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First Round swings and misses.

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Packerlifer, Feb 6, 2014.

  1. Packerlifer

    Packerlifer Cheesehead

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    Hindsight, it is said, is perfect. But it also gives account of how we got to a current state of affairs and can teach lessons from the past to avoid making the same mistakes in the future. That includes the state of the Green Bay Packers.

    A club that adheres to the "build thru the draft" philosophy, and avoids free agency like the flu, as the Packers do must not only have a high level of consistent success in its draft picks but as the compensation for non-free agency must have a high degree of success with its premiere draft pick: the first rounder. Here are the last ten first round choices of the Packers:

    2004: #25 cb Ahmad Carroll-Arkansas.
    2005: #24 qb Aaron Rodgers-California.
    2006#5 lb A.J. Hawk-Ohio St.
    2007: #16 dt Justin Harrell-Tennessee.
    2008: Traded out of Round 1 #30 with NY Jets for Round 2 #36 wr Jordy Nelson- Kansas St.
    2009: #9 dt B.J. Raji-Boston College.( Also traded for later first round lb Clay Matthews-USC.)
    2010: #23 ot Brian Bulaga-Iowa.
    2011: #32 ot Derek Sherrod-Mississippi St.
    2012: #28 lb Nick Perry-USC
    2013: #26 de Datone Jones-UCLA

    Out of those ten selections the Packers got 2 unqualified busts, have 4 more trending more in that same direction, 2 top ten picks who have managed just one Pro Bowl between them over the last 8 seasons, and just 2 that have produced for the team at a level commensurate with what is expected of first round players.

    As a point of comparison here's the first round picks of our recent arch nemesis San Francisco over the same period.

    2013 s Eric Reid
    2012 wr A. J. Jenkins
    2011 lb Aldon Smith
    2010 ot Anthony Davis
    2009 wr Michael Crabtree
    2008 dt Kentwan Balmer
    2007 lb Patrick Willis
    2006 te Vernon Davis
    2005 qb Alex Smith

    Had the Niners taken Aaron Rodgers instead of Alex Smith their first round hit list would be 70% and they would probably be the NFL's reigning dynasty by now.

    It's not only that the Packers have struck out, flied out or fouled off on 60% of their first round picks of the past decade it's also who they passed on as potential alternative selections as well. The most infamous bust of this period is, of course, Justin Harrell in 2007. Not only did the Packers get nothing with Harrell they could have had cb Leon Hall, safeties Reggie Nelson, Michael Griffin, Aaron Ross, lb's Jon Beeson, Anthony Spencer, ot Joe Staley or te Greg Olsen instead in that same draft.

    The Packers have usually been drafting late because of their generally successful regular season records but twice have had selections in the top ten. It's debatable whether A.J. Hawk and B.J. Raji have lived up to expections of a 5th & 9th overall pick of their respective draft classes. They certainly don't compare with who division rivals Detroit and Minnesota got in their top ten picks with Calvin Johnson and Adrian Peterson.

    The Packers took Raji to be the anchor of their new 3-4 defense in '09 and then traded for a late first round pick to land lb Clay Matthews to be their outside rush linebacker. But the Packers already had Ryan Pickett, capable of being the nose tackle. At the time of the Raji pick the Packers could also have taken lb's Brian Orakpo or Brian Cushing instead. Five years into the 3-4 defense the Packers have flailed about trying to find the complement to Matthews when they could have had Orakpo or Cushing all along (their injury histories notwithstanding.) That year they still would have had a shot at Tereence Knighton, who lasted into the third round, to play nose tackle.

    If the Minnesota Vikings should again become a problematic competitor for the Packers it will be in part because of their picks of s Harrison Smith, te Kyle Rudolph and wr/kr Cordarrell Patterson. All 3 of those players have already earned Pro Bowl selections as rookies. All 3 were also available first round picks to the Packers, who insted took Derek Sherrod, Nick Perry and Datone Jones.

    While the Packers had two recent consecutive first round offensive tackle picks on IR all season we can add the following players who Green Bay could have taken during the past 3 drafts:

    Defensive tackles Dan Williams or Sylvester Williams.
    WR Dez Bryant
    LB Alex Ogletree
    Safeties T.J. Ward, Matt Elam or Jonathan Cyprien.

