Ted Thompson: Was the 2012 NFL Draft His Best One Yet?

Adam LufranoCorrespondent IIIMay 19, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26:  Nick Perry (R) from USC holds up a jersey as he stands on stage with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after he was selected #28 overall by the Green Bay Packers in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 26, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Wait a minute. Isn’t it impossible to fairly rate a draft without any of the players even playing a down in the NFL? Maybe.

While it probably is unfair to rate draft selections when they haven’t reached the field yet, what is the fun in waiting two years for the draft picks to show what they can do? By that time, there will have been two more drafts that we will want to talk about, not including the one from this year.

In this article, I am going to compare this year’s draft by Ted Thompson to his other drafts with the Green Bay Packers. I will go round by round, and then I will wrap it up and come to a conclusion on whether this draft is his best yet.

Keep in mind that I can only rate the 2012 draft selections on potential, value, and whether they filled a need.

First Round: Nick Perry – OLB

Perry was a good pick by Thompson because he fills a huge need, was a good value and has a ton of potential. He is already a better pick than players like AJ Hawk, Justin Harrell and Derrick Sherrod. I think Perry is also a better pick than BJ Raji.

Perry was picked at a better value than Raji and fills a bigger need at the time of the draft (although it is extremely close). Raji also isn’t the type of player he should be yet, but Perry hasn’t even played a down yet so you can’t really make the comparison there. All I know is that I’d rather have Perry than Raji if Perry’s potential can hold up, but I’d give up a bunch if other players before I give up either of those picks.

Aaron Rodgers is obviously better than Perry because he is one of the best picks in draft history. I would also say Bryan Bulaga is a better pick than Perry because he was picked at a tremendous value and at a huge need, and he seems to be living up to his potential in the early part of his career.

Second Round: Jerel Worthy – DE and Casey Hayward – CB

I will treat Worthy and Hayward as a pack of players and when I compare them to other second rounders by Thompson, I will say whether Worthy and Hayward are better (instead of individual comparisons).

Right off the bat I will say that this second round is better than the previous five second rounds by Ted Thompson. Randall Cobb was a great pick, don’t get me wrong, but when you consider the needs at CB and DE for the Packers compared to their plethora of pass catchers, it’s pretty easy to see that the combination of Worthy and Hayward top the selection of Cobb.

Also Worthy and Hayward are obviously better than the worthless Mike Neal. The Packers went without a second round draft pick in 2009, and in 2008 they drafted a trio of players. Worthy and Hayward beat out the 2008 second rounders because Pat Lee and Brian Brohm are both ridiculous in how bad they are. Jordy Nelson is great, obviously, but he’s not enough to put 2008 over the top.

Brandon Jackson was drafted in the second round in 2007. That’s all I need to say there.

2005 and 2006 are the drafts where I can say the second rounds are better than 2012. Greg Jennings (drafted in 2006) is one of the best receivers in the game and I’m not ready to place Worthy and Hayward over him. Nick Collins (drafted in 2005), regardless of his recent departure, was a phenomenal pick by Ted Thompson. Collins was on his way to a Hall of Fame career, so if you think I’m going to place Worthy and Hayward over him you are crazy (even though we did draft Terrence Murphy in the second round that year as well).

Third Round: N/A

Some notable third round picks made by Ted Thompson are Jermichael Finley, James Jones, and Morgan Burnett.

Fourth Round: Mike Daniels – DE and Jeron McMillian – SS

These two picks were both compensatory picks at the end of the fourth round, so that automatically puts them at a disadvantage compared to Ted’s other fourth rounders since those picks were probably drafted a lot higher in the round.

Even with that this fourth round was still better than the 2005-2007 fourth rounds. Daniels and McMillian both fill needs, and while McMillian was probably taken at a bad value spot in the draft, both if these players have potential to be high impact guys. Besides, the 2005-2007 fourth rounds saw the likes of Brady Poppinga, Will Blackmon, and the God-awful Allen Barbre as the highlights.

The 2008 fourth round is better because Josh Sitton was selected in there and he is a stud at right guard for Green Bay. I am ready to say TJ Lang is also a better a fourth round than the 2012 Draft, but Daniels and McMillian do beat out Davon House from 2011 and the 2010 draft had no fourth round selection.

Fifth Round: Terrell Manning – ILB

I really like the Terrell Manning selection. I think he can take over AJ Hawk’s spot in the starting lineup as soon as this year. Because of Manning’s potential as a pass rusher and coverage linebacker, and the fact that he is great depth at inside linebacker and he improves our pass rush, he is Ted Thompson’s best fifth round pick so far.

The only fifth rounders that come close to Manning are Andrew Quarless and Marshall Newhouse from 2010. However, those players are only meant to be backups (unless Newhouse really plays well at left tackle next year), while Manning’s potential goes as far as starting inside linebacker for the Packers.

Sixth Round: N/A                                                                                                                                    

Some notable sixth round selections made by Thompson are James Starks, Desmond Bishop, Mason Crosby, DJ Smith, and Jarius Wynn.

Seventh Round: Andrew Datko – OT and BJ Coleman – QB

This round is hard because, naturally, most of Thompson’s other seventh rounds feature no-name scrubs, but Datko and Coleman are likely to become no-name scrubs as well. There was probably potential for some of the losers Ted picked in earlier drafts, but the only potential I can see right now is the potential of Datko on the offensive line.

Datko can become a starter for the Packers down the line, and that’s all you can ask for from a seventh round pick. I’d guess this seventh round is the second best one by Ted, only behind the 2008 draft where they took Matt Flynn in the seventh round.

Conclusion: Best Draft by Ted Thompson is….

This one.

While there were clearly other drafts that were great ones by Thompson (and those drafts feature players that have proved themselves on the field), this one feels the most complete to me. Every pick seemed to have a purpose or filled a huge need for the Packers and I liked the potential each pick brings to the team.

This whole article is assuming at least most of these draft picks, at minimum, sniff their potential and don’t become huge busts (like Bust-in Harrell). Maybe I’ll re-write this article in a couple of years and see if this draft turned out the way I thought it would. Most likely, though, I’ll probably be re-writing this article for the 2014 Draft, not the 2012 Draft.