Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews talks to reporters in
the team's locker room after signing his new contract on
Wednesday April 17, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers
locked up star linebacker Matthews with a long-term
extension Wednesday, and also are negotiating with
quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
GREEN BAY — Ted
Thompson played one season of baseball at Southern Methodist in
1975, so he knows a little about the game. He also knows a bit
about swinging and missing.
The Green Bay
Packers general manager used a baseball metaphor Thursday as he
talked about next week's NFL draft and his philosophy about
trading. He credited retired Packers GM Ron Wolf in his
Ron always said: 'It's kind of like baseball, you're not going to
get a hit every time you go to the plate, but if you have more
swings you have a better chance at getting a hit,'" said
Thompson, who has eight selections overall. "I think as a
general philosophy, I'd rather have more than less. But at the end
of the day I'd rather have more quality than anything. But quality
and quantity both is a nice thing."
For the most
part, Thompson's previous eight drafts have had both. He has
picked 75 players overall, and when the season ended with a 45-31
loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs, 27 of the 53
players on the active roster were Thompson draft picks, starting
with quarterback Aaron Rodgers in 2005.
He used to only
trade backward, to get more "swings," but is a bit
harder to pigeonhole this year.
up) when you think it's when you think you see value. That's the
reason sometimes we'll go backward, (too) — when we see value
later in the draft and numbers at positions where we think there's
value," Thompson said. "You know that you're giving up
something if you trade up and you know that you're giving up
something in terms of an opportunity to take a particular player
in you go backward."
In his first
three drafts as Packers GM, Thompson executed nine draft-day
trades, all of them to accumulate more picks. The trend stayed
that way until 2009, when Thompson gave up a second-round pick and
two third-round picks to acquire the New England Patriots'
first-round pick (No. 26) that he used on linebacker Clay
Matthews, who has been to four straight Pro Bowls.
Thompson traded up three times. And armed this year with eight
picks — only the fifth-round compensatory pick cannot be traded
— Thompson could again be on the move.
The Packers do
have some obvious needs despite winning their second straight NFC
North title and a three-year regular-season record of 36-12.
Even though they
used their 2010 and 2011 first-round picks on offensive tackles
(Bryan Bulaga, Derek Sherrod), the offensive line remains a need.
There are only three outside linebackers currently on the roster,
the Packers need a replacement for three-time Pro Bowl safety Nick
Collins and receiver Greg Jennings is gone.
B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett are entering the final years of their
contracts and Thompson could be looking for a running back, too.
But one thing is
certain: Because of their adamant draft-and-develop approach to
team-building, Thompson and his reconfigured scouting staff can't
afford to swing and miss very often.
in drafting and developing players. We think that is the best way
to build your team over the long term," Thompson said.
"That doesn't mean we won't sign free agents or do different
ways of acquiring players and going to college free agency and
that sort of thing, but we do believe that continually every year
you need a new class of players and young men to join your team in
order to sustain over the long term the ability to win and compete
in the NFL."
Does that put
greater pressure on Thompson to be right, as he tries to keep the
Packers a Super Bowl contender during star Rodgers' prime?
what you make it," the 60-year-old Thompson replied.
"I'm a single guy, I don't have children to worry about. It's
not that much pressure. But you want to do right. I'm not trying
to make light of this. It's important. And we gnash our teeth over
it and we try to do the best we can to make the right decisions.
But at the end of the day, we don't worry about things."
to open at 49ers; get 4 night games in '13
GREEN BAY - The
Green Bay Packers will start 2013 against the team that ended
their last season.
unveiled the schedule Thursday, pitting the Packers against the
49ers in San Francisco Sept. 8. The NFC champion 49ers beat the
Packers in the 2012 opener and in the playoffs in January.
Green Bay has
one Monday night game, against Chicago Nov. 4, and three Sunday
night contests: at Minnesota Oct. 27, at the New York Giants
Nov. 17 and against Atlanta Dec. 8. The Packers will also be
Detroit's Thanksgiving Day opponent for the fourth time in seven
They host the
Lions Oct. 6 and the Vikings Nov. 24 and close the season at the
Bears Dec. 29.
Green Bay's bye
is Week 4, for games the weekend of Sept. 29.