How Does Packers Ted Thompson Fare Against other GM’s in Later Rounds of the Draft?
By Dan Dahlke
Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson talks with head coach Mike McCarthy prior to the Family Night scrimmage at Lambeau Field. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Fellow writer Travis Pipes has sparked an interesting discussion here at LombardiAve with a recent article about Ted Thompson and his success, or lack thereof, in the late rounds of the NFL Draft.
Just in case you missed it, I encourage you to check out Travis’s article here.
Travis takes a look at Thompson’s late round picks since Thompson took over as the Packers’ general manager in 2005, and makes the point that maybe his success in finding impact players in the later rounds of the draft isn’t as frequent as we typically perceive.
Desmond Bishop lines up against the Carolina Panthers. Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Outside of Josh Sitton (fourth round) and Desmond Bishop (sixth round), this seems to be the case. Both have proven to be excellent players for Green Bay and great finds late in the draft, but why hasn’t Thompson hit any other home runs in rounds 4-7 in his time as the Packers’ GM?
Just to get a frame of reference, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how other general managers around the league fared in the late rounds of the draft during Thompson’s time with the Packers. I wanted to get a sense for how common it is for other teams to find impact players late in the draft, then this would give us a better understanding on how to judge Thompson’s efforts.
I compiled a list of all the GMs that drafted from 2005-12, and looked at each GM’s draft from 2005 to 2012. I focused on the players they selected in rounds 4-7 and noted any players that have played significant time for an NFL team. I also put an asterisk by any players that have proven to be either impact players or top players at their position.
So let’s see how the other GMs during Thompsons’ time with Green Bay did in finding impact players late in the draft.
(Both Rick Smith from Texans and Mike Tannenbaum from the Jets became GMs in 2006, but I included them on this list anyway becaue they were only one year removed from Thompson’s reign as GM.)
List of GMs and Late Round Success from 2005-2012
A.J. Smith – San Diego Chargers
2005 – Darren Sproles, RB, 4th Round
Mike Brown – Cincinnati Bengals
2006 – Domata Peko, DL, 4th Round
2010 – *Geno Atkins, DL, 4th Round
Jerry Jones – Dallas Cowboys
2005 – *Marion Barber, RB, 4th Round
– Chris Canty, DL, 4th Round
– Jay Ratliff, DL, 7th Round
2008 – Erik Walden, LB, 6th Round
Rod Graves – Arizona Cardinals
2007 – Steve Breaston, WR, 5th Round
2008 – Tim Hightower, RB, 5th Round
Bruce Allen – Tampa Buccaneers/ Washington Redskins
2012 – *Alfred Morris, RB, 6th Round
Mickey Loomis – New Orleans Saints
2006 – *Jahri Evans, OL, 4th Round
– Rob Ninkovich, LB, 5th Round
– *Marques Colston, WR, 7th Round
2008 – *Carl Nicks, OL, 5th Round
Bill Belichick – New England Patriots
2005 – Matt Cassel, QB, 7th Round
2010 – *Aaron Hernandez, WR, 4th Round
Ozzie Newsome – Baltimore Ravens
2006 – Dawan Landry, S, 5th Round
Kevin Colbert – Pittsburg Steelers
2007 – William Gay, CB, 5th Round
2010 – Antonio Brown, WR, 6th Round
Rick Smith – Houston Texans
2006 – *Owen Daniels, TE, 4th Round
2009 – Glover Quin, S, 4th Round
Mike Tannenbaum – New York Jets
2006 – Leon Washington, RB, 4th Round
Ted Thompson – Green Bay Packers
2007 – *Desmond Bishop, LB, 6th Round
– Mason Crosby, K, 6th Round
2008 – *Josh Sitton, OL, 4th Round
– Matt Flynn?, QB, 7th Round
2009 – T.J. Lang, OL, 4th Round
– Brad Jones, LB, 7th Round
2010 – Marshall Newhouse, OL, 5th Round
– C.J. Wilson, DL, 7th Round
2011 – Davon House?, CB, 4th Round
2012 – Jerron McMillian?, SS, 4th Round
As you can see, many GMs around the league have struggled to find impact players late in the draft. They seem to be lucky if they found one impact player in the late rounds in the past eight drafts. Many of the players on this list fall short of the definition of a true impact player, but either started or played a significant amount of snaps for their team.
T.J. Lang (70) during the NFC Wild Card playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Compared to the other GMs, Thompson has done well finding players late in the draft that have come in and contributed significantly to the team. Players like T.J. Lang and Brad Jones may not be considered elite players at their respected positions, but they have found their role on the team and contribute significantly.
Newhouse and Wilson have started for the Packers the past few years, but have struggled at times. Due to the number of snaps they’ve played the past few seasons, I still consider these players decent selections late in the rounds of the draft.
The jury is still out on House, McMillian, and Flynn, but I included them on this list because of their potential. Even if you take away House, McMillian, Flynn, Newhouse, and Wilson, it seems Thompson has done well late in the draft when compared to his peers.
Only Mickey Loomis from the Saints has found more impact players in rounds 4-7 since 2005 (Evans, Colston, Nicks).
It seems it’s challenging for any GM to find true impact players late in the draft, especially when you look beyond the fourth round. Maybe it’s not as common as we think. It’s even a tall task to ask a GM to find a solid starter or role player in the bottom half of the draft.
But what do you think?
Do you think Thompson holds up well against his peers in finding talent late in the draft? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.