Every year after the draft, I shake my head at "experts" who grade each team's class minutes after it's over. So after some time--I have deemed it three years--it is more appropriate to see how well the team fared.
In 2005, the Green Bay Packers ushered in a new era. Ted Thompson had been named the new general manager to replace Mike Sherman. This would be the first time Packer fans got to see decisions made by Thompson.
Round 1 (24th overall): Aaron Rodgers QB
It has yet to be seen whether Rodgers can lead a team to the playoffs. He looked good most of pre-season, and definitely was impressive against Dallas last year.
The whole talk about Thompson keeping Rodgers around because he needs him to succeed is ridiculous. Rodgers has shown Packer personnel he has what it takes to win to give him the starting role, so much that they haven't bothered to leave one veteran behind him.
Round 2 (51st overall): Nick Collins S
With Darren Sharper leaving for the rival Vikings, a huge hole opened up at strong safety. Nick Collins has filled that spot from day one. Besides missing three games to a knee injury last year, Collins has been a starter his entire career.
He is a solid player who rarely makes a bad decision on plays. This attribute is often overlooked as fans see his interception total, four in his career, and complain he doesn't change the game.
In addition to the picks, Collins has also forced four fumbles. Collins has made the the defense a better unit, and is a great draft pick.
Round 2 (58th overall): Terrence Murphy WR/KR
Speed prompted this pick, hopefully providing a boost to special teams. However, Murphy only had five catches and five returns in his short-lived career.
Round 4 (115th overall): Marviel Underwood S
Another potential fill-in for Sharper at safety, but he just couldn't beat out Collins. He played one year, then was cut. Recently picked up by the Raiders, he couldn't win a spot there either.
Round 4 (125th overall): Brady Poppinga LB
Starting for the last two years, Poppinga is the least known member of the Packers linebacker corps. There were thoughts free agent acquisition Brandon Chillar might beat him down the depth chart, but Poppinga has held on to his spot.
Poppinga has played well, notching three sacks and two interceptions during his career. In the NFC Championship game, he had five tackles including two solo tackles for zero yards.
Entering his third year as a starter, look for Poppinga to possibly blitz more. His speed is good for a linebacker, and Coach Sanders will look to him to bring outside pressure.
Round 5 (143rd overall): Junius Coston G
Only 20 years old when the Packers drafted him, he looked to be a permanent part of the offensive line come 2007. Coston started seven games last season, mostly at right guard.
However, injuries have plagued Coston for much of his professional career. Ankle, calf and knee injuries have all hit Coston sometime during his career. Now for the 2008 season, he is on the injured reserve.
Clearly valuable when healthy, Coston can be a rock for the line. The problem is staying that way.
Round 5 (167th overall): Mike Hawkins CB
After picking up Woodson in 2006, Hawkins became expendable. He was picked up later by the Vikings.
Round 6 (180th overall): Mike Montgomery DE
Shifting between end and tackle, Montgomery has become a solid backup for the Packers. With a couple of sacks and two pass deflections, he has become the guy who gives Aaron Kampman a break.
With 22 tackles last season, including three more in the NFC Championship game, Montgomery has proved to be an great sixth round pick.
Round 6 (195th overall): Craig Bragg WR; Round 7 (245th overall): Kurt Campbell LB; Round 7 (246th overall): Will Witticker G
Nothing to see here. Move along.
With three starters, one backup, and one potential starter on injured reserve, the Packer draft class of 2005 wasn't bad. Of course, it all comes down to Aaron Rodgers performance to make it great.
This draft class was probably the middle of the pack of 2005-2007. Nothing can compare to the ridiculousness that was the 2006 draft, however with five players still making an impact, the 2005 draft looks to be a good solid effort.
Aaron Rodgers' 2008 season will makes all the difference.