A disappointing 2005 campaign saw the Green Bay Packers finish 4-12 and dead last in the NFC North.
The Packers looked to retool in the 2006 NFL Draft on both sides of the football. To do so Ted Thompson worked his magic in ways that have now become his draft trademark. Thompson traded disgruntled Wide Receiver Javon Walker to the Denver Broncos for a second round pick. He then parlayed that pick into a multitude of picks. In all, the Packers selected 12 players in the seven-round 2006 NFL Draft.
With the first pick and number five overall the Packers took a dominant collegiate linebacker from Ohio State, A.J. Hawk. A well- decorated college linebacker, Hawk was a unanimous All-American in 2004 and 2005. He was also the winner of the Lombardi Award and the Jack Lambert Trophy, awarded to the best college linebacker.
Thompson hoped to solidify his linebacking corps for years to come. Hawk has proved to be a consistent NFL starter. He has often disappointed fans with a lack of flashy plays and having a knack of making plays well beyond the line of scrimmage. But he is a solid field general and a sturdy linebacker. His future with the team is up for speculation going into the 2013 season.
In the second round the Packers had two selections, numbers 47 and 52. With pick number 47 the Packers selected Daryn Colledge an offensive tackle from Boise State. With the fifty-second pick Thompson took a talented wide receiver from little known Western Michigan University, Greg Jennings.
Daryn Colledge played five years for the Packers primarily at left guard. Colledge was serviceable at guard, but often criticized for inconsistent play. Following the 2010 Super Bowl-winning season Colledge signed a five-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals.
Greg Jennings, on the other hand, has enjoyed a very nice run with the Packers. Jennings accumulated more than 6,500 yards during seven seasons with the Packers. Three times Jennings surpassed the 1,000-yard mark. His best overall season was in 2010 when he scored 12 touchdowns and amassed 1,265 yards receiving during Green Bay’s Super Bowl run. In both 2010 and 2011 Jennings was a Pro Bowl selection. Jennings is an unrestricted free-agent and it is likely his time with the Packers is up.
|1||A.J. Hawk||Linebacker||Ohio State|
|2 (From Atlanta)||Daryn Colledge||Offensive Tackle||Boise State|
|2 (From New England)||Greg Jennings||Wide Receiver||Western Michigan|
|3 (From New England)||Jason Spitz||Center||Louisville|
|4||Cory Rodgers||Wide Receiver||TCU|
|4||Will Blackmon||Cornerback||Boston College|
|5 (From Atlanta)||Ingle Martin||Quarterback||Furman|
|5 (Compensatory)||Tony Moll||Offensive Tackle||Nevada|
|6 (From St. Louis)||Johnny Jolly||Defensive Tackle||Texas A&M|
|6 (From Philadelphia)||Tyrone Culver||Safety||Fresno State|
|7||Dave Tollefson||Defensive End||Northwest Missouri State|
Of the remaining picks only Cory Rodgers was unable to carve out anything that resembled and NFL career. Abdul Hodge saw his promising career side-tracked by injury. After departing the Packers, Hodge spent time with the Cincinnati Bengals and the Carolina Panthers. Jason Spitz has played in 75 NFL games, starting 45. Spitz is currently with the Jacksonville Jaguars after signing a multi-year contract in 2011.
Will Blackmon was a punt return specialist with the Packers. In 2010, he reached an injury settlement with Green Bay. In 2011, Blackmon won a Super Bowl ring with the New York Giants. He recently signed with the Seattle Seahawks after playing the previous year with the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League.
Ingle Martin played football professionally until 2009. Martin served as the third string quarterback with the Packers, Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs, and Denver Broncos. He finished his career in 2009 playing with the New York Sentinels of the UFL.
One player that certainly overachieved from the 2006 draft class was offensive tackle Tony Moll. Injuries on the line created opportunities for Moll during his rookie season in which he played in all 16 games and started five games at right guard and right tackle. However, injuries slowed the development of Moll. After starting a handful of games in 2007 and 2008 he was traded in 2009 to the Baltimore Ravens for defensive back Derrick Martin. After spending time with the Jaguars, Chargers and Redskins, Moll is currently a free-agent.
Probably the biggest disappointment of this draft class is Johnny Jolly. He was a gifted athlete and stout run-stopper who had a knack for disrupting plays. Jolly struggled with a codeine addiction that ultimately landed him in jail and caused him to be suspended indefinitely from the NFL. Jolly’s career and life becoming a train wreck is upsetting because he is a player who had a tremendous upside and the Packers could benefit from his talent to this day.
Tyrone Culver spent time with the Packers and the Miami Dolphins. Dave Tollefson spent the 2006 season on the Green Bay Packers practice squad. In 2007, the Raiders claimed Tollefson from the Packers practice squad. The Raiders cut him in 2007 and the Giants picked him up later that season. From 2007-11 Tollefson had a productive career as a key part of the Giants defensive line. He is currently with the Oakland Raiders.
Ted Thompson’s 2006 draft was very much a success. Three players from this class were essential to the Super Bowl XLV Championship. Several others were serviceable for the Packers. More than anything, Thompson’s keen eye for talent was put on display, with 11 of the 12 players drafted enjoying some level of success in the NFL.