The draft is the biggest building block in terms of how Thompson has assembled the Packers. The Packers are a draft-and-develop team under Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy.
The proof is in the pudding. Since Thompson and McCarthy have become a duo, the Packers have gone 74-38 in the regular season the past seven years, have been to the playoffs five times, won three NFC North titles and have won a Super Bowl.
This is my final mock draft for the Packers, where I will be selecting players from the previous four mock drafts I have done.
Unlike my last one, I will not be making any trades in this particular mock draft.
I've been somewhat successful in predicting who Thompson will pick in the draft, as I have correctly named players like Nick Perry and Casey Hayward last year, as well as Alex Green, Davon House, Bryan Bulaga, Mike Neal, C.J. Wilson and B.J. Raji from the previous three drafts.
Also, I had an opportunity to talk to Chris Landry on the Steve Duemig show last week, and he told me that this is a very deep draft. In fact, Landry has 22 players rated with first-round grades, while giving a whopping 68 players second-round grades.
That's important to know as you look at this mock draft.
So, without further ado, here it is.
Weight: 283 pounds
I wrestled with the decision about who the Packers might take in Round 1 for awhile. To me, it came down to either Datone Jones or Margus Hunt. After talking to Chris Landry last week, I made my decision. I have the Packers taking Jones.
Hunt has pass-rush ability, blocks kicks like nobody's business and is a workout warrior. Unfortunately, his game tape doesn't show overall consistent play. Plus, Hunt will be 26 years old this year.
Jones is the more rounded player who excels in stopping the run and who also proved that he can be dominant in rushing the passer, as he showed at the Senior Bowl.
Jones also had a nice combine (4.8-second 40-yard dash and had 29 reps in the bench press) and also blocked two kicks in 2012.
The former UCLA Bruin also played in the 3-4 defense in college, so he is familiar with the defensive scheme of the Packers. Jones also played both inside and outside on the defensive line.
Jones had 12.5 sacks and had 36.5 tackles for loss in three years at UCLA.
The Packers need a defensive lineman like Jones, who can help not only in stopping the run, but also in pressuring the passer. Jones also has the frame that can add weight, as the Packers like to see their defensive linemen closer to 300 pounds.
Weight: 214 pounds
When I talked to Chris Landry last week, I specifically asked him his take on Montee Ball.
"Montee Ball is a really good back" Landry said. "He's compact, instinctive, and a shifty runner with balance, sort of in the Knowshon Moreno-mold or Mark Ingram-mold. He's quicker than fast, and has good hands. I think he represents good value in the second round."
I think Ted Thompson feels the same way, as he not only attended Ball's pro day at Wisconsin, but also took the occasion to speak to Ball, as reported by AP. Ball was able to trim his 40 time from 4.66 at the combine, down to 4.46 at his pro day.
It was a good time for Ball to impress, especially with his possible future boss looking on.
Ball is the type of running back the Packers are looking for. A three-down back, who can run with power and vision, plus catches and blocks well.
Overall in his career as a Badger, Ball rushed for 5,040 yards, plus had 58 receptions for 591 more yards. He also has the FBS all-time touchdown record with 82 touchdowns.
Ball played well in big games, too. Ball became the first running back in Rose Bowl history to rush for over 100 yards in three consecutive games, plus score a touchdown in three straight games.
The Packers need a running back like Ball who will make the safeties play up more in the box, unlike 2012, when the safeties almost always played deep. Why? Because opponents did not fear the Green Bay running attack and they also wanted to make it more difficult for the deep passing attack of the Packers to succeed.
Ball has the ability to change all that.
Weight: 302 pounds
I've had my eye on David Quessenberry since the Senior Bowl, where the former San Jose Spartan was very impressive. In fact, I thought so highly of Quessenberry, that I had the Packers selecting him in my first mock draft this year.
My opinion hasn't changed. Apparently the Packers are impressed as well. Earlier this month, Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press Gazette wrote about Green Bay's interest in Quessenberry.
Quesseberry was a three-year starter at left tackle at San Jose State, but he proved at the Senior Bowl that he is quite capable to play guard or center as well.
Quessenberry is just what the doctor ordered for the Packers. He could possibly be the left tackle of the future for the Pack. That's important with the soft and inconsistent play of Marshall Newhouse at that position the past two years.
Plus, you have the injury situation (broken leg) with former No. 1 pick Derek Sherrod (2011). The Packers hope he will be ready to go in 2013, but they said the same thing in 2012, when he missed the entire season.
In addition, Quessenberry can also play inside if need be. Versatility is perhaps the biggest factor that the Packers use when grading offensive linemen. Talent is also important. Quessenberry showed he had plenty of that at the Senior Bowl.
