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Compensatory picks give Packers 'more swings' in draft

Apr. 21, 2012
 

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A fourth round compensatory draft pick in 2008, Josh SItton earned the starting right guard job in his second season and has been on the verge of the Pro Bowl the last two seasons. / Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette

2012 Packers draft facts

The picks
• Round 1: 28th overall
• Round 2: 59th
• Round 3: 90th
• Round 4: 123rd, 132 (compensatory), 133 (compensatory)
• Round 5: 163rd
• Round 6: 197th
• Round 7: 224th (from the Jets in the trade for Caleb Schlauderaff), 235th, 241st (compensatory), 243rd (compensatory)

Schedule
• Thursday: Round 1, 7 p.m.
• Friday: Rounds 2-3, 6 p.m.
• Saturday: Rounds 4-7, 11 a.m.

2011 picks
• Round 1 (No. 32 overall): Derek Sherrod, T, Mississippi State
• Round 2 (No. 64): Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky
• Round 3 (No. 96): Alex Green, RB, Hawaii
• Round 4 (No. 131): Davon House, CB, New Mexico State
• Round 5 (No. 141): D.J. Williams, TE, Arkansas
• Round 6 (No. 179): Caleb Schlauderaff, G, Utah
• Round 6 (No. 186): D.J. Smith, LB, Appalachian State
• Round 6 (No. 197): Ricky Elmore, LB, Arizona
• Round 7 (No. 218): Ryan Taylor, TE, North Carolina
• Round 7 (No. 233): Lawrence Guy, DE, Arizona State

Class of 2011
A year after two rookie draft picks started in the Super Bowl, the Packers had only three starts all season by the class of 2011 — all of them by D.J. Smith, who filled in for injured starting linebacker Desmond Bishop. That hardly means this was class full of busts. Randall Cobb made a major impact in the return game, scoring on a punt return and a kickoff return. Though Derek Sherrod couldn’t win a starting job in camp and broke his leg in one of his few regular-season appearance, he’s still a possible starting left tackle. Alex Green tore his anterior cruciate ligament in October but should be ready for the start of the season. He’ll compete with one of last year’s undrafted rookies, Brandon Saine, for a backup spot. Ryan Taylor had little role on offense but was a core special teams player. The rest of the class hardly played. Only Ricky Elmore was cut, although Caleb Schlauderaff was traded and Lawrence Guy was put on injured reserve.

First rounders
Here are the Packers’ last first-round picks at each position:
• Tackle: Derek Sherrod, No. 32 overall, 2011
• Defensive tackle: B.J. Raji, No. 9, 2009
• Linebacker: Clay Matthews, No. 26, 2009
• Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers, No. 24, 2005
• Cornerback: Ahmad Carroll, No. 25, 2004
• Receiver: Javon Walker, No. 20, 2002
• Defensive end: Jamal Reynolds, No. 10, 2001
• Tight end: Bubba Franks, No. 14, 2000
• Safety: Antuan Edwards, No. 25, 1999
• Guard: Aaron Taylor, No. 16, 1994
• Running back: Darrell Thompson, No. 19, 1990
• Center: Bob Hyland, No. 9, 1967
• Fullback: Jim Grabowski, No. 9, 1966

The last time …
… the Packers picked 28th in the first round was 1977. It was the second of two first-round picks that year. After taking defensive end Mike Butler with the ninth pick, the Packers took defensive end Ezra Johnson with the 28th pick, which came from the Oakland Raiders as compensation for Ted Hendricks. Johnson played 11 seasons for the Packers and made one Pro Bowl, in 1978, when he had 20˝ sacks. However that was before sacks were an official NFL statistic. Johnson, who was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1997, is perhaps better remembered for eating a hot dog on the sideline during a preