3

May

Thoughts on Trader Ted and the Packers Draft from Pigskin Paul

Ted Thompson - Packers NFL Draft

I've gone crazy!

Unless you were asleep at the switch, or were abducted by aliens, it was hard for PACKERS fans to not notice that the team’s 2012 DRAFT effort had a very different flavor to it this year. WHITEY flipped positions around 3 times and has a new nickname: TRADER TED. It just so happened that the team needed Defense and almost every time the team Picked the Best Available Athlete on their Board it was a defender. They seemed to get more than their share of players who had a higher Draft value than the spot at which they took them.  But let’s slow down the train a bit and look at items individually for a couple of minutes.

It may seem hard to believe, but this was THOMPSON’s 8th DRAFT as the PACKERS head man. Where does the time go? In the previous 7 Drafts WHITEY traded “up” 3 times. In this DRAFT alone he traded up 3 times under the new personna TRADER TED. Having 12 Picks in his quiver emboldened him, I believe, to move up to secure players they had highly rated, but who he felt would not still be there when their next turn came around. And because the entire organization felt such a strong need to bolster the defensive troops he was trading up to get valued defenders as his top priority. So, even though it may look like the Best Available theory went out the window, I think this effort was just a variation on a theme so to speak. And to all of you PACKERS fans who have been screaming since the Play-Off loss to the GIANTS about needing to fix he Defense… you should be very happy right now.

So 12 Picks turned into 8, which must have caused some serious angst on the part of conservative TED, who normally hoards Picks like diamonds. He even alluded to that during several of his press appearances, saying he wasn’t his “conservative” father’s son anymore. By the way, some of his statements and how they were phrased also made me believe he was quite comfortable with the Draft path he chose to follow this year. He seemed very relaxed and casual in front of the camera this year… at least for the TED THOMPSON we’ve known this past almost decade. For a 15-1 team I see no real issue with 8 drafted Rookies on the roster as opposed to 12. They are in the process of signing a boatload of undrafted Free Agents, which I’ll discuss next week after the first mini-camp is over in Green Bay.

So what about value in these Picks? I will fess up that my player projections for this year’s Draft did not compare with my success rate from last year. But when BRUCE IRVIN gets taken half way thru Round 1, I knew it spelled trouble for conventional wisdom for us die hard Draftniks. Sure enough there were more surprises in the first 3 Rounds than ever. So despite not winning a ribbon at the fair for my prognostications this year.I am still going to compare the value they got for who/where they picked to what I had projected.

 

ROUND 1    PICK 28    NICK PERRY/DE/OLB    He was my 33rd ranked overall player prospect, but I have had him pegged to the PACKERS since my first PACKERS Mock in early April. He’s a good fit for their scheme and generating potential pass rush pressure.

ROUND 2    PICK 51      JEREL WORTHY/DT  I, like many people, had WORTHY  ranked as a First Rounder. He was my 29th overall player. He has some issues but lack of talent is not one of them.

ROUND 3     PICK 62    CASEY HAYWARD/CB    I had him ranked 66th, which means pretty much a wash, and I think his tough style of play with good man-cover skills fits their D nicely. HAYWARD is a football player. Watch out SAM SHIELDS.

ROUND 4    PICK 132    MIKE DANIELS/DT    I only had him ranked as the 258th best prospect. And I also did not see his fit in a 3-4 scheme, but we’ll touch on that later. He’s an active, quick guy when healthy, but will be a sub-package player only.

ROUND 4    PICK 133    JERRON McMILLAN/S    I smell a need pick here with the cutting of NICK COLLINS. But he is a good athlete & should excel on Special Teams. I had him ranked at 211.

ROUND 5    PICK 163    TERRELL MANNING/OLB       This was their best “get” on my Board. I ranked MANNING  as the 117th best player which is more than a Round higher than he was taken. Bets fit is as OLB in 4-3 scheme; more on that later.

ROUND 7    PICK 241    ANDREW DATKO/OT    Prior to two shoulder surgeries he reminded me an awful lot of CLIFTON coming out of college. Not a great athlete, but a hard worker with a great attitude. If he came with a good health note from DR. JAMES ANDREWS then he can help their OL, and soon. He’s a better player than an athlete. I ranked him 280 because of the shoulder issues.

ROUND 7    PICK 243    B.J. COLEMAN/QB        Great size, good athlete and a strong arm. But he wilts under pass rush pressure and has accuracy issues. A nice McCARTHY project with more talent than FLYNN. I had him ranked as 190th best player.

