Second Time Around
By Jon Meerdink
You might have heard that Ted Thompson is pretty good at drafting players, particularly in the first round. In fact, aside from a defensive tackle sized hole at the top of the 2007 draft, Thompson has produced a Pro Bowl-level player with four of his eight picks, even including Bryan Bulaga and Derek Sherrod, who have hardly been in the league long enough to make an impact and Nick Perry who hasn't played a down in the league yet. But even though it's not as much of a spectacle as the first round, the second round has been kind to the Packers as well.
Ted Thompson has been in charge of eight different drafts since taking over as general manager and in those drafts, he's made 20 selections in the first two rounds. Here's how they break down (Pro Bowlers in bold)
2005 - 1st round: Aaron Rodgers 2nd round: Nick Collins, Terrence Murphy
2006 - 1st round: A.J. Hawk 2nd round: Daryn Colledge, Greg Jennings
2007 - 1st round: Justin Harrell 2nd round: Brandon Jackson
2008 - 1st round: none 2nd round: Jordy Nelson, Brian Brohm, Pat Lee
2009 - 1st round: B.J. Raji, Clay Matthews 2nd round: none
2010 - 1st round: Bryan Bulaga 2nd round: Mike Neal
2011 - 1st round: Derek Sherrod 2nd round: Randall Cobb
2012 - 1st round: Nick Perry 2nd round: Jerel Worthy, Casey Heyward
I'm not silly enough to try to come up with some sort of unifying theme for Thompson's draft picks (other than "draft good players" philosophy) so it seems rather pointless to me to try and parse too much information out of these picks. However, a few things jump out. First of all (and not necessarily draft related), it's stupid that Jordy Nelson didn't go to the Pro Bowl last year, but in today's NFL I guess there's just not enough room for everybody.
Secondly, I know I've talked about it before, but the 2007 draft was basically a wash at the top end (aside from James Jones in the third round). Had Desmond Bishop and Mason Crosby not panned out, that class might have been a total loss.
Thirdly, it's funny to look back at 2008 and remember that the Packers weren't entirely sold on Aaron Rodgers yet. Although it might be difficult to see it now, Brian Brohm was once a very highly regarded quarterback prospect. Some people thought that had he come out in 2007, he might have been one of the first two or three players off the board, instead of a second round washout.
Fourthly, even though the second round has produced far fewer Pro Bowl players, the ones Thompson has picked have tended to stick around. Other than Terrance Murphy, and the guys who haven't been around long enough to qualify for this stat, every second round pick played for the team for at least two years, and only Pat Lee and Murphy haven't started a game for at least one team in the NFL.
So what does that mean for the future? Absolutely nothing, but it's fun to think about what sorts of things this year's second round picks could do. And just for the sake of including a fun video, he's my favorite moment from last season's second round pick.