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Going for the best of the rest

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by PackerLegend, Feb 25, 2007.

  1. PackerLegend

    PackerLegend Cheesehead

    Mar 26, 2006
    Going for the best of the rest
    Quality, not quantity might be draft focus
    Posted: Feb. 24, 2007
    Indianapolis - Having brought the Green Bay Packers back to respectability in two years on the job mainly by amassing draft picks, general manager Ted Thompson could very well be thinking about hitting a home run this time.

    The Packers enter the off-season with more players under contract than any team in the National Football League. They were the youngest team in the NFL a year ago, the residue of Thompson's drafting philosophy of trading down almost whenever possible.

    In 2005, Thompson turned seven selections into 11 by trading down three times. Last year, he turned seven choices into 12 by trading down four times and dealing Javon Walker.

    From the Packers' league-leading haul of 23 players, a total of 17 players remain on the roster, including six starters.

    As Mike Holmgren's top personnel man in Seattle from 2000-'04, Thompson traded down six times without even once trading up.

    The Packers desperately needed bodies in recent years because Mike Sherman traded up eight times in his last three drafts and then didn't use the picks wisely.

    Now, however, the Packers have ample manpower across the board with an abundance of developing players and 12 veterans due back from injured reserve. So it might be time for Thompson to emphasize quality over quantity when the draft arrives nine weeks from now.

    "That's a valid point," Thompson said. "We did add a lot of core players and people we think are going to be contributors. We haven't worked all that out yet, (but) there's maybe a little less need for more picks. But you'd always like to have a bunch of picks."

    Green Bay will have its own selection in all seven rounds plus a seventh-round choice from the New York Jets in the September 2005 trade for tackle Steve Morley. The club is unlikely to receive any compensatory picks for free-agent losses.

    Thompson and his scouts put in 12-hour days for 16 consecutive days before leaving for the scouting combine at the RCA Dome. The Packers talked about hundreds and hundreds of players, but in the back of everyone's mind was what would be available when it's their turn to exercise the No. 16 pick.

    "Some years it's really strong maybe 1 through 8 or 9 and then it peters down," Thompson said. "But this year it looks like it's going to be strong enough. I think we'll get a good player if we know what we're doing."

    Ron Wolf commissioned a study in the mid- to late 1990s, according to Thompson, that revealed players selected 1 to 17 turned out to be remarkably similar in longevity and production. To a lesser degree, picks 18 to 42 were about the same, too.

    But based on the last decade of selections, the Packers better keep their fingers crossed if they sit tight at 16.

    Five of the last 10 players taken in that position already have made the Pro Bowl, including defensive end Jevon Kearse, linebacker Julian Peterson, wide receiver Santana Moss, safety Troy Polamalu and guard Shawn Andrews.

    On the opposite end of the spectrum were wide receiver Reidel Anthony and running back William Green, who were busts; wide receiver Kevin Dyson, a keen disappointment; and the last two No. 16 picks, defensive tackle Travis Johnson and defensive back Jason Allen, who have done next to nothing.

    The last time the Packers had the 16th pick was 1994, when they wound up with guard Aaron Taylor.

    If Thompson had his druthers, he'd probably like to find at No. 16 a pass-receiving tight end; a franchise running back; a big, speedy wide receiver with return ability; a dynamic safety, a shut-down cornerback; or a dominating defensive lineman.

    Whatever you do, say those who associate with Thompson, don't typecast the man.

    "Who's the best player?" he said. "If it's an offensive lineman, we'll take an offensive lineman. I've done it before. We draft based on long-term."

    The Packers come off a season in which they ranked 31st in red-zone efficiency, by far their poorest finish in more than a decade. The problem is that no tight end appears worthy of even the 25th to 30th pick, let alone the 16th, and the running back pool has almost no depth after Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson and California's Marshawn Lynch.

    Perhaps Thompson would entertain thoughts of trading up for Peterson, projected as a top-eight pick, or even Lynch, who figures to be taken in the middle of the round if some character issues are resolved.

    Green Bay still needs a running back even if Ahman Green is re-signed before the start Friday of the unrestricted signing period.

