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Neal Pick Not Exciting But It's Classic Thompson

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Neal Pick Not Exciting But It's Classic Thompson

I get it.

Trust me I do.

You sit around all night waiting for the Packers to pick. You have all these players in mind that you have been reading about for the last three months.

And then Ted Thompson picks Mike Neal.

It was amusing watching all the consternation on the live blog and on Twitter over a perfectly reasonable selection. The Neal pick is a perfect example of what Greg Bedard called "release and replace" in a column last May. It's a prescient piece.

...the Packers are much better off, one through 53, than they were when Thompson arrived and he had to make drastic cuts because they were in salary cap hell. This can't be denied, no matter what the Packers' record was last season.They have talent. A lot of it. Maybe not as many elite players as a team would like, but the Packers have a lot of "pretty good" players. In the salary-cap era, that's not bad at all.

Now it's time for the release and replace stage.

Exactly.

Fans and media alike sometimes forget that a teams roster is a fluid thing. It's either getting better and moving forward or getting worse and sliding back. Players are getting older and starting to decline or they are improving and hitting their prime.

Cullen Jenkins could soon be the former and Johnny Jolly is pretty close to the latter.

No, I'm not saying Jenkins is declining, but it's only a matter of time and with the 2010 being the final year of both his and Jolly's contract, it makes sense to have a replacement on board for one if not both of them. Now, why Neal? Why there? I have no idea. But I trust that, as usual, Thompson was being true to his board and got the guy he thought would best help the Packers.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (33) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

nypacker's picture

Like I mentioned before on the internet, TT probably believed that Baltimore was going to take him with their next pick. One of their biggest needs is a 3-4 DE. Unfortunately TT got suckered in to that logic.

CSS's picture

If he was suckered to that logic he would have a more extensive history of trading up ahead of other franchises. He's done so only 3 times since 05'. His board said value, his round 3 and 4 picks stacked on his board didn't differentiate themselves as value. There's no legitimate pattern to support what your saying in his draft history with the Packers.

CSS's picture

I like it, Aaron. Scouts get lazy with some players as a byproduct of the college 'system' they play in, be it offense or defense. It's a bold projection, but Neil's physical skillset is great in comparison to the other 3-4 ends in the draft. Not without risk, but they stuck to their board and felt the value was there. The blinders were off and they felt the kid will be a great prospect in Capers overall scheme.

CSS's picture

P.S. - Does the lack of pursuing a 3-4 rush linebacker give anybody else the impression the coaches/executives liked what they saw when Obiozer and Jones walked into the door during spring workouts? I'm guessing, yes..

Hyperrevue's picture

Here's hoping. Because while I love the picks so far and understand that not every hole can be filled, they do need to beef up the pass rush. And add a warm body to the cb corp.

FITZCORE1252's picture

Yep. At least I'm gonna tell myself yes, so I can sleep.

Tony Hartzheim's picture

I think most of you are missing the truly amazing metamorphosis unfolding before our eyes. This is the TT that TT has always wanted to be. It just took 5 years to restock a severely depleted and over priced roster. TT started this last year with the Clay Mathews selection, we just did not see it. Gone are the trade down to build a roster days. I do not mean that TT will not trade down, but it will be from a position of strength to continue adding talent. TT can now target and pursue individuals and pay the price, without worrying about adding depth.

Welcome to the new world Packer fans, we are about to embark on a Championship laden, long lasting, competitive run, buckle up and enjoy the ride.

Dave S's picture

I think the point overall is solid, that the need for depth isn't near as urgent as it was when TT first stepped in. He inherited a mess, and he earns the rep for trading down mostly because that is what the situation calls for.

But you're overstating the current situation a bit too. Let's not pretend we don't have some holes at the bottom of the roster. I can think of about 5 guys off the top of my head that I wouldn't mind seeing cut. Guys that I'll feel the same way about no matter what happens in camp.

PackerBacker's picture

But you have to admit that 5 out of 53 is a pretty good ratio. Not all backups can be starters. It's just the facts of life. If they were starters they would be playing, or being traded to another team. A lot of them need time to develop into those types of players. Any team out there is about 3 or 4 injuries away from being insignificant.

Jersey Al's picture

Classic Thompson is right. As I just wrote over on my blog, "Mike Montgomery is gone, Jarius Wynn is just not the right fit for 3-4 DE, Johnny Jolly has a court date and Justin Harrell – well, he’s Justin Harrell. A lot of question marks there. Throw in Jenkins, Jolly and Harrell (no snickering) all being in the last year of their contracts, and a warm DL body was needed."

BTW, CheeseheadTV is getting awsomer and awsomer, to use some Jersey vernacular.

jerseypackfan's picture

I`ll be honest, I said this..."Who The F Did they just pick???"

this guy flew way under my radar.

Black Hawk's picture

I like this pick, good depth to rotate in for the sub packages. This is Justin Harell's wake up call!