    Why are the Packers missing so often and often so badly on their first round picks? Most of the time they have let "need" drive the choice on the pick rather than taking the "best available" on the board. They conform their first round selection to position of need rather than using the first round to get an elite player, even though they seem set at the position.

    The two times in the last ten years that the Packers got first round players in their draft who have truly lived up to that level of selection were when they deviated from that pattern. They didn't particularly need a quarterback when they pounced on the unexpected drop of Aaron Rodgers in 2005 and they weren't hurting for receivers when they parlayed the early second round pick they got by trading out of the late first round and taking Jordy Nelson.

    If you're going to avoid free agency and build thru the draft the team must get elite players in that first round and that the Packers haven't been doing. It may be a key reason why they have just one Super Bowl in the past decade instead of two or three.
     
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  2. rodell330

    rodell330 Cheesehead

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    good stuff. It's crazy how the niners passed on Rodgers smh...i still thought he would be a better player then Smith but they didn't. Rodgers came from a pro-style offense in Cal while Smith came from a wide open spread offense at Utah which helped him put up some fancy numbers. The niners would be unstoppable if they had Aaron Rodgers...i could almost guarantee they would have won at least two SB's by now under Harbaugh.
     
  3. BorderRivals.com

    BorderRivals.com Cheesehead

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    Wow. You really twisted some facts to make your point on that one. So, let's breakdown where you went wrong in some of that analysis.

    (I removed 2005 from analysis because that was pre-TT.)

    1. The Packers have been drafting at or near the end of the first round. Makes a huge difference when comparing with the 9ers who only recently have been drafting at or near the end of the first round. For instance, the 9ers draft picks by number:

    2013 s Eric Reid (#18 pick)
    2012 wr A. J. Jenkins (#30 - not even on team anymore)
    2011 lb Aldon Smith (#7)
    2010 ot Anthony Davis (#11) (you forgot Iupati #17)
    2009 wr Michael Crabtree (#10)
    2008 dt Kentwan Balmer (#29)
    2007 lb Patrick Willis (#11)
    2006 te Vernon Davis (#6)

    So, the two absolute busts for the 9ers were those picked where the Packers have been picking during this same time frame. The studs they've gotten in the 1st round were all picked #18 or higher. We've picked higher than that only 3 times - Harrell, Hawk, and Raji.

    2. You said the Packers have had 2 busts and 4 trending that way. Since you didn't name them, I'm going to venture a guess at the following busts: Harrell (obv.) and Carroll (that was Sherman's draft, so that is irrelevant for our TT bashing). Now to those trending that way, here's my guess at who you are commenting on:
    Raji??? - That's a ridiculous contention. He was a catalyst to our SB win. Since then he's not lived up to his promise. But, you don't forget about that when analyzing draft bust or not.
    Bulaga??? - Again, he was a rookie that came in and was a key figure in our SB win. Without him, I don't think we win or get to the SB after Tauscher goes down. And he's been beset with injuries since. When healthy, he's been an above average T.
    Sherrod - Bust by way of injury. TT has no control over that.
    Perry - He's not a bust. But he has not lived up to draft status yet. Still only going into his third year and can still break out. Worst case, he's a serviceable player. Not a bust though.
    Jones - Absolutely ridiculous to call him a bust after one season.

    3. Players can break out later in careers. VD was a bust for almost 5 seasons before he finally busted out. So, let's not go off the deep end yet.

    4. And you honestly mentioned that Kyle Rudolph was going to be a key reason why the Vikes might turn it around. Really?!?! You cite to the fact he's a Pro Bowler as evidence of this. This is hilarious for so many reasons. One, Rudolph is far from an elite TE. He's a nice player, but nothing more than that. Two, no one cares about the Pro Bowl. With so many dropping out, it's getting less and less of an honor to be named to the PB. Three, the Chiefs had 7 PB last year, yet had the #1 pick. So, having alleged Pro Bowlers doesn't mean team success.

    5. It's an inexact science. There are countless busts in each first round. Every team is going to swing a miss, particularly teams drafting in the bottom third almost every year. TT makes up for it with an overall draft that is usually better than average. He's done extremely well in the 2-4th rounds, nabbing the likes of Cobb, Jordy, Lacy, Bak, Sitton, Lang, Finley, Hayward, Daniels...