As I look at their selections it seems to me that almost half of them don’t look like perfect fits for a 3-4 scheme. I have serious questions as to how much we might see some 4-3 alignments on the field this coming season, as opposed to a 3-4, or 2-4 sub packages in long yardage situations as early as 2nd down. I think the PACKERS brass looked more at overall talent and athleticism than perfect fits for a standard 3-4 defensive scheme. Hey, the PACKERS had a 3-man DL on the field less than 50% of the time in 2011. I also find it quite interesting that if you go the official PACKERS website and bring up the roster PERRY is already shown as an OLB, not a DE.

It also occurs to me that if you take the Draftees and combine them with VFA HARGROVE & MUIR, there shouldn’t be too many players at defensive positions feeling too secure in their job status. I believe the PACKERS coaching staff is prepared for major changes in defensive personnel if the newcomers play up to their potential. If I’m a veteran PACKERS defender I’m not sensing great job security right now.

Only 1 Draftee (HAYWARD) played in he Senior Bowl, which is low for this team under THOMPSON. 3of the 8 players selected were underclassmen; PERRY. WORTHY & MANNING. That’s a high percentage for the old WHITEY in the Draft. 2 players came from the BIG 10, but as usual no BADGERS were selected by the Green & Gold. Two guys came via the ACC in MANNING & DATKO.

Since I had a disappointing prediction year overall I am going to crow a little bit. Please look at my final PACKERS MOCK, which appears just below this article. I projected PERRY in Round 1. I also had HAYWARD as an alternate selection in Round 2. And I had COLEMAN as their QB project in Round 6. Given how covert of a Draft operation TRADER TED runs, I’ll settle for 3/8 any year.

As I look ahead to the Undrafted Rookie signings, I will be looking for three specific “need areas” that still require addressing beyond the 8  Draft Picks: OL, RB, WR. Let’s see if I can have some talented guys to talk to you about when that list is finalized.

Editors Note: Thanks once again to our friend Pigskin Paul for this contribution to the Packers universe. You can read more of Paul’s writing at his own site, Pigskin Paul’s Place and follow him on twitter at @PigskinPaul.

24 Responses to “Thoughts on Trader Ted and the Packers Draft from Pigskin Paul”

  1. Ruppert says:

    Excellent stuff, Pigskin Paul.

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  2. Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

    I completely passed over mike daniels in my research due to his size. But i was very pleasantly surprised by what i have seen from him so far. I watched his bowl game against oklahoma and he was the best player on the field at times. I did not see a player who is quicker off the ball than Daniels and that includes Irvin and Worthy. He is a yard deep before anyone else was out of their stance. This guy could by a dynamite player.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

    • Bubbaloo says:

      I agree, I like the Daniels pick! Wasn’t Dwight Freeny “too small” to play D-Line when he was drafted too? I like this guy, and I hope we’re right!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • BubbaOne says:

        …and to pull a MM mantra out of mothballs…”I like his pad level.”

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  3. Chad Toporski Chad Toporski says:

    Great stuff, indeed! It was nice to see you reflect on the picks based on your pre-draft projections.

    “I think the PACKERS brass looked more at overall talent and athleticism than perfect fits for a standard 3-4 defensive scheme.”

    Totally agree with this. Are we seeing more of that with NFL teams these days?

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  4. Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

    Also, I agree with you Paul that people are kind of overblowing the people we have brought in and thinking the Packers are going to be playing a 4-3 this year. I think we may see a few more 4 down lineman snaps but they will be package specific, rather than a shift in philosophy. Last year at times we had 3 NTs playing on our DL. TT and DC saw the need to get more speed and athletic in our DL group.

    I think they are building the Colts version of a 3-4. We expect to score points and get up on you early, so we are going to bring waves of guys that can disrupt and get to the QB. Hargrove, Muir and Daniels are not prototypical 5 techs, but they all have good strength and can all get up field quickly.

    Perry, Raji, Daniels and Hargrove (after suspension) as down lineman and Bishop and CM3 as the 2 LBs could be great. Lots of flexibility. Bring Wood into the slot and Perry having the ability to drop in coverage…QBs are going to be freaking out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    • tlvincent4 says:

      how many D lineman did we keep last year?? There is going to be some fighting this year for those last few spots. Do Packers cut losses with Mike Neal cuz injuries/susp.?

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    • Bubbaloo says:

      If there’s only 2 LBs on the field for pass rushing downs as you suggest, don’t be surprised if Terrell Manning is the guy opposite CMIII. He’s quick, and he makes plays!

