The Packers just finished their draft yesterday, and I will be the first to say that, to my very untrained eye, this is Thompson's best class. With the defensive shift to the 3-4, and the utter failure of DT and Fat Piece of Shit Justin Harrell, the Packers had some holes to fill. Ted Thompson's draft strategy to date has been to build depth through the draft, something desperately needed after Mike Shermgren left the cupboard bare, especially defensively (Cledius Hunt, KGBad and Ahmad Carroll, let's get fucking serious, you clown). The Packers entered the 2009 draft with enough depth to patch holes created by the transition from the 4-3 to the 3-4, but lacked a few key playmakers that will allow the front seven to thrive.
Predraft reports suggested that Michael Crabtree topped the Packers' draft boards, and that BJ "Fat Snoop" Raji was somewhere near the top, although the team expected him to go to Cleveland at five. When Fat Snoop slipped past Cleveland at five and Al Davis inexplicably took Darrius Heyward-Bey at seven, the Packers faced a bit of a dilemma, albeit a very nice dilemma to have: Do they follow their normal protocol and draft the best available player, or do they draft a very good player in a position of greater need. Ultimately, the circumstances were perfect for Thompson to depart from his typical draft strategy. His knack for evaluating wide receiver talent has left the team stacked at the position, while the team's transition to the 3-4 has left a need for an elite DT, universally considered the cornerstone of an effective 3-4 scheme. On top of all of that, I would imagine that the team had Crabtree and Fat Snoop ranked fairly close to one another on their boards.
Raji has drawn comparisons to Warren Sapp for his size, ability, love of the ganj, and general character issues. I fucking love character issues. I don't want some pussy that volunteers at homeless shelters and wipes up after the elderly anchoring my defense. I want the guy with a four-page rap sheet who owns three registered and twenty six unregistered handguns and keeps company with mafia from four different continents. They just make better defensive players, it's scientific fact. As long as he stays out of jail, he'll be an asset to the team. It is out of shame that I refuse to post the video of him tackling a ND runningback with the ND lineman that he just bearclawed, but if you haven't yet seen it, checking it out is worth the effort.
With his next trick, Ted Thompson delivered two in the pink and one in the stink that I don't think anybody around the league was expecting. Until Saturday, Thompson had orchestrated fourteen draft day trades, thirteen of which were to move *down* in the draft. Saturday he gave up the 41st pick and two third rounders (thank you Brett Farr) to move up to 26th and take Muscle Milk Matthews. I made immediate comparisons to the LaPorta pick by the Brewers. This was a guy who many people didn't have going as high as he did (and certainly not before his teammate Rey Rey Mauluga), but after you hear the coaching staff explain the pick and look at the numbers, you wonder why nobody else had him rated as highly. Let's look at the facts:
1. Guys named Matthews have gigantic fucking arms
2. Guys sponsored by Muscle Milk surrounded by other meatheads also sponsered by Muscle Milk typically like to hit people hard
3. He worked his way up from a preferred walk on to a starter on a semi-pro team full of five-star recruits. I fucking love work ethics just as much as I love character issues.
4. He's white. Now, you'll tell me that whiteness is typically a detriment in contact sports, which I would naturally agree with. However, there are a few spots on the football field where being white is an advantage: 1. Quarterback 2. Referee (fuck you, Mike Carey) 3. Kicker 4. Head Coach and 5. Linebacker and 6. slot receiver. The 2009 Packers will field 3.5 white linebackers, three of whom are prehistoric meatheads that just like hitting people hard. This is really the only swarming activity at which white people excel. I just got swarming wood.
5. Ted Thompson put his neck on the line for this one. When a guy acts *this* boldly to pick a player up (Thompson and team had reportedly been working for weeks to figure out how they were going to move up to get Triple-M), one has to believe there's something special about the player, at least until proven otherwise.
The rest of the Packers' draft had no hope to produce players of the same caliber as Raji and Matthews, but they appear to be great football players (read: thugs and meatheads) nonetheless. They selected two offensive linemen, TJ Lang and Jamon Meredith. Lang is supposedly 'affable' off the field, which is an immediate red flag, but is apparently nasty on the field and can play multiple line positions. I remain skeptical until proven otherwise. Jamon Meridith was projected to be a first rounder but dropped due to some character issues. Home fucking run. He can be seen in some videos (which I'm not going to post because this entry is too long as-is) pushing rushing defensive ends off their feet in mid-stride. He's strong with long arms, a combination rarely seen. ARodg, say hello to your new right tackle.
They took a fullback in the fifth round. My initial reaction, "oh, what the fuck?!" was quickly quelled as the first description I heard was that he "loves to hit". Only did 16 reps of 225, but he's another meathead to add to the team.
The final three picks are all typical late rounds picks. Wynn sounds like he could bulk up and play end in the 3-4 or trim down and back up the OLBs. Brandon Underwood was supposed to go to Ohio State but was late for meetings and had academic issues. He's also 6'1 200 and runs a 4.5 40. Character *and* academic issues and the size and speed to play corner? In the sixth round? Sign me the fuck up! Brad Jones is another generic DE/OLB type. Clearly they believe this, along with the OL, was a position of need for the team in the upcoming year.
Overall, Thompson did in the draft what he failed to do through free agency: aid the transition from the 4-3 to the 3-4 and add depth to the OL rotation while Taucher recovers. They also added two players that are instantly going to challenge Jordy Nelson for status as my irrational mancrush on the team. Overall, provided Dom Capers still knows what he's doing, 2009 should be a pretty fun season for the Pack.
Labels: Esoteric Hyperbole, NFL Draft, People Who Look Like Snoop Dogg, Swarming, Ted "Slingblade" Thompson