Here’s a great story from current Seattle Seahawks general manager and former Green Bay Packers personnel man John Schneider. He told Peter Schrager how Aaron Rodgers wasn’t even on the Packers’ minds until they saw a mock draft that had him falling down the board.
When Alex Smith went No. 1 to San Francisco in the 2005 NFL Draft, that’s exactly what happened. Once Rodgers passed a certain point and wasn’t chosen, he began a long slide because none of the teams choosing in the teens needed a quarterback.
“I think it was the Thursday before the draft started, Ted [Thompson] and I were sitting there watching film and we had a TV on and Mike Mayock was going through a mock draft. And he had Aaron — because it was like if you got past 12 or 14, right in there, all those teams in there had quarterbacks.
“So we looked at each other like, ‘That could happen.”
“We literally went and pulled all the [Rodgers] tape we possibly could and sat there and went through it again. Because sometimes when you’re picking [later in the round] you don’t spend as much time with those players that you expect to be gone.
“So we had to review everything, go back through his character. And once [San Francisco] took Alex and [Rodgers] started falling, that’s when I was on the horn with Scot [McLoughlan] and Mike McCarthy because those guys had spent so much time with both of them.
“After we picked him, everybody was really excited and [Packers President] Bob Harlan came up to me and said, ‘This guy’s going to be a good player, right John?’
“I was like, “Yeah, Bob! He’s going to be a great player.'”
So Rodgers ended up with the Packers because of one of Mike Mayock’s stupid mock drafts.
The Packers hadn’t considered him prior to that because they assumed he’d be gone.
They certainly weren’t alone. Everyone, Rodgers included, assumed he’d be gone before the Packers chose at No. 24.
Interestingly, McLoughlan, who is now the general manager in Washington, had just been hired as Vice President of Player Personnel for the San Francisco 49ers. He started his career with the Packers. McCarthy, meanwhile, had just been hired as the 49ers offensive coordinator, after serving as the Packers quarterbacks coach.
Since it was clear the 49ers were going to choose between Smith and Rodgers, those two guys spent a lot of time with both players.
So it wasn’t just the mock draft. It was also pretty fortuitous that the Packers front office had those connections in San Francisco.
Sounds like fate to us.
The thing that always makes me laugh about this draft is that the Vikings had two picks before the Packers took Rodgers in the first round and ended up with TWO busts, Erasmus James and Troy Williamson.
Hindsight is always 20/20, but they really didn’t have a need to look for a QB in the draft. Culpepper torched the league for 39 TD’s and over 4700 yards the season prior – not to mention dominating us in a Wild Card game loss at home.
But then Culpepper was lost to injury the next season and it all went downhill from there.
Rodgers drafted on April 23rd by the Green Bay Packers. Coincidentally, the same day Brett Favre lost his mind.