What Was Packers Boldest Draft Move?

Packers draft

Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson says that it’s not a democracy in the draft room when it comes time to make a pick.  He, like every other NFL team, has an army of scouts and personnel men who spend their entire year trying to dig up the next gem that is going to help the Packers win another Lombardi trophy.  Tireless hours on the road looking at players, watching tape, grading, note taking, interviewing.  And Ted does a lot of those things on his own as well!

It’s no secret that there are those who agree with and love Thompson’s style and also those who tire of his lack of activity with proven veterans in free agency or lack of interest in trading up to make a splash and land a bigger name in the draft.  As I’ve said many times before, the Packers find themselves in the playoffs more often than not and teams can’t win a championship without first making the postseason.

Before I go any further, I want to give a huge shout out to my team here at ALLGBP.com.  They put in a lot of time and good work this past weekend in covering the team’s draft picks and analyzing the Packers draft.  We have been fortunate enough to see our page visits grow each year and this year was the biggest jump in numbers yet.  Kudos to Al and my team as well as all of you for supporting the good work!

So here we are, another draft in the books and several undrafted free agents added as well.  Eight players were taken in rounds one through six and as is usually the case, there were a few head scratchers from Thompson.  Last year, he took two players in the third round that were not well known and that did not have third-round grades on most other teams’ boards (Khyri Thornton and Richard Rodgers).  In 2012, Thompson took a chance on a small-school safety in Jerron McMillian in the fourth round, hoping to find some gold as he did when he took Nick Collins in 2005.

2015 started off with an interesting selection, as the Packers stayed put at pick 30 and selected defensive back Damarious Randall of Arizona State.  Thompson cited a good value for Randall at that spot and he’s expected to line up at cornerback in training camp.  Randall saw his stock rising prior to the draft and had a first-round grade according to a few analysts.  Randall’s tape looks good as far as his ball skills, but he is raw and is known for missing more tackles than most coaches want to see.  He certainly wasn’t mocked to the Packers by any of the draftniks and they just spent a first-round pick last year on a safety, so I’d venture to say that had we been doing a draft pool, very few if any would have won.  If Randall turns out to be a solid contributor, it could prove to be one of the steals of the draft.  But was it Ted’s boldest move?

In round two, another interesting choice in that of cornerback Quentin Rollins of Miami.  Not “The U”.  Miami of Ohio.  Rollins is another player that isn’t as well known but the Packers saw something in him that they liked enough to use an early pick.  Considering that Thompson has had a good history of success in round two, there is reason for optimism among Packers fans about the Rollins pick.  It gave the Packers another cornerback to help replace the departed Tramon Williams and Davon House and an early enough pick to expect that Rollins should play on defense this season.  So was this the boldest move of the draft?

The Rollins pick may have been the one most on the radar until the fifth round came along.  I wrote about Trader Ted and how he wasn’t likely to go another draft without making some sort of trade.  With needs seeming to be at defensive back and linebacker, conventional wisdom said that Thompson needed to add some bodies to this year’s stock pile.  The only way to do that is to trade back.  The Packers were sitting with the 166th pick when they made a move and traded with the New England Patriots (historically a common trade partner) all the way up to 147.  At that point, they had already picked up two defensive backs and linebacker Jake Ryan of Michigan so what was Ted up to?  Surely it was more defensive help, thought many of us as the news was slowly trickling in that the Packers had made the move.

When the pick was announced, it did not disappoint in terms of a reaction from other teams, analysts, media and fans.  Quarterback Brett Hundley of UCLA.  Hundley was thought to be one of the top quarterbacks in the draft and was projected as high as round two by some.  Clearly the value that I talked about earlier was there in the fifth round.  But this is a player who may be only a few years away from being ready to play in the NFL.  Aaron Rodgers has more than a few years left, as it stands.  So why?

Many already know the answer to this.  The early speculation was that the Packers might deal Hundley now and picked him to help them in a trade scenario for an impact player.  Others thought the Packers would use the four-year deal that rookies sign to develop Hundley and assess his value at that time.  The latter seems most likely and we need only look at Rodgers as a prime example of what head coach Mike McCarthy and his staff can do with a talented signal caller.  Rodgers came in 10 years ago as a first-round pick and sat for three seasons behind future Hall of Famer Brett Favre.  Rodgers is well on his way to Canton as well.  To say the same about Hundley would be very premature, but he was saying a lot of the right things when he spoke with the Wisconsin media on Saturday.

