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Second-guessing the Green Bay Packers brass is getting to be controversial, even on this site. Many of you already have your own mental lists of Ted Thompson’s draft winners and losers. My primary purpose here, therefore, is to look for clues as to why some of Green Bay’s draft picks were such failures.

During the Ted Thompson draft era, from 2005 through 2014 (I’m omitting 2015 and 2016 because it’s too early to tell how they will pan out), the Packers selected 96 players in those 10 drafts. To follow is my bottom five, all of whom were selected in the early rounds. Players whose careers were unavoidably lost due to injury were not among the players considered.

Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.



  1. PF4L February 23, 2017

    Ted Thompson is considered a draft guru?

    In what world is that?

    You can read about the success of this “Draft Guru” in the previous article.

    Ted Thompson is a man way past his prime that is too rigid to build a team. Way too close minded. Very non-progressive. Too selfish to step down and know when to say when. And i’m being kind describing it.

    I feel sorry for this team, and for Packer Nation. I use to get pissed off when i think about this team’s current hierarchy in charge. Now, it’s just sad and depressing because were powerless and all we can do…..is just wait it out. And when the time comes that Ted retires and someone else takes over, it will take the new GM 2-4 years to repair the damage. About the same time that Rodgers retires.

  2. Howard February 23, 2017

    The draft failures relate in part to the aversion of using free agency. The word from TT is always best player available. You cannot without a long laugh say Harrell, Thornton, Bradford, R. Rodgers, etc. were even close to the best player available at the time of their pick.

    TT may have started out picking the best player available no matter the need, and in some cases probably still does pick BPA. To me TT is more about picking for need for the current years team and for the positions the team may lose in the upcoming years free agency. I think we all understand that certain players are going to have the same draft grade at different positions so that does give the team the ability to pick from a couple to a few different positions at each pick. The problem appears to be TT is also targeting certain players, then the team picks that player a round earlier than they should because they do not believe that certain player will be around at the next pick. How else do you make some of the above selections.

    Sir there is a salary cap that the team needs to be under, but if you want to target a position or player why not do it in free agency? The team does not have to be active on day one, two, or three of free agency when the silly money is being spent, but target a position or player of need in free agency, then use your draft to select BPA.

    Some may say the team can stay young by not getting into free agency, but really in the NFL most players are only going to be around for 3 to 4 years and that is probably the most you are going to sign a free agent for, so why not sign a free agent who has proven he can play in the NFL rather than trying to project how a certain targeted college player is going to project into an NFL player. TT really has not had a good record of projecting how targeted college players will convert to the NFL at there current position or a new position. Use the draft to take BPA, use free agency to target positions and players.

    1. Mike Ansorge April 28, 2017

      Granted there are allot of good draft picks out there but T.J. Watt would of made a great fit for our defense. Reason being, I don’t think Mathews will last much longer due to injuries. Hopefully the Packer gods make a good choice like Tim Williams from Alabama with their 1st second round pick. Has anyone given it any thought why the SeaHawks let TT leave? Distruction within!

  3. Big B February 23, 2017

    I can still vividly recall where I was when Justin Harrell was selected, and incredulity doesn’t begin to describe my feelings. I had put in my pre-draft preparation and thought I knew the players. Who? Justin Harrell? I had to look him up and still didn’t get it. He was a failure of Mandarichian proportions. TT guilty of trying to be too clever.

    TT is signed through 2018 so I wonder if this will be his final draft- I hope so. I’d assume he “retires” after that contractual obligation, but wonder what the logistics are for a timetable with the new regime.

    1. PF4L February 23, 2017

      Big Ted’s contract technically takes him through the 2019 draft. apparently whoever worded and structured that contract, foolishly assumed that would be a positive thing.

      This also tells me, that person doesn’t possess a high degree of football intelligence because here’s the problem……

      You are going to hire a new GM, and you expect that new GM to sit and watch Ted make the draft picks for the teams new GM? Then Ted goes back to Green Bay, packs up and leaves. Think about that…..

      Yes people, that is as stupid as it sounds.

      The architect of that contract is none other than Mark “i’m clueless” Murphy.

      Yes, the same man who can’t cut a ribbon, because he doesn’t understand how a fucking scissors works.

