Ranking Ted Thompson's First Round Picks

The upcoming NFL draft has everyone poring through Packers’ draft history to identify the best and worst picks of the Ted Thompson era.

But what good is all that research if you don’t have some conclusions sorted into easily digestible groups? Very little, of course, so we’ve taken the liberty of sorting all of Ted Thompson’s first round picks into five tiers. Have at it!

Like Hitting a Hole-In-One on Your First Golf Shot Except You’re Blindfolded and Using a Tennis Racket

  • Aaron Rodgers - 2005

Ted Thompson gets a lot of criticism for having Aaron Rodgers “fall into his lap.” This is unfair. Nobody knew that Rodgers was going to turn out like he has, and there was a significant amount of risk involved in the selection.

Still, that Rodgers turned out to be a generational talent is a great example of something working out far better than you ever could have hoped, and for that reason this pick is in a tier by itself.

Exactly What You’d Hope For

  • Clay Matthews - 2009
  • Bryan Bulaga - 2010
  • Ha Ha Clinton-Dix - 2014

Every NFL general manager wishes they could pick an all-time great talent with every first round pick, but that can’t happen. More realistic projections probably put those hopes at a player who can contribute, make a couple Pro Bowls, and be around for key plays in key games.

Each of the players in this tier has done exactly that. Clay Matthews changed the tide of Super Bowl XLV, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix nearly won the 2014 NFC Championship game by himself, and Bryan Bulaga was one of the best four or five linemen in the NFL last season.

One Hit Wonders

  • B.J. Raji - 2009
  • A.J. Hawk - 2006
  • Nick Perry - 2012

Each of these players was or has been solid with one exceptional season. Raji was an unstoppable force in 2010, made the Pro Bowl in 2011 off the fumes of that season, and never rose to that level again.

Hawk made one Pro Bowl with the Packers (as an alternate) in an otherwise solid but unspectacular career. And Perry, meanwhile, was largely underwhelming for most of his packers tenure, but broke out with 11 sacks in 2016 and was rewarded with a big contract this offseason.

Untapped Potential

  • Datone Jones - 2013
  • Damarious Randall - 2015
  • Kenny Clark - 2016

The three names on this list are present for two different reasons. One, Datone Jones, was miscast in Green Bay from the start and never had a chance to really play anything resembling his best position.

The other two, Damarious Randall and Kenny Clark, have each had their ups and downs in their short Packers careers. It’s too soon to say what they will or will not become, but we can say that both have a lot of potential.

We Don’t Talk About Them

  • Justin Harrell - 2007
  • Derek Sherrod - 2011

Look, these picks weren’t entirely Thompson’s fault. Both Justin Harrell and Derek Sherrod had more than their fair share of bad luck. Let’s just… not talk about it.