2014 NFL Draft Prep: The First Round Blues

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Laughing at Ted Thompson

Laughing at Ted Thompson

Despite the NFL’s desire to prolong our misery for as long as possible, the 2014 NFL Draft is now just three weeks away. With that being said, it is time for Total Packers to lead you up to and take you through the rest of the way.

Let us start with the obvious. Exactly three weeks from today, Ted Thompson will look to end an unfortunate run in the first round that since 2009 has been rich with trips to IR and empty of trips to the Pro Bowl or the more meaningful All-Pro designation. The 2009 draft, of course, is the last time that Thompson drafted a player whose contributions have been equal to the round, though Clay Matthews hasn’t exactly been the picture of health either.

Saying recent first round draft picks for the Packers have been injury-prone is about equal to saying Marshall Newhouse is prone to giving up sacks. Last year’s No. 1, Datone Jones, at least broke the string of trips to IR, but an ankle sprain in the first preseason game slowed Jones down all season and perhaps prevented him from making the kind of impact that was expected from him. Props to Nick Perry for gutting it out with a broken foot last season after an injured wrist landed him on IR the year before. Meanwhile, Derek Sherrod and Bryan Bulaga have been bystanders the majority of the last two seasons.

Of course, one could easily contend that none of these guys are comparable to Clay Matthews whether they are injured or not. If that is true, then Thompson’s quest for another first-round playmaker goes on.

The obvious need going into this year’s draft is at the safety position. However, as recently discussed on this site, the Packers might have a decent safety option already on their roster with Micah Hyde. That possibility perhaps precludes the need to take a safety at No. 21 rather than later in the draft. In other words, Ted Thompson is likely freed up to do what he likes to do anyway, which is take the best player available regardless of need.

With past drafts as a study, this means that Thompson is more likely to draft either for the front seven or the offensive line. In nine previous drafts, Thompson has spent five first round picks on the front seven, two on the offensive line, one on Aaron Rodgers and once traded out of the round. This follows the philosophy that “big guys” are more important and tougher to find than “small guys.”

Fortunately for the Packers, Thompson is without much doubt the best second round drafter in the NFL. His second round picks include Nick Collins, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Casey Hayward and Eddie Lacy. Considering this, it might behoove Thompson to draft a safety in the second round, where he has had much better success drafting “small guys.” However, this year’s draft is not expected to be deep at the safety position. We can only hope that another Nick Collins is out there floating under the radar.

One could also contend that the first round is a heavily overrated gauge of a GM’s draft success, regardless. A perusal of Seattle’s top-ranked defense shows that there is only one first round contributor there — safety Earl Thomas. Otherwise, the defense was built in rounds two to seven. Richard Sherman was a fifth-round pick, as was ginormous safety Kam Chancellor. The capable linebacker group features a second rounder, a fourth rounder, and Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith, who was drafted in the seventh round.

In other words, a top-notch unit CAN be made out of mid-to-late round picks. But let’s NOT get too stuck on that, Ted.

About The Author

Shawn Neuser attended UWGB and lives and works in Green Bay. He enjoys long walks on the beach and being intimate with game film.

18 Comments on "2014 NFL Draft Prep: The First Round Blues"

  1. TyKo Steamboat

    The 2 most glaring needs on our team would be Safety & Middle Linebacker. So as far as the 1st round goes, I’d prefer Calvin Pryor or C.J. Mosley at pick # 21. I feel they’ll both be gone. Ravens, Bears & Cowboys all need those positions too.

    Ted likes to trade-back in those mid rounds to accumulate 7th rounders so he can secure them in Green Bay & not have to hope to grab them in Draft Free Agency because he knows exactly how difficult it is to get some guys to come to Wisconsin over…let’s say…Texas, Florida, California, ect.

    More & more of these mocks have us taking a Tight End or a Receiver. Please, God no. (Unless it’s Marquese Lee). But Teddy T will take the best player available in the 1st round. Hell, he may even trade-up. He did it with the Patriots to get Clay Matthews in 2009 & there are many teams looking to trade back this year for a cheap price.
    1st Round Wish List:
    1.) Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
    2.) C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
    3.) Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
    4.) Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan St.
    5.) Louis Nix, NT, Notre Dame
    6.) Marquese Lee, WR, USC

    Good piece. Thanks, Shawn

  2. Savage57

    You could have posted a big, steaming pile of shit as an illustration of how the Packers have fared in Round 1 the past few years.

    That aside, as much of pain in the ass it was from time to time, anyone else here miss PF4L and Wolfie jumping each others shit to the molecular level over anything? Sports blog version of the Hatfields and McCoys.

    Shit was hilarious.

    • Shawn Iltarion

      Savage, how long you been round here?

      One thing I’ve learned through the years is that there is ALWAYS another PF4L out there. ALWAYS.

      They are silent right now because the Packers aren’t losing football games. Once the season starts, and the Packers notch their first loss, they’ll be back to tell us everything that’s wrong with the Packers and how much MM or TT or both or everyone sucks.

