Since 1992 Green Bay Packer fans have become accustomed to the Best Available Player (BAP) draft philosophy of Ron Wolf and Ted Thompson. Wolf and Thompson combined for 23 drafts during their role as GM of the Packers. [Mike Sherman had a couple drafts tucked between, when he held the dual role of HC and GM]. The second piece of their team building was draft-and-develop. The belief was, draft a player, indoctrinate him into the Packer way, utilize his skills during his rookie contract and reward those who achieve starter status. The remaining players end up being cut, trades were rarely made.
If we evaluate their First Round picks, Wolf probably hit on two, Vonnie Holiday and Aaron Taylor. Ted Thompson did better with Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews, BJ Raji and Kenny Clark. Both Wolf and Thompson fared much better in later rounds. Wolf had several notable non-first round picks such as Chad Clifton, Robert Brooks, Antonio Freeman, Edgar Bennett, Donald Driver and Mark Tauscher, among others. Thompson also had notable players such as Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings, Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, David Bakhtiari, Corey Lindsley, and Mason Crosby. Thompson had several other impact players as well, but very few between 2015-2017. Of the 27 players chosen by Thompson during those drafts, only 3 remain Packers.
It is a common belief that a team must hit on at least 3 impact players each draft. When focusing on BAP a team limits their ability to fill positions of need. Thus, a team must attempt to fit players into positions which they may not be skilled or capable (i.e. Capers style, whether by philosophy or necessity). BAP also affects depth at various positions, as evidenced by the last two Packer seasons wrought with injury. The “next man up” philosophy of Mike McCarthy failed miserably. The “next” Packer player up was rarely prepared. An example is McCarthy’s failure with Hundley, who he firmly supported, which ultimately contributed to McCarthy’s departure.
When a team drafts the best player available at a position of need, they can accomplish two goals, drafting a quality player and filling a weakness. With this philosophy you can fill needs with quality players and develop depth. It will also allow you to supplement your draft with signing a few Veteran Free Agents to provide immediate impact. The Packers must follow this formula in 2019 during the FA signing period and the draft, to be successful.
Green Bay Packers 2019 first four draft picks wish list, 2 choices per pick: #12 Jachai Polite OLB FL, or Rashan Gary DT MI, #30 Nasir Adderley S DEL or Noah Fant TE IA, #44 Dalton Risner OL KSU or Oshane Ximines OLB ODU, #76 Michael Deiter OG WI or Anthony Johnson WR Buffalo. With these first four picks I would happy with any combination of these eight players. Some draft boards have Polite as low as 30th which would make pick 12 interesting if one of the top 10 players such as Devin White fell. This draft will be very instrumental for Gutekunst, LaFleur, and Pettine. It will be one of the most compelling drafts the Packers have had since Aaron Rodgers was chosen in 2005. Keep your eyes on that board!
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