Best // Worst // Most Valuable // Most Surprising: Dissecting Ted Thompson and the NFL Draft

With the 2016 NFL Draft set to begin Thursday, April 28, it’s fun to look back on how previous drafts have unfolded.

Green Bay Packers General Manager Ted Thompson typically gets characterized as a silent assassin, if you will. Not notorious for making a big splash, but very efficient with his selections and ability to find late-round talent.

He’s also recognized as someone who doesn’t take big risks – but Thompson relies on each of these drafts to build the organization more so than any GM in the league, which is why Thursday – Saturday are so important for the Packers and their future.

Below, taken directly from Packers.com, is a history of every Packers’ draft selection under Thompson – some good, some not so good.

I task our readers to examine each pick from 2005 and forward, and do so using the following criteria: Which selection was Thompson’s…

Best? // Worst? // Most Valuable? // Most Surprising?

There can be overlap, you can decide that Thompson has never found value in the draft…you can basically do whatever you’d like.

I’ve provided my $.02 below … next week after the draft if over, we’ll do the same thing with the 2016 picks specifically.

OK, let’s begin.

Ted Thompson clap

 

Best Player Drafted Under Thompson: Aaron Rodgers

I write this knowing I won’t be met with a lot of resistance here. He’s the best player in the NFL and the Packers got him in the tail end of the first round in 2005. Thompson took a risk here – but it wasn’t overly surprising (which is why you won’t see Rodgers’ name in that particular category). Brett Favre wasn’t yet ready to retire, but everyone knew the gunslinger wasn’t going to play 4ever, even as hard as he tried to. In terms of an heir apparent to one of the best football players to ever play the most important position … Thompson couldn’t have done any better than he did with Rodgers.

 

Worst Player Drafter Under Thompson: Brian Brohm

There have been a few clunkers: Justin Harrell, Derek Sherrod and Jerel Worthy all come to mind here … but here is my case for why Brian Brohm was the worst decision Thompson has ever made. It had been determined that Aaron Rodgers would be the guy in 2008 – bringing in a guy for “competition” is all good and well, but to use a second round pick (a round where Thompson otherwise has been incredibly lethal) was an ill-advised decision.

Matt Flynn in round seven makes sense, which Thompson did that year… and got some really great back up QB years out of him. And speaking of Matt Flynn, if anyone wants to argue with my point and take the “the Seahawks had given Flynn a pay day in 2012 and decided he was their guy, but drafted Russell Wilson in the third round” – sure, but Rodgers had been in the Packers’ system for the previous three years. The organization had a good feel for what Rodgers was going to bring to the table. Seattle, even if they gave him a fortune, couldn’t be sure that Flynn was the guy.

 

Most Valuable Player Drafted Under Thompson: Josh Sitton (and TJ Lang and David Bakhtiari and Corey Linsley)

OK I definitely cheated here, but I made the rules and I don’t care. Alone, I probably say Mike Daniels has the best value. But when four of your starting five offensive lineman were taken in the fourth round or later, you have to realize Thompson isn’t just getting lucky.

Sitton sticks out because he’s the best of the bunch IMO, but was taken 135 overall with a free agency compensatory pick. That’s definitely stretching your value. Sitton is a three-time Pro Bowl selection and has been the anchor of that offensive line (starting 94 of 96 games over the last six seasons).

*Mason Crosby also receives and honorable mention here

 

Most Surprising Player Drafted Under Thompson: Clay Matthews

Matthews lands in this category simply because Thompson traded up in the first round to get him – Thompson doesn’t do that. In fact, that’s the only time he’s ever done that. The result has been far better than the team could have ever imagined. Though he’s battled injury, Matthews is a six-time Pro Bowl selection, NFC Defensive Player of the Year, Butkus Award recipient and a First Team All Pro selection.

 

Take a look below at every selection from 2005 and tell me why I’m wrong — I welcome you!


