Did the Packers Want to Draft Kyle Long?

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“A couple of days before the draft, I heard the Cowboys were a threat to take (Kyle) Long in the first round, perhaps if they moved down from the 18th pick. I later heard from league sources outside of Halas Hall that the Colts (24th pick) and Rams (22nd pick) were very interested in drafting him. Some suspected the Packers (26th pick) also were in the Long market.” – Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune

This recent bit of news caught my attention claiming that Kyle Long was actually a very hot commodity in the 1st round with at least 4 other teams, including the Packers, were willing to take the multifaceted offensive linemen, who will begin his career as a guard.  The only reason that this struck me as a little odd was that this exact same story popped up after last year’s draft, again involving an offensive guard.  In 2012, Kevin Zeitler was selected 27th overall to the Cincinnati Bengals, one spot ahead of Nick Perry, who was selected by Packers with the 28th overall pick.  Again the Packers were rumored to be in love with Zeitler and were distraught when the Bengals stole him away with the pick before theirs that they dejectedly handed in their card for Perry (so the story goes).

From the offset, the question becomes what would the Packers do with a high draft pick guard in either 2012 or 2013?  General manager Ted Thompson seems to like his current two starters in TJ Lang and Josh Sitton, both who where signed to extensions without hitting free agency, which is perhaps the highest honor Thompson can bestow a player.  But again, with “the silver fox” you never really know what he’s going to do in the draft, sometimes he drafts heavy in positions of depth while ignoring positions of need, ostensibly under the “best player available” philosophy.  I don’t claim to know how Ted Thompson truly operates, but I’d assume that if a guard were the best player available, he probably wouldn’t hesitate to draft him.

While we might never know if Ted Thompson would have ever taken either Zeitler or Long, we can look at how he’s managed his past drafts and roster in order to get a better idea of how important a guard truly is to the Packers.  Below is a list of every offensive lineman the Packers have drafted under the Ted Thompson administration.  Keep in mind, college stats are a little jumbled and hard to find, especially for players from less well known schools who were projected to be high round draft picks.  Also no one knows exactly where the two rookie offensive linemen are going to ultimately line up, but my best guess is that Bakthtiari stays at tackle while Tretter moves inside to guard.




As you can see Ted Thompson loves tackles, especially left tackles and really doesn’t like guards.  Out of 17 offensive linemen that Ted Thompson has drafted really only 2 were guards in college and became a guard with the Packers; both were drafted near the bottom of the draft and neither did all that all that much (with the Packers or anywhere else).  Caleb Schlauderaff didn’t make it to the active roster as a rookie and was subsequently traded to the New York Jets while Will Whitticker was a backup guard in college and with the Packers, but only for one season.  You could make the argument that Jason Spitz also played guard in college, but was tabbed as a interior swing man and center of the future with the Packers (who ultimately lost the starting spot to Scott Wells).  All in all, Ted Thompson has only used 3 draft picks out of 17 on college interior linemen.

What Ted Thompson does like to do is take college left tackles and convert them into guards.  Initially, this actually seems like a great idea; left tackle is considered the premium position on the offensive line and colleges typically put their best athlete at left tackle.  However, college defenses aren’t as fast or as strong as in the pros so often times successful college left tackles who got by without good feet can kick into the interior positions.  Current guards Josh Sitton (right tackle), TJ Lang (left tackle), Don Barclay (left tackle) and Greg Van Roten (left tackle) were all offensive tackles in college.  In fact, there have only been two tackles drafted who played exclusively on the right side; one was Breno Giacomini, a tight end conversion who only started playing tackle in his senior season and was still developing into a offensive linemen and Josh Sitton, who played right tackle in college but was immediately penciled in as a guard after he was drafted.