    In conclusion, I get your overall point. But, you really, REALLY twisted the facts to make the point, making it very disingenuous as a result.
     
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  4. BorderRivals.com

    BorderRivals.com Cheesehead

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    Instead, the 9ers are Super Bowl-less and the Packers have one. Yet, you'd rather be the 9ers organization. Ha. Classic.
     
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  5. ThxJackVainisi

    ThxJackVainisi Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    I agree. That's why I’m always more impressed when fans critique drafts and "go on the record" with who they would have picked in the days and weeks following any particular draft rather than waiting years to do so.

    I don’t know what kind of team the Packers were in 2004 but they weren't a "build thru the draft", avoiding free agency team. Thompson became VP/GM in 2005. Were Johnson and Peterson the only top 10 picks of the Lions and Vikings over that period? Or did you pick each team's best pick?
    But they have won a Super Bowl in the last half decade which appears to contradict your premise of what they must do. Compare that to the teams you hold up as examples in your post: The Packers have won two Super Bowls since the 49ers won their last one. And the Vikings and Lions… well you know.

    BTW, doesn’t posting, "Most of the time they have let ‘need’ drive the choice on the pick rather than taking the 'best available' on the board", contradict your suggestion they should have passed on Raji because they already had Pickett? It’s certainly possible Raji was the highest rated player on their board.

    Of course the Packers have to draft better and your point about need driving picks in the first round is a valid one IMO. It’s why some of us describe his draft philosophy as BVA rather than BPA because he takes the roster into account as he sets his draft board.
     
  6. Ace

    Ace Cheesehead

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    Nick Collins and Greg Jennings also in 2-4 who were both instrumental while they were here. People rag on TT 1st round picks constantly and it drives me nuts. Harrel complete and total bust will not get any argument even from a die hard TT supporter like myself but Ted for the most part has been pretty solid in the 1st round as far as I'm concerned.

    Aaron- No need to address this one any further
    Hawk- yea not worth the #5 pick looking back but the guy doesn't miss any time. Shows up every game is assignment sure just isn't an explosive top 10 draft pick.
    BJ and Clay were 2 fantastic 1st round picks at the time and both have been key cogs to the defense. Granted Raji has been dissapointing since the SB year but without him in 2010 do we play in the SB?
    Bulaga- Minus the 1st half of the SEA game in '12 (where he got absolutely owned) and his injuries he's been a very solid player. Look who was taken after Bulaga in the 1st. Outside of McCourty and Dez, which neither was a pressing need at the time, noone gets me excited.
    Sherrod- Not a bust just had a devastating injury that required 2 surgeries (leg and ankle) which alot of people that I know are unaware of. TT can't do anything about that. Again, like Bulaga, look at the next 10 picks. Brooks Reed is the only one you could say would have contributed.
    Perry- Not a bust... yet. I really like what Perry could be. Will he be an every down OLB in the NFL? Probably not but I think he can be a very nice situational pass rusher. Harrison Smith probably would have been the better option now looking back.
    Jones-To call anyone a bust after their 1st season is ludacris. Why he didn't play more is beyond me and I look for him to make a big jump in Yr 2. He also missed most of TC with an injury.

    Throwing in Carrol is just plain wrong in a thread about TT. The guy was drafted by a GM who was seen sleeping at the combine for crying out loud, not to mention a GM who traded UP to draft a punter. Just out of curiosity, does anyone know where he was projected to be drafted? I have looked before and couldn't find anything.
     
  7. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    I found an article from the Journal Sentinel in which ten scouts rated Sander like this: one in the 4th, three in the 5th, one said 5th or 6th, two had him either 6th or 7th, two thought about 7th and one had him go undrafted.
     
  8. Ace

    Ace Cheesehead

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    What about Carrol?

    Sent from my SCH-R970 using Tapatalk
     
  9. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    He was projected to go late first, early second round.
     