Glorious80s's picture

Not sure why the hate on Justin Harell. The guy had a back injury. Bad luck. Happens sometimes.

PackerMax's picture

Good post, Aaron.

Ted filled a need not many of us realized existed. Also, Neal was co-captain of his team; TT loves guys like that.

dilligaff's picture

I love the picks so far, my main two concerns were the O-line and another pass rusher in the position of DT,ILB, or OLB

Dilligaff's picture

I guess this addresses the faith the Packers have in Justin Harrell in being able to play next year.

Good news is he did not play at Tennessee

Keith's picture

On Twitter I wanted them to Draft Cody so they could play Raji at DE more this season (I liked what I saw from Raji at DE.) So when they picked Neal, I had the same "Who is Mike Neal?" reaction as a lot of Packer fans. But, since I am drinking the Nagler/Thompson Kool-Aid, I will trust in TT's board. Granted, they essentially did what I wanted them to do (add to the D-Line) but with a different player. So if TT thinks Neal is going to be more productive than Cody, I'll trust in Ted.

dilligaff's picture

very funny, emotions not to high on draft day.

FITZCORE1252's picture

Duh bayerz... still swallow

FITZCORE1252's picture

Bup-Bup-To-The-Bang... Beast

FITZCORE1252's picture

Nagler,

First off, thanks for this piece. I'd imagine you had a pretty long day @ RCMH when you wrote this... 'the-word' = Dedication, kudos.

Secondly, totally agree with your take on the Neal pick. Sure, it doesn't seem like a position of 'need' as of now, BUT, that could drastically change in the next 12 months (See the following contracts... Jenkins, Jolly, Bustin).

GBP 4 LIFE

Ron LC's picture

First, Purdue and Defense are words never used together, EVER. That said, the guy is a physical reproduction of a Leonardo painting. If you could project Pro success by a photo, this guy's an all-pro. The DE pick set me back for awhile until I remembered CM3. TT had something in his mind when he went after Neal. Foremost, Harrell has finally seen his last days as a Packer. Using a roster spot for an invalid was not one of TT's brighter moments. Jolly's court date in May is coming up soon. Does TT know something we don't? Maybe!
_____
So, I'm anxious to see how he develops. Please give me another CM3, not a Harrell.
_____
Could TT package a trade with one or more of the holdouts to gain some 4's? I say why not!

CSS's picture

Purdue Defensive Players Recently Drafted:
09' - Alex Magee (Rd. 3)
08' - Cliff Avril (Rd. 3)
07' - Anthony Spencer (Rd. 1)
06' - Bernard Pollard (Rd. 2); Ray Edwards (Rd. 4); Rob Ninkovich (Rd. 5)

You get the picture.....

The list goes on, stop sterotyping because it's a supposed 'offensive school'.

Ron LC's picture

Big Ten YPg Defense rankings:

2007 - 11th
2008 - 9th
2009 - 8th

CSS's picture

What does this have to do with a schools ability to put INDIVIDUAL TALENT into the NFL? (Nothing)

CSS's picture

Badgers spent the better part of a decade predominantly as a run team with a poor pass ranking in the Big Ten. How about those receiver prospects out of Wisconsin during that time period?

BTW - They dominated the run game, but how about those crap running backs they kept sending into the NFL. Nor correlation with conference rank.

Ron LC's picture

Obviously a Boilermaker! Lighten up a little, just having a little fun here! Don't remember saying anything about the Badgers. Don't look at me to defend their pass defense - they stink!

CSS's picture

I'm both a Badger (undergrad) and a Hawkeye (grad school).

You can't differentiate 'context' on the internet, I'm not as tight as you think.

Cheers

Ron LC's picture

Salute'

Glorious80s's picture

Maybe improving the line will allow more creativity with the secondary - that's what I got from MM's presser.

GB was in a somewhat restrictive draft position. There was a run on CBs, pass rushers and the staff seemed to feel they had better candidates on the board at other positions. TT said he would move up but didn't want to reach for a need.

We'll see how it plays out in training camp.

I noticed teams like NE massing draft picks which can allow them to trade up. It was one drawback to the Packer's dreaft that they lacked that flexibility. Hope that if GB does the release/replacement, they at least get some draft value. The Brohm Practice Squad loss was a mistake.

wgbeethree's picture

An excellent point was made by a fellow poster that I would assume very few people considered when placing the "reach" tag on Neal. I know I certainly didn't. When Schnieder and Holmgren took their positions with Seattle and Cleaveland respectively they both hired players from within the Packers scouting department. Clearly the Packers would have been high on Neal for awhile and those former employees and current competitors would know that very well. Normally when you have a player you have a high grade on but consider a "sleeper" you may be able to try to wait on that player (although I still think that's a bad idea). In this case TT KNEW that at least two other teams were very aware of how highly they regarded Neal.

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