Weight: 219 pounds
Ted Thompson does seem to like former USC Trojans when it comes to the NFL draft. He has selected both Clay Matthews (2009) and Nick Perry (2012) in the first round, as a matter of fact.
I don't see him selecting another Trojan in the first round this year, but I could see Thompson selected a player like safety T.J. McDonald later in the draft.
Luckily for the Packers, the safety class of 2013 is very deep. Getting a player like McDonald in the fourth round would be an excellent value.
McDonald is the son of a former Trojan (Tim), who also excelled both in college and the NFL. Like his father, McDonald was also a team captain his senior year.
McDonald was a three-year starter at USC. He had 268 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, eight interceptions, three blocked kicks and two sacks. He also looked good at the Senior Bowl.
The Packers have questions at the strong safety position, as the team released veteran Charles Woodson, plus have two young safeties (M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian) who are still in the developmental stage.
The Packers would be wise to add a player of McDonald's caliber to the mix.
Weight: 233 pounds
When it comes to drafting wide receivers, Ted Thompson usually does this in the early rounds. In fact, Thompson has drafted a receiver in the second round four times and in the third round once.
That could happen again this year, especially since Donald Driver retired, Greg Jennings left as a free agent and also the pending free agency of James Jones in 2014.
But if Thompson decides to utilize the early rounds on getting talent at other positions, he could still find some decent wide receiver talent later in the draft—someone like Marcus Davis of Virginia Tech.
Thompson should be very familiar with Davis, because he signed another former Hokie wide receiver (Jarrett Boykin) last year after the draft.
As a senior, Davis caught 51 passes for 953 yards and five touchdowns. Davis also had a very nice 18.69 yards-per-catch average. Davis is tough to bring down after the catch.
At the combine, Davis ran the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds and also had an excellent vertical jump, leaping 39.5".
Davis needs to improve his blocking, which is a must in Green Bay, but with his size and talent, Davis would be an inviting target for quarterback Aaron Rodgers to utilize.
Weight: 242 pounds
The Packers still have a number of tight ends on their roster, but there are questions. Will Jermichael Finley remain a Packer after 2013, and will he be as consistent as he was in the latter half of 2012? In addition to that, the Packers lost reliable Tom Crabtree to free agency.
Because of that, I see the Packers selecting a tight end in the 2013 NFL draft. One player who could be real value in the later rounds is Ryan Otten of San Jose State.
Otten was good enough to be invited to the Senior Bowl, where he suffered a staph infection which caused him to lose some weight over the following weeks. But Otten has been able to put that weight back on, plus has the physical tools to be a nice tight end for the Packers.
Over the past two seasons at San Jose State, Otten had 99 receptions for 1,481 yards and nine touchdowns. When San Jose had their pro day, a former Spartan and current Packer watched Otten work out. That would be James Jones.
Otten is an excellent route-runner, has good hands and is improving in his blocking.
Because of the current situation at tight end, the Packers would love to see someone of Otten's talent join the team.
Weight: 245 pounds
Travis Long played defensive end his first three years at Washington State, and performed very well at that position. In those three years, Long had 140 tackles, 29 tackles for a loss, 11 sacks and three forced fumbles.
But in 2012, Washington State switched to a 3-4 defensive scheme, and Long became an outside linebacker. Long had excellent production there as well, as he had 61 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, 9.5 sacks, four batted passes, one forced fumble and one interception.
What's not to like about Long and why might he be available in the sixth round? Long had ACL surgery on his right knee in November. Still, Long has proven he is a very productive player in the Pac-12 when he is healthy.
The Packers need to add depth to the outside linebacker position. Currently, the Packers have Clay Matthews, Nick Perry and Dezman Moses there now. The Packers can also utilize inside linebacker's Brad Jones and Terrell Manning on the outside as well.
The NFL draft will always have a number of very talented and productive players who drop to the lower rounds of the draft due to medical issues. Long is that type of player, but he could also bring an excellent value to the Packers when he is fully recovered from his injury.
Weight: 320 pounds
Defensive lineman William Campbell never really played up to his potential at Michigan. Campbell was a highly sought out recruit out of Detroit in high school, but until his senior year, hadn't done to much in Ann Arbor.
In 2012, Campbell was named to the 2012 All-Big Ten Honorable Mention squad. That also got Campbell an invite to the East-West Shrine game.
With Ted Thompson in attendance, Campbell had some stellar moments there at practice sessions.
The Packers need a player who can take over for veteran Ryan Pickett after he finishes his career as a Packer. Perhaps that player can be Campbell, as he certainly has the size and the girth the Packers are looking for.
Campbell needs someone to motivate him and to get the former Wolverine to play consistently well. That someone could be defensive-line coach Mike Trgovac of the Packers, who spares no words at times with his players. If you have ever attended a practice with the Packers, you know what I'm talking about.