Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson has gained a reputation for his draft-day trades over the 10 seasons that he’s handled the Packers’ picks. In this, his 11th season, all signs point to more wheeling and dealing. Despite his nickname, Trader Ted, Thompson didn’t make a single trade in the 2014 draft and it was the first time that happened during his tenure in Green Bay. The Packers nearly made a magical trip to Super Bowl XLIX, and probably should have. Is it possible we see another trade-less draft by Ted this year?
All signs point to “no”. The Packers enter this draft with nine picks in seven rounds. Sounds like a hefty total for most teams but these are Ted Thompson’s Packers we’re talking about. Green Bay was the last team to sign any type of free agent this season and it was a very lackluster signing at that (LB Josh Francis). With that, Packers fans are looking at another year in which Thompson uses the draft as his sole method of acquiring new talent for this year’s team. Draft and develop has long been Ted’s motto and this year, it rings true again.
Shortly after the 2014 season ended, the Packers made some personnel changes, letting go of veterans Brandon Bostick, A.J. Hawk, and Brad Jones. They were also unable to re-sign a few of their own in cornerbacks Davon House and Tramon Williams, running back DuJuan Harris and linebacker Jamari Lattimore. All of those players were starters in some capacity, even if just special teams. They’ll all need to be replaced.
At least two of those positions remain up for grabs (inside linebacker and cornerback). Casey Hayward is slated to take over at Williams’ departed outside cornerback spot, but may see some competition from some of this draft class. At inside linebacker, the Packers return only Carl Bradford who didn’t play a single snap in a regular season game last season. Some say Bradford wouldn’t have made the team were it not for his being taken in the fourth round. If Thompson is going to find the heir apparents to these positions of need, he’s going to need to either strike it rich with the picks he has, or try to acquire more chances and play the averages.
With the success the Packers had in 2014, they find themselves picking very late in most rounds. That allows them to assess the value at their spot and look to trade back and acquire more picks while still getting a player of good value. We’ve seen some mid and late-round picks turn out to be real steals in the past. Future Packers Hall of Fame receiver Donald Driver was a seventh round pick and he holds the record for most receptions and receiving yards in Packers history. Guard Josh Sitton was a fourth round pick in 2008 and he’s arguably the best in the league at his position. With the Packers essentially picking early in the second round, they’ll have a chance to stack up some additional picks in the third through seventh rounds.
While these later picks bring about names that few have heard of, it’s day three where the Packers have found some of their current and past gems. And the team’s recent history speaks for itself. Six-straight playoff appearances, two conference championship appearances and one Super Bowl win. It’s far from a forgone conclusion that Thompson will find that needed diamond in the rough this time around, but you can bet on his adding more chances sooner or later in yet another Packers draft.——————
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: