In the 2007 season, despite a lack of big impact from the Draft Class, the Green Bay Packers defied expectations, exploding offensively to obtain a 13-3 record and a first round bye in the playoffs. After defeating Seattle behind a dominant Ryan Grant performance, the Packers fell one interception short of the Super Bowl, losing to the Giants in overtime 23-20 in what would be the final game for Brett Favre in Green Bay.
After his departure, Ted Thompson went full speed ahead I the draft, landing three huge pieces for the offense. Trading out of the first round was a risky move with some good players on the board, but it paid off big time. Let’s take a look.
ROUND 2 (36) – Jordy Nelson, WR. Kansas State
Hard to top this pick in Round 2. Nelson took a couple years to develop, but exploded in Super Bowl XLV, pulling in 9 catches for 140 yards. It would have been even more if not for a few drops. He put up his first of 3 (and counting) 1,000 yard seasons in 2011, cementing him as the favorite target of Aaron Rodgers. He made the Pro Bowl in 2014, breaking the Packer record for yards in a season. He signed an extension worth $39 million before last season. A real home run pick.
ROUND 2 (56) – Brian Brohm, QB. Louisville
BAP: Mike Pollak, OL. Arizona State
For as good of a pick as Nelson was, this is the exact opposite. Brohm was seen as a Top 10 pick before the 2007 season but returned to school and struggled with injuries. Drafted as an insurance policy and to back up Rodgers, Brohm never got on the field for the Packers, getting beat out by a another quarterback from this class and then being cut a season later. He started one game for Buffalo later in his career but never latched on to any other team. He plays in the CFL right now for Winnipeg.
ROUND 2 (60) – Pat Lee, CB. Auburn
BAP: Jamaal Charles, RB. Texas
Lee was a size, speed prospect who was a developmental project at a deep position for the Packers. Sitting behind Al Harris, Charles, Woodson, Tramon Williams, and Will Blackmon, Lee had that chance, but never could stay on the field, be it because of injury or performance. He never made a real impact in the NFL, getting released in 2011.
ROUND 3 (91) – Jermichael Finley, TE. Texas
A 20 year old kid when drafted, Finley dropped in the draft due to maturity issues, but the talent was there. Drafted into a perfect situation to grow up, Finley fit into Green Bay and became a key member of the dominant offenses of the past few seasons. The only catch was the injury bug, which never could evade him. In 2011 and 2012 though he was exceptional, recording over 1300 combined yards and opening up the field for other receivers. He injured his neck against Cleveland in 2013 and hasn’t been cleared to play since.
ROUND 4 (102) – Jeremy Thompson, LB. Wake Forest
BAP: Red Bryant, DL. Texas A&M
The first time Thompson ever traded up as the Green Bay GM, Thompson was a player with burst and length that could’ve been a solid contributor for the team, but neck injuries ended his career prematurely. He suffered a series of serious stingers that ended his career in 2009. He currently is in medical school, working toward his MD.
ROUND 4 (135) – Josh Sitton, OG. Central Florida
Another home run pick for the team, Sitton was (and is) a big, tough guard who could dominate the trenches. Starting as a rookie, he held down the right side for five seasons before switching over to the left side and being even better. A two time Pro Bowler (2012, 2014), he has been one of the best lineman in the NFL since he came into the league and has become a leader on and off the field for the team.
ROUND 5 (150) – Breno Giacomini, OT. Louisville
BAP: Carl Nicks, OL. Nebraska
Another big, hulking lineman, Giacomini was a player who was a road grader in the run game, but a liability early on in the passing game. He was never able to crack the Packers lineup, but was picked up by Seattle in 2010 and became a fixture at right tackle, winning a Super Bowl in 2013. He signed a lucrative free agent contract with the Jets in 2014.
ROUND 7 (209) – Matt Flynn, QB. LSU
A good pick for Round 7, Flynn became a dependable backup for years, beating out Brohm for the role in rookie camp. Smart, tough, and a winner, Flynn’s intangibles put him over the edge and he delivered. After a record setting game against Detroit on New Years Day 2012, he signed a big contract with Seattle. He lost the starting job to rookie Russell Wilson, got cut, and bounced around the league before catching back on with Green Bay in 2013. He was the team savior with Rodgers out that season, coming back in two key games, a tie against Minnesota and the memorable win over Dallas. A current free agent, his future is uncertain.
ROUND 7 (217) – Brett Swain, WR. San Diego State
BAP: Steve Johnson, WR. Kentucky
Swain was another developmental player, but never could quite get over the roster bubble, flitting in and out of the 53-man lineup before bouncing around the league. He last played in the NFL in 2011 and currently plays in the CFL.
Final count and Grades
Home Runs (4) – Nelson, Finley, Sitton, Flynn
Misses (4) – Brohm, Lee, Swain, Thompson
Incomplete (1) – Giacomini——————
Mike Wendlandt is originally from Iola, Wisconsin and graduated from Drake University in 2015 with a degree in History. With a significant journalism background both in writing and broadcasting, Mike can be heard as the play-by-play voice of Central Wisconsin High School sports on WDUX FM 92.7 and on Twitter @MikeWendlandt.
Mike Wendlandt is a writer covering the Green Bay Packers for PackersTalk.com.