When asked if he was disappointed about being chosen by the Packers where he isn’t likely to play much for the foreseeable future, Hundley spoke highly of the Packers organization and Rodgers.  He said Rodgers, along with Seattle’s Russell Wilson, were the top two quarterbacks he watched the most film of after this past season at UCLA.  Hundley knows he has some upside and when asked what he offers that no other quarterback in this draft offered, he said his ability to study and learn.  In a young quarterback, that is probably one of the toughest aspects of the game to learn to do.  Many of them come in and rely on their athletic ability and talent to do all of their bidding.  The attitude of preparing and learning is what got Rodgers to where he is now and is also a big reason why the Packers kept backup Scott Tolzien, another known book worm.

The Hundley pick was the boldest move by the Packers in this draft, by far.  That may turn out not to be the case down the road, but now and at face value, the Packers made a big move early enough at a position that is not a need area right now.  The future is never certain and we look back just two seasons to an early November game at Lambeau Field when the Packers lost Rodgers for half of the season.  The next time, it could be a knee or, God forbid, a neck injury and the future suddenly changes forever.  The Packers chose to be prepared one way or another.

In Hundley, they get a very athletically gifted player who is also smart and seems of high character.  That would have been tough to type just a few months ago for this Sun Devil alum, but he’s a Packer now.  They say you have to wait three years to grade a draft but all we have right now is. . right now.  And I’d give this pick at least a B+.  B as in bold.



Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.com

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23 thoughts on “What Was Packers Boldest Draft Move?

  1. Yep. It was Hundley. Even with a 5th round pick…. a 30 year old all star QB isn’t stopping for another 7 years. At least. Probably more like 10. So barring catastrophy, Hundley will never play. Between Hundley and Tolzein, we can now safely say that the days of having no viable backup are over. Never again will the team scramble to 4-5 without ARod like in 2013. 🙂

    That said, doubling down on Rollins and Randall… that is also ballsy. Many (including myself) were wondering what the heck TT was doing by the time the top of the 4th round came along.

    They’re still light at ILB and 5 Tech…

  2. I think much more bold move was to pick Ty Montgomery in 3rd round… I like the pick, but I like it because I believe that old experienced Packers scout who said he is bigger Randall. If that is the reality Packers have solved WR corps for several years and have at least one position filled for longer time…
    I like taking Brett. This is another bold move, but, that move was A. like avesome…

    1. I tend to agree with you on this one. It was bold, given that a new contract was given to Randall Cobb for $10 million a year. How many slot receivers can be on the field at the same time? Montgomery’s selection would have been less of a surprise had Cobb signed with another team. One also has to consider our depth at WR. That depth, by the way, was substantially added to with the addition of several very good UDFAs, Ricky Collins and Adrian Coxson. We also have to look at what players we bypassed when we picked Montgomery in the 3rd round. Paul Dawson is one, but, IMO, the better choice would have been DT Xavier Cooper. I also believe that we could have selected a RB in the 6th or 7th round who could return kicks and punts (for example, Corey Grant, Marcus Murphy or Akeem Hunt). So, yes, it was a very bold move.

  3. It’s hard to call a R1 pick bold even if it did make no sense in the short-run.

    I would think picks 1-2-3 all were bold. Projecting a S with little football experience to starting CB in the NFL is quite a bold move, especially when you consider few S every make that transition successfully. Throw in the fact that the guy is not a good tackler and you have a bold pick to say the least. Also throw in the fact that you gave up Malcom Brown/Eddie Goldman for this kid.

    It seems like a small trade up past DAL to grab Byron Jones would have made more sense then taking Randall. At least Jones has proven he can play CB and S.

    The Rollins pick is much like teh Randall pick except it came at the end of R2. Pre-draft, this was about where I expected Rollins to get drafted. Do we need a 5th slot CB is the question? And do you want to wait 3 years on a project with a R2 pick?

    R3 may have been the boldest pick of all because Montgomery had a terrible final season at Stanford. Why? And it continued throughout Senior Bowl week as he dropped everything thrown him. Yes he looks like a natural and powerful KR. But is he a WR? If TT hits a HR on this guy, kudos to him.

    Bottom-line, this draft included at least 4 bold picks.

      1. This is from an ESPN article, 10-24-14…Byron Jones will undergo surgery on his left shoulder and miss the remainder of the season. Coach Bob Diaco says the Huskies senior captain has a history of shoulder problem…
        Archie, when Jones was setting all the combine records nobody was hitting him. Still want him now? And the “small trade” you proposed would have cost a pick…maybe a 4th rounder…so no Jake Ryan. What would you say if TT didn’t draft an ILB?