      They will tell us that this regime will never win a Super Bowl, and if you remind them that they did that already, they will tell you that this regime will never win ANOTHER. And if they do win another, they will still come back and swear they will never win a third. And so on, and so on.

      GUARANTEED.

      They are immortal… like the Dread Pirate Roberts. When one guy goes down, another picks up the colors.

  3. Tucson Packer

    Haha yea, those was some fudes in here.

    More to the point, that guy next to TT in the picture is trying way too hard to chew his gum and brown nose at the same time.

  4. Howard

    It is never to early to speculate; however we are all on the normal draft clock and the draft is way to late this year. Hell half the guys who went to the combine or had pro days may be close to retirement by now.

    As we get a week out from the draft a good exercise since we all think we are GMs is pick the top five guys in the order you think have the best chance of being drafted by Ted with first pick. Then pick ten more players you think will be drafted in the next six rounds. You may get one of the first five right and may be lucky enough to get the second or third round guy with the fourteen remaining names. It will surprise you how wrong we all are including all the so called mock draft gurus.

    There are just to many variables in the draft process,and so many unknowns on health and character of the players that only the docs and security consultants with the teams know.

    Even though it is fun to guess and speculate we just really have very little idea of how the draft is going to flow with maybe the exception of the first round. This should not stop us from putting forth our opinions as any one of us is probably just as right as anyone else (unless you think we will get Clowney).

    • Phatgzus

      So you’re saying Clowney won’t be available when we pick at 21? Well shit, there goes my mock draft.

  5. Brian

    I think Hyde could be a good option at safety. Especially with Hayward coming back and I really hope he stays healthy. I really would like an agile ILB. Mosley seems like a good fit.

  6. Remedy

    We need a motherfucking Safety. I’m sick of this “We’ve got Hyde, so lets look at other positions of need” talk. Absurd.

    On a positive note, “Fortunately for the Packers, Thompson is without much doubt the best second round drafter in the NFL. His second round picks include Nick Collins, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Casey Hayward and Eddie Lacy”

    That’s a crazy lineup of picks. Holy shit.

  7. Howard

    Remedy: Agree with you we need a safety (or two). If the top two safeties are gone as they may be at pick 21,then it seems to make sense to look at the first safety in the second or third round and go for the best inside linebacker (Mosley) in the first if he is not gone. Hell Ted may even trade up in the second or third if the right safety is there.

    As you so correctly said Ted has done an excellent job in the second round. It may be the best news ever if we take the much needed safety in the second based on Ted’s track record. Nick Collins is a prime example. Who really knew who Nick Collins was when he was drafted. It is a shame that the neck injury shortened Nick’s career.

  8. Vijay

    Everyone is missing the obvious move/ point. Seeing that Ted excels in Rd2 and beyond, and has generally bad luck in Rd1, why not just trade back from pick 21 with a team desperate enough (QB needy)? You might get an extra 2nd, 3rd and more! Sounds like a winner to me and you save cap space by not paying 1st round money in the first place!!

    • DJ

      Great post. That scenario is more realistic than people realize. Not sure if TT wants to pull the 1st rd trigger on Ward or Shazier. We need impact right now at S or ILB and those guys are supposedly the next tier below….so if Mosley, Pryor, & C-Dix are gone…and all indications are they probably will be… what then? Do we trade out as you suggest or take best available as is TT’s supposed desire? Or does the Red Sea part again ala Clay Matthews & we actually trade up to get one of those guys? Or do we even need to worry about a Safety anymore with Hyde moving over? Or is he? All of this with a back drop of having a Super Bowl worthy offense RIGHT NOW…and a Def that is suspect up the middle at every level. I dont have the answers but I’m sure as hell looking forward to seeing what they are!!! And what we do with that 21st pick will tell all. The draft cant get here fast enough! lol

  9. knucklehead

    The trade in a 1st for lower picks seems like the most interesting option I’ve heard so far. Ha-Ha and Pryor will probably be gone. And Mosely seems to be physiologically prone to dislocations. That’s the wrong problem to have in the NFL.
    Thompson’s mind is one of analytics and strategy. Those types of minds get thrown off when there is a lot of hype and bs thrown in (1st round picks environment). That’s probably why he does much better in the 2nd…and yes that is a balls-out list of 2nd round pick-ups. The 2nd round dials down the noise and there are still a lot of high quality, starters left on the table that truly in-depth analysis will uncover.

  10. Deepsky

    I saw something ranking all NFL teams by draft round success for many years and while I expected the Packers first round picks to be below average, they were, in fact, average. Later rounds, the Packers were substantially better than most other teams.

    Other interesting stats: around 2010 the Packers were ranked as the number one drafting team for the past 5 years. However, by last year, the Packers drafting had dropped to 8th highest. This goes to show I think that the loss of John Schneider and other draft gurus has hurt the Packers.

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