Packers Drafts Under Ted Thompson

A look at GM Ted Thompson’s drafts in Green Bay since 2005

Bold—Played for Packers in first eligible season 

 

2005

April 23-24, 2005; Drafted alternately 24th-26th-25th

  • AARON RODGERS, QB, California, 24
  • NICK COLLINS, S/CB, Bethune-Cookman, 51
    (from New Orleans Saints in Mike McKenzie trade)
  • TERRENCE MURPHY, WR/KR, Texas A&M, 58
  • (to Carolina Panthers in draft-day trade), 89
  • MARVIEL UNDERWOOD, S, San Diego State, 115
    (from Carolina Panthers in draft-day trade)
  • BRADY POPPINGA, LB, Brigham Young, 125
  • (to Philadelphia Eagles in draft-day trade), 126
    (originally obtained from Carolina in draft-day trade)
  • JUNIUS COSTON, C, North Carolina A&T, 143
    (from Oakland Raiders for Marques Anderson)
  • (to Kansas City Chiefs for R-Kal Truluck), 152
  • MIKE HAWKINS, CB, Oklahoma, 167
    (from Philadelphia Eagles in draft-day trade)
  • (to New England Patriots in draft-day trade), 175
    (originally obtained from Philadelphia in draft-day trade)
  • MICHAEL MONTGOMERY, DE, Texas A&M, 180
    (from Oakland Raiders for Marques Anderson)
  • CRAIG BRAGG, WR, UCLA, 195
    (from New England Patriots in draft-day trade)
  • (to Kansas City Chiefs for R-Kal Truluck), 199
  • (to Kansas City Chiefs in 2003 Derek Combs trade), 238
  • KURT CAMPBELL, LB, Albany, 245
    (from Philadelphia Eagles in draft-day trade)
  • WILLIAM WHITTICKER, G, Michigan State, 246
    (from New England Patriots in draft-day trade)


2006

April 29-30, 2006; Drafted alternately 5th-4th-3rd-7th-6th

 

  • A.J. HAWK, LB, Ohio State, 5
  • (to New England Patriots in draft-day trade), 36
  • (from Denver for WR Javon Walker in draft-day trade; choice subsequently traded to Atlanta Falcons), 37
  • DARYN COLLEDGE, T/G, Boise State, 47
    (from Atlanta Falcons in draft-day trade)
  • GREG JENNINGS, WR, Western Michigan, 52
    (from New England Patriots in draft-day trade)
  • ABDUL HODGE, LB, Iowa, 67
  • JASON SPITZ, G/C, Louisville, 75
    (from New England Patriots in draft-day trade)
  • (to St. Louis Rams in draft-day trade), 93
    (pick originally obtained from Atlanta Falcons in draft-day trade)
  • CORY RODGERS, WR/KR, Texas Christian, 104
  • (to Philadelphia Eagles in draft-day trade), 109
    (pick originally obtained from St. Louis Rams)
  • WILL BLACKMON, CB, Boston College, 115
    (from Philadelphia Eagles in draft-day trade)
  • (to Atlanta Falcons in draft-day trade), 139
  • INGLE MARTIN, QB, Furman, 148
    (from Atlanta Falcons in draft-day trade)
  • TONY MOLL, T, Nevada, 165
    (free agency compensatory pick)
  • (to New Orleans in 2004 Mike McKenzie trade), 174
  • JOHNNY JOLLY, DT, Texas A&M, 183
    (from St. Louis Rams in draft-day trade)
  • TYRONE CULVER, S, Fresno State, 185
    (from Philadelphia Eagles in draft-day trade)
  • (to Miami Dolphins in 2004 Brad Bedell trade), 212
  • DAVE TOLLEFSON, DE, Northwest Missouri State, 253
    (free agency compensatory pick)


2007

April 28-29, 2007; Drafted alternately 16th-15th-14th-13th-20th-19th-18th

 

  • JUSTIN HARRELL, DT, Tennessee, 16
  • (to N.Y. Jets in draft-day trade), 47
  • BRANDON JACKSON, RB, Nebraska, 63
    (from N.Y. Jets in draft-day trade)
  • JAMES JONES, WR, San Jose State, 78
  • AARON ROUSE, SS, Virginia Tech, 89
    (from N.Y. Jets in draft-day trade)
  • (to Pittsburgh in draft-day trade), 112
  • ALLEN BARBRE, T/G, Missouri Southern St, 119
    (from Pittsburgh Steelers in draft-day trade)
  • DAVID CLOWNEY, WR, Virginia Tech, 157
  • KOREY HALL, FB, Boise State, 191
    (from N.Y. Jets in draft-day trade)
  • DESMOND BISHOP, LB, California, 192
    (from Pittsburgh Steelers in draft-day trade)
  • MASON CROSBY, K, Colorado, 193
  • DeSHAWN WYNN, RB, Florida, 228
  • (to N.Y. Jets in draft-day trade), 235
    (originally obtained in Steve Morley trade)
  • CLARK HARRIS, TE, Rutgers, 243
    (free agency compensatory pick)


