Packers Nearly Drafted T.J. Watt

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TJ Watt

It seemed to make all the sense in the world at the time. The Green Bay Packers would shore up their pass rush by taking Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Watt in the 2017 draft.

Instead, Ted Thompson decided to trade back to pick up an extra fourth-round pick and took cornerback Kevin King to open the second round. It’s hard to argue that the Packers didn’t fill a need in taking King. Their pass defense was atrocious in 2016.

However, the story is a bit more interesting than that. It seems pretty much everyone wanted to take Watt. Ted Thompson decided to go in another direction.

“Just about everyone was on board with Watt,” one source familiar with the Packers’ draft-room discussions said. “The only reservation was some people thought he was a one-year player [in college].”

Watt went to Pittsburgh at pick No. 30. He has six sacks this season. All four of the Packers outside linebackers have 7.5 combined.

The other interesting thing to come out in this story is what we had long suggested. That Thompson was losing it.

“Ted was one of the best in football at running a draft,” one longtime NFL personnel executive said. “But he wasn’t in the same mindset those last few years.”

That’s for sure. Thompson’s more recent drafts were some of his worse. There’s only one player remaining from his 2015 draft class — Ty Montgomery. The 2016 class was better, most notably for producing Kenny Clark and Blake Martinez. But it was also littered with guys like Jason Spriggs, Kyler Fackrell and Trevor Davis.

And as we’ve always said, it hard to employ the draft and develop philosophy when you don’t draft well. It was past time that Thompson was pushed out.

About The Author

Joseph is a fiction writer when he isn't doing this. In his spare time he likes to do manly things like drink beer and procreate.

7 Comments on "Packers Nearly Drafted T.J. Watt"

  1. Mitch Anthony

    They’ll be paying for this and others for a couple years to come.

    Gee Murph, thanks for being so kind and understanding to feeble Ted. Now go jump off the steep end of your damn sledding hill.

  2. And Murphy is still paying TT for all those mistakes. The 4th from last paragraph in the article referenced, addresses part of Murphy’s role or inaction in this mess.

    “Team president Mark Murphy bears as much responsibility for that as Thompson. Only Murphy knows why he didn’t force Thompson out sooner after it was obvious to those around the GM that he not only had lost his edge but also was in declining health.”

    FUBAR.

    I don’t think the team can waste more of Rodgers years, but the correct course last year, at a minimum, would have been to fire Murphy, and TT. Then hire a new President, and let him pick his new GM. Then let the new GM pick his head coach.

    It is also bothersome that no one could convince TT to pick Watt. It appears the only reservation was a one year player in college. No one including Gutekunst, MM, or any of the long term scouts could bring up in a convincing way that Clay Matthews was also only a one year starter? Both had very good NFL bloodlines. Watt was better in most stats in his final year and exceeded Matthews in almost every combine event result.

  3. Cheese

    While I agree that not picking TJ Watt was totally stupid, maybe they thought that he was going to be Casey Matthews 2.0. Where is he now? More than likely out of the league.

  4. PF4L

    “And as we’ve always said, it hard to employ the draft and develop philosophy when you don’t draft well. It was past time that Thompson was pushed out.” – Joseph Bonham

    Smfh…..except of course, for the fact that i’ve never seen any of your writers say that. That’s ok though, we all know who has actually said that over the years.

    I love you guys.

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