With the draft starting in a little over a week, you can be assured the NFL’s Draftnik Industrial Complex will be working overtime in getting to us, the football-loving-public, all the latest on supposed “risers and fallers”. Information on who is rocketing up and plummeting down draft boards will be coming at us fast and furious.
Let me tell you right now – any rising and falling on teams draft boards right now are nothing more than two things: 1) Blatant misinformation being peddled by teams in hopes of influencing other draft boards and 2) Draft nerds with way too much time on their hands.
This is particularly true when it comes to the Packers and Ted Thompson. The Packers set their board prior to the Combine and then, with a couple of exceptions made for medical discoveries, they leave it alone.
As for the draft itself, the one thing you can take to the bank is that, at some point – maybe Thursday or Friday night, maybe on Saturday – Packer fans everywhere will say “Who?” or “Huh?”
Look no further than last years draft and the second round selection of Mike Neal. You would have thought Ted Thompson had taken a punter in the third round with the way Packer fans overreacted. As I said at the time, the pick made perfect sense when you stepped back and looked at all the mitigating factors.
Fans get all sorts of ideas going over draft guides and websites, about who the Packers will target, what positions they “need” to target. And that’s fun – but it bears no resemblance to what is going on at 1265 Lombardi.
For instance – last year the media, fans and the Draftnik Industrial Complex were convinced that the Packers needed to take both a cornerback and an outside linebacker.
Thompson took neither.
This year, the media, fans and the Draftnik Industrial Complex are convinced the Packers need to take a defensive end…and outside linebacker. And quite possibly a receiver. What they aren’t taking into account is the “Improve From Within” mantra that the Packers have made their lifeblood. Yes, the Packers could use reinforcements at all those positions, but if the right value doesn’t present itself during the draft, Thompson won’t have a problem taking the better overall player even if its at a supposed position of strength.
It’s a cliche, but Thompson truly adheres to the line “You can’t have too many good football players”. And it’s true – you can’t. It matters very little what the teams positional “needs” are. There is one all-encompassing need for every football team ever assembled – good football players. That’s what Thompson sets out to find, and more often than not that’s what he ends up with at the conclusion of the draft.