As we sit here waiting…and waiting…and waiting for the NFL draft to come around, now is as good a time as any to look back on Packers general manager Ted Thompson’s draft classes.
This draft will be Thompson’s 10th. Let’s rank his first nine classes best to worst, even if it’s still too early to judge some of the more recent classes.
- 2005. How do you not put the draft where Thompson selected Aaron Rodgers and Nick Collins in your top slot? I scratched my head when Thompson took Rodgers (apparently he couldn’t find a trade partner in time), but, unlike 23 other general managers, Thompson pulled the trigger and rescued Rodgers from the green room at Radio City Music Hall. It might have been a bit of a head-scratcher at the time, but now the Packers have the best quarterback in the league. The Packers would probably still have one of the best safeties in the league if Collins didn’t have his career shortened by a neck injury. Thompson’s first draft was 2005 and was a helluva way to start off as the new general manager. I suppose if you’re a glass-half-empty type of person, you could say Thompson’s drafts have all gone downhill since.
- 2009. After taking B.J. Raji ninth overall, Thompson traded back into the first round to nab Clay Matthews. He also picked up T.J. Lang in the fourth and Brad Jones in the seventh. Yeah, Raji fell off a cliff last season, but let’s not forget what he did to help the Packers win a Super Bowl. When Matthews is healthy, he’s one of the most dynamic defensive players in the game. Grabbing a starting guard in Lang and solid backup/fringe starter in Jones later in the draft gave 2009 a slight edge over…
- 2008. I probably would have given 2008 the nod over 2009 if not for Brian Brohm, a complete bust of a pick in the second round. But Thompson did end up finding his backup quarterback/oh-crap-what-if-Aaron-Rodgers-flops option later with Matt Flynn in the seventh round. Before finding Flynn, Thompson took Jordy Nelson, Jermichael Finely and Josh Sitton. Yeah, that’s a helluva haul.
- 2013. Yup, I’m ranking 2013 this high even though we still don’t know for sure how the players from this class will turn out. Eddie Lacy helped save the Packers season in his rookie campaign. Micah Hyde played like Charles Woodson-lite at times. David Bakhtiari was thrown into the deep end of the starting lineup at left tackle and didn’t drown. Datone Jones didn’t do much, but you need to be patient with rookie defensive linemen. I’ve got high hopes for the 2013 class taking a big step forward and helping to make up for some of Thompson’s whiffs in 2011 and 2012.
- 2006. A.J. Hawk has not lived up to the expectations of a No. 5 overall pick, but he’s one of the few defensive players drafted by Thompson who is not made of paper. Unlike the rest of the Packers defense under Thompson, Hawk has stayed healthy and played in 126 games. Thompson found Greg Jennings in the second round of this draft and also added Johnny Jolly in the sixth. Throw in Daryn Colledge in the second, and it was another solid showing
- 2012. We’ll find out for sure this season if the 2012 class will move up or down these rankings. It’s time to find out if Nick Perry can play and if Casey Hayward can stay healthy and build on his rookie season after missing most of 2013. Can Jerel Worthy bounce back from a major injury and fill some type of role on the defensive line? Can Mike Daniels keep playing like a Tasmanian devil and give the Packers the pass rush they need from the defensive line?
- 2007. Justin Harrell in the first round torpedoed this draft. James Jones, Desmond Bishop and Mason Crosby turned out to be decent finds later in the draft, but the shadow of Harrell will always loom over this class.
- 2010. A ho-hum class that had potential to be good with Bryan Bulaga at the top. Unfortunately, like too many of Thompson’s recent draft picks, Bulaga can’t stay on the field.
- 2011. The Packers won the Super Bowl in 2010 and Thompson followed it up with this dud of a draft. Derek Sherrod, Alex Green, D.J. Smith and Ricky Elmore. Yuck. Not even Randall Cobb could rescue this class from a last-place finish.
Packers news, notes and links
- Want to be even more depressed about the Packers 2011 draft? Check out Zach Kruse’s analysis over at CheeseheadTV.
