought out! I enjoyed reading it this morning.

    The DL is used to hold up the OL from getting to the LB’s. Someone like Brandon Williams will do (versus a Jenkins who has bust written on him)(IMO).
    Pickett might get signed again and if jolly if back then the need isn’t as great and TT can get a big guy in latter rounds.

    However, Hunt is interesting from the fact he will contribute on ST starting day 1. Having him block a field goal in first half of season will make teams think about 50Plus attempts. More punts and fewer opponent scores. Depending upon Jolly who swatted passes down – This two could take out a few passing lanes for oppossing QB’s. SF is very interested in HUNT and TT might be able to get good picks from them (if TT isn’t hot for hunt)

    WR: I like Patton but the position has five NFL experienced veterans returning. Not as high on the needs list. (IMO)TT can find a young guy to develop – if he hasn’t already.

    RB: GB needs a RB who will pick up 3rd and 1’s. Big area of failure last year. I also like Bernard but if GB take him, they still needs a guy to get the 3rd and 1’s (IMO). TT might then trade harris to move up in the 2nd (with Miami?) to get Bell, Ball or Lacy. Add two RB’s this year to fix this position.

    If coopper or olgletree drops to 26th I think TT would also jump. If TT doesn’t find a trade partner I think HUNT or elam/reid will be the pick at 26th.

    I can’t wait for the draft to see it all unfold.

    Marques thank you for putting this well written piece together. One editting issue: Para just before #1 you have:
    ( But year’s draft lacks star power at the top, and rounds two and three figure to be loaded with NFL-ready talent,

    Did you want But “this” year’s draft?

    1. Thanks, Pat. And yes, that paragraph could use the word “this.” Good catch.

    2. “WR: I like Patton but the position has five NFL experienced veterans returning. Not as high on the needs list. (IMO)TT can find a young guy to develop – if he hasn’t already.”

      Are you counting two players twice? Boykin and Ross certainly don’t count as “experienced NFL receivers”…at least not the extent that I want our passing-dominant offense to rely on them to any degree. We disagree here, but I would say there’s no need to draft a WR at #26. Round 2 would be fine, given the number of “Packer type” receivers in this year’s draft.

      1. I said “NFL EXPERIENCED veterans” not NFL Experienced receivers. Yes, I count both as experienced NFL players that are on the roster. Boykin has receiving experience and Arods approval. ROSS is a return guy who will go through OTA’s this year putting him a step ahead of any drafted WR. TT has already signed a few other WR’s as well.

        My point is that this isn’t as big an area of need as RB where any two or three of the RB’s will be instant starters and better than what we have. Any WR will take a year or two to get AROD comfortable with them.

        Agree #26 is not for a WR. RND 2 or Rnd 3 or even lower depending upon what the talent guys have found.

  7. Trade down 1-26 for 2-33 and 4-98. Pick 2-33 RB Lacy; 2-56 NT Jenkins; 3-88 WR Wheaton; 4-98 C Jones; and 4-122 TE McDonald.

  8. I have been seeing this years draft very similar to your article. This draft is loaded and it looks like there is potentially 60 prospects that could easily be first round players. No draft experts have an excellent grip on where players pan out based on their past analysis. It was easier to pick the last couple of years where players fit by their scouted grades.

    The Packers should stay in the first round if Cyprien is available. I like him better than Vacarro. Vacarro, I believe will be gone somewhere in the middle round, but I don’t see another team picking a safety until the 49’rs turn. The only other pick I see the Packers going for in the first round is a Defensive Lineman. Datone Jones is a good one, but I like Sylvester Williams and Jesse Williams better because they add good rotation for Pickett and Raji which I think would greatly help the defense. However I wouldn’t be dissappointed (in fact prefer it…) seeing them trade back to the early second round, and pick Margus Hunt. He would be a different type of player that I think the Packers are missing. There is a lot of upside to draft and development, since he offers the athletic speed and strength combination as well as length that the line Coach, Trgovac, has been hinting at.

  9. How about this…since the Packers are about to spend in excess of 100 million dollars to extend Aaron R’s contract, TT trades this year’s and next year’s first round picks and a fourth round pick this year to Cleveland in order to draft Lane Johnson to protect AR’s blindside for the next ten years?

    1. How about seeing if Derek Sherrod can do that, before investing a third first-round pick at OT….

  10. I think a great place to be would be in the first 2-3 picks of round 2. After the break, just like the days of the 2-day draft, there’s a flurry of activity as teams have time to analyze who’s left on the board and what they would want. Could be a prime location for someone to overpay for a pick.

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