    1. Two things: It seems like i have heard some speculate Randall can’t tackle and others say he can tackle. Not sure why the inconsistency from scouts on that one. Second, it’s just my opinion but I don’t think Collins is a 3 year project. Went from new player with no collegiate experience to MAC defensive player of the year. The guy obviously learns on the fly pretty quickly. I know it’s the MAC but that is still pretty impressive. Lastly, as i have stated on these boards ad nauseum since the draft, time will tell. Watch minicamp, training camp and the season. The answer on all of these picks will appear before your eyes. Its a game and its supposed to be fun. Make some wings, drink some beer and enjoy the season. GoPack!

      1. You’re being a bit too rational for some who post here. “Those that don’t have patience become patients” which is why I think Archie and Big T are under a doctor’s care.
        The whole draft class is bold. Playmakers win championships and TT already having a solid roster didn’t pick “steady Eddies” but players who can be difference makers.

      2. Maybe the good tackler/can’t tackle split is connected to the draftniks evaluating him as a CB (great tackler for a CB) or a S (a little light in the pants for a S).

      3. I agree with you about Rollins. Whitt seems to be a fine coach, and Rollins seems to be an apt student. GB needs a CB to step up and give us 500 snaps this year, and Rollins seems to me to be a good candidate. Otherwise, it’ll have to be Randall, Goodson, or someone else.

        Football is a game. It’s supposed to be fun. Some find it fun to prognosticate. I see nothing wrong with that as long as that person realizes that the results won’t be certain for at least a year or 3 and is civil when commenting on the draft (inc., not a hater, or relentlessly negative, use ad hominems, or all caps for that matter). I notice that those who agree with TT completely rarely get as much guff as those who disagree, yet logically, both are committing the same “sin.” There seems to be no taboo to grading the drafts of other teams either.

    2. I would agree Archie. I would say 4 bold picks and I like it. When you have a roster chuck full of talent with really no starting positions up for grabs, TT can roll the dice and if he hits, his team is even stronger than it was last year. If they don’t pan out, they are still have the most talent in the NFL.
      He made the secondary the deepest in the league with his first two picks. He drafted a inside linebacker in the 4th and has Carl Bradford primed and ready from last year to take the position by storm. He now has the best backup qb situation in the league where two years ago it was a problem. Drafted a gutsy tight end who loves to block and mix it up and can run the seam route like Finley. He solved the return game on punt and kickoffs with Montgomery.
      I have to tell you Archie, I shouldn’t be amazed at how great a GM we have after 10 years of seeing him work his magic but I stand in awe of this guy once again. He did it again!! I didn’t think it was possible but some how some way he just drew up another masterpiece in this draft.
      In Ted I Trust

      1. Ted, Ted, Ted, smh. Now you’re just making stuff up. The TE can’t block a lick per scouting reports. By which I mean he can’t run block, or pass protect. Nada. Maybe he can learn, after he bulks up from his current 243 Lbs. He is fast, but not elusive. Said to have nice hands and the ability to adjust to the ball. He’s a candidate for boldest pick as he looks like a UDFA.

        I loved the Bradford pick last year, but he didn’t play a snap, not even on special teams, and we’ve heard little from the coaches about him. I still have hope for Bradford based on the talent I perceived in him. OTOH, I am hoping I don’t have to issue a mea culpa and eat internet crow over my support for him.

        1. When the first OTAs kick in and we get to see how they start lining players up, that will tell us a lot about what to expect for 2016. If Ryan immediately lines up with Barrington in the base defense, then I would start to wonder if Bradford is going to help us very much. I agree: it was telling last year that Bradford couldn’t get on the active list for game day even when the Packer ST were so bad.

          Some are likening Backman to Charles Clay from Miami (now Buffalo, I think). He’s strictly an H-Back/FB hybrid. Given how MM likes to line TEs up in the backfield, he could offer some value there despite his issues in blocking.

    3. Montgomery battled injuries all season in 2014 and wasn’t in the shape he needed to be at the combine. He reported to the combine 11 lbs overweight, ran a 4.52, and yes had some drops. Recently he dropped down to what is closer to his playing weight and ran a 4.38. What I think of to justify the pick is the trouble Seattle had with New England’s quick passing game. Brady, Edelman, Amandola, and Vereen seemed to be able to move the ball up and down the field pretty easily by getting the ball in those players hands quickly in space. Cobb is great in space, so is this kid. Matter of fact I’d be surprised if they don’t run him right into the line, just like Cobb but with better success because he’s bigger and stronger than Cobb. If that’s not enough just think how nice it will be for Rodgers to start around the 30 yard line opposed to the 17 after a Harris return.

