2011 NFL Draft: Evaluating Ted Thompson's Draft Picks for the Green Bay Packers

Alexander M. SmithContributor IApril 14, 2011

2011 NFL Draft: Evaluating Ted Thompson's Draft Picks for the Green Bay Packers

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The Packers' amazing run to the Super Bowl championship this past February would probably not have been possible without many different people.

    Perhaps the most important was general manager Ted Thompson. After taking his front office position in 2005, Thompson slowly shaped the Packers into a championship-caliber team, taking huge chances on guys such as Aaron Rodgers and Charles Woodson.

    As the 2011 NFL draft approaches, it is time to look back at Thompson's last six draft classes and analyze the impact of his drafting alone on the Packers starting lineup.

    The following slides rank the effectiveness of Thompson's picks concerning the number of starts at a given position by his draft choices. You might be surprised at what you find.

8. Tight End, 19.8 Percent Starts

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The tight end position is dead last on this list, which is due in part to the talent of non-Thompson picks, Donald Lee and David Martin. Promising young receiver Jermichael Finley has been tabbed by many as the next great NFL tight end, but a leg injury sidelined him for most of 2010.


    Who Has Made the Biggest Impact?

    1. Jermichael Finley: 16 starts (sixth round, 2008)

    2. Andrew Quarless: 3 starts (fifth round, 2010)


    Forgettable Pick

    Clark Harris: Did not make team (seventh round, 2007)

7. Defensive Line, 20.2 Percent Starts

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    There have been many stars on the Packers defensive line the past six seasons, but most of them were acquired either before the 2005 draft or via free agency. Names like Kabeer Gbaja-Biamilia, Aaron Kampman and Cullen Jenkins have kept Thompson's picks out of the starting lineup.


    Who Has Made the Biggest Impact?

    1.Johnny Jolly: 39 starts (sixth round, 2006)

    2. B.J. Raji: 17 starts (first round, 2009)

    3. Mike Montgomery: Eight starts (sixth round, 2005)


    Forgettable Pick

    Justin Harrell: Two starts (first round, 2007)

6. Defensive Back, 28.9 Percent Starts

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Defensive back is another position where the Packers have been lucky to get great help outside of the draft. Future Hall-of-Famer Charles Woodson has locked down a corner spot since 2006, and Al Harris spent a lot of time opposite him. Nick Collins has the most starts by far (93) out of any Thompson pick, and just made his third consecutive Pro Bowl.


    Who Has Made the Biggest Impact?

    1. Nick Collins: 93 starts (second round, 2005)

    2. Aaron Rouse: 10 starts (third round, 2007)


    Forgettable Pick

    Marviel Underwood: Zero starts in three years (fourth round, 2005)

5. Running Back/Fullback, 29.2 Percent Starts

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Running back is a position where the Packers seem to strike gold without trying. In 2005, undrafted rookie Samkon Gado put together a string of 100-yard games. Ditto for undrafted Ryan Grant in 2007.

    It is mostly due to the strong play from those two and Ahman Green that kept Thompson's selections off the field. In 2011, the Packers got lucky again with sixth-rounder James Starks leading the playoff push.


    Who Has Made the Biggest Impact?

    1. Korey Hall: 26 starts (sixth round, 2007)

    2. Brandon Jackson: 16 starts (second round, 2007)


    Forgettable Pick

    None. Thompson has drafted well at this position.

4. Offensive Line, 45 Percent Starts

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Perhaps no other team in football has had to patch together different offensive line starters on a weekly basis as Green Bay in the past few years.

    After giving up a league-high 51 sacks in 2009, the line really pulled together to reduce that number to 38 in 2010, mostly due to Thompson's prospects. Bryan Bulaga, a 2010 first-rounder, really stepped up and played a large role in the Packers' Super Bowl XLV victory.


    Who Has Made the Biggest Impact?

