The NFL Draft looms just over a week away. Which picks represent Ted Thompson’s best selections over his 12-year tenure as GM?
The Green Bay Packers have earned a reputation as a draft-and-develop team under Ted Thompson. They rarely make big splashes in free agency, instead choosing to address needs with talented rookies.
While that strategy has received criticism recently, it has undeniably proved successful in Green Bay. The Packers remain perennial contenders, and have been one of the league’s best teams over Thompson’s tenure. So who are his best draft picks (by round) since taking over as GM?
First Round: QB Aaron Rodgers (2005)
Picking Thompson’s best first-round pick proved easy. It doesn’t hurt that many of his other number one picks (Justin Harrell, Derek Sherrod) busted. Rodgers led the team to a Super Bowl in 2010, has won two MVP awards, and remains on track to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He’s arguably the most talented quarterback to ever play, while performing at an elite level year after year.
Honorable Mention: LB Clay Matthews
Second Round: S Nick Collins (2005)
Thompson’s first draft proved to be loaded at the top. After taking Rodgers in Round 1, he landed Collins in Round 2. Collins looked ready to become one of the league’s top safeties, but a neck injury cut his career short. He amassed 21 picks and 63 passes defended in seven years with Green Bay. Rarely has a defense collapsed as much as the Packers’ did when Collins left. His pick-six in Super Bowl 45 will forever live in Packers’ lore.
Honorable Mention: WR Jordy Nelson
Third Round: S Morgan Burnett (2010)
There really aren’t many solid players to choose from who came from the third round. In fact, Thompson traded out of the third round in four of his 12 drafts. That’s not to say Burnett hasn’t been a great defender in the secondary. Despite not receiving Pro Bowl recognition, Burnett’s been one of the anchors in a secondary desperate for veteran leadership. He’s not flashy, but Burnett is one of the most consistent safeties the Packers have had in a while.
Honorable Mention: TE Jermichael Finley