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The spark and young leader of the Packers vaunted defense, Clay Matthews will lead the team into the 2011 season. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

The draft draws near – should we care?


Google NFL draft experts and you come up with the usual suspects – Kiper, CBS, McShay, Bunting, Kirwin, and even TheFootballExpert – as well as a very nice website, Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.

Everyone has their picks and have been changing them daily for the past three months. Who will go number one? Number two? Who will be the first quarterback picked in this pass-happy league? Who has the best upside, the fastest 40, the most reps in the lifting marathon?

Does it matter?

Yes, it  matters. Teams are built and broken through brilliance and idiocy through the course of this seven-round circus.

But I’ll tell you what doesn’t matter – the mass prognostications.

Have you ever known of any of the “experts” coming even remotely close to what actually transpires? I’m aware of none.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but none of the experts could pick the exact top 10 if spotted the first nine.

Why do we listen so intently to them? Why do so many of us spend the months leading up to the draft poring over lists and drooling over the best outside linebacker, the best quarterback, or the best safety who could be picked by our favorite teams.

Well, it’s fun, I guess. No matter how wrong the prognostications and prognosticators.

And it all comes to a head in less than two days.

Though the Packers won’t be on the clock for hours, it will still be exciting to watch the other 31 teams in the league pick, trading up and down to find that perfect pick.

Do Packers fans have anything to look forward to?

I would speculate that Ted Thompson is right when he says those prognosticating, betting and speculating “have no idea what they’re talking about.”

That’s why we have so much to look forward to – because he’s right … especially when it comes to his picks. Thompson’s picks are always interesting and never predictable.

Take away the Aaron Rodgers-fall-in-my-lap and the world-conquering-Clay-Matthews picks and Thompson is never flashy … never trading up into the top 10 to get that high-profile, expensive pick.

He dwells in the second, third, fourth and fifth rounds … places where most teams lose interest. It’s in those later rounds that he finds his gems. The players who may not have thrived at the big-time colleges. Those are his ticket … the ticket that has taken him and this franchise all the way to a Super Bowl championship in a five-year span.

Consider how New England consistently found the players at the back end of many of the drafts this past decade … the players who could be plugged in to make an immediate impact.

New England’s success is being emulated by many and though he was severely criticized for his tactic of sticking to the draft to build his empire, Thompson knew exactly what he was doing … though nobody else (even me, at times) could see it.

That’s why this weekend will be exciting to Packers fans and why we should all watch and pay attention.

Forget your picks … they don’t matter.

What will matter is who lands with the Packers.

I  admit I don’t know anything about drafting college players, but I will tell you that I believe we’re very lucky to have Ted Thom

Like John Kuhn, the Packers’ blue collar running back who came out of nowhere last year to electrify Packers fans, this draft will no doubt be one that will surprise. We can only hope Ted Thompson is at his best this weekend. Raymond T. Rivard photograph 

The spark and young leader of the Packers vaunted defense, Clay Matthews will lead the team into the 2011 season. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

pson pulling the trigger.

At least he knows what he’s doing and by the end of the weekend I’m sure we’ll be thankful.