In all, I would argue that the Packers do not put much importance on college guards and their thinking is that it’s a better idea to get a more athletic college left tackle and convert them to guard in the pros.  With that in mind, I have my serious doubts whether or not the Packers were truly interested in either Zeitler last year or Long this year with a high draft pick.   News coming out of the Packers’ front office is often misinterpreted; the Packers enquired about Michael Vick when he was released from prison and there are still rumors that the Packers are one team that is open to bringing in Tim Tebow.  Of course neither rumor has ultimately turned out to be true, the Eagles were perhaps the only team willing to take a shot with Vick and so far the only news about Tim Tebow is how no team wants him.

My personal feeling is that writers and fans are less than thrilled about their team picking a guard in the 1st round; after all it’s probably the least sexy position in football so in order to generate good buzz and for fans to justify the pick, they assert that a lot of teams wanted that player, hence it was a great decision.  Even going further on Dan Pompei’s article, he asserts that Long is in fact a top 10 pick, in which case the Bears got a fantastic deal.  Perhaps Pompei thinks that Long will ultimately end up as an offensive tackle, which have a higher premium but offensive linemen with very little experience are almost never picked that high; unlikely defensive linemen (where inexperience almost seems like a positive), offensive line play is more about technique than raw power and technique is something you learn by playing.  Either way, all this talk is pure conjecture, and only Long’s talent on the field will ultimately justify his pick.


Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.


36 thoughts on “Did the Packers Want to Draft Kyle Long?

  1. Just some hyperbole tossed about by a Bears beatwriter desperate to kick up some copy on a slow news day and make the Bears faithful try to feel good about once again wasting a pick on a hump OL that will help keep Cutty staring at the clouds. And as an added bonus, sprinkling some fantasy into the story about how the Bears “kept the Packers from getting the player they really wanted” so the developmentally delayed fans to the south could feel better about their crappy pick.

    Bear down Chicago Bears – yeah right.

    1. I’d have to agree, Savage. No where did I read any article of Long making it the first round. Years of bad picks (Carimi) probably caused the Bears to reach. You could make an argument about a center (Fredricks) going in the first round as a reach, but not as much as a reach as Long. Who probably will eventually be a good Linemen. But you try to spend your first pick on a starter, not a developing player.

    2. I actually think that Pompei is pretty good. He’s sort of a poor man’s Bob McGinn.

      And to be fair, he only said “some suspected” that GB was interested. That isn’t really pounding the table.

      1. Blind squirreled media… Does anybody really know what TT likes or how his board is set up? I find it funny how many writers act like they have insider info. on TT. This may be true about Long and TT, but I wouldn’t put it past “the silver fox” to drop a few hints (wink, wink) that they “really want” (nod, nod) Long. Hook, line, and sinker…Chicago reached?…That would be a story.

        1. I’d say one guy I would give more credence to would be Andrew Brandy of the National Football Post. He was the Packers team vice president from 1999 to 2008, so he probably knows better than anyone (who is willing to talk at least) what’s going on in Ted Thompson’s mind.

          1. Brandt not Brandy correct? But yes – I trust Brandt’s insight on TT much more than any other source

      2. “SOME SUSPECT the Packers (26th pick) also were in the Long market”

        Some who? Some GMs? Scouts? Even analysts? Who the fuck are you talking about?

        And “suspect”? Are you really making a journalistic piece citing supposition by anonymous (I can’t even call that source, because it’s not)?

        Yeah, terrific journalist. I’ll take cow’s rants over this piece of shit’s any day of the week.

        Cow posts his opinion only.

        This hack makes up bullshit to sound more credible.

        People like him denigrates the image of a whole class. And the worst part is that he’s actually paid, and well, by an important media outlet, to vent his manure of a text.

        Waste of semen. There, I said it.

        1. LOL! No, tell us what you REALLY think.

          I don’t doubt that Pompei spoke to at least one legitimate source in writing his article… which is to say, I suspect he had at least one more legitimate source than you do.

          Why all this insecurity? The guy just said someone thought the Packers might be interested in Long.

          1. Why make it about me when I not once compared me with Pompei?

            BTW, I’ve been told by someone that there’s a beautiful beachfront property in Iowa for sale. I suspect you would be interested.

