The 5th in a series of articles ranking Ted Thompson’s draft picks by round.
What do you expect to get with a third round pick? With Ted Thompson, you expect to get more picks. Ted’s traded away 8 third round picks in his 12 years running the Packers drafts. That makes this a short list. It should be a short list of long-time starters because these are high picks and you expect (and need) a lot out of them to pan out if you want your team to remain competitive.
Here’s how Ted did with the third rounders he used.
11. Khyri Thorton – What an overdrafted waste of space. He had no business getting drafted this high – he’s TT’s version of James Lee. I hope they didn’t give him free food at training camp.
10. Aaron Rouse – At 6’4″ 223, he might have been a great hybrid backer in today’s game, but almost a decade ago, he was more of an old school strong safety who could never quite crack the starting lineup. He only lasted 3 years in the NFL, but he did get 3 picks and MVP honors in the 2011 UFL Championship Game as a member of the Virginia Destroyers, which is nice.
9. Alex Green – Taken way too high, his success in a gimmicky college offense never transitioned to the NFL, which he exited after 3 years with 3.4 YPC and 0 touchdowns.
8. Abdul Hodge – He returned a fumble 29 yards for a touchdown his rookie year in his first and only career start. Then he had double knee surgeries and didn’t make the team the next year. A few years on a couple other teams pushed his career tackle total to 25 to go with his 0 career sacks.
7. Kyler Fackrell – A little old when he was drafted, he gained more spot duty snaps as his rookie season went on and even managed a couple sacks – that’s two more than Khyri Thorton and Abdul Hodge combined! He will be looked on to step up this year with the losses of Peppers and Datone. We’ll see what happens.
6. Richard Rodgers – Remember the Miracle in Motown? That was awesome. That was also his career. He hasn’t turned into the receiving threat the team envisioned. He never could block, so that was pretty much his job. He’s got big mitts and is sure-handed, but that’s not enough to make it in the NFL. He may not make it out of camp this year.
5. Jason Spitz – Versatile utility lineman started 45 games over 4 years with the Packers. Hooked up with Jacksonville for 10 appearances before injuries effectively ended his career.
4. Ty Montgomery – Looked like Sterling Sharpe Jr at times in limited appearances as a rookie before his injury, then took over as the starting running back last year after the other four backs on the team all went out. He averaged 5.9 YPC and led the league in average yards per carry after contact. He had 3.7 yards per carry after contact. Matt Forte, who everybody wanted to sign so bad last year, had 3.7 yards per carry total. Think about that – that’s how good Montgomery is (and how not stupid Ted Thompson is). Don’t believe the “not a running back” hype, either – he played running back his whole life and switched to WR to get on the field in college. He has the body type and instincts of a running back and lunges forward at the end of runs to get the extra yard on each carry. I’m really looking forward to seeing what he does with a training camp at RB under his belt. He has a promising future and the ability to move up this short list.
3. James Jones – Hooooodie! The NFL had to rewrite the rulebook because of his awesome fashion sense. JJ was productive in his time with the Packers, but I felt like he always ran lazy routes. He wasn’t a speed burner, so maybe he just counted on not getting separation and then just doing stuff like this to get his. He was very good in tight quarters and led the NFL in touchdowns in 2012. He could never be a true #1 (he never even had a 900 yard season) but he did save what could have been a hopeless year in 2015 by getting his release from the Giants to come back home after Jordy tore his ACL. It was a wonderful farewell tour for a very good career for a very good guy.
2. Jermichael Finley – Came into the league and ran his f#cking mouth, calling out his all-world quarterback when he himself blundered critical plays. Eventually developed into a productive prima donna with a knack for making tough catches and botching easy ones. He invoked the trite, dreadful “matchup nightmare” moniker, but the Packers only won a title when he went to IR. His 2,785 yards and 20 scores on his career don’t really tell the story of his impact, he did open things up for his teammates and occasionally did good things, but never without acting like a total assh#t.
1. Morgan Burnett – Started all 90 of the games he’s played in over 7 years and has quietly been a very good, but not elite, safety. With 9 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries, he has shown a nose for the ball. A sure tackler, a good cover guy, and versatile enough to play in the box last year, his un-flashy style has hidden his effectiveness and value from the casual fan. Even with the lack of flair, this is Ted’s best third round pick.
There’s definitely some players in here, but, unlike the fourth round, which Ted has owned, his third round has not returned a lot of bang for the buck. Some of the blame can go to a lack of swings, but still, his success rate on the picks he did have here was merely average. For all his success in the 4th round, where he picked three Pro Bowlers (plus another guy who should be one) Ted has never picked a Pro Bowler in the 3rd round. It’s kind of odd. Maybe he should trade out of the third round every year… just trade it for a couple 4’s.