- Who’s got two thumbs and needs to stay healthy in 2014? Clay Matthews. Unfortunately, it sounds like Matthews injured thumb isn’t 100 percent yet, but he thinks it will be by training camp.
- The Packers re-signed Matt Flynn. No more talk about backup quarterbacks until at least 2020, please.
- Mock drafts drive me crazy. They’re useless. But for some reason, whenever I see a new mock draft pop up on Twitter, I click on it and read the whole damn thing. If you like driving yourself crazy like I do, here is a good summary of Packers selections in various mock drafts.
- John Rehor shares a story about meeting Lynn Dickey.
- We’re still like three weeks away from the draft. This is maddening. NFL: Don’t ever delay the draft into May again.
- The longer the draft gets delayed, the more stuff like this happens.
Non-Packers news, notes and links
- The weather has been crappy all week and it even snowed. But it was still a good week because Mastodon released a new single.
- This is an amazing story about the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig. Take the time and give it a read.
- Back when I played baseball in high school we pulled some good pranks on each other, but never this good.
- The new version of Out of the Park Baseball (OOTP) comes out Monday. Those of you who know me know I am obsessed with sports management sims and OOTP is the best out there. I’ll have a full review/overview of the latest version next week.
Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .
22 thoughts on “Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived”
Thompson never had any intent to trade the pick to someone who needed a QB. Talk leading up to the draft was that it was possible Rodgers was falling out of the top 10. Another GM asked Thompson if he was going to take Rodgers if he fell and Thompson didn’t give anything away. But the talk was out there.
While the draft was going on and the Packers pick was nearing and Rodgers was still on the board, he took Harlan outside the draft room briefly and told him he was going to make a very unpopular pick and take Rodgers if he was there. He never had any intentions of trading out of the spot. He intended to take Rodgers if he was there.
Thanks for the comment, Stoh. I expect TT will do the same thing if the opportunity arises again in, say, 2018 or so.
TT had his eye on AR all along…..thought he was cute.
TT was sick of Favre sexting him all the time, he was ready for new meat…
You are right about the draft being so far away it’s driving me crazy!
Ted would’ve pulled the trigger on a deal to move back in 2005. But I suppose you could say the same about any pick.
It’s pretty hard to discredit that source.
I don’t think the source says what the author contends. Clearly, TT did not run up to the podium to submit AROD’s name. But AROD was the last 1st rd talent on the board. The article states that TT did not actively look for a trading partner. They had AROD on the phone. But they did wait to see if someone would make an offer for the AROD pick. Sounds to me like TT might have passed on AROD if the proposed deal had been good enough. Might’ve – not would’ve. But thanks for the article: it’s interesting.
The funny thing is… He IS the author! LOL
I said the same thing below, tho not quite as succinctly.
Let’s not rewrite history – it was widely reported at the time that TT did everything in his power NOT to draft AROD. In fact, three years after drafting AROD, TT still was not convinced he was any good. Hence the INFAMOUS R2 pick of Brian Brohm.
Subtract AROD and CMIII from the last 9 drafts and you are looking at one sorry draft record. Don’t get me going on Easter!
1 – C Pryor or R Shazier
2 – T Niklas
Go for BPA, not need. TT says he’s a BPA type but it is obvious to me that he drafts for need. Above picks = need + BPA.
Do you really believe Brohm’s drafting means that TT didn’t have confidence in Rodgers?
Why else would you draft a QB in R2 when you had an unproven QB ready to assume the starter’s role? It is obvious that three years in, TT/MM still did not realize what they had in AROD. Let’s see, you have a young QB that within a couple of years would lead you to a SB win and be recognized as the best young QB on the planet and you use a R2 pick on the biggest bust at QB I can ever remember? Does that make sense to you? Of course not. You only take a QB at that time in that round if you have little faith in AROD.
Because he didn’t have ANY other QB’s on the roster and maybe he wanted a backup that would be able to help sooner rather than after development.
1) The Packers didn’t blink in letting Brett Favre walk out the door.