    1. Daryn Colledge: 76 starts (second round, 2006)

    2. Jason Spitz: 45 starts (third round, 2006)

    3. Josh Sitton: 34 starts (fourth round, 2008)

    4. Tony Moll: 18 starts (fifth round, 2006)

    5. Will Whitticker: 14 starts (seventh round, 2005)


    Forgettable Pick

    Jamon Meredith: Did not make team (fifth round, 2009) 

3. Wide Receiver, 47.9 Percent Starts

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Ted Thompson's wide receiver draftees were all over the field during Super Bowl XLV. Mainstays such as Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and James Jones stepped up when veteran Donald Driver went down with injury in the first half. Jennings in particular has been spectacular, developing into one of the premier receivers in the league.


    Who Has Made the Biggest Impact?

    1. Greg Jennings: 68 starts (second round, 2006)

    2. James Jones: 17 starts (third round, 2007)

    3. Jordy Nelson: Six starts (second round, 2008)


    Forgettable Pick

    Terrence Murphy: Zero starts (second round, 2005)

2. Linebacker, 49.7 Percent Starts

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Packers boast one of the best linebacking corps in the league, thanks in large part to Thompson's drafting prowess. A.J. Hawk, Desmond Bishop and Clay Matthews punished opponents all year after the loss of mainstay Nick Barnett to injury. Seventh-rounder Brad Jones and fourth-rounder Brady Poppinga have both also made a large impact at the position.


    Who Has Made the Biggest Impact?

    1. A.J. Hawk: 77 starts (first round, 2006)

    2. Brady Poppinga: 44 starts (fourth round, 2005)

    3. Clay Matthews: 28 starts (first round, 2009)

    4. Desmond Bishop: 13 starts (sixth round, 2007)

    5. Brad Jones: 12 starts (seventh round, 2009)


    Forgettable Pick

    Abdul Hodge: One start (third round, 2006)

1. Quarterback, 50 Percent Starts

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    One of the biggest stories of the 2010 NFL season was Aaron Rodgers' rise to the elite at the position. After a tough regular season which included two concussions and a broken start streak, he exploded in the playoffs and took home Super Bowl MVP honors—all of this after Thompson chose Rodgers over legend Brett Favre to begin the 2008 season. Thompson made a gutsy move, and Rodgers has repaid him in full.


    Who Has Made the Biggest Impact?

    1. Aaron Rodgers: 47 starts (first round, 2005)

    2. Matt Flynn: One start (seventh round, 2008)


    Forgettable Pick

    Brian Brohm: Zero games played (second round, 2008)

Top Picks by School

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    Kicker Mason CrosbyDoug Benc/Getty Images

    Schools with 3 choices by Thompson: Louisville, Texas A&M


    Schools with 2 choices by Thompson: Boise State, Boston College, California, Colorado, Iowa, LSU, San Diego State, TCU, Virginia Tech


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    Linebacker Clay MatthewsDoug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Pro Bowl Selections

    2008: Nick Collins

    2009: Collins, Clay Matthews, Aaron Rodgers

    2010: Collins, Matthews, Greg Jennings


    Offensive Player of the Month

    Aaron Rodgers, October 2009

    Aaron Rodgers, December 2010/January 2011


    Defensive Player of the Month

    Clay Matthews, September 2010


    FedEx Air Player of the Year

    Aaron Rodgers, 2010


    Super Bowl MVP

    Aaron Rodgers, XLV

What To Look for This Year

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    Offensive Lineman Bryan BulagaJeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    After winning Super Bowl XLV, the Packers possess the 32nd pick in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft. Thompson will look to add to his stable of solid draftees (most pundits say a defensive back or offensive lineman is likely with the first pick) and get the Packers started on their title defense.

    Packers fans should sleep soundly at night knowing Ted Thompson is in charge of player personnel, as he has slowly built the best team in the league.

    Here's to another 30 years with Thompson at the controls. 

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