Green Bay Packers GM Ted Thompson is widely known around the NFL (or at least to Packers fans) as being a "best-available guy" on draft day.
In a stunning change of events, Thompson did the right thing considering Green Bay's situation ... he drafted NEEDS.
The offensive "skill" positions are strong and have depth, so nothing should have been done to change that ... and there wasn't.
The defense lost several games for Green Bay last year. The Packers brought in a new defensive coordinator, Dom Capers, switched to a 3-4 scheme and needed Thompson to help out, and he did.
Overall, Thompson made some good decisions in this year's draft, hopefully helping the Packers improve on that 6-10 record that landed them the No. 9 pick.
With some draft day trades, Thompson and the Pack ended up with eight picks this year, and here they are.
No. 9: B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College, 6'1", 337 lbs
The Packers needed help all over the defensive side of the ball, and it was certainly addressed with this pick.
Whether Raji was the best available or not is irrelevant, he can clog the middle, and has a great ability of being able to find the quarterback.
He should get some quality playing time as a rookie, possibly along side some combination of Cullen Jenkins, Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly.
No. 26: Clay Matthews, OLB, Southern Cal, 6'3", 240 lbs
Ted Thompson actually traded up in the draft, which is mind boggling considering he traded away the first round pick last year. He swapped picks with New England because Matthews likely would've been gone at No. 40 (Green Bay's second-round pick).
Matthews is big and strong, exactly what you want in a line backer. Packers fans are already dreaming of the "four" in the 3-4; Aaron Kampman, Nick Barnett, A.J. Hawk and Matthews. If that doesn't scare opposing QBs, I don't know what will.
If Matthews is anything like his father (Clay Sr.) or uncle (Bruce), he will be playing 20 years in the NFL (hopefully all in Green Bay).
He should also see plenty of action on special teams.
No. 109: T.J. Lang, OT, Eastern Michigan, 6'4", 312 lbs
With no second- or third-round picks for Thompson, he responded in the fourth addressing yet another need - the offensive line.
With little depth and Mark Tauscher still unsigned, the Packers need some help in protecting Aaron Rodgers.
All the OT's are pretty much the same on day two of the draft, but it was good to see that Thompson wasn't satisfied with the present state of the offensive line.
No. 145: Quinn Johnson, FB, Louisiana State, 6'1", 246 lbs
The only offensively "skilled" position selected by Green Bay this year, and it left me scratching my head. I thought John Kuhn and Korey Hall have been solid at fullback for the Packers.
I would like to know the reason behind this pick, because there was plenty of other options to choose from. A corner back would have looked better, but Thompson was able to grab one later on.
No. 162: Jamon Meredith, OT, South Carolina, 6'4", 304 lbs
Much like the Lang pick earlier in the day, the pick makes sense due to the aging and questionable offensive line.
Meredith should provide some nice competition in camp, and if he makes the final roster, it would allow other members of that line from having to play two or three positions throughout the year.
No. 182: Jarius Wynn, DE, Georgia, 6'3" 275 lbs
When your defense let you down throughout the year like Green Bay's did, you can never have too many options.
Maybe Wynn is the one who can finally take the roster spot of Justin Harrell, who was Thompson's biggest mistake for the Packers.
He really stepped up in the Capital One Bowl against Michigan State (two sacks), and Green Bay hopes he can carry that momentum going into 2009.
No. 187: Brandon Underwood, Cincinnati, 6'1", 198lbs
The lone secondary position selected by the Packers, which looked pretty solid last year, with some up and coming talent.
Underwood had a very successful season a year ago, where he was named the Bearcats' special team's Player of the Year.
Like Matthews, Underwood might have a heavy work load on special teams, which was a little bit of a weakness for the Packers last year.
No. 218: Brad Jones, Colorado, OLB, 6'2", 232 lbs
You can never have enough line backers in a 3-4 defense, especially if a team has never played it.
I don't know what kind of impact Jones will have (if any). He will most likely end up on the practice squad and be a fill in for any injury that might occur.
It wasn't possible for Thompson to screw this pick up, but what makes it better is that Jones is a defensive player.
Thompson is the hardest GM to read. That's good when talking other GM's in the league, but it's nerve-racking for fans.
I've never been a true fan of his, but the 2009 draft got me hating him a little less and it let me see that there really is an NFL GM somewhere in Thompson.
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