Sigh....If only Ted Thompson folded like this during pre-draft press conferences! Then maybe, just maybe, Packers fans would have a clue what the green and gold plan to do when the NFL draft starts tonight. Conventional wisdom would dictate that we probably need to get a young corner who can return kicks, or an offensive tackle for the future, or maybe even an athletic outside linebacker to push Brad Jones for playing time this season. But with Ted Thompson captaining the ship? We might draft 9 wide receivers before all is said and done. Hell we might draft a catcher with the 23rd pick. In fact I've probably got a better chance of figuring out an episode of Lost before I could tell you Ted's plans for this year's draft. But you know what? I'm starting to like it. Because for as much as some Packers fans still hate Teddy (I call him Teddy) after the whole Favre circus, the bottom line is the guy can flat out draft. Like everyone has something they're dominant at. For me it's classic Nintendo games and napping. For Ted it's assessing and drafting NFL talent. 6 of one, half dozen of the other. But I realize there are some people who are still suspicious of Ted's maneuvering, so I did a little research to back up my point. And by 'research' I mean 'googled the words 'packers draft history'' but who's counting.
So since Ron Wolf's last draft in 2000, here are the impact players drafted BEFORE Teddy's first draft in 2005:
1. Aaron Kampman (5th round 2002)
2. Nick Barnett (1st round 2003)
3. Scott Wells (7th round 2004)
That's it. 27 picks. 3 that ever became anything. Now I'm no mathematician, but that's like what, a -5% success rate? Not to mention this was a time period when the BJ Sander's and Ahmad Carrol's and Jamal Reynold's of the world were taken with high picks. Percentage chance that Ahmad Carrol is getting called for illegal contact in his flag football league right now?
Now Teddy's first draft was in 2005, and while during many of his early drafts I was inventing new swears to yell at my 20 inch TV/DVD combo in college, I have to admit I'm starting to just have blind faith in the guy at this point. What's the old saying? "Nothing cures the ills of a hated general manager more than 5 consecutive drafts of pro bowlers and future hall of famers that build a franchise back to the dynasty it once was?" Yeah I think I read that somewhere. Anyway here is just a sampling of what his draft's have yielded since his first one in 2005:
Aaron Rodgers, Nick Collins, Jason Spitz, Johnny Jolly, Greg Jennings, Brady Poppinga, Mason Crosby, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Korey Hall, AJ Hawk, Jermichael Finley, Josh Sitton, Matt Flynn, BJ Raji, Clay Matthews, and Brad Jones.
Now I realize not everyone on this list is headed to Hawaii every year, but they are all contributors to our teams's success last year in one way or another. And yeah he's had his share of misses, Justin Harrell and Brian Brohm anyone? But his hits far outweigh his misses. And while I've booed him many times during his tenure, I have to admit I'm rooting for him 120% now. Thompson's like the wiley coyote. You can only rail on him and hear other people bash him for so long before you start rooting for him to take down the roadrunner's ass! Bonus word: draft.
PS: I was covering the draft in 2007 for our sister station WTAQ at the Lambeau Field atrium when they drafted Harrell in the first round. It was a near riot situation. Like that is one of the two times in my life I've been legit scared. That and during a house party in college once I was crammed into a basement and 4th and Michigan in Stevens Point when both tappers on both kegs were stolen. There were dozens of sweaty college kids wanting to drink beer with no means of doing so. I think my buddy Rob tried stabbing the keg with his keys. To this day I still don't know how I made it out of there.