2) Have you ever watched Ted Thompson run a draft?
I rest my case.
Why would TT go through the circus of letting Favre go, if he didn’t believe Rodgers was any good?
Adam, thanks for the link. I hadn’t ever read that part of the history.
It indicates that Rodgers was the only 1st rd prospect left on the Packers board at the time of the pick. And that they didn’t receive any calls. The fact they didn’t receive any calls, first isn’t surprising since other teams above them probably would have too and possibly moved down if they had the chance. Second it also indicates that they weren’t actively shopping the pick, which if they wanted to deal they would have been trying to find a partner, not waiting to see if someone called.
Taken together it indicates only that they would have listened, not that they would have or wanted to trade down. If a team had called, it likely would have taken a pretty sizable offer to entice Thompson to trade down, since Rodgers was the only 1st rd prospect left on his board and QB’s carry more of a premium.
After that conversation w/ the other GM it also stated, that Thompson did extra scouting and watched as much film on Rodgers as he could find, since he hadn’t thought Rodgers would fall to the Packers pick before that.
Sorry to burst your bubble Archie, but NOTHING in that or any other account I’ve read indicates that Thompson did anything to try NOT to draft Rodgers. Only that he did his due diligence on a player he otherwise thought was beyond his reach. Its not surprising that Thompson wouldn’t have moved up to get Rodgers since he already had a franchise QB. But the two conversations I mentioned w/ the GM and Harlan shows Thompson would have listened to offers and that he wasn’t trying not to draft Rodgers.
The fact they had Rodgers on the phone while on the clock indicates that Thompson was pretty committed to drafting Rodgers.
You’re exactly right, Stroh. The bottom line is TT could have drafted anyone he wanted to, and he took Rodgers. Anyone who doesn’t give him credit for that has no credibility whatsoever.
Great article, I really enjoyed the review of TT’s drafts. Thanks to Adam Czech for his consistently fine work during this interminable off-season.
Nine first round picks in nine years – how did Teddy do?
GREAT R1 PICKS:
W/o those picks we don’t smell the SB and maybe not even a plus 500 record.
AWFUL R1 PICKS
AJ Hawk 2006
Justin Harrell 2007
BJ Raji 2009
D Sherrod 2011
Nick Perry 2012
Datone Jones 2013
NOTE: I will admit injury has hurt many of these top picks, in all cases, it is clear in retrospect, that there were much better moves to be made than what Teddy did.
No R1 PICK
2008 but credit must be given for Jordy Nelson at top of R2.
The reasons why the Pack defense and OL are still considered weaknesses, nine years after TT took control of this team, can be traced to his R1 failures. Yes he has one SB win (miracle) and an excellent W-L record but the latter is largely attributable to having two winning QBs. We saw last year what this team looks like w/o AROD and it ain’t pretty.
On the button Archie….this is a 4th place team in the North without Rodgers. Very lucky not to have gone 0-8 during that stretch. You can get by with bad drafts and no FA signings for just so long. TT without question the most overrated GM in any sport. Without 2 HOF qb’s he’s run out of town years ago. The fact he did basically nothing aside from a roll of the dice on Peppers after witnessing that run last year with $ to spend is mind boggling. Could have signed Shields earlier, but overpays and then gets all his mediocre guys back in the fold. It’s no wonder Favre hates him. He and Rodgers will finally have sowething in common.
To call Datone Jones a bust is a joke. I’ve mentioned a few times for you to take a look at the stats put up by Floyd #23, Werner #24, Williams #28, and Jones the #26th pick of the 1st round last year and then come back and call him a bust.
By retrospect you mean hindsight don’t you Archie? It’s always 20/20 years later now isn’t it. Funny thing is, all these players except Harrell were pretty much injury free in College. I’ll give you Harrell, that’s it. Sherrod had a horrific injury, we may never know how good OR bad he might have been. When you’re over 320 Lbs. and your leg snaps in 2 different places, well it’s just not that simple to line up and play again Archie.
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