How in the world did Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers slip all the way down to pick #24 in Round 1 of the 2005 NFL Draft, when he was projected to be one of the top QB’s in the draft?
It was clear to most NFL fans and followers that the San Francisco 49ers were appalled with the performance displayed in 2004 with quarterbacks Tim Rattay and Ken Dorsey. During the week leading up to the 2005 NFL Draft, most mock drafts had Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback from Cal, rated slightly higher than Alex Smith, the college QB from Utah. Thus, it was widely assumed, by media critics and pundits, scouts and draft freaks, that San Fran would select, with the 1st overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, Aaron Charles Rodgers, rather than Alexander Douglas Smith.
As you know, this was not the case and the 49ers selected Alex Smith ahead of Aaron Rodgers for one reason and one reason only: They believed Alex Smith was slightly better than Aaron Rodgers. The first bit of luck for the Green Bay Packers in this particular draft.
In fact, many of the NFL teams prior to the Packers pick were not in need of a “franchise quarterback,” or so they thought as they entered the 2005 season. More luck for the Green Bay Packers.
The Miami Dolphins selected a running back with pick #2 in Round 1, because they already had two QB’s A.J. Feeley and Jay Fiedler. Apparently, it made no sense adding a third QB to the Dolphins quarterback controversy.
The Cleveland Browns with pick #3 selected a WR, in order to give QB Jeff Garcia some more ammunition. Chicago, with the 4th selection, tagged a running back to assist the play of Chad Hutchinson and Craig Krenzel, even though statistically both QB’s for the Bears were at the bottom in 2004. The third bit of luck for Green Bay.
In a nutshell, it appears that all of the teams that picked before the Packers must have been happy with their quarterback’s play in 2004. Case in point, Tampa Bay (pick #5) had two QB’s, Brian Griese and Brad Johnston. The Titans, who owned pick #6, were very satisfied with Steve McNair and Billy Volek.
The Vikes (pick #7) had Daunte Culpepper. Arizona (pick #8) was impressed with their QB Josh McCown, and the Redskins (pick #9) were apparently pleased at the moment with the veteran play of Mark Brunell, a former Packers QB, and the “greenhorn” QB Patrick Ramsey. Ironically, instead of selecting Aaron Rodgers with the 9th selection, Washington instead selected Carlos Rogers — a defensive cornerback from Auburn.
So, let’s go on: The Lions with pick #10 were tickled pink with QB Joey Harrington. The Cowboys, at pick #11, were heavily invested in Vinny Testaverde and the Chargers (pick #12) were enamored with Drew Brees and Phillip Rivers.
The Saints (pick #13) had acquired Aaron Brooks a few years earlier from the Packers via a trade and the Carolina Panthers (pick #14) were pleased as punch with Jake Delhomme. Furthermore, the KC Chiefs (pick #15) were sitting pretty with Trent Green and the Texans (pick #16) drafted the then promising David Carr in 2002.
Moving on, the Cincinnati Bengals, who were led by quarterback Carson Palmer, picked a linebacker with pick #17 to bolster the team’s defense. The Vikings, who had two picks in Round 1, selected a defensive end, Erasmus James from Wisconsin, with pick #18 to do the same.
The Rams (pick #19) loved QB Marc Bulger’s emergence and selected an offensive tackle to protect him. The Cowboys, who also had two picks in the 1st round, selected a “D” End as well with pick #20.
The Jacksonville Jaguars with pick #21 selected a wide receiver to compliment QB Byron Leftwich and the Ravens, with pick #22, also selected a wide receiver to team up with quarterbacks Kyle Boller and Anthony Wright. The Raiders, with pick #23, thought Kerry Collins could get the job done and selected a cornerback.
Finally, when the Packers were on the clock with pick #24, they selected Aaron Charles Rodgers, and, as you know, the rest is history.
By the way, after the Green Bay Packers selected Aaron Rodgers as the “heir apparent” to Brett Favre with pick #24, the Washington Redskins, with pick #25, selected Jason Campbell, a QB from Auburn. Given the fact that the Redskins had two picks (pick #9 and pick #25) in the 2005 NFL Draft, I am left wondering why they didn’t pick Aaron Rodgers at #9 and Carlos Rogers, the CB from Auburn, if he was available at pick #25?
Make no mistake, if any of the teams previously mentioned had thought that they were in need of a franchise quarterback or an heir apparent going into the 2005 season, they would have netted and landed Aaron Charles Rodgers, and then who knows where the Packers would be sitting today. And so, in my eyes, the Green Bay Packers got lucky; I mean really lucky.
Ted Thompson has done a pretty decent job in the draft department since landing Aaron in 2005. Scanning his latest draft picks, names like Jordy Nelson, Clay Matthews, Randall Cobb and Eddy Lacy stand out. But, just like fishing, drafting players is also a matter of timing and luck.
So, again, how lucky we are to have snagged and landed #12, “the Packer lunker of a lifetime,” in our draft net after so many teams had passed on him!
I wonder how lucky we will get when Aaron Rodgers decides to hang up his football cleats.