            1. YOU made it about you. You bitterly complain about people who don’t back up their statements with sources, yet it is self-evident that you yourself do not have sources. So tell us… who told you that the Packers WEREN’T interested in Long? If you can’t reveal your sources, I guess that makes you one of those people who are a “waste of semen”, huh?

              I don’t know why you have your panties in a bunch anyway. They guy said, “I heard that some teams thought the Packers were interested in Long.” He doesn’t even say those teams were correct. He just says that is what they suspected. How is this a problem to you?

              1. Don’t be too hard on PackersRS for calling bullshit to this guy’s hearsay article.

              2. “who told you that the Packers WEREN’T interested in Long?”

                1. I never said they weren’t. I said Dan Pompei made that shit up without using any kind of basis because he knew that if he used anything factual he could be quoted on that and called out. That’s why he didn’t put the Packers in his first sentence (which could very well also be made up), where he at least states something kind of factual. Instead, he made a separate line to claim supposition about the Packers. As Savage said, this was a column to praise the Bears’ pick, in spite of EVERY SINGLE media claiming that they reached. It was obviously to make the Bears appear like winners and please Bears’ fans. It’s not the same thing. They may had been interested in the guy. It may have been to use their first pick on him. But “league sources’ supposition” is not fact. They don’t know if the Packers were. He doesn’t know if the Packers were. It doesn’t mean they weren’t.

                2. You are asking me to provide negative proof of something contrary to what I never said in the first place. Request for negative proof is already an affront in it’s own right(ask any law professional if this procedure stands in any type of court.) Let me clear this up to you. With this logic, I could claim that you killed a man based on anonymous sources. And, for you to be absolved, you’d have to prove that you didn’t. You see absurd in it?

                Of course you don’t. You obviously can’t comprehend any of this. You don’t even get what’s the problem with Pompei’s article in the first place.

                So, I’ve wasted enough time with you. I’ll leave you with your Pompei, or Florio, or Bayless. That’s the beauty of freedom. Everyone can choose whatever they like to read. Fare thee well.

              3. You’ve made a wild, half-assed guess that Pompei was utterly unprincipled in writing his article. You admit that you have no personal knowledge of the situation, and yet you are absolutely certain that Pompei printed a complete fabrication. How is that?

                Clearly, you know nothing. You even admit it yourself. Nevertheless, you are making a baseless claim that is unsubstantiated by factual evidence. And this is exactly what you blast Pompei for doing. So not only are you condemning Pompei without evidence, but you are being a big, fat hypocrite while doing it.

                Yeah, fare thee well.

        2. Well that’s kinda of the problem, journalistic integrity would dictate that if his source doesn’t want to be named, Pompei shouldn’t cite his source. However, Pompei is senior enough where I doubt he would be making stuff up, someone told him. The guy could be lying to Pompei for whatever reason, but I don’t think Pompei is making it up

          1. Apparently my previous post got flagged as spam, maybe there’s a limit to providing links or posting too quickly or whatever, so I’ll link them in separate posts.

            That is not the problem. Protecting sources is not the problem.


            I’ll quote it:

            “* Using anonymous sources only with extreme caution (and never solely for the purpose of expressing an opinion about someone else).”

            Dressing opinion as fact is not journalistic integrity.

            He had no business posting that bit about the Packers. Vehiculating supposition of unnamed sources is adding false credibility to a claim. That right there is unethical.

            Seniority is not validation either…

            1. It’s quite possible that Pompei asked someone within a front office and they mentioned that they thought that the Packers might select Long. I would claim that is a direct source and if they said this after the draft there probably isn’t much reason to spin it. If that person asked to remain anonymous because his organization doesn’t want their front office guys talking to the media, is Pompei then not allowed to use it in his story?

              1. “there probably isn’t much reason to spin it.”

                Yes, there is.

