In the spirit of the looming 2013 NFL Draft, the “Where Are They Now” series will take a look back at Ted Thompson’s eight previous draft classes. Beginning with the 2005 draft class, the one that when all is said and done, will have the most impact on Thompson’s legacy as Green Bay Packers’ General Manager.
With the first pick and twenty-fourth overall in the 2005 NFL Draft the Green Bay Packers selected a quarterback from the University of California, Aaron Rodgers. For Rodgers, being selected by the Packers provided him reprieve from the torture of waiting in the green room. For many anticipated Rodgers would be selected as the first pick in the draft by the San Francisco 49ers. Instead the 49ers picked Alex Smith and 22 other teams passed over A-Rod.
Whatever misconceptions those teams had of Rodgers’ ability has long been put to rest. Rodgers went on to nudge out the legendary Brett Favre for the quarterback job. And has since collected one Lombardi Trophy, one MVP award, a Super Bowl MVP award, and amassed more than 21,000 yards passing and 171 career touchdowns. It’s safe to say Ted Thompson’s first draft selection for the Green Bay Packers was a good one.
With the second pick Thompson selected a safety, Nick Collins, from the little known 1-AA college Bethune-Cookman in Daytona Beach, Florida. Collins who many thought would be a project quickly filled the big shoes of departing safety Darren Sharper. Throughout his career Collins was known for his speed, ability to intercept passes, as well as making big hits coming from the secondary.
Collins’ most memorable moment for the Packers came in Super Bowl XLV. Collins picked off an underthrown Ben Rothlisberger pass and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown. Upon breaking the plane of the goal line Collins dropped to his knees with arms raised above his head in jubilation, an iconic moment in time for Packer fans.
On Sept. 18, 2011, Collins suffered a neck injury attempting a tackle of Jonathan Stewart of the Carolina Panthers. On April 25, 2012, Collins was released by the Packers citing concern that he could successfully return from such a severe neck injury. In September 2012, Collins’ agent, Alan Herman, stated that it was unlikely Collins would most likely need to retire from football.
The Packers are still looking for a viable replacement for Collins.
Ted Thompsons’s first two picks will be remembered as legendary Green Bay Packers. The next nine selections are not so memorable.
|2||Terrance Murphy||Wide Receiver||Texas A&M|
|4||Marviel Underwood||Free Safety||San Diego St.|
|4||Brady Poppinga||Outside Linebacker||Brigham Young|
|5||Junius Coston||Center||North Carolina A&T|
|6||Mike Montgomery||Defensive Tackle||Texas A&M|
|6||Craig Bragg||Wide Receiver||UCLA|
|7||Kurt Campbell||Cornerback||Albany (NY)|
|7||Will Witticker||Guard||Michigan State|
Of the remaining nine selections only three, Brady Poppinga, Junius Coston and Mike Montgomery, made reasonable on field contributions. Terrance Murphy was forced to retire after a neck injury his rookie year revealed that he has spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal cord. Marviel Underwood struggled with knee injuries during his time with the Packers and was released during the 2007 season.
The 2005 draft did not produce an abundance of talent for the Green Bay Packers. But it did bring on board two players that will go down in the history of the green and gold. Quality beat quantity in 2005.