Green Bay Packers: 10 Best Draft Picks Under Ted Thompson

Tyler Brooke@TylerDBrookeSenior Analyst IIOctober 25, 2012

Green Bay Packers: 10 Best Draft Picks Under Ted Thompson

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    Since replacing Mike Sherman in 2005, Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson has undergone a lot of scrutiny.  

    With his philosophy of drafting and developing players over making big trades and free-agency pickups, the Packers had a rocky few seasons.

    Now, Ted Thompson has a Super Bowl ring and has acquired one of the best offenses in the NFL.

    Thompson has made some big draft picks in his career with Green Bay. Here are 10 of his best picks.

10. Mason Crosby

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    Sixth round, 193rd overall (2007)

    Kickers usually don't make a list of top draft picks, but Mason Crosby is an exception.

    Crosby has been a major factor in the Green Bay special teams, consistently making big kicks.  While he has struggled somewhat this season, he has been great over his career.

    Crosby has made 79 percent of his kicks, including 13 of 50 yards or more, and a career long of 58 yards.

    Crosby has made some clutch kicks, including a game-winning field goal against the Philadelphia Eagles in his NFL debut.

    Crosby has been a reliable kicker for Green Bay, and that is something that is hard to find or draft.

9. Jermichael Finley

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    Third round, 91st overall (2008)

    Despite the drops, Jermichael Finley has still been a big asset for Green Bay.

    For being selected in the third round, Finley has played well when healthy.  In his career, he has 2,059 yards and 16 touchdowns through his first five seasons.

    Finley broke out in 2009, when he caught 55 passes for 676 yards and five touchdowns in only 13 games played.  He also played well in 2011, catching another eight scores.

    While Finley's future with Green Bay is uncertain, he has been a good option for Rodgers when he is healthy and catching the ball.

8. James Jones

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    Third round, 78th overall (2007)

    James Jones has been a big option for Aaron Rodgers, especially this season.

    Jones has been a consistent option for Rodgers, consistently being in the offensive mix and finding the end zone regularly.

    In his six seasons, Jones has caught 216 balls for 3,027 yards and 27 touchdowns.  Jones is currently having the best season of his career, already catching seven touchdowns, tied for a career high.

    As the receiving corps changes, Jones will keep being a reliable option.

7. B.J. Raji

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    First round, ninth overall (2009)

    Raji is now best known for his own version of the "Discount Double-Check" after scoring a touchdown in the NFC Championship, but he should be recognized as an anchor to the Packers defensive line.

    With the defensive line for Green Bay changing each year, Raji has been consistently in the lineup since 2009.

    Raji's numbers may not look very impressive, but his play on the field has been tremendous.  Raji is great at getting into the backfield and blowing up plays, causing running backs to change direction and slow down.

    Although Raji has missed the past few games, he has been a great selection by Thompson.

6. Jordy Nelson

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    Second round, 36th overall (2008)

    Jordy Nelson has become a great No. 2 wide receiver and would likely be the top receiver on most teams.

    This season has been huge for Nelson, having to become the No. 1 with Jennings being sidelined for the past few weeks.  At this point, Nelson already has 532 yards and five touchdowns.

    Nelson has also had a very productive career, with 3,063 yards and 26 touchdowns.  With Aaron Rodgers throwing you the ball, it is pretty easy to get open.

    Nelson had an incredible game in the 2010 Super Bowl, and he hopes to have another big Super Bowl performance this year. 

5. A.J. Hawk

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    First round, fifth overall (2006)

    After a disappointing year for Green Bay in 2005, the Packers were given a top-five pick in the draft.  The Packers selected A.J. Hawk, and he has been great.

    Hawk had an incredible rookie season, getting 120 tackles, 3.5 sacks and two interceptions.  Since then, he has had more than 80 tackles each season.

    Hawk is having another big year this season, already at 56 tackles and a sack.  

    The Packers made a great choice with Hawk, and he continues to shine each year.

4. Greg Jennings

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    Second round, 52nd overall (2006)

    Although Jennings has missed a big portion of this season, his career with Green Bay has been phenomenal. 

    Jennings has played with two of the best quarterbacks in Green Bay history and has been lucky to do so.

    In Jennings' seven years in the league, he has 401 catches for 6,249 yards and 50 touchdowns.  

    Jennings had his first big season when Aaron Rodgers became the starter, getting 80 catches for 1,292 yards and nine scores.

    Jennings has been a great player for Green Bay, and if he stays on the team, he could have a chance to break records held by Donald Driver.

3. Nick Collins

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    Second round, 51st overall (2005)

    While Nick Collins doesn't play for Green Bay anymore, he was one of the best players on the Packers defense for over half of a decade.

    Collins played great over his career, with 419 tackles, six forced fumbles, 21 interceptions and four defensive touchdowns.

    Collins had the biggest play of his career in the 2010 Super Bowl, picking off Ben Roethlisberger and bringing it all the way back for a touchdown.  

    Collins was there for Green Bay's Super Bowl victory and was one of the best safeties in the league for a number of years.  Even though he isn't a Packer now, that is how he will be remembered.

2. Clay Matthews

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    First round, 26th overall (2009)

    When talking about the best pass-rushers in the league, Clay Matthews always comes up as one of the best.

    Matthews has been an incredible pass-rusher, scaring quarterbacks since his rookie season.  Teams now have to always be looking for him, and even consider double-teaming or triple-teaming him.

    In Matthews' rookie season, he recorded 10 sacks.  In his short career so far, he is already at 38.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, four interceptions and two touchdowns.

    Matthews is finally healthy again this season after being hindered by a hamstring injury last year.  He is already at nine sacks this year and is second in the league to J.J. Watt.

    With a long career ahead of Matthews, he could become one of the greatest pass-rushers of all time. 

1. Aaron Rodgers

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    First round, 24th overall (2005)

    This was not a hard decision as to who would be No. 1 on this list.

    A Super Champion, a Super Bowl MVP, a league MVP—who else would we choose?

    Aaron Rodgers is already beginning to overshadow his predecessor, Brett Favre.  While Favre won the MVP award three years in a row, he didn't have the efficiency of Rodgers, who throws so few interceptions.

    After developing under Favre his first three seasons, he has been spectacular ever since.  For his career, he has 19,345 yards, 151 touchdowns and only 42 interceptions.  His career passer rating is 104.7, which is the highest of all time.

    Aaron Rodgers has been the best pick by Green Bay in recent memory, and he should continue to be for a long time.


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