The Best and Worst of Packers GM Ted Thompson – Part 2: The Misses

Green Bay Packers GM Ted Thompson

Ted Thompson is not happy about the items on this list.

As a follow up to Part 1 of this series,  Part 2 is a compilation of Ted Thompson’s worst moves as General Manager of the Green Bay Packers. Finding 10 things that Ted Thompson has done wrong in his career was a much more painstaking process than finding what he has done right. Without further ado, here they are:

The Misses:


1. Allen Barbre – Ted Thompson went into the 2009 season with Allen Barbre as his starting right tackle. During his starting stint Barbre may have been the worst right tackle in the history of the franchise. He allowed Jared Allen to sack Aaron Rodgers 7.5 times in two games, which was a huge factor in two of the Packers most painful losses of the last decade. Need more proof Barbre was awful? He allowed 5 sacks by Antwan Odom, who has only 23.5 sacks in his 7 year career.

2. Drafting Justin Harrell – Rarely has Ted Thompson completely whiffed in the first round of the draft, but he reached and whiffed badly with Harrell in 2007. Harrell tore his bicep tendon during his senior season at Tennessee and then showed up to his first training camp slightly out of shape. Following the bicep injury, Harrell injured his back and knee. Over four seasons as a packer Harrell participated in 14 games and made an impact in exactly none.

3. Signing Marquand Manuel – The first free agent to be signed by Ted Thompson was Safety Marquand Manuel. Ted Thompson signed his former Seattle player to a 5-year $10 million contract. The only issue with the signing was Manuel had the agility of an overweight and slightly ill hamster, and the speed of a run away sloth carrying a brick. He was cut one year into his 5-year contract.

4. Drafting Brian Brohm – The heralded Louisville quarterback was thought to be a possible first round talent by many draftniks as he entered his senior season. But a pedestrian year and an apparent lack of need at the QB position caused Brohm to fall through the cracks to the Packers with the 56th overall pick. Some people saw it as a waste considering the Packers’ numerous holes in their roster, others saw it as a good value (considering the Packers did not have a backup quarterback). After Brohm’s first preseason game Danny Wuerffel was seen laughing and hilariously imitating Brohm crow hopping to throw a ten yard out.



The Best and Worst of Packers GM Ted Thompson – Part 1: The Hits

Green Bay Packers GM Ted Thompson

Green Bay Packers GM Ted Thompson

Since January 14, 2005, Ted Thompson has been the driving force behind the reincarnation of the Green Bay Packers. At times he has been reviled by a huge portion of Packer Nation, and recently has been lauded as the eccentric genius architect of the deepest and most talented team in the league. To encapsulate his triumphs and failures of the past 6 years I have created a top ten list of hits and misses (coming soon).

The Hits

1. Drafting Aaron Rodgers:

This draft pick caused me and my friends to scream and throw our draft guides at the television. “Get Brett Favre some weapons! Our window is closing! Why does The Albino hate us?” we shouted between moments of rage filled couch punching. Aaron Rodgers is arguably the best quarterback in the league, which is the most important position in all of sports.

2. Hiring Mike McCarthy:

It took some guts to bring in the coordinator of the worst offense in the NFL to be your first hire. As my screen name may indicate, I was an extreme doubter of McCarthy and may have even called for his head on a platter on this very website. Two things have become very clear after the Packers beat the Steelers in the Superbowl; Thompson found the right man for the job, and I good sirs, am an idiot.

3. Trading Brett Favre:

There seems to be a theme here, Ted Thompson’s greatest moves were also his most controversial. This moment in Packer history will be discussed for years to come. In the end it was the perfect time to make the franchises biggest change in two decades.

4. Signing Charles Woodson:

Thompson has been very selective in free agency is like saying Gilbert Brown was slightly overweight, but Charles Woodson is the second greatest free agent signing in Packer’s history. I will give everyone one guess as to who is #1 on that list.

5. Drafting Clay Matthews III:

Trading up in the draft is not something that Thompson appears to be comfortable with, but he left his comfort zone and moved up to draft one of the most feared young defenders in the NFL. Matthews was the least known of the three USC linebackers drafted in 2009, but he has been a force from day one.

6. Drafting Greg Jennings:

When Ted Thompson chose Jennings with the 52nd pick of the 2006 draft most people said, “Who?” It became quite obvious in Jennings’ first preseason that Thompson knew exactly what he was getting in Jennings.



Green Bay Packers First Round NFL Draft Picks – Video 3-pack



According to Hobbes: Packers Offseason Primer on the NFL Combine: Quarterbacks

Here’s the first of a series of articles looking specifically at the NFL combine and the Packers’ drafting tendencies. ( read here for the rationale for this series).  This article will use the combine numbers from previous players drafted by GM Ted Thompson as a guide for what quarterbacks are likely to fit into the Packers’ scheme.

Again, this is merely an attempt to make a best guess based on statistics at which players the Packers might be interested in, game tape naturally trumps combine numbers, so take all of this with a grain of salt.  But I believe it will make for some interesting discussion. Listed below are two quarterbacks in this year’s draft who I think fit the Packers scheme the best,  based on their combine numbers.

