Ted Thompson doesn’t draft for need. Don’t be silly.
He just happened to take Kenny Clark in the first round after BJ Raji went on hiatus because, you know, Clark was the Best Player Available. The year before, Damarious Randall was BPA, coincidentally after Ted let Tramon Williams and Davon House walk. The year before that, Ha Ha was drafted after the Packers couldn’t replace Nick Collins – not because of need, but because Ted stuck to his board. And the year before that, Datone Jones, an end specializing in containing read option, just happened to be the top guy on the board after the Packers got torched by the read option a few months earlier. Derek Sherrod was the first round pick when Chad Clifton was running on empty. Bryan Bulaga was picked number one after Tauscher got hurt. In 2009, when Dom Capers was implementing a 3-4 and the Packers needed a nose tackle and a pass rusher, luck had it that BJ Raji and CM3 where the first round picks.
We could keep going, but the point is that, though Ted Thompson doesn’t draft for need, fate seems to have a way of lining up BPAs with holes in the Packers starting lineup.
With that crazy hypothesis in mind, let’s look at the free agent starters (with links to my thoughts on each of them) that could leave a hole in need of filling for the Packers in 2017:
- Linebacker \ Defensive End: Nick Perry, Julius Peppers (might as well throw in Datone Jones, too) – This includes edge rushers, but also the elephant end that our buddy Dom is so fond of employing
- Offensive Line: TJ Lang (and, right behind him, JC Tretter) – I put offensive line instead of guard, because Ted usually only drafts tackles and then moves them to guard (and, I might add, he’s done pretty well with that)
- Tight End: Jared Cook – Dear Ted, please just re-sign him
- Running Back: Eddie Lacy – Man, I love watching him do sh!t like this – when he came out of college, I swore that spin move wouldn’t work in the pros… but there it is three times in one play… I can admit when I’m wrong
- Cornerback: Micah Hyde and Sam Shields* (Sam’s technically a free agent – even though he was cut – and left a hole bigger than yo mama in the starting lineup)
Wow, that’s actually a lot of potential holes. Maybe that’s why Ted always seems to find a way to plug a hole in round one – because there’s so many of them. I’d like to see most of these guys re-signed, but I think the linebackers are the least likely of the bunch (obviously after Sam Shields) and this draft is deep in edge rushers.
I think that whoever Ted re-signs will have a huge impact on what position he goes after in the first round.
At least that’s what history tells us… but maybe it’s just coincidence.
Right now, I’d put my money on edge rusher. Next week, as the clocks near zero on the tampering period, we’ll find out a lot more.