Green Bay Packer Draft Grades: Round by Round Analysis, First Round
Here we are, just five days away from the 2010 NFL Draft, and you have reached the seventh and final edition of looking back at Ted Thompsons draft selections, round by round since his appointment as Green Bay’s General Manger in 2005.
Each round is graded A-F and in a nut shell will be looking back at Thompson's hits, misses, busts and gems of his five year tenure at Green Bay.
Hope you have enjoyed the series and enjoy the last edition of Thompson’s first round selections.
2005: QB Aaron Rodgers, California (24)
2006: LB A.J. Hawk, Ohio State (5)
2007: DT Justin Harrell, Tennessee (16)
2008 – N/A
2009: NT B.J. Raji, Boston College (9) & LB Clay Matthews, Southern California (26)
Grade A ++
Selections : 5
Starters 2009 : 4
Roster made 2009 : 5
The emergence of Aaron Rodgers becoming Green Bay’s franchise QB for the next decade is a saviour for Ted Thompson’s first round selections. Several Packer fans were disappointed with the selection of injury prone Justin Harrell and in addition with steady eddie A.J Hawk Green Bay’s selections have lacked high quality playmakers that many would demand when selecting in the top half of the draft.
That was until this year.
Prior to the 2009 season, Rodgers could have been looked over by others around the league as a one year wonder. However another stellar season of 4000+ yards, 30 touchdowns and a passer rating of 103.2 ranks Rodgers as one of the top five QBs in most positional statistics.
Green Bay’s conversion to the 3-4 and 1st round signings in Raji and Matthews also look promising for Thompson. Matthews understandably stood out in comparison to Raji with his double digit sack season and a Pro Bowl selection in his rookie season. Raji also impressed in the nose tackle position, also with the ability to rotate at the end position also.
Linebacker A.J Hawk has received plenty of criticism over the past season due to the lack of "plays" he makes. Many feel that the number five selection in the 2006 NFL draft should be making game changing plays and winning games for your football team.
Packer fans who watch Green Bay week in week out all know of Hawk’s ability. He isn’t a flashy character who has a crazy dance or routine after a tackle for loss or a sack. He is a quiet man who gets on with his job, and many times is unheralded. During the 2006 draft the ESPN draft coverage quoted Hawk to be the safest player in the draft to have a very solid career in the NFL.
Has Hawk lived up to that? Absolutely.
A.J has played in all 64 games since his rookie season, starting 62 of them from the outside and inside linebacker positions. The former Buckeye has recorded 399 tackles, 8.5 sacks and five interceptions since joining Green Bay in 2006.
The only major miss by Thompson is DT Justin Harrell, who has been a huge flop. The injury prone lineman was a shock selection back in 2007 and many thought the pick was due to the Vikings drafting running back Adrian Peterson. In the ’07 season the Pack had Corey Williams, Colin Cole, Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly on their roster and the defensive tackle position wasn’t a major need.
Nonetheless, Thompson pulled the trigger on the mammoth lineman, who has kept the Packers treatment table warm since his arrival three years ago. During his final year at Tennessee, Harrell played with torn triceps and since has had a major ankle injury (rookie season) as well as two back surgeries.
Not good for a young man at the tender age of 26.
Both safety and corner back positions are desperate needs and Thompson along with Packer fans could only imaging what the defensive backfield would look like with one of those players.
There is still some hope within the organisation that Harrell can contribute next year. Packers head coach Mike McCarthy commented last month that he feels Harrell has "turned the corner" with regard to his chronic back injuries.
Despite the Harrell flop, the steady eddie selection of A.J Hawk and the unknown of B.J Raji, the selection of franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers will eradicate any previous poor Thompson selections.
Check out the day of the draft my one and only Green Bay mock draft. For you have followed this seven part series I have been looking at Thompson selections and looking at the patterns he picks.
Next Thursday’s mock will look at the percentages of Thompson’s previous selections, which will provide the basis for this year’s picks.
Below are the links to the previous rounds:
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