      I get your Malcom Brown reasoning and if Randell struggles and Brown turns out to be the steal everybody says he was at 32 that will be rehashed over and over by TT haters. TT in the first round hasn’t been the best I’ll give you that, but when you factor in where the Packers drafted players like Sitton, Lang, Hyde, and Lindsey to name a few plus all the UDFA that have come in like Williams and Shields, hell I don’t care WHEN they come, just as long as they keep coming.

      1. The “it doesn’t matter where you find good football players, just find them” is a mode of thinking that I’m coming around more and more to. But if you aren’t converting 1st round picks into core players on a regular basis, you’re making it harder for yourself.

  4. If you believe TT is a BAP (Best Available Player) guy (and I do), then none of the picks are bold. Ted was simply picking the best player at the time he picked. Except for Hundley where he traded up because he didn’t think he would there when his original 5th round pick came up.

    Boldness maybe was in projecting a player who played safety as an NFL CB or a guy who had played only one year of college football.

    I think based on his track record you just have to believe that TT will get more than his share of hits when all is said and done.

    1. This is the best comment of all. If the premise is correct, the logic seems unanswerable. Except I view rounds 1-4 as need picks, with rd. 1 being a considerable reach and round 3 being a huge reach. I grant that reaches often enough turn out to be good players.

      Since a GM’s round 1 pick is the most valuable, and he didn’t take BPA IMO, and intends to convert that player to another position, I view that as the boldest pick, followed by Hundley, who might have been BPA, but at a position of no immediate need, and required a trade up, but was just too good to pass on.

  5. To me, it was taking two consecutive hybrid secondary types 1 & 2 in the draft. Very few teams would have done that (you can draw your own conclusions why) making this the Miller Lite BOLD move of the draft.

    They took a flyer on a QB pick came in the fifth – not bold. If he flops – so what. The fourth rounder – totally expected =’s minus boldness.

    The third round pick was somewhat surprising, but I think the Pack see him as a STer first and a hedge against WR injuries second. Considering how crappy the ST’s have been, not too surprising. But it does have a bit of boldness to it. Yeah put this down as the second boldest move

    The three sixth rounders (the mark of the devil) – yawn, yawn and more yawn.

  6. I think picking unheralded TE Kennard Backman in the 6th round with a comp pick (213th pick overall) was bold given that higher rated TEs were either drafted later in the 7th round or were not drafted at all (e.g., Ben Koyack, E.J. Bibbs, Wes Saxton, Casey Pierce, Mitchell Henry, etc.). Interestingly, we signed Henry as an UDFA.

  7. Cheers from Nairobi to the allGBP writers. Jason, thanks for the shout-out recognition to fellow writers in your opening. This site is sure needed as diversion from the long hours and heavy stuff I deal with everyday far from home (now 23 years and counting). There was nothing like this in the early 90s when I would walk down to the US Embassy at 11:00pm to watch a 1:00pm game live. I still forego Sunday nights’ sleep, but nowadays, such sites give sense of connection to a fun fanbase no matter where I go. Your articles accomplish good debate, and generally civil banter; to that I’m grateful. thanks!

  8. I don’t really get the angst people are having with Hundley. I like the pick.

    Some time ago, ARod goes down with a collarbone and everyone is up in arms … “TT should have done more to provide a capable backup, dammit!” So what happens? TT drafts a excellent value QB in D5, and now people are wringing their hands that said QB might never see the field.

    We can’t have it both ways. Do we want TT to have a quality backup or not?

    1. Well said, and I agree. I like the pick, too. You should understand the angst since you provided the answer. People know/think we’re close to a super bowl win. They want TT to use a valuable 5th rd. pick (a round in which TT has done well) to obtain immediate help, and not use it on a BU QB who they hope never to see on the field except in blowouts. Hundley might not help win the Super Bowl game, but down the road he might help us get there should Rodgers miss a couple of games during the season. TT I guess is supposed to find a capable back up in UDFA. People want to have their cake and eat it too.

  9. To me Rollins was hands down the boldest move. The packers had already picked a raw cb in the first. To spend amother high pick on a similar player, with other pressing needs is ballsy. Esspecially after the fans initial reaction to a cb project in the first. TT knew the fans would be irate, and had confidence in his scouting team.

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