  10. Carl

    Carl Cheesehead

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    You want to compare to Detroit's top ten picks? How about Roy Williams, Mike Williams, and Ernie Sims within the the same time frame you've brought up.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2014
  11. NOMOFO

    NOMOFO Cheesehead

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    This sentence speaks to the exact point many people attempt to make on this forum, and how there's often little thought to the actualities of historical data: "Had the Niners taken Aaron Rodgers instead of Alex Smith their first round hit list would be 70% and they would probably be the NFL's reigning dynasty by now."

    Honestly. Just give that some thought. What makes you think the Niners draft position each of those years would even be CLOSE to where they've been, had they had Rodgers all this time?! C'mon...think about what you are suggesting.

    As many have very accurately noted on this forum, the fact that the Packers consistently have winning seasons also means they don't get the higher picks.
     
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  12. Carl

    Carl Cheesehead

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    http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/story/2012-04-22/nfl-draft-2012-first-round-disappointments

    Only 17% of the first round picks during the ten years of this study made multiple pro bowls, which could quality as elite players.

    Of the ten first round picks you've listed, the Packers found two elite players or 20%.

    To me Jordy counts as an elite player too and when you trade down for him, that's a fantastic pick. If Jordy was picked in the first round (and their rate of elite guys jumps up to 30%), nobody would mind now. He could have been their first rounder, but the Packers got more value and still picked him up.

    Also, you act like hitting in the first round is the be all end all of draft success. You mention the players the Vikings picked as examples, but don't mention the Vikings are not a good team right now. They've had nowhere near the success of the Packers.

    You can't just look the first round and call failure. I don't care where players are drafted when some guys pan out.
    For example, they picked up Lacy after Datone. If Datone doesn't work out, but Lacy does, why does it matter Jones went first? I'd take Lacy and a bust (which I will not say Datone is yet at all) over two average guys. Finding a stud in the first two rounds is a success whether the first round pick works out or not. Same thing applies to Cobb and Sherrod.

    Finally, regarding, " just 2 that have produced for the team at a level commensurate with what is expected of first round players." Actually, those two have performed WELL ABOVE what is expected out of a first round pick.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2014
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  13. Ace

    Ace Cheesehead

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    This is an amazing stat.
     
  14. NOMOFO

    NOMOFO Cheesehead

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    It is amazing and we've talked about it millions of times when people want to rag on Ted Thompson. The notion that TT is consistently bad drafting in the 1st and there are tons of teams doing better, is just not factual.
     
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  15. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

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    Lot's of great responses. BorderRivals hit every point that was building up in my head as I read the original post.

    Even if you count Sherrod as a bust, TT still has the best success rate in the first-round since Vainisi was in charge. Better than Sherman, Wolf, Braatz, Gregg, and Starr. I still think that too much importance is placed on the first round. Yeah, in theory those are the best of the best but once they strap on the pads it's about the 7-10 new guys becoming valuable contributors to the team. A GM should really be evaluated on how well each group does, not hyper-focusing on one segment of the process only.

    Unfortunately, this disclaimer needs to be attributed every time you say something good about Thompson: I am not calling him the greatest GM ever, just that he's one of the better ones that we've had.
     
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  16. HyponGrey

    HyponGrey Caseus Locutus Est

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    Love how you used the 9ers for this to purposely skew your point. It doesn't work so well when you use the Champion Seahawks.
     
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  17. BorderRivals.com

    BorderRivals.com Cheesehead

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    You mean the SB Champs, who have taken the following players in the 1st round over the same time frame:

    2012 - Bruce Irvin (#15)
    2011 - James Carpenter (#25)
    2010 - Okung (#6) and Earl Thomas (#14)
    2009- Aaron Curry (#4)
    2008 - Lawrence Jackson (#28)
    2006 - Kelly Jennings (#31)

    So out of 7 picks, they've hit on one elite player in Thomas, a very good T in Okung (who is also bit by injuries a lot (though that fact doesn't matter when analyzing Bulaga)), and competent players in Irvin and Carpenter. Then there are the three whiffs in Curry, Jackson, and Jennings. First rounders are the key to championships!
     
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  18. NelsonsLongCatch

    NelsonsLongCatch Cheesehead

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    By far the best name/nickname of any Packers first round pick... Batman!
     
  19. NelsonsLongCatch

    NelsonsLongCatch Cheesehead

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    I thought he'd be a monster in the league. I loved him in college and even more after combine.
     