2008

April 26-27, 2008; Drafted alternately 30th-29th-28th

 

  • (to N.Y. Jets in draft-day trade), 30
  • JORDY NELSON, WR, Kansas State, 36
    (from N.Y. Jets in draft-day trade)
  • BRIAN BROHM, QB, Louisville, 56
    (from Cleveland Browns for Corey Williams)
  • PAT LEE, CB, Auburn, 60
  • JERMICHAEL FINLEY, TE, Texas, 91
  • JEREMY THOMPSON, DE, Wake Forest, 102
    (from N.Y. Jets in draft-day trade)
  • (to N.Y. Jets in draft-day trade), 113
  • (to St. Louis Rams in draft-day trade), 128
  • JOSH SITTON, G, Central Florida, 135
    (free agency compensatory pick)
  • (to Minnesota Vikings in draft-day trade), 137
  • BRENO GIACOMINI, T, Louisville, 150
    (from Minnesota Vikings in draft-day trade)
  • (to N.Y. Jets in draft-day trade), 162
  • (to N.Y. Giants for Ryan Grant), 194
  • MATT FLYNN, QB, Louisiana State, 209
    (from Minnesota Vikings in draft-day trade)
  • BRETT SWAIN, WR, San Diego State, 217
    (from St. Louis Rams in draft-day trade)
  • (to New Orleans Saints for 2009 sixth-round choice), 237


2009

April 25-26, 2009; Drafted 9th

 

  • B.J. RAJI, NT, Boston College, 9
  • CLAY MATTHEWS, LB, Southern California, 26
    (from New England Patriots in draft-day trade)
  • (to New England Patriots in draft-day trade), 41
  • (to New England Patriots in draft-day trade), 73
  • (to New England Patriots in draft-day trade), 83
    (pick originally obtained from N.Y. Jets for Brett Favre)
  • T.J. LANG, G/T, Eastern Michigan, 109
  • QUINN JOHNSON, FB, Louisiana State, 145
  • JAMON MEREDITH, T, South Carolina, 162
    (from New England Patriots in draft-day trade)
  • JARIUS WYNN, DE, Georgia, 182
    (from New Orleans Saints in 2008 draft-day trade)
  • BRANDON UNDERWOOD, CB, Cincinnati, 187
  • BRAD JONES, LB, Colorado, 218


2010

April 22-24, 2010; Drafted 23rd

 

  • BRYAN BULAGA, T, Iowa, 23
  • MIKE NEAL, DE, Purdue, 56
  • MORGAN BURNETT, S, Georgia Tech, 71
    (from Philadelphia Eagles in draft-day trade)
  • (to Philadelphia Eagles in draft-day trade), 86
  • (to Philadelphia Eagles in draft-day trade), 122
  • ANDREW QUARLESS, TE, Penn State, 154
  • MARSHALL NEWHOUSE, T/G, Texas Christian, 169
    (free agency compensatory pick)
  • JAMES STARKS, RB, Buffalo, 193
  • C.J. WILSON, DE, East Carolina, 230


2011

April 28-30, 2011; Drafted 32nd

 

  • DEREK SHERROD, T, Mississippi State, 32
  • RANDALL COBB, WR, Kentucky, 64
  • ALEX GREEN, RB, Hawaii, 96
  • (to Denver Broncos in draft-day trade), 129
  • DAVON HOUSE, CB, New Mexico State, 131
    (free agency compensatory pick)
  • D.J. WILLIAMS, TE, Arkansas, 141
    (from Denver Broncos in draft-day trade)
  • (to San Francisco 49ers in draft-day trade), 163
  • (to Miami Dolphins in draft-day trade), 174
  • CALEB SCHLAUDERAFF, G, Utah, 179
    (from Miami Dolphins in draft-day trade)
  • D.J. SMITH, LB, Appalachian State, 186
    (from Denver Broncos in draft-day trade)
  • RICKY ELMORE, LB, Arizona, 197
  • (to Denver Broncos in draft-day trade), 204
    (pick originally obtained from Carolina Panthers)
  • RYAN TAYLOR, TE, North Carolina, 218
    (from Miami Dolphins in draft-day trade)
  • (To Miami Dolphins in draft-day trade), 231
  • LAWRENCE GUY, DE, Arizona State, 233


