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Jerel Worthy was a Panic Pick

Jerel Worthy

The Green Bay Packers unceremoniously ended the Jerel Worthy era on Tuesday by shipping his fat ass to New England for a late-round, conditional draft pick.

We were all pretty fired up when the Packers drafted Worthy in the second round in 2012, having seen him dominate the Big 10. However, he brought none of that domination with him to the NFL, registering only 2.5 sacks in two uneventful, injury-riddled seasons.

As much as we liked the Worthy pick at the time, Bob McGinn says it was actually a panic pick, i.e. we need a defensive lineman, so we better panic and trade up to get one!

The Packers did indeed do that, sending away a fourth-round pick in order to move up eight spots in the second round and select Worthy. McGinn claims the Packers were actually more interested in two other guys.

Desperate for an end to play in the 3-4 defense, the Packers wanted Kendall Reyes (6-4, 299). When Reyes went No. 49 to San Diego, Green Bay panicked and made the trade up for Worthy (6-2½, 298). Not only was Reyes bigger than Worthy, he also was stronger, smarter and more athletic. Worthy beat Big Ten guards with a quick first step but soon discovered more was necessary against NFL guards. As for being a 3-4 base end, forget it. He didn’t have the desired length, power or mind-set to stack blockers. The Packers really liked LB Lavonte David, but not at No. 51. David, who went No. 59 to Tampa Bay, is special playing the weak side in the Bucs’ 4-3 defense. Undersized or not, David (6-0½, 233) would have given the Packers the fast, tough playmaker they sorely lack at inside linebacker.

Reyes has 10.5 sacks in his first two NFL seasons. Unlike Worthy, he’s also played in all 16 games both years and became a full-time starter in his second season.

That doesn’t really matter though because Reyes was off the board.

Not drafting David is a little more painful. He’s started all 16 games in both of his NFL seasons, racking up 284 tackles and nine sacks. What’s more, he plays outside linebacker in Tampa’s 4-3, but would have been an inside linebacker in the Packers’ 3-4.

I know it’s a foreign concept, but try to imagine an inside linebacker that’s capable of making plays that change the course of a game.

What doesn’t make any sense is the statement that the Packers liked David, “but not at No. 51.” Well, why didn’t they stay at No. 59, keep their fourth-round pick and take David?

There’s either some fundamentally flawed in that logic or the statement itself.

And another question. When has Ted Thompson ever not taken a guy he likes way higher than anyone else thought he should? One of this year’s third-round picks, Khyri Thornton, is a perfect example. We’ve found no one that’s given Thornton a third-round grade.

Of course, none of this matters now. We’re just dreaming of what could have been.

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. Chad Lundberg August 13, 2014

    FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK! I hate just thinking about it!!!!!!! Datone and Mike better damn well step it up this year!!

  2. Dan August 13, 2014

    Just because someone reports it doesn’t mean it is true. Worthy dropped and Ted went for it. Hindsight is 20:20

  3. Icebowler August 13, 2014

    Supposedly, it was very close between Worthy and Devon Still from Penn State (who the Bengals took a pick or two later). I was hoping for Still since he is 3″ taller. It seems to me that the more successful 3-4 DE’s in the league are at least 6′-4″.

  4. GBslacker August 13, 2014

    Yep, in hindsight a pretty unusual pick.

    Who cares about a quick first step in Capers’ defense? his guys are two-gappers. You can’t charge one way and give up your responsibility on the other side.

    Wonder if he’ll pass his physical?
    He likely had a discectomy in the off-season. I think in Harrell’s situation it was pretty close to bone-on-bone. If they took less material from Worthy, maybe he’ll have a longer shelf life — at least enough for a coveted 7th round pick !!!

  5. LD August 13, 2014

    Great players aren’t necessarily great solutions for teams in need. In hindsight, Worthy was an odd pick, but at the time it didn’t seem totally illogical that he might develop in the 3-4 scheme. It didn’t work out. Lavonte David has done well for himself, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he would’ve flourished in GB. On a related note, big name FA signings illustrate this even more clearly–they often soar to new heights or they crash and burn. What happened to the amazing Desmond Howard after winning that Super Bowl MVP? On the flip side, look at what happened when GB picked up Sir Charles Woodson.

    The draft as well as FA signings are like your colon–it’s a crap shoot. That’s how it goes.

    Thinking about these what-if and woulda-coulda-shoulda scenarios is entertaining, but it’s pure speculation, and not worth worrying/complaining about. The question is what are we going to do with what we’ve got right now?

    GB was probably going to release Worthy anyway, so why not roll the dice and try to get a draft pick out of the trade? As for our defense in general, I’d say the arrow is pointing north. If I’m going to speculate at all, I’d rather focus on what is and what might be than on what happened years ago in the draft.

  6. GBslacker August 13, 2014

    Tom Silverstein ‏@TomSilverstein 14m

    DL Jerel Worthy must have passed his physical because his trade to the #Patriots was on the trans wire. “Unannounced” draft pick. #Packers

  7. Bobby S August 13, 2014

    Ted blows…literally and figuratively

  8. iltarion August 13, 2014

    Ah, Lavonte David plays outside linebacker, so I’m not sure how he “would have given the Packers the fast, tough playmaker they sorely lack at inside linebacker.”
    He doesn’t play the position. So, we don’t know if he’d be a “playmaker” at it or not. For all we know, he’d be no better than Jamari Lattimore.
    Injuries happen. Props for pulling the plug this early and getting something for nothing.
    We play the Patriots this season… so Worthy should have some motivation if he can make the roster.

    1. The Money Mike August 14, 2014

      Don’t look at Lavonte’s stats…it will just make you mad

  9. Cheese August 13, 2014

    So this means there’s room to bring back Jolly!

  10. C.C. August 14, 2014

    Of the 18 players Thompson selected in the 2011 and 2012 drafts only seven still remain on the roster. The 38.9 percent retention rate is the lowest in the NFL from the those two drafts. So everyone wants to give Thompson a high five for wasting a second and fourth round pick to possibly, just maybe, get a 7th round pick, incredible..

  11. The Money Mike August 14, 2014

    Lavonte’s stats make me angry this morning…

  12. Abe Frohman August 14, 2014

    each year the draft is full of woulda coulda shoulda. That’s part of what makes this whole thing interesting. No question about it that if you’re going to live by the draft, you better do it well. I think the misses we’ve had over the last few years are the reason we don’t go further in the playoffs.