Saturday, April 26, 2008

As Expected, Thompson Does The Unexpected

Well, the first pick has (finally) come and gone in the 2008 Draft, and as I predicted earlier, General Manager Ted Thompson has done the unexpected and, after a trade-down, picked up a player at a position that wasn't considered a high need. Jordy Nelson, the newest Green Bay Packer, is a wide receiver that was taken perhaps just a little early, according to most draft boards except the one that counts....Thompson's.

The Packer would definately appear to be set at WR, not only for quality starters, but for depth. Aging Donald Driver and breakout third-year man Greg Jennings are both Pro Bowl caliber (at least, with Brett Favre throwing to them), and second-year man James Jones, Koren Robinson, and Ruvell Martin would be amonsgst the top WR squads 1-5 in the NFL.

It makes little sense to the traditional Drafting For Need observer, who would certainly be thinking about giving new quarterback Aaron Rodgers more protection and a stronger running game rather than yet another WR weapon. And certainly, while I shake my head at the pick, especially after seeing TE Dustin Keller taken a bit prematurely at the spot Thompson traded out of, none of should be allowed to act surprised.

Let's review my pre-draft Gleanings, and see how I did.

Ted Thompson Gleaning #1: Ted Thompson doesn't pay attention to pre-draft hype. Many of us were hoping for CB Brandon Flowers or Keller to be taken, and even after the trade down, many thought a quarterback such as Henne was in the offing. But, Thompson ignored the prescribed expectations of 12,438 mock drafts and took the guy he felt he wanted.

Ted Thompson Gleaning #2: Ted doesn't trade up. Well, we knew this one. However, I don't know how many players there were that would be worth the price, and certainly, the trade-ups we saw in the first round didn't look like they panned out well for the teams that moved up.

Ted Thompson Gleaning #3: Ted keeps his first rounder. Oops. Well, it has to be said that we had barely a first rounder, and moved only barely out of the first round. I don't think you can fault the trade too much, however, unless you really felt Keller was the man we had to have, and I think a lot of us thought he'd still be there six picks later anyway, which brings us to...

Ted Thompson Gleaning #4: Ted does take risks, just backwards. I do think the Nelson pick is a little odd, especially with guys like Flowers and Nelson available at #30. When those two went quickly, and then the run on WRs began, Thompson may have found himself not only without the player he had hoped that we could have gotten despite trading down, but with the seven-minute window, not found another trading partner to trade down again.

Ted Thompson Gleaning #5: Quantity is better than quality, and competition is better than filling spots. I don't think this one can be argued much. Driver, Jennings, and Jones would be enough to establish a pretty solid WR squad. As we wait for the rest of the Day 1 picks, it will be interesting if some of the other positions perceived as a "need" get attention, or if we end up drafting defensive linemen in Round 2.

In all, I'm not disappointed with the Nelson pick. He appears to be a big body, kind of like Ruvell Martin, that can help out a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers with his size as a possession receiver. He appears to be a high-character guy, and while he is slow, we've seen that speed is often the fool's gold of wide receiver skills. Give me a guy like Greg Jennings that goes up to meet the ball in the air while fighting off defenders, and I don't care how fast he gets to that point.

And, given my gleanings, I certainly have no reason to be surprised. Do I?

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