      1. PF4L February 23, 2017

        Here are some gold snippets from our highly successful GM………

        “That’s what I am; I’m a scout,” Thompson said. “I work alongside some good scouts upstairs. That’s what I do, that’s what I enjoy. As a scout, you’re always looking for that diamond, the so-called diamond in the rough that no one else can find. You still are looking to one-up somebody else who’s in your business.”

        (Yes Ted, you keep on outsmarting all the other teams, it’s really worked out well for you, don’t change a thing).

        “The more you think about it, the more you think how nuts are you that you’d walk away from something like this,” Thompson said.

        (Further explaining why we can’t get rid of this “Diamond in the rough” prospector.)

  4. Kato February 23, 2017

    This makes me want to get blackout drunk. Somehow Datone Jones isn’t even on this list.

    Let’s be honest, every GM makes bad choices. But this has been terrible. I get the feeling Damarious Randall Wil be on this list soon

  5. Kato February 23, 2017

    It is a miracle the GB coaches have pulled off what they have.

    1. PF4L February 23, 2017

      Idk if giving away the NFCCG Seattle game, and giving up 500 yards and 44 points to the Falcons can be described as pulling off any miracles.

      Not to mention making average or back up QB’s look like future HOF’ers

  6. KILLER February 24, 2017

    You guys knew I’d comment on this one! Though I know it is somewhat the preacher telling the choir.

    First, pretty good work by you, Rob. I agree you should keep it to the first 3 rounds as every GM will have close to half the 4th rounders and more after that fail. Also, I agree with not yet judging the past couple drafts. (Though it appears that 2015 #1 Demarious Randall, 2015 #2 Quinten Rollins, and 2016 Kenny Clark all have significant potential to make future lists.) Also, I agree with removing bad luck injury from the equation. That is not a GM’s fault.

    OK, Rob, here is what you are missing in your article. First, it is incomplete. Talking about Ted Thompson’s worst draft picks and then only listing five (5!) is like saying you made pizza with some flour and tomato paste… and nothing else.

    Who did you miss? =
    2005: RD 2, WR Terrence Murphy
    2006: RD 1, #5 overall pick (!), LB A.J. Hawk
    RD 2, OG Daryn Colledge
    RD 3, LB Abdul Hodge
    RD 3, OG Jason Spitz
    2007: You named Justin Harrell but left out —
    RD 2, RB Brandon Jackson
    RD 3, SS Aaron Rouse
    2008: You named the 2 misses in the top three rounds
    2009: RD 1, #9 overall pick (!), DT B.J. Raji
    2010: RD 2, DL Mike Neal
    2011: RD 3, RB Alex Green
    2012: You named Jerel Worthy
    2013: RD 1, DE Datone Jones
    2014: You named Khyri Thornton, as you should but left out —
    RD 3, TE Richard Rodgers

    So, your list was very incomplete. Also, it should have a numerical summation like so:
    “Just looking at the top 3 rounds of drafts not including the two most recent ones which may still be developing there were, from 2005 to 2015 a total of 33 TT premium draft picks. Of those 33, 17 were failed picks. More than half. Of the remaining 16 only 5 made it to the pro bowl — and that is counting HaHa who certainly did not deserve it.”

    Then you could compare that with another team. Possibly a division rival known for excellence….

    “Just looking at the top 3 rounds of drafts not including the two most recent ones which may still be developing, from 2005 to 2014 the Minnesota Vikings, greatest team in the NFC North, had 29 premium draft picks. Of those 29 picks, 11 were failed picks. 4 of these 11 failed picks were from the 2005 draft long before the current GM. With 4 fewer premium picks the Vikings had 6 fewer failed picks. If you eliminate the 2005 draft when Rick Spielman was not Vikings GM and of which most the players for any team, even the successful ones, are out of football then the Vikings had 7 failed picks 2006 to 2014 while the Packers had 16 failed premium picks in the same time span. As per pro bowlers from premium picks from 2005 to 2014 the Vikings, even with a major voting disadvantage due to not having the fan voting from band wagon jumpers that the Packers have, still had 11 players selected who made the pro bowl… in stark contrast to the Packers 5 despite having both the voting advantage and 4 more picks in that time span.”

    Very telling.