Statistics of quarterbacks drafted by the Packers:

Name Height Weight 40-Yard 3-Cone Shuttle Vertical Broad Bench
Aaron Rodgers 6’2” 223.00 4.71 7.39 4.55 34.50 110.00 N/A
Ingle Martin 6’2” 220.00 4.71 7.15 4.22 36.00 111.00 N/A
Brian Brohm 6’2” 230.00 4.81 7.13 4.55 30.00 115.00 N/A
Matt Flynn 6’2” 228.00 4.79 7.21 4.34 28.00 109.00 N/A
Average 6’2” 225.25 4.76 7.22 4.42 32.13 111.25 N/A
StDev 0.00 4.57 0.05 0.12 0.16 3.75 2.63 N/A

What the Packers are looking for: Ted Thompson apparently likes quarterbacks that are 6’2” as every quarterback he has drafted has been exactly 6’2”, which is a little odd since 6’2” is considered on the short side for quarterbacks.  Thompson apparently also likes his quarterbacks to weigh about 225 lbs as the standard deviation for quarterback weight is a mere 4.5 pounds, which is the lowest among all positions.  To go even further, 2 out of the 3 quarterbacks that were signed for training camp last year also were 6’2” and 2 out of 3 quarterbacks were between 220 and 230 pounds.

The workout drill where quarterbacks had the lowest relative standard deviation (thus implying were most important) was the 40-yard dash.  4.76 seconds for the 40-yard dash is pretty fast for a quarterback but definitely not the fastest in any draft class.  This probably means that the Packers are looking for a quarterback that has the speed to evade defenders in the pocket and occasionally break free and run for yards but typically won’t be so fast that they want to run on every occasion.  The Packers prefer their quarterbacks to be pocket quarterbacks first and scrambling quarterbacks second, which would seem to collaborate with the above statistics.



The BEST Green Bay Packers First Round Draft Picks of the Last 50 Years

As the 2010 NFL Draft approaches, and anticipation builds, Packer fans everywhere are hoping the team’s first round draft pick will turn out to be the team’s  next Hall of Famer. Unfortunately, Packers’ history says that’s not very likely.

The Green Bay Packers have 19 players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Only 3, however,  were first round draft choices (Paul Hornung, Herb Adderley and James Lofton). Only 2 (Adderley and Lofton) were between the years of 1959-2009 that this article covers.

In the 72-year history of the NFL Draft, Green Bay has only had the first overall pick once, in 1959. It would be Vince Lombardi’s first draft and his selection, quarterback Randy Duncan, unfortunately made my previous list of the WORST Packers first-round draft picks of the last 50 years.

You may be surprised to know that the  Packers have been very active first-round traders. In 28 of the past 50 drafts, the Packers have made a trade involving a first round draft choice.

Before we get to the picks, two disclaimers:

You will not find Jerry Kramer or Paul Hornung on this list as they were drafted before 1959.

You will not find Aaron Rodgers or Clay Matthews on this list as their bodies of work, while impressive,  are still too short.

So, without further delay, here is the list:

Nick Barnett – LB – 2003 – Selected 29th overall – 6’2″, 236 lbs.

Out of Oregon State University, Nick Barnett was a 4-year varsity player. He entered the starting lineup halfway through his sophomore season and remained a fixture at strong side linebacker for the rest of his collegiate career. His senior season he averaged over nine tackles a game and was named All-Pacific 10 Conference, after leading the league with 121 tackles (62 solo).

Selected by the Packers with pick 29 of the first round, Barnett was the first Oregon State player taken in the first round in 40 years. He quickly proved to be worthy of that pick, starting the Packers’ first regular season game at middle Linebacker. Barnett has been incredibly consistant, still averaging the same nine tackles per game with the Packers as he did in college. Barnett has lead the Packers in tackles 5 times, including last season, coming off the only serious injury of his career. He has been the de-facto leader of the Packers’ defense, and at no time did this become more evident than the 2008 season. When Barnett got injured, the Packers defense plummeted downhill fast. His leadership and contributions were sorely missed.



The WORST Green Bay Packer First Round Draft Picks of the Last 50 Years…

As the 2010 NFL Draft approaches, and anticipation builds, do the Green Bay Packers really know what they will be getting with their first round draft pick?  History says, um, not necessarily. Submitted for your approval:

1980 Bruce Clark, DT – Selected fourth overall

(taken before Art Monk, Matt Millen, Otis Wilson, Dwight Stevenson)

Out of Penn State University, Bruce Clark was a College All American and the first player to win the Lombardi Trophy as a junior. He went on to have a good career, but not for the Packers. Drafted by the Packers with the 4th pick of the draft, he instead signed with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.

While money was one factor, reportedly the main reason he went north was he didn’t want to play middle guard (now known as nose tackle) in the Packers 3-man line. This was easily Bart Starr’s biggest blunder as GM. Most likely the topic was discussed with Clark, but Starr probably was confidant he could convince Clark to do what is best for the team. Unfortunately, the ultra-loyal Starr probably underestimated the new attitude among athletes – me first.

This selection makes the list not because of the player’s lack of talent, but simply because the Packers got absolutely nothing out of a high first round pick. An inexcusable blunder.

1987 Brent Fullwood, RB – Selected fourth overall

(taken before Shane Conlan, Rod Woodson, Jim Harbaugh, Tim McDonald)

Out of Auburn University, Brent Fullwood gained 3700 yards rushing and scored 24 touchdowns for the Tigers. Green Bay made him the fourth overall pick of the draft, and expected big things. Fullwood never really delivered, however. Fullwood lasted only 4 years with the Packers, starting 30 games and rushing for 1700 yards. Almost half of those yards came in 1989, when he actually was named to the Pro Bowl.

Unfortunately, his career took a nosedive after that. Constant injuries and a seeming lack of motivation caused the Packers to quickly tire of him. The next training camp the Packers were willing to waive him, but managed to convince the Cleveland Browns to take their former number one draft pick for a future low-round draft choice. Fullwood never played a game for Cleveland.

One decent year for a top-five first round draft pick… spells B-U-S-T