    "We're having good conversations with Ahman," Thompson said. "Whether anything gets done or not, I don't know. But that's free agency. It brings a little angst to your off-season."

    Thompson said there were "a couple of players" that he would like to select at No. 16.

    Several could be wide receivers, a position that ranks with safety and defensive end as the best in the draft.

    After Georgia Tech's Calvin Johnson, wide receivers such as Southern California's Dwayne Jarrett, Ohio State's tandem of Ted Ginn Jr. and Anthony Gonzalez, Tennessee's Robert Meachem and South Carolina's Sidney Rice all could warrant the 16th pick.

    Asked if he needed a player to fill one of the top three wide receiver berths, Thompson replied, "Not necessarily. But if it works out that way, that would be OK, too."

    The top three safeties appear to be Louisiana State's LaRon Landry, Florida's Reggie Nelson and Miami's Brandon Meriweather. It's unlikely more than one will be gone by No. 16, but all have first-round ability.

    "I think you can always use skill people, and I think all things would say we could use some more playmakers," Thompson said. "But it's way too early to start predicting that. I didn't even think about that fifth pick last year until we got through al the medicals and things like that. Some guys can fall off the world with a bad physical."
  2. bozz_2006

    bozz_2006 Cheesehead

    Mar 24, 2006
    personally, I'm really beginning to enjoy how Thompson never tells the media anything important... at all. I trust him. I'd like to know exactly what he's thinking, but i know that because nobody outside the organization knows anything either, it is better for the Green Bay Packers.
  3. pack_in_black

    pack_in_black Cheesehead

    Aug 15, 2006
    Yeah, I really like him, too. He always seems to take a no-nonsense approach. Most of what he does is just common sense-type, logical moves. He's kind of the bug-eyed Spock of the Packers..... I guess that would make McCarthy into Captain Kirk?
  4. refpacker

    refpacker Cheesehead

    Jan 18, 2007
    TT needs the boot.....when all is said and done He and sherman are going to be blamed for destroying the packers!
  5. Timmons

    Timmons Cheesehead

    May 8, 2006
    Good post, well except for refpackers opinion backed up with no facts. People may or may not like TT, but he certainly handles the draft correctly, and that helps the Pack. I too like that he's quiet about and business-like during the draft.

    I don't know enough about this draft class (or any for that matter). It will be interesting to see what approach the Pack takes. I would think offensive weapons would be their first priority. however, the safety position is a hole as well. I think our DL an LB corp are set. I even think our O-line is good enough.

    I would say that with the first pick, we choose the most impact player in a need position (WR, TE, RB). A great linebacker or DL wouldn't be worth the pick even if that player is that good.
  6. warhawk

    warhawk Cheesehead

    Dec 7, 2005
    I had posted earlier that I do not see TT trying to trade for more later picks this year.

    The draft is not that deep so he needs to reap what he can early. This is actually why I thought there might be something behind the Moss rumors. The 3rd rounder this year might not be the talent it brought last year.

    Our roster is stronger now so 6th and 7th rounders will have a harder time making the team.

    Last year was last year. Very deep draft. One of the best in recent years and TT capitalized by increasing the numbers.

    It will be interesting to see who they think is the "best of the rest" by draft day. I certainly like that TT will not be influenced by position of need. That can lead to blown picks faster than anything.
  7. spardo62

    spardo62 Cheesehead

    Mar 26, 2006
    It makes sense at this point to adopt a more quality over quantity approach. The last two years were spent getting the bottom 1/2 of the roster better and younger. The best way to do this is to bring in large numbers of street FA's and stockpile draft choices. This mission has been accomplished and now the focus must turn to upgrading quality of starters(TE, S, RB, WR), while also looking to add young depth at other positions(notably DB, OT).

    Thus, it would not be a shock to actually see draft picks given to move up if warranted or to trade for a player of value.

    In all, GB is sitting in a favorable position thanks to the moves of the past two years. If the cards are played correctly, this franchise can be back among the top teams in the league this year and also better prepared for the eventual departure of Brett.

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