    The other thing you should have supplied Rob is an overview of TT’s strength and weakness as per positional picks. He appears strong on WRs with RD 2 picks Greg Jennnings, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, and then James Jones in round 3 as well back in 2007. Of course, they have had the benefit of a great QB so, outside of Jordy, it is fairly arguable they were as good a picks as they appear. Would they have had even half their numbers on another team?

    Meanwhile TT is cursed when it comes to the DT position and DL in general. You named Thornton, Herrell, and Worthy but Raji (based on Top 10 pick especially), Datone Jones, and Mike Neal all were bad picks and Kenny Clark is on course to join their ranks. It is really startlingly bad picking. I doubt any team has picked worse with premium picks on the DL over the course of those years.

    In summation, I am very glad TT is the GM of the Packers.

  7. Danford Cuntingdon-Smythe February 24, 2017

    After every draft, I wonder what the fuck Thompson was thinking. He picks people that are not on anyone’s radar except his own

    -Justin Harrell deserved to make the list as he broken from the start.
    -Brian Brohm was an understandable pick, taking value and as insurance against Rodgers failing. Flynn became that insurance
    -Who saw Mike Neal as a 2nd round pick?
    -The 2011 draft was an absolute shitshow. I feel sorry for Sherrod. He broke his tibia and fibia after that slug Marshall Newhouse couldn’t pass block worth a fuck, resulting in the KC defender running into him, breaking his leg. His career was done from then on. How Rodgers didn’t die with Newhouse pass blocking remains a mystery.
    -Khyri Thornton an Richard Rodgers were drafted far too early; both were round 5/6 talent but Thompson drafted them far too early.

    Every GM makes bad choice, but for a so-called genius, TT has shit the bed by taking damaged goods and overdrafting players. Without Rodgers, TT would have been fired years ago.

  8. Big B February 25, 2017

    Killer, you walked right into this one. Sure the Vikings have had better drafts, they are routinely picking far ahead of the Packers.

    1. KILLER February 27, 2017

      To some degree, Big B. However, you can see that with high picks TT is not successful. For instance, he took Raji at #9 overall and A.J. Hawk at #5 overall. Although they started some games they were not success picks or difference makers. Free agents off the streets could have produced similar stats. Justin Harrell was selected 16th overall and was a miserable failure. He would have been a reach in the 2nd round. I remember that year (A am a Vikings fan) I literally laughed in disbelieving delight when TT took him. In other words, his performance outcome was quite foreseeable.

      Harrell was selected 16th. The Vikings in the same area took Chad Greenway, a pro bowler, one year at #17. No, it was not the same year as Harrell. Well, what did TT do the year the Vikings took Greenway to play linebacker? TT also selected a linebacker but he had first crack at it selecting at #5 overall. He took Hawk. There you go. TT had a much higher selection and first choice and blew it.

      Here is another one. The year TT took B.J. Raji at 9th overall (2009)? The Vikings took Percy Harvin at #22 overall. He is out of football now but he was a game changer, won quite a few games, was a candidate for MVP one year before injuries, and then brought in a trade a 1st, 3rd, and 7th round pick. These pics turned into pro bowler Xavier Rhodes and RB Jerick McKinnon (who, athletically speaking, is actually slightly superior to AP). So the Raji pick was 13 spots ahead of the Vikings but the result had only 1% of the impact.

      Here is another one where the picks were same year and very close together and where the Pacers, and TT, had first dibs. 2012. TT took Nick Perry 28th overall. Vikes took Harrison Smith 29th overall. Perry finally had a good year just in time for free agency but Smith has been to the pro bowl, is regarded as one of the top 2 or 3 safeties in football, and has already been signed to a richly deserved contract extension.

      The Packers 1st round picks 2005 thru 2014 had 2 Top 10 pics, both failures, one 11-20 pick, a failure, and 7 21-32 picks. Of those Rodgers, Matthews, Bulaga, Clinton-Dix, and Perry are successes. Datone Jones, Sherrod (though injury exempts). So on picks in the top half of round 1 TT has a 100% failure rate in great contrast to later 1st round picks. So it is not logical to argue that higher picks would have led to greater success. After all only 2 out of 7 late rounders or arguably 1 out of 6 if Sherrod is not included, were misses. Even if you argue that if TT had the 15th pick in those same drafts that he would have succeeded 6 out of 6 times instead of 5 out of 6 it would only upgrade his draft success in premium picks by one and he would still be far behind the Vikings.