Welcome to another edition in our ongoing series on the top draft philosophies in the NFL. Today we'll focus on the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers (pains me just to type that) and their personnel guru, Ted Thompson. So follow me to the clearing at the end of the jump and we'll take a final look at an outside draft philosopher before turning our attention inward......
By The Numbers:
45: As in the reigning Super Bowl 45 Champions.
19: The number of home grown players that started in that Super Bowl.
1: The number of tries Thompson and the Pack needed to replace NFL legend Brett Favre.
100: The percentage of Packer fans that called for Thompson's head after the Pack pushed Favre out the door.
99.9: The percentage of Packers fans that now claim that they knew it was the right move all along. (Come on, there are some decent Pack fans out there, so I couldn't go with 100 again.)
Well, this stinks. Nothing sucks more for a true Bears fan that to have to sit here and write about the success of the Green Bay Packers. But, honesty is the best policy, and Thompson has been fantastic. He managed to draft well enough to convert from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense faster than anyone imagined possible. And it paid dividends with a quickness.
And it's not like he hasn't done well rebuilding the offense, either. He won the Smith/Rogers lotto, found Greg Jennings in the 2th round, and has brought in a slew of other quality starters and role-players that were the difference as the Pack ran through 5 playoff games (including the week 17 game against the Bears) en route to a Championship.
But how does this kind of draft success happen? If you've followed this series so far, I'll bet you can guess. First and foremost, Thompson believes in building through the draft and drafting the best available player regardless of need. There have been some exceptions, but justifiably. When the Pack made the switch to a 3-4 defense, certain holes had to be filled to make that switch. B.J. Raji and Clay Matthews filled those holes nicely. But, for the most part, Thompson is a firm believer in the same best player available system that has worked so well for our previous philosophers.
I feel like a broken record here, but everything revolves around picking up the best player left on the board that fits Thompson's mold for character, scheme, intelligence, coachability and locker room cohesion. Notice that this is another team filled with mostly "grabowski" style players that know their role and take pride in it.
And as with our previous drafters, Thompson is an active pick hoarder. He is certainly not adverse to trading down to get value, especially if the players he was targeting for a certain pick are all off the board.
(Starting to see a theme here?)
I know that these posts are starting to get a bit repetitive, and it seems to me that while I didn't actually plan it that way, it makes sense that it would be almost interchangeable. All of these teams are on top for a reason. The Pats, Colts, Steelers and Pack have all followed a very similar formula for draft success and all have based their success on the field on their success on the draft board.
Now that we've gone over some of the most successful drafting organizations int eh league, it's time to tie it all together by using this knowledge as a basis of comparison to our own Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith and their draft success rate. Join us tomorrow for that very discussion.