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  20. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

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    The classic line from any remorseful GM, and arm-chair GMs alike
     
  21. ivo610

    ivo610 Cheesehead

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    The opening poster once fiercely defended Sherman...

     
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  22. Ace

    Ace Cheesehead

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    Whoopsie

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  23. Packerlifer

    Packerlifer Cheesehead

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    Let me address some of the responses to the thread. First, it is not a bash against Ted Thompson. I went back ten years to the year before TT arrived as GM so that should have been clear. The Packers actually have a long history, going as far back as Lombardi, of disappointing first rounders. Anybody remember Don Horn, Vince's pick to be Bart Starr's successor?

    I am well aware of the higher success rates with the Packers' second and following round picks. But the thread was about the first round. It's clearly not so hot there. My point was and is that that underperformance rate, combined with free agency avoidance, is a significant factor in holding the Packers back from better playoff and championship results.

    When people gripe about the Packer defense letting us down in each of the past 3 years of playoff elimination can anyone tell me how that defense has been helped by the last 3 first round draft picks: Derek Sherrod, Nick Perry, Datone Jones? How many kudos can you give for having consecutive first round offensive tackles on IR this entire past season? And not for the first time for either of them. Players who aren't durable and available are a liability the same as players who aren't capable.

    What are the areas most consistently cited as needs for the Packers? Safety? Linebacker? Tight End? A game changing kick returner? Well, they could have had Jason Elam, Harrison Smith, Anthony Spencer, Brian Orakpo, Brian Cushing, Vernon Davis, Cordarrelle Patterson in the first round of the last half dozen drafts.

    Drafting late in the first round isn't really an excuse. I cited a number of players who were still on the board for the Packers when they selected Harrell, Carroll, Sherrod, Perry and Jones, who have proven out with other teams elsewhere in the league.

    The fact is that in the last ten years, the life of the current club, the Packers have gotten commensurate results of a first round pick on only Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson. B.J. Raji and A.J. Hawk, Brian Bulaga would look good if they were second, third or fourth round picks. Will Derek Sherrod ever play or where? Right tackle, left tackle or guard; they've tried him at all when he can get on the field. Is Nick Perry a good first rounder for the one-third or half season he can play? Datone Jones has time to develop but as of now fourth rounder Mike Daniels does more for the team.

    The motto at 1265 Lombardi Ave. is Build Thru the Draft. Fine. Let's start with the first round then. The club that passed on Barry Sanders and Randy Moss for Tony Mandarich and Vonnie Holliday in its history should have learned something by now.
     
  24. Ace

    Ace Cheesehead

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    Factually incorrect. Aaron, Hawk, Raji, Matthews, Bulaga. Sherrod injuries

    -How in the hell is this TT fault? I'm dying to hear this.
    -Durable?? They haven't gone down with the flu. Sherrod compound fractured his leg for crying out loud which required 2 surgeries.

    I completely disagree with this. As an above poster cited 17% of 1st round picks in the last 10 years can be considered elite players. When constantly drafting in the bottom half of said 1st round it's going to be more difficult to find those players.

    Um... forgetting someone??
     
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  25. ThxJackVainisi

    ThxJackVainisi Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    You didn't. You just re-hashed what you posted before: Hindsight and blaming Thompson for injuries to players who weren't injury concerns when drafted. In your first post you downplayed the pick of Matthews and in this one you forgot it. You were accused of twisting facts – I didn’t see you address that at all. BTW, going back to the 1989 draft is like someone blaming you for the bank robbery your grandfather committed.

    You posted this about Sherman as GM: “He's taken a lot of heat for his drafts and free agency moves as general manager and anumber of those didn't produce for the club. But we're still playing with Aaron Kampman, Nick Barnett, Al Harris, Cullen Jenkins, Scott Wells who were all Sherman draft picks, trades or free agency acquisitions. Sherman can't be faulted for not trying or for achieving a considerable measure of success for the Packers.” Sherman proved to be a horrible GM – I don’t blame him for that since he had no training for the job. But it appears you are applying a different standard to Thompson as GM. Why is that? Thompson has done more than 'trying to achieve a measure of success'.
     

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