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Packers 2013 NFL Draft Prep: Next Man Up

Ted Thompson

After taking B.J. Raji with the ninth overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers traded draft picks to move back into the first round and select Clay Matthews with the 26th overall pick. This was perhaps the Packers’ best draft day move in modern franchise history, as many consider picking Aaron Rodgers in 2005 was a no-brainer because of the age and schizophrenic tendencies of their starting quarterback at the time.

Leading the Packers scouting department under Ted Thompson in 2009 were long-time Packer scouts John Schneider, Reggie McKenzie and John Dorsey. These three men, along with Thompson, rebuilt the Packers from the ruins of the Mike Sherman era into one of the youngest and most talented rosters in the NFL. That led to an NFC Championship Game appearance in 2007 and a Super Bowl title in 2010, with two different quarterbacks under center. However, the Packers’ success eventually led to the departure of the trio of scouts that helped rebuild the franchise.

In January of 2010, Schneider was hired to be the general manager of the Seattle Seahawks — a team he has promptly helped turned around, while winning the 2012 NFL Executive of the Year award. Around the same time in 2011, McKenzie bravely left the Packers to take on the general manager role for the endlessly hopeless Oakland Raiders. Then, finishing the turnover, Dorsey was hired to be the general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs just last month.

These three departures means the “next man up” philosophy so soften bandied about when referring to the roster of the Green Bay Packers also applies to the scouting department. Thompson hopes to sustain success while relying on a scouting department with younger faces, namely Ron Wolf’s son, Eliot Wolf; former Houston Oilers running back Alonzo Highsmith; and their director of college scouting, Brian Gutekunst.

The upcoming April draft will be the first time the Packers go into a draft with this particular triumvirate. So, it remains to be seen whether the Packers can maintain their reputation as one of the best drafting teams in the league.

It could be an ominous sign that the Packers have not drafted a player with a Pro Bowl appearance since that 2009 draft, with only Bryan Bulaga, Randall Cobb and Casey Hayward even showing flashes of being that caliber of player. On the other hand, the 2010 draft, which was the first without Schneider, is the best draft the Packers have had in the last decade by every measure other than Pro Bowls. All seven players drafted that year are not only still on the roster, but all seven have started multiple games for the Packers. And of course, that draft class doesn’t even include Sam Shields who was picked up immediately following the draft.

It should also be noted that Schneider, McKenzie and Dorsey were all with the Packers during the Sherman era and that Thompson built the Seahawks into a Super Bowl team before coming to Green Bay.

Both of those facts make the case that the real difference in the Packers scouting department is the man at the top.


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



  1. TyKoSteamboat February 28, 2013

    Great article, Monty.

    I really believe the Pack will take the best player on the board, & not necessarialy draft for a “position of need”

    Center or Left Guard is the position we need the most.

    My fav. pick this season would be Chance Warmack, G, from Alabama.

    Or Xavier Rhodes, CB, from Florida St.

    1. Phatgzus February 28, 2013

      The Packers need a LT and DL more than they need either of those positions.

      1. TyKoSteamboat February 28, 2013

        We drafted Derrick Sherrod in the 1st round to be our LT. Newhouse is decent for now.

        T.J. Lang was a good pick when we got him. But he holds a bad contract, & didn’t play-up to the $ we now pay him.

        Teddy T will do what he always does & draft the best available player.

        Our greatest need is Center. But there isn’t a dominant Center projected until the 2nd round…

        1. Phatgzus February 28, 2013

          Sherrod is unexperienced and recovering from a major leg injury; although there is much hope for him to be the LT of the future, he may not be ready to start, leaving Newhouse as the starter. EDS played quite well after superseding Saturday, Lang had a very bad year, correct; however, until this year he had played quite well.

        2. Iltarion February 28, 2013

          Tyko, first of all, Monty didn’t write this, though I suppose you can give the editor the credit.

          Secondly, TJ Lang just signed a new contract. He isn’t going anywhere.

          1. TyKoSteamboat March 1, 2013

            Ahh, yes. It was Shawn.
            Good post, Shawn.

            T.J. Lang os over-paid.

            And EDS commits a penalty every-other play.

  2. E. Wolf February 28, 2013

    It’s all about THE POLAR BEAR! I love you, POLAR BEAR!

  3. Vijay February 28, 2013

    In Ted I somewhat Trust.

  4. Vijay February 28, 2013

    There is no chance that Chance Warmack will be available to them at #26…you are better off thinking Jonathan Cooper or Travis Frederick if you’re looking at the Guard/ Center prospects. To get Cooper, you’ll still have to move up to the top 15, so also unlikely. All of the top tackles, including RT DJ Fluker and Lane Johnson, Fisher and Joeckel will also be gone. So, my guess it that they go with best corner/safety or DL if they stay at #26.

    Names there include: Xavier Rhodes, Johnathan Banks, Eric Reid, Johnathan Cyprien, John Jenkins, Sylvester Williams, Datone Jones

    Of which the latter 4 I like for our system. Don’t sleep on the TE class either, they may trade back and grab one at the top of Round 2 if they decide to get rid of Finley.

    1. TyKoSteamboat February 28, 2013

      You’re right…just please, for Gods sake, don’t draft a TE!

    2. Phatgzus March 1, 2013

      You’re right, Hell would have to freeze 10 times and all forms of swine take to the troposphere for Warmack to be there at pick 26; however, he may last until 10, (and if Hell freezes once) 15, at either point, I wouldn’t be stunned if ol’ TT trades up to get him. There are a lot of teams outside the top 10 or so looking to trade down, of course this is due to the relatively equal talent levels of the 10-50 best players in this years draft.

      The way MM talks about Finley’s performance at the end of the season, and the fact he’s in a contract year and is (unfortunately) the type of player that would play his best in a contract year, I have to think Finley will be back in 2013, after that, who knows.

  5. Dustin February 28, 2013

    It’ll be safety, dl, te, or ILB
    I’m thinking Elam, Kawaan, Eifert, Jamie Collins, or cyprien. I pray we don’t take Te’o… Worried we were on of the first tow to interview him. Also before he ran his first 40 a packer scout was standing by him just chatting him up. Then they cut to Ted and he’s very interested in Te’o… Just kinda concerned.

    1. Phatgzus March 1, 2013

      “It’ll be safety, dl, te, or ILB[.]”

      Really narrowing it down eh? They may also draft OL, less likely I feel, but somewhat possible.

      I agree whole-heartedly with your opinion on Te’o, great college player, likely NFL starter, just don’t think he will be a star.

  6. Savage57 March 1, 2013

    A couple of interesting thoughts in this article – one related to Schneider, Dorsey and McKenzie all being party to the garbage that Sherman used to throw up on the wall and call a draft. And then the work that TT did in Seattle without any of them.

    I guess what you gather that no matter how much the underlings contribute to the due diligence, the ultimate decisions and the resulting credit or blame all accrue back to the GM.

    Owl goan draft who the owl wants.

    1. Phatgzus March 1, 2013

      Who, whowho who. Who who who who who, who.