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Justin Harrell Will Only Be Ted Thompson’s Fault

Justin Harrell

Harrell's bubble may be about to burst.

We’re not totally ready to write off Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Justin Harell, but we’re pretty close.

Since being drafted 16th overall in the 2007 draft, Harrell has done next to nothing, spending most of his time on injured reserve. Harrell has totaled 28 tackles and no sacks in three seasons.

This year appears to be Harrell’s last chance with the Packers. If he can’t stay healthy or doesn’t impress during training camp, expect the Packers to cut the cord.

If or when that happens, the blame lies only at the feet of Packers GM Ted Thompson.

I read an interesting article by the National Football Post’s Greg Gabriel recently that looked at why highly-regarded players turn into busts. Gabriel cites one main reason those players fail — lack of football character.

In other words, some players have talent, but they don’t really care about the game. They don’t work hard and eventually, they find themselves out of the game. JaMarcus Russell comes to mind.

On the other hand, some players succumb to injuries, and Gabriel argues that no one should be considered a bust if that happens.

An injury or injuries can take away from his natural physical traits, causing him to perform at a lower level. I don’t ever consider a player in this situation a bust.

Why? Because injuries are an expected part of the game. It’s unfortunate, but it happens. And the team has to deal with it. While management may be disappointed, so is the player. It’s not like he wants his level of play to decrease.

I don’t think anyone would consider Harrell a low football character guy, so you could indeed argue the second situation applies. Harrell has demonstrated a love for the game and has tried and tried again to work his way back from injury, but hasn’t been able to.

Of course, Gabriel offers a caveat, which is precisely the situation Thompson entered into when he drafted Harrell after the defensive tackle missed most of his senior season at Tennessee with a torn biceps.

If a team drafts a player high and the player had a history of injuries in college and that history follows him into the NFL, then it’s the club’s fault and the decision makers should be held accountable.

Sure, Harrell didn’t have an extensive injury history at Tennessee, but not many teams choose a guy in the first round who’s coming off a season in which he spent more time on the sidelines than on the field.

Thompson did just that and he’s paying the price.

A lot of people ride Thompson for drafting players who don’t seem to make a lot of sense or whom they haven’t heard of. Quite a few fans booed when the Packers picked Harrell in 2007 and it’s pretty clear they had reason to do so.


Monty McMahon

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.



  1. jeremy July 29, 2010

    Thompson deserves a lot of credit for getting guys like, Woodson, Rodgers, Grant, Collins, Pickett, Matthews, and Williams. So, overall I think he drafts pretty well. Even the venerable Ron Wolf drafted Terrell Buckley, Jamal Reynolds and John Micheals in the first round.

    I just hope he’s learned his lesson about players who seem to be chronically injured. Harrell went through injury after injury at Tennessee and in high school. What made Thompson think that was going to change?


    1. jeremy July 29, 2010

      Before it even starts…

      I know Thompson didn’t draft Woodson, Grant and Pickett. But, he acquired them. That’s what I meant.

    2. Kyle July 30, 2010

      Well said. People want to put on rose colored glasses and look back to the days of Ron Wolf. Wolf did a lot of fantastic things while he was in charge, and he took us to great heights. I won’t deny that. But to pretend that he is/was infallible is simply ludicrous. Thompson’s made a few really great moves, a lot of average-to-good moves and a couple of dumb moves, just like most GMs.

      The two aren’t so different when you look at it.

      The difference is that Wolf just had a slim cupboard when he started. Thompson inherited a good team yes, but one riddled with age and way over the cap. He had to clean up the mess left by the mismanagement from the disastrous reign of Mike Sherman.

      1. jeremy July 30, 2010

        One huge advantage that Wolf had was he was ahead of the rest league in evaluating and acquiring free agents.

        Now all of the other teams know the game very well. With the Daniel Snyders of the NFL fucking it all up, it’s not possible to sign a top guy without handcuffing your team to a 60-100 million contract.

  2. Abe Frohman July 29, 2010

    The only reasons I can fathom as to why Harrell is still on the team are because 1) it’s cheap; and 2) he may be trade bait if he can show something.

    His injury history does not inspire confidence that he can last a season. TT gambled and lost with Pat Lee last year. I hope he doesn’t make the same mistake.

  3. Vijay July 29, 2010

    As a GM in pro football you should make no mistakes…I have reviewed the draft over the last 5 years and to date have made ZERO mistakes with my picks through the first two rounds. Therefore, it is logical that I be the Packers fucking GM so that the Pack will win the Superbowl.

    1. Abe Frohman July 30, 2010

      my one vote won’t get you in I’m afraid!

  4. vonSchnellenstein July 30, 2010

    Did I miss something? Did TT publicly state he was NOT taking responsibility for Justin? Since when does TT duck responsibility? He’s not going to pass the buck, so what is the point of this stupid thread?

  5. Abe Frohman July 30, 2010

    There is no point to this thread because there’s nothing to talk about at this point in the season. So, Monty’s making stuff up.

    He likes to stir the pot. We oblige him quid pro quo.

  6. matt fox August 1, 2010

    WHat are you guys talking about?! Ted Thompson didnt draft Justin Harrell. Mike Sherman did! It’s his fault!