Packers’ philosophy continues on day two

Ted Thompson has taken a team that went 4-12 his first year as general manger and turned it into a Super Bowl contender in two years. One thing is sure, Thompson is a confident man who is not afraid to make a decision and this weekend’s NFL Draft proves that once again. While I have to wonder about some of the picks made, I will give TT the benefit of the doubt. While we all agree Brett Favre had a great deal to do with last year’s 13-3 record, if not for the players Thompson added to the roster in the last two years the Packers would not be in the position they are in today.

That position is a pretty good one at that. Even with the retirement of Favre, the Packers are expected to be in the hunt again next year because of the depth of talent the Packers have accumulated under Thompson. This weekend’s draft only adds to that depth and certainly creates competition at key positions starting with quarterback. After taking Brian Brohm with their second second-round pick yesterday the Packers took LSU quarterback Matt Flynn in the seventh round today. Not to say Flynn is a threat to Rodgers or Brohm, but it is another example of Thompson taking the best player available. If you are worried about Rodgers being upset about the Packers taking two quarterbacks this weekend, don’t concern yourself. Rodgers is a big boy and he and the rest of us knew the Packers were going to draft a quarterback to back him up. Rodgers is just fine and only a lack of talent or injury will keep him from succeeding this year. His head is just fine.

The Packers addressed their tight end need in round three with Texas’ Jermichael Finley, a sophomore with only two years of college playing experience. He was a redshirt freshman starter and still caught 31 balls, but seems to be a little bit of a project, sure to make the team though.

Josh Sitton, an offensive linemean from Central Florida was a shocker as a fourth-round pick. At the time of selection I had a hard time finding even his height and weight online. I hope they get lucky with this guy.

In the fifth round the Packers grabbed Breno Giacomini, a tackle out of Louisville. At 6-7, 303, he has a chance if he develops to replace Chad Clifton at left tackle in a year or two, I have to believe that is hope of TT anyway. I can’t find much to argue with here.

I already talked about Flynn in the seventh round but the other pick, wide receiver Brett Swain seems kind of intriguing. Another four-year player which I always like and a versatile guy who can return punts. Current Packers like Koren Robinson and Ruvell Martin need to step it up or they are out of a job. More than likely at least one of them is already gone with Jordy Nelson coming in. One thing is sure, Aaron Rodgers is going to have plenty of targets to choose from. Now, if we can just get him a running game.

On that note, I am surprised that no running back was taken to provide competition to a rather unproven stable of backs the Packers have led by the unsigned Ryan Grant. The usual formula for helping a young quarterback is to have a strong running game to support him, apparently the Packers are not taking that approach. It looks to me like head coach Mike McCarthy can continue to throw the ball much like he has the first three years of his tenure, even without Favre.

With such a late pick in the first round and the way Thompson wheeled and dealed, I have no real complaints at this time. I do think they could have gotten Jordy Nelson later than the second round, but what do I know? I do know if he plays like he did in college he will help the Packers and probably this year. The guy was unstoppable last year and while it was only one year, sometimes that is all it takes. Confidence is an amazing thing.

Now we wait three months to see anything real out of these guys. Let’s at least hope everybody is signed, sealed, and delivered by the opening of training camp July 28.

Thoughts on Rodgers my next entry…

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  • Reid

    Well done and very fair. I feel for Koren Robinson because of all of his troubles, but I still have a problem having someone who’s screwed up so many chances on my team. He’s one drunken car ride away from permanent expulsion from the NFL. Plus, it puts me in a bad spot when I try to give the Cowboy’s fans grief over having both Pacman and T.O. on their team.

  • monkeon

    We really won’t know until January 2009

  • Oconomowockid

    This is the year Thompson proves he is a genius or just another GM Favre gave the chance to succeed. Thompson gets us back to the playoffs with a strong team he gets the nod of confidence from many doubters. Thompson does not get us back to the playoffs with these strange draft picks and all the cap money we have not used and he is just another GM that thought he was smarter than everyone one else. The bar is set high for Ted this year. His ego will be greatly damaged if he cannot do better than last year with Favre. He has been longing for the post Favre era and he is now living it. Take us to the promised land Ted!!

