So, after Ted Thompson drafts a reputedly-lazy, (alleged) pot-loving defensive tackle and an outside linebacker who started all of one year at USC, the talking heads are tripping over each other to get to the front of the line to blow the Packers general manager. "This is the type of draft we've been begging for!" the talking heads shout. "He's finally wised up!"
And I just don't get it.
For one, I don't think Ted deserves to get killed for his previous drafts. Yes, the Justin Harrell pick sucked balls. Fine. You want some other first-round selections who sucked balls? Take your pick: Terrell Buckley, John Michels, Ross Verba, Antwan Edwards, and, last and most certainly least, Jamal Reynolds -- all brought to you by the best general manager in the history of the franchise, Ron Wolf.
(And you bet your ass a major part of the reason Wolf gets a pass on Jamal Reynolds -- who was a much, much, much bigger bust than Harrell -- is because he brought Favre here, while Thompson gets crucified for the Harrell pick because he's the guy who ran Favre off when Brett still wanted to play. I'm not arguing about this.)
Two: take a close look at Thompson's draft history. His first ever pick was A-Rodg, and I don't hear many people bitching about that one four years later. He also snagged Nick Collins and Mike Montgomery in '05. The third round pick in that year -- Terrence Murphy -- busted his neck and is out of football, as is fourth-rounder Marviel Underwood (fucked up his knee). Hardly a disaster.
And then keep going down the line: Hawk in '06, who's been far from extraordinary -- but look at what was available around him. Anybody heard of any of those linebackers who got taken after A.J.? Throw in Jennings, Will Blackmon (just for his value as a return man), Jason Spitz, and Johnny Jolly, and that draft ain't half bad, either.
Now, 2007 wasn't a very good year, for sure (save for Mason Crosby), and it's still way too early to evaluate 2008 (though Nelson looked good last year, and Sitton is probably going to be starting at guard this year).
I don't know -- that draft history doesn't look like a complete clusterfuck to me. It's not like we're taking wide receivers in the first-round every year, or guys who run 4.3 forties but can't, ahem, catch the football.
But this year's draft -- oh, everyone loves this year's draft. Why? Apparently, because Ted traded with the Patriots to get back into the first round to take Clay Matthews XIV. I mean, Jesus Christ -- doesn't that pick have red flags all over it? The guy has great bloodlines, no doubt, but so does Tony Fucking Gwynn, Jr., and we've seen how that one panned out. Matthews walked on at USC, was a special teamer for three years, and started this year. That's the pick we're going to suck Ted's popsicle for? Really?
As for Raji: it obviously fills a need, which is great and all, but the words "weight problem" and "likes the sticky icky" scare the shit out of me. (The pot thing is especially worrisome in a town like Green Bay, where there's absolutely nothing for a guy like Raji to do. I'm not saying it's a foregone conclusion by any means, but when your Friday night options are "go to the Shopko again" or "hot box the Escalade" ... well ...)
Of course, it's too soon to meaningfully evaluate any of the '09 picks. I'm just sayin': I don't understand the unrestrained glee this morning, especially in light of the unrestrained rage we've seen for the last four drafts.