Green Bay Packers GM Ted Thompson talks about first round of draft

Apr. 29, 2011

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Here is a transcript of Packers general manager Ted Thompson on the selection of Derek Sherrod with the team’s first round draft choice (32nd overall), along with other topics:

Q: Thoughts on picking Sherrod?

TT: “We’re happy about it. We think it’s really good value to get a big man that late in the first round we feel like can come in and help us. Where he’s going to play, I don’t know, but I know this you can never have too many big men. The more run blockers, the more pass blockers we have, the better off we do.”

Q: Can he play left tackle?

TT: “He plays left tackle at school and we think he has the athletic ability to play a number of spots. Last year with Bryan, you guys asked me all the same questions. You never know how it’s going to work out, but he’s a good football player.”

Q: Were you surprised about the number of quality players available at the end of the first round?

TT: “No. From a numbers standpoint, we thought it was a very deep draft in terms of fair quality. It’s almost where you look at it like in some draft, it’s kind of a 1-20 draft, but in this one there were some premier players at the start, but we felt from 10 through maybe 45 there were a lot of good players.”

Q: Did you consider trading up to draft him?

TT: “We thought there were going to be players there at 32 that we were very interested in. We were pretty comfortable sitting and watching, just because we felt the board was deep enough early on to do that.”

Q: Was DL Da’Quan Bowers too much of an injury risk to draft?

TT: “He’s a good football player. I don’t talk about other players, certainly those we didn’t pick, but he’s a good player. It’s a little surprising he’s still there.”

Q: Any talks about trading the pick?

TT: “We talked to some people early on, but most of these talks were sort of fishing just to make sure because sometimes you get to a place where you think, ‘Boy, I’d like to go up or go back,’ so we had some conversations, but we didn’t have a whole lot.”

Q: On Sherrod’s academic accomplishments, including 3.54 GPA:

TT: “That’s good. It’s not mandatory, but it’s certainly a plus. I think you can probably ask James Campen this, but our offensive linemen, as a group, are pretty smart guys, but he’s a bright guy, very articulate. You guys will like him.”

Q: What strikes you about Sherrod?

TT: “He plays with good balance, good base. He’s hardly ever off his feet. He has the ability to run block and he’s also a very good pass setter. We think he has the chance to be a complete player and he’s played against good competition for three or four years.”

Q: On comfort level of having two first-round tackles:

TT: “I feel OK. You’re never completely comfortable with any spot because injuries can happen and stuff like that. This is just an example, historically speaking and Ron (Wolf) and I used to talk about this all the time, as you go through a lot of drafts, there’s different years, different kind of player, but if you can get quality big men. I think you always kind of lean that way, especially if you’re picking late in the first round.”

Q: Any thoughts on trading out of first round?

TT: “A few early on and we said give us a call back later one. Once it got to be our pick, we were pretty ready to go. We felt pretty comfortable with Derek.”

Q: Is it easier to find running backs late in the draft more than other positions?

TT: “I don’t know if that’s anymore than any other position. You find guys. Sam Shields last year as a free agent, I don’t know you could say that about that position. There are a lot of different types of running backs that come out of college. A lot of guys run out of the spread offense and it’s hard to see a real thing they’ll be doing in the pros in terms of trying to project. Other players are different, they play in a regular offense, but running backs can usually play right away. If they can play, they play right away. That’s always been a good thing.”

Q: Throughout the draft, are you aware of who the other teams in the division are drafting?

TT: “I know the Bears picked (Gabe) Carimi – good pick, good player. The Vikings took the quarterback (Christian Ponder) and Detroit took a defensive lineman (Nick Fairley). I was aware of all that. I wish they hadn’t taken all those guys.”

Q: What were you thoughts on the four quarterbacks that were drafted?

TT: “It could’ve been. Obviously, the last two or three years there haven’t been those kinds of numbers at the quarterback position, but going in we knew there was going to be interest in the quarterback position this year and there’s some good ones to be had, and still some good ones.”

Q: Did you think New England would trade out of 28?

TT: “If you watch New England – and they’re pretty good at this – they always seem to have two first rounds and two second-round picks, and lo-and-behold they traded back to get another first round next year, so it’s sort of a continuing thing. It’s like a wheel going round-and-round. They like going back and getting future picks and I think there’s where New Orleans took New England.”

Q: What’s the value of drafting tackles to keep Aaron Rodgers safe?

TT: “You like to keep him safe. You certainly do.”

-- Mike Vandermause/Press-Gazette

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