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  5. tlvincent4 says:

    Good stuff. I haven’t seen anybody around the webiverse who has given GB’s draft a grade lower than a B. I loved the part in the article about “job security” for GB veteran defensive players! Iron sharpens Iron, isn’t that the saying. Would like to hear more about GB’s starting secondary for week 1 vs SF. Will it be CB T.Williams/CB C.Hayward/FS C.Woodson/SS M.Burnett/ and NB either Sheilds or House???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Bubbaloo says:

      I’d like to hear more about the secondary too, but what we would hear today likely wouldn’t matter anyway! OTAs start next week, and that’ll be the first set of OTAs for last years draft class too. What it looks like today may NOT be anywhere near what the opening day starters will look like! Patience my friend, Patience!

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  6. Mojo says:

    Question for pigskin. I believe you had Shea McClellin as the 92nd rated player overall. Does this mean you believe the Bears way overreached when they took him at 19?

    I’m not as high on Daniels (no pun intended) as a lot of posters are. At around 6 feet and less than 300 lbs., I just don’t feel he will have the success in the pros as he did in college. The pro guys are bigger and faster, and especially the faster part will negate Daniels chief weapon – speed off the snap. Does anyone recall how he looked against Wisconsin, which we know had NFL caliber players? Maybe that would be a good indicator.

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    • Jy says:

      Isn’t 6 feet good for leverage?

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      • PackersRS says:

        Yes, but it’s terrible for blocking passing lanes and for reaching around Olinemen, as well as for adding bulk.

        The Packers, nonetheless, since their shift to the 3-4, have basically drafted shorter Dlinemen, probably for leverage.

        I find it interesting that a guy like McGinn keeps saying the Packers want to draft taller guys, but that never happens.

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    • Otto says:

      Watching Daniels highlights reminds me of watching John Randle (Vikings ’90-03). He was short and light and a complete nightmare for the Packers.

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  7. Jim says:

    Liked your article. Since Neal and Hargrove are going to be out and not getting paid, Packers should be getting reinforcements with fresh legs after 4 weeks and again after 8 weeks. Might be the best thing that could happen to the DL.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  8. Pigskin Paul says:

    Thanks for all the feedback and questions. I have answered some of you directly thru email. I also want to aplogize for so many typos in the article. I am going to redo tonight and maybe Al will show mercy and relink it in it’s corrected version. It’s a good Draft effort in my opinion with some guys having potential impact right away. Way to get after it WHITEY!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • BubbaOne says:

      Paul, Al, et al, the following is from the Packernet website. I’m no expert so I’d like to hear from you re this alignment. The picks make more sense to fit this scheme.
      “Whether it is a 3-4 or a 4-3 is somewhat of a semantic argument because there will be four players in a two-point stance behind three down defensive linemen, but this front is more like a 4-3 than a 3-4 because of how the three linemen line up. The lineman to the inside of the Elephant rusher is aligned as a 3-technique, something that you won’t see in a base 3-4 set. This look is essentially a 4-3 Under with a standup defensive end.”

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    • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

      done…

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  9. Shavager says:

    Why would any team with 12 picks, knowing that about half will not likely make the team, not use some picks to target specific players at certain steps of draft to improve their team? Any one with a little common sense would realize with the depth of talent at most positions on Packers team, SPECIFIC weakness would be targeted using trades to get players that likely wouldn’t remain on board to be available. Thompson did what most Packers fans expected–he addressed the big weakness–DEFENSE.

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  10. Shavager says:

    I don’t discount Daniels having some impact, he could very likely bump Wilson or Wynn from roster, possibly Muir doesn’t make roster if Daniels shows GB coaches energy to be impact player. If Perry is anything like CMatthews, OLB is set, competition between Manning, Walden, Zombo, Jones, Francois, DJSmith for roster spots will be INTENSE, should be same in secondary for Shields and Peprah. IF this team comes out popping with a good run game and defense that limits opponents to 20 pts or less per game, nothing short of major injuries will stop playoff run.

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  11. PackEyedOptimist says:

    One of the things that is interesting about this year’s group, especially the middle and late picks, is that they have more upside than recent draftees. All of them were exceptional athletically or in productivity. Wilson and Wynn were more like poor-man’s Worthys–they didn’t have his physical talent, but had the same “inconsistent” tag.

    Side note for Pigskin Paul: I disapprove of you attempting to give Ted Thompson a nickname, especially one that sounds pejorative and is appearance-based. Would you giddily call him “The Nose” if his nose was large, and argue you meant it “in a good way?” Show some respect to people.

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    • Pigskin Paul says:

      Dear PackEyed Optimist. I take ofense to your comments. Do your homework and show some respect for those of us who spend timer & effort before we write. TED THOMPSON’s League wide nickname is Whitey. I was told because he truned pre-maturely “white” in hair color. It is indeed what all his peers & acquaintances in the NFL call him. He does not consider it an insult or slur. Get off your high horse & do your homework before you call me, or others , out. Show some respect!

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