Green Bay Packers: Evaluating the Team's 2008 Draft

Gerald Ng@geraldngkkContributor IIMarch 17, 2009

Since Ted Thompson took over as general manager in Green Bay, he has focused on building the Packers through the draft. Since he values the draft so much, let's review how he drafted last year.

Round 2 (No. 36 overall): Jordy Nelson, WR, Kansas State

The Packers traded down to pick up an extra fourth-round pick, and they pick a wide receiver again?  Green Bay already had Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, and James Jones, and they had more pressing needs at other spots.

There were also more popular names on the board, such as James Hardy, Eddie Royal, DeSean Jackson, and Malcolm Kelly. Nelson had 33 receptions for 336 yards, and is still No. 4 on the roster. Bad pick considering the other needs.

Grade: C-

Round 2 (No. 56 overall): Brian Brohm, QB, Louisville

On draft day, this pick got great press as Brohm was the first pick overall on mock drafts a year ago and it was great value for Green Bay, which needed a backup to Aaron Rodgers as well.

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The fairytale ended though.

When Rodgers went down in Week 4 against Tampa Bay, the Packers chose instead to turn to Matt Flynn, the seventh-round rookie. Brohm would have to show he's made progress this offseason to even remain on the roster.

Grade: D-

Round 2 (No. 60 overall): Patrick Lee, CB, Auburn

With both starting corners Al Harris and Charles Woodson getting older, the Packers would eventually need to find an heir apparent. Turns out Lee was far from it as he barely got on the field and managed a paltry two tackles the whole season. Another bad pick.

Grade: D-

Round 3 (No. 91 overall): Jermichael Finley, TE, Texas

Tight end was a need going into the draft, with depth a problem at that position. Finley was supposed to come in, make a few catches, and give Donald Lee some time on the sidelines if necessary.

Finley was relatively quiet, with six receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown. Considering that Dustin Keller—whom the Jets picked with the Packers' first-round pick—had 48 receptions for 535 yards, I would say this was a bad decision again.

Grade: C

Round 4 (No. 102 overall): Jeremy Thompson, DE, Wake Forest

The other extra pick the Packers got with the Jets for trading down. Thompson had eight tackles in his rookie season. Not impressive by any means, but with the Packers switching to a 3-4 definsive alignment, his time is near as he's more of a speed defensive end. He might have to make the transition to outside linebacker to stay with the Packers.

Grade: C-

Round 4 (No. 135 overall): Breno Giacomini, OT, Lousiville

The second Louisville pick in the draft, he protected Brohm in college. He only got onto the field for one game and it was only for a few plays. He needs to improve to stay on the team.

Grade: D

Round 7 (No. 209 overall) Matt Flynn, QB, LSU

He was probably just a flyer and Flynn did get in some playing time ahead of the second-round pick, Brohm. Unless the Packers pursue a veteran quarterback, Flynn looks likely to start the season as the No. 2 signal caller.

Grade: B

Round 7 (No. 217 overall): Brett Swain, WR, San Diego State

Another receiver? No notables. Would probably be cut.

Grade: C-

If this is the type of building through the draft that Thompson envisions, I think Green Bay will be an under-.500 team for a long, long time. Getting a lot of picks and hoping one hits isn't the art of a great general manager.

And when none of the picks were major contributors, and doesn't look likely to play any vital part in the future, then the future looks bleak for the team—especially a team which is as free-agency averse as the Green Bay Packers.

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