The trade of Jerel Worthy to the Patriots last week triggered widespread realization amongst fans that the Packers 2012 draft class hasn’t amounted to much. Outside of proven contributors Casey Hayward and Mike Daniels, the only remaining draft pick of the eight original selections is injury-plagued Nick Perry, who now faces split playing time with pro bowl pass rusher, Julius Peppers. Not such a good sign for one of the NFL’s most draft-dependent clubs.
No, the 2012 draft won’t go down as one of GM Ted Thompson’s best – and this may have something to do with the seeming abandonment of his Best Player Available draft strategy that year. Just months after the Packers finished last in the league in defense, Thompson ‘coincidently’ selected six straight defensive players. Whether the Packers’ GM reached for talent in these selections or not, the defense can’t afford too many more misses.
However, one trip to the Packers ‘How Built’ page on their website should make it clear that Ted has delivered even when he’s missed at Radio City Music Hall. The 2012 offseason saw the additions of free agents Don Barclay, DuJuan Harris, Jarrett Boykin, Sean Richardson and Brandon Bostick, all of whom have starter potential. Furthermore, Thompson deserves some credit for cutting his losses and not playing the waiting game on known busts as he did with Justin Harrell and Pat Lee.
Too many fans and members of the media forget about Thompson’s major landings, many of which haven’t come in the first round. 2013 selections Eddie Lacy and David Bakhtiari would have graded out well after their rookie season even had they been first round draft picks (Lacy was a second rounder and Bakhtiari was a fourth rounder).
It’s true that Thompson’s draft day wins are slightly skewed toward the offensive side of the football. Even with Green Bay’s history as an offense-oriented team, the tenth-year GM must begin to supply highly-criticized D-coordinator Dom Capers with better talent on defense. Players to keep your eye on include: Nick Perry, Datone Jones, Ha Ha Clinton Dix and Khyri Thornton. If any of these names live up to their draft status this season, the Packers could be a difficult team to contend with.