Monday, April 24, 2006

Thompson Says Could Pick QB at #5

In an early morning radio interview with Packers flagship radio station, WTMJ620 in Milwaukee, Packers GM Ted Thompson said the team could pick a QB at #5 if they deemed that to be the best player on the board at the time. He gave this response when questioned as to what he would do if either Vince Young or Matt Leinart were available when the Pack gets on the clock. Thompson said that, "We view the draft as a long-term commitment to the organization," and therefore they will take the best player available even if that meant exercising the fairly rare back-to-back first round QB draft.

Thompson said he felt the draft was a fairly deep one, especially at QB and a few other positions. He made it clear that the team would get an impact player with their #5 pick, although he gave no clues as to who that might be. Thompson is known for keeping things close to the vest, so it's no surprise that he wouldn't say much about specifics. Nor should he.

He did say that they are running through all the possible scenarios that could arise, but that at some point you can overdo it. This week, he said, will primarily be spent with his staff discussing each of the player possibilities, particularly where there is disagreement on a player. When they go into the draft, he said, everyone will be on board with what's going to be done. Then, on draft day, "the car is on automatic."

When asked about the status of Brett Favre, Thompson said he didn't know what Brett was going to do and, further, that Brett's decision or lack thereof will not affect how the team approaches the draft.

As to the status of WR Javon Walker, Thompson acknowledged that Walker said some things that were a bit pointed, but that doesn't affect how the organization feels about him. Thompson said that he views Walker as a key part of the team and they are operating as such. In other words, no hint at some of the trade rumors that have surfaced recently, especially regarding the Broncos.

When asked about the loss of LaVar Arrington to the NY Giants in an apparent bidding battle, Thompson was somewhat laconic, saying that Arrington has family on the East Coast and that while the Pack had made a good offer, a free agent should be able to decide where they want to be for whatever reasons they choose. He said he didn't think Favre's indecision had anything to do with Arrington's decision.

As to the feeling of some fans -- and apparently Favre as well -- that the Pack hasn't made a "splash" in free agency, Thompson said that they really aren't interested in making a splash. "We're more interested in substance," Thompson said. He noted, without mentioning names, that he feels the team has made some pick ups that will help the team.

In listening to Thompson's approach to free agency and the draft, that both need to be viewed in terms of a long-term commitment to the success of the organization, and considering how he used this same philosophy to build the Seattle Seahawks into a Super Bowl team, fans (in this writer's opinion) should just take a deep breath. All will be well. Maybe not this year...although considering the division opponents it could well be this year once again. Paraphrasing Raiders' grand wazoo Al Davis, just win the division, baby!

So, as draft day approaches -- just keep an eye on the countdown ticker at the head of this column to see exactly how much time remains until it starts -- let the prognostications continue!