2012

April 26-28, 2012; Drafted 28th

 

  • NICK PERRY, LB, Southern California, 28
  • JEREL WORTHY, DE, Michigan State, 51
    (from Philadelphia Eagles in draft-day trade)
  • (to Philadelphia Eagles in draft-day trade), 59
  • CASEY HAYWARD, CB, Vanderbilt, 62
    (from New England Patriots in draft-day trade)
  • (to New England Patriots in draft-day trade), 90
  • (to Philadelphia Eagles in draft-day trade), 123
  • MIKE DANIELS, DT, Iowa, 132
    (free agency compensatory pick)
  • JERRON McMILLIAN, S, Maine, 133
    (free agency compensatory pick)
  • TERRELL MANNING, LB, North Carolina State, 163
    (originally sent to New England Patriots in draft-day trade)
    (reacquired through New England in draft-day trade)
  • (to New England Patriots in draft-day trade), 197
  • (to New England Patriots in draft-day trade), 224
    (pick originally obtained as conditional choice from N.Y. Jets for G Caleb Schlauderaff)
  • (to New England Patriots in draft-day trade), 235
  • ANDREW DATKO, T, Florida State, 241
    (free agency compensatory pick)
  • B.J. COLEMAN, QB, Tennessee-Chattanooga, 243
    (free agency compensatory pick)


2013

April 25-27, 2013; Drafted alternately 26th-25th

 

  • DATONE JONES, DE, UCLA, 26
  • (to San Francisco 49ers in draft-day trade), 55
  • EDDIE LACY, RB, Alabama, 61
    (from San Francisco 49ers in draft-day trade)
  • (to San Francisco 49ers in draft-day trade), 88
  • (to Miami Dolphins in draft-day trade), 93
    (pick originally obtained from San Francisco 49ers in draft-day trade)
  • DAVID BAKHTIARI, T, Colorado, 109
    (from Miami Dolphins in draft-day trade)
  • JC TRETTER, T, Cornell, 122
  • JOHNATHAN FRANKLIN, RB, UCLA, 125
    (from Denver Broncos in draft-day trade)
  • (to Denver Broncos in draft-day trade), 146
    (pick originally obtained from Miami Dolphins in draft-day trade)
  • MICAH HYDE, CB, Iowa, 159
  • JOSH BOYD, DE, Mississippi State, 167
    (free agency compensatory pick)
  • (to Denver Broncos in draft-day trade), 173
    (pick originally obtained from San Francisco 49ers in draft-day trade)
  • NATE PALMER, LB, Illinois State, 193
  • CHARLES JOHNSON, WR, Grand Valley State, 216
    (from San Francisco 49ers in draft-day trade)
  • KEVIN DORSEY, WR, Maryland, 224
    (from Miami Dolphins in draft-day trade)
  • SAM BARRINGTON, LB, South Florida, 232


2014

May 8-10, 2014; Drafted 21st

 

  • Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama, 21
  • Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State, 53
  • Khyri Thornton, DE, Southern Mississippi, 85
  • Richard Rodgers, TE, California, 98
    (free agency compensatory pick)
  • Carl Bradford, LB, Arizona State, 121
  • Corey Linsley, C, Ohio State, 161
  • Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin, 176
    (free agency compensatory pick)
  • Demetri Goodson, CB, Baylor, 197
  • Jeff Janis, WR, Saginaw Valley State, 236


2015

April 30 – May 2, 2014; Drafted 30th

  • Damarious Randall, CB, Arizona State, 30
  • Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami (Ohio), 62
  • Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford, 94
  • Jake Ryan, LB, Michigan, 129
  • Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA, 147
    (from New England Patriots in draft-day trade)
  • (to New England Patriots in draft-day trade), 166
  • Aaron Ripkowski, FB, Oklahoma, 206
  • Christian Ringo, DL, Louisiana-Lafayette, 210
    (free agency compensatory pick)
  • Kennard Backman, TE, Alabama-Birmingham, 213
    (free agency compensatory pick)
  • (to New England Patriots in draft-day trade), 247
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