Green Bay Packers: 3 Creative Moves Ted Thompson Should Make on Draft Day
General manger Ted Thompson is not afraid to make bold moves on draft day. When he was first hired to run the front office of the Green Bay Packers, Thompson was more about trading back to accumulate more draft picks for the Packers.
Thompson still does that, with the 2013 draft as being a good example. Thompson traded back in the second round and was able to get a couple of additional picks. The trade-back didn't seem to hurt the Packers at all, as the Packers ended up drafting running back Eddie Lacy, who was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year last season after a sparkling rookie campaign.
But lately, Thompson has also traded up a number of times to select a player that he covets. He has done that six times in the past five drafts. The biggest example was when Thompson traded a second-round pick and two third-round picks to move up and select outside linebacker Clay Matthews late in the first round in the 2009 NFL draft.
I expect Thompson to once again be active during the draft this year.
This is an extremely deep draft. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said this is the deepest and best draft class he has seen in 10 years.
Bottom line, I expect Thompson to be very creative in getting the Packers more talent and depth on their roster through a myriad of moves in the draft this year.
Trade-Up in Round 3 with the Tampa Bay Bucs
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers don't have picks in the fourth-round or the sixth-round because of trades. The Bucs do own the fifth pick of the third round, while the Packers have the 21st.
I could see the Packers switching picks with Bucs and moving up 16 spots to get the player they want early in the third round. It would also cost the Pack their regular fourth-round and fifth-round picks to move up, but the Packers would still have the compensatory picks in the third round and fifth round (which can not be traded) to use later in the draft.
Landry talked to me about how deep this draft class is, especially in the second and third rounds.
"It's really deep in the second and third rounds," he said, "maybe even a little bit above that. So, there is really good value. And what that means is that when you are picking in the fifth or sixth round, you will be getting in a lot of cases third-round value players. Because how you grade a player is how you see them and how they fit in a certain category. And that grade is corresponding to a round. But if you have more than 32 players with second-round grades, which you are definitely going to have this year, just do the numbers. If you have 42, you have 10 players who going to bleed into the third round with second-round grades. If you do the numbers going forward, I think there is going to be tremendous value here (in this draft)."
Trade-Back to Get Extra Picks to Help Special Teams
I recently wrote a piece about the issues regarding special teams with the Packers. The biggest issue being the coverage units.
Late-round draft picks are the place to find hidden gems who can play a key role on special teams, especially on the coverage units.
The Packers have done that in the past, recently, when they selected Ryan Taylor in the sixth round in 2011, Micah Hyde in the fifth round in 2013 and linebacker Sam Barrington in the seventh round, also in 2013.
But more of that has to happen this year. Especially in a deep draft, which will allow teams to draft fifth-round talent in the seventh round.
As I mentioned earlier, Thompson has traded up six times in the past five drafts. A couple of those trade-ups have turned out to be fabulous decisions by Thompson.
The biggest one was when Thompson traded-up to select outside linebacker Matthews in 2009. Matthews has had a spectacular career so far in Green Bay.
Thompson had similar success when he traded-up to select cornerback Casey Hayward in 2012. Hayward had a very nice rookie season, but he was hurt most of his second season with the Packers due to hamstring issues.
There are also three other players whom Thompson traded-up to select whom are still on the roster of the Packers.
One is safety Morgan Burnett (2010), who looked like he was going to have a promising career and was given a contract extension last summer. But his play fell off last year, as he too was hampered by hamstring problems.
The other two players are defensive lineman Jerel Worthy (2012) and running back Jonathan Franklin (2013). Both have shown flashes of being pretty good, but are still works in progress.
Thompson needs to stay aggressive in this year's draft. If there is a player available who he really covets, he needs to go after him. He can also trade-back later to get some more extra picks, plus he has two compensatory picks to use (they can not be traded) in this year's draft as well.