                “If that person asked to remain anonymous because his organization doesn’t want their front office guys talking to the media, is Pompei then not allowed to use it in his story?”

                Yes. Speculation is gossip. Journalism is facts. Even if the source allowed his name to be posted, it would still be gossip.

          2. …Read Milgram’s experiment on Obedience to Authority. (can’t post the link apparently)

            Also pick up Mass Communication Theories, by Mauro Wolf. The chapters about Agenda Setting, Newsmaking and Mass Culture (Edgar Morin) are particularly relevant to the subject.

            You’ll understand my “frustration” with this topic.

      3. I’ll agree with you on that, but he wouldn’t throw in the Packers name if he didn’t think the Packers would have considered Long at 26

        1. Yes he would. He’s already making a feel good article (fuck impartiality), why not casually indicate that the Bears got the upper hand against their most hated rival?

          1. RS, are you having a bad day?

            I’ve never seen you so seemingly hostile and profane.

            1. I hate when a partial media tries to appear as impartial.

              I hate it even more that the reason it actually succeeds in doing so is because people refuse to see it.

              “Bears Reaching for Greatness” is the title of the article. Right there in the title it said everything one needed to know.

              Yet, in a Packers blog, by Packers fans, people don’t see a problem with that.

              Not all people. There are plenty that see through this. But there are plenty that don’t. Thus, guys like him continue to be employed. And guys like Al don’t get the same chances.

              So, I’m more mad at society than at some people here and at Pompei. That’s the reason. But I can’t just stand by and let this walk…

  2. “We are always pursuing every opportunity to improve our team”

    When Ted Thompson says this he really means “We will never tell you if we are actually interested in a player, you doofus.”

    What reporters *hear* is “The Packers are really really interested in player x.”

    Are Bears fans smarter than their reporters? I think Savage57 answered that one.

    1. I don’t have any connections in Chicago, what was the fan reaction when Long was drafted?

  3. Since the Bears don’t know what they are doing, I doubt that TT would have been interested especially in the first round.

    Sorry, just fodder thrown out to make the Bears feel better about themselves.

    1. Well the front office and coaching staff is completely different from a couple years ago so I don’t think anyone knows exactly what the Bears are doing; I’m not saying that their picks are going to be busts, but they don’t have the reputation/history of hitting on picks to say otherwise as well.

    2. I think there was a good chance TT would have picked Long with one of his 4th round picks.

  4. Pompei is the illegitimate son of McGinn. Lots of yada, yada, yada and no substance. 🙂

    1. Who knows, maybe they’re trying to follow the Nolan Nawrocki style of journalism. Then again, I would say Nawrocki’s assessment of Cam Newton and Geno Smith haven’t been completely off base so far.

  5. I have to admit I really like Dan Pompei; his Sunday Blitz article for the National Football Post is always entertaining. We’ll never know if TT was interested in Kyle Long but if Pompei says he was, he probably had a source for it! I wouldn’t have been thrilled if the Packers took a guy with six total games of starting experience at guard, but I don’t get paid for my opinion…

    1. I would say Thompson probably puts less stock on physical measurables than most GMs, my feeling on Thompson has always been that he favors experience and technique a lot more.

  6. Wow! A bullshit article becomes a really hot topic? Must be a slow day!
    That said, isn’t any offensive lineman, drafted by the Bears in the first round, almost certain to be a major bust?

    1. Jimbo Covert and Keith Van Horne were pretty decent 1st round offensive linemen…..they did play in the 1980s though so it has been a while….

  7. Personally, I doubt that TT had this guy in mind as a 1st round pick. I just don’t think he’s really going to ‘get it’ for about 2 years. I think he’s going to become a very good player but at this point, he’s not 1st round / instant starter material, considering that he had only five starts at Oregon after playing junior college ball! He was a mid-low 2nd – 3rd round pick who had a name and blood lines and Chicago made a reach for him because he’s 6-6 / 313, and … well … to be honest … they ain’t got NUTHIN! LOL

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