Green Bay Packer Draft Grades: Round By Round Analysis, Third Round
The 2010 NFL Draft is just three weeks away!
In this fifth edition of a round-by-round breakdown, we'll look back at Ted Thompson's draft selections since being appointed Green Bay’s General Manager in 2005.
Let's have a look back at Thompson's hits, misses, busts, and gems of the third round during his five year tenure.
Previous rounds have been graded A-F.
Round 3 (numbers selected)
2006—LB Abdul Hodge, Iowa (67) & G/C Jason Spitz, Louisville (75)
2007—WR James Jones, San Jose State (78) & S Aaron Rouse, Virginia Tech (89)
2008—TE Jermichael Finley, Texas (91)
On the 2009 Roster —4 (Jason Spitz, James Jones, Aaron Rouse, and Jermichael Finley)
With the emergence of Jermichael Finley as a big-time playmaking tight end, Ted Thompson’s third round grade is saved.
Prior to 2009, Jason Spitz was a regular at right guard, James Jones was a solid third or fourth wide receiver, and Aaron Rouse had potential at safety but was still a liability in coverage.
Finley was a raw prospect entering the 2008 season, as he entered the NFL draft early at 20 years old. During his rookie season Finley played in 14 games with one start; however, his number was rarely called and his impact was minimal.
The mismatches Finley caused was evident in 2008, yet he and first-year starter Aaron Rodgers failed to turn them into success.
Finley’s ability to shed linebackers due to his speed forced safeties and corners to cover him. At 6'5", Finley proved to be too tall for several defensive backs, becoming a deadly red-zone threat.
In his rookie year Finley caught just six passes for 74 yards and one touchdown, which was a sign of things to come.
Finley’s outstanding 2009 speaks volumes for his improved work ethic and maturity. His 55 receptions and 676 yards with five touchdowns ranked Finley as one of the top tight ends in the NFL.
Let’s not forget that Finley played just 13 games, so its likely he could have ended up as a top ten tight end if he had played a full season.
Jason Spitz and James Jones have both been very solid selections by Thompson. Spitz has proven to be one of the more versatile offensive linemen for Green Bay since being drafted in 2006. Of his 45 starts, 29 have come at right guard, six at left guard and eight games at center.
The emergence of right guard Josh Sitton has forced Spitz to compete for the starting center job with Scott Wells, which Spitz won during training camp. However, he suffered a season-ending injury during a week eight loss to Minnesota.
Spitz received a second round tender from the Packers this off-season and are looking for him to be a starter at left guard next season, if he's healthy.
Former San Jose wide receiver James Jones has been a nice player for Green Bay since being drafted in 2007. With Donald Driver and Greg Jennings on the roster, Jones wasn't likely to become a starter until his third or fourth season.
After a strong rookie campaign, Jones struggled in 2008 as he battled a persistent knee injury. In 2009 Jones played in all 16 games, with three starts, on his way to 32 catches for 440 yards. Jones showed impressive explosiveness averaging 13.8 yards per catch—a career best—and grabbed five touchdowns.
James Jones will enter the 2010 training camp with fellow wideouts Jordy Nelson and the aging Donald Driver for the starting job.
Aaron Rouse and Abdul Hodge are the remaining players selected by Thompson who are not with Green Bay.
Rouse showed potential during his two seasons in Green Bay, serving as a backup to safeties Nick Collins and Atari Bigby. He started 10 games for the Pack, nabbing four interceptions, including a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts.
Rouse was eventually cut by Green Bay in 2009 after consistent failures in coverage. He was later signed by the New York Giants. Rouse started a career-high eight games for the Giants, but was once again cut after a disappointing season.
Abdul Hodge lasted just one season in Green Bay before being signed by Marvin Lewis’ Cincinnati Bengals. Hodge has not proven to be an NFL starter but has shown flashes on special teams.
Overall, Thompson’s third round selections have been very solid, especially with the emergence of Jermichael Finley.
Thompson certainly deserves a big thumbs up from Packer fans.
For fourth through sevenths round draft grades see links below:
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