  • Ben Dover

    WTF ?

    We didn’t draft any DT’s (smirks)

    Thompson sure isn’t afraid of youth is he ? Drafting Flynn and Brohm more than likely has put a dagger in Cullpeckers chances of being a Packer. Having 3 QB’s without an NFL start between them is pretty scary but I’d rather have a young guy with potential than an old guy just trying to stay employed. We have seen what Nall & the love boat captain can do and it’s not much.

  • I have to agree, the heat is on Thompson now more than ever, even though he turned the Packers from losers to contenders in his short tenure in Green Bay. But I guess winning without Brett Favre is different than winning with Brett Favre. I think Thompson deserves the benefit of the doubt for at least this year, but I doubt he gets it. For the record, though, I am now a Jordy fan. This kid is hot.

  • JeffN

    Just for the record everyone… TT is smarter than all of us when it comes to drafting players that can play in the NFL. TT goes with the philosophy that if u draft for need you will always be drafting for need becuase you end up a lot of average players some of who can’t even play in the NFL. If you draft the best players available you will end up never having a lot of needs on your team (sound familiar?) and end up with exceptional players and a few studs. Besides we don’t even know what the needs will be 2 and 3 years down the road when we know what the full potential of these players are anyway.

  • Roy Jamison

    Thanks for your comments on the draft. I will admit I didn’t like TT’s style when he started out with the Packers. But, I don’t think anyone can dispute the talent he has for drafting. I do wish we could find out which of his scouts are doing the best job of finding this talent, including Ron Wolf’s son. I don’t know if it takes much intelligence to draft in the top 50 picks, but after that is a make and break for most teams. If memory serves Chad Clifton was a 4th rounder who turned out great and Tauscher I think was a 7th round guy. And whoever found Donald Driver should have been given a raise!
    All the best,

  • Doug R

    Everyone says you can’t judge a draft for several years with which I agree. Al, you should do a post on the Packers drafts over the past few years. I would like to hear what people think. Also, what is the proper benchmark for evaluating a draft? If you draft 7 players, is having 2 of them on the roster 3 years later good, bad, or average? I guess the ultimate criteria is the team’s record so in that regard everyone seems in love with TT since they went 13-3 last year and I tend to agree he is doing something right. But, when I look at their draft from 2007, it seems pretty lame so far with Harrell, Rouse, and maybe James Jones being the hilights. 2006 hilights look like Jolly, Jennings, and Hawk. 2005 hilights were Rodgers and Nick Collins which so far hasn’t been that impressive. 2004 (Mike Sherman) was the Ahmad Carroll, Joey Thomas, BJ Sander year which was a disaster although they got Corey Williams and Scott Wells in the late rounds.

    Also, it seems like the core of last year’s team was Favre, Tauscher and Clifton (Sherman picks), the receiving corps (Driver:Sherman and Jennings, Jones:TT), Ryan Grant (non-draft pickup), Kampman (Sherman), Hawk and Barnett (TT and Sherman), Harris and Woodson (free agents). TT’s offensive linemen at OG were weak spot, and TE has been a problem position. Their #1 pick Harrel barely got on the field.

    I only count a couple of guys in this group that were TT draft picks and some noticeable losers. I’d like to hear someone else with more insight than I to comment.

  • Reid

    Another issue that we should highlight is TT’s savy for managing the $$’s. Sherman had us on the brink of salary-cap hell, TT has us where we can afford to go after proven pro’s to fill gaping holes like Charles Woodsen and Ryan Pickett and re-sign our stars to keep them in Green Bay and happy. I expect there will be some major re-signings if Grant, Jennings, etc show up in good shape and continue to produce as in the past. We are in a position of strength now instead of weakness.

  • Oconomowockid

    Doug R. I thought your comments are very interesting. Like I said earlier TT needs to produce this year without Favre. If he does not, many will be looking very closely at comments like yours. The crazy genius will face growing criticism over the tight spending and trade down philosophy.