The 1st in a series of articles ranking Ted Thompson’s draft picks by round.
What do you want from a 7th round pick? Anything really, most of these guys would rather be undrafted so they can choose their destination. These picks have low expectations and are basically after-thought toss-ins for draft day trades when GMs want to beat the rush to the airport (which TT has done for the last two years). If you get anything out of them, you’re doing a damn fine job.
From the bottom to the top, here are all of Ted’s 7th round draft picks:
17. B.J. Coleman – developmental arm who ended up spending five months in the arena league and almost seven months in the CFL. Whoops. They could have taken a flyer on Tashaun Gipson, who went undrafted then made two Pro Bowls as a safety for Cleveland.
16. Kurt Campbell – did you know he was born in Jamaica? He lasted a year before bouncing around some practice squads.
15. Andrew Datko – prototypical size, but with a severe shoulder injury that prevented him from being a first round pick. Ted took a flyer on a high-risk, high-reward player, who ended up out of the league after a stint on the practice squad. He ended up a zero, but it’s hard to fault Ted for taking a chance.
14. Kevin Dorsey – career stat line: 1 reception, 4 yards, 0 td
13. Ryan Taylor – Solid special teamer who managed 8 career receptions (that’s 8 times as many as Kevin Dorsey).
12. Brett Swain – special teams contributor for a bit, but not enough to last in the NFL (although he got to play in the Super Bowl). Couldn’t hang on in the CFL, either.
11. DeShawn Wynn – flashed potential here and there, particularly on his 73 yard touchdown run against the Lions. Bounced around a bit, but never put his flash on display consistently.
10. Clark Harris – wasn’t much of a tight end, but hung as the long-time long snapper for the Bengals. Good for him.
9. William Whitticker – started 14 games to bring stability to a struggling line in 2005, but never played again. Really odd, but I think this is one of the most underrated of TT’s picks. A hole-plugging starter for a year when you really need one. I always thought he was a unique story and I say a 7th rounder is worth plugging a need for a year.
8. Dave Tollefson – lasted a year on the practice squad and eventually picked up with the Giants, where he was a solid role player in their 2011 Super Bowl run, starting a couple games and getting 5 sacks.
7. Lawrence Guy – spent his rookie year on injured reserve and was cut in camp the following year, but was picked up and has played in 67 games in his five-year career – not bad – including 10 starts for the Ravens last season. This year, he signed a 4 year, $20 million deal with the Patriots. It would have been nice if that production was with the Packers, but Ted saw some talent and got a guy who is more productive than you average 7th rounder.
6. C.J. Wilson – solid role player who rotated in for run support in the Super Bowl run. Still logging snaps after 7 years.
5. Jeff Janis – what is there to say about the People’s Champion that hasn’t already been etched into folk hero lore? Put together the most dominant season I have ever seen by a punt gunner in 2015 and put together a cartoonish playoff game, getting 2 catches for 101 yards and a touchdown on the final drive, ending with one of the most improbable plays ever – that’s gotta be worth a top five spot on it’s own!
4. Sam Barrington – fought his way into the starting lineup and became a thumper in the middle. ACL injury robbed him of what could have been a nice little career. Despite the lack of tenure, I still think it was a great find.
3. Charles Johnson – was a training camp darling that the practice squad couldn’t hold. Eventually went to Minnesota and made a little noise, starting 10 games in three years. Chances are good that he would have more than 692 career yards if he had Aaron Rodgers throwing to him (especially in 2015) instead of whatever chumps the Purples rolled out each week.
2. Brad Jones – there’s a difference between a good draft pick and paying too much to re-sign him. In this case, Ted did both. Still, he started for five years and was solid before sticking around with the Eagles for an uneventful season. You don’t get half-decade starters very often in the seventh round.
1. Matt Flynn – This guy wrote quite a story in his time with Green Bay. He was a great backup, embarrassed the Lions with 480 yards and 6 touchdowns at the end of 2011, almost upset the Patriots in prime time during the Super Bowl run, stole money from the Seahawks (netting us a comp pick), then came back to save the 2013 season, keeping the team warm for Aaron Rodgers to come back and do this (stupid Bears).
Over the years, Ted has picked a number of guys who have been starters (in Green Bay or elsewhere) and certainly some memory-makers. There’s been some duds, but that’s to be expected this late. Overall, I think you have to give him some credit since over half these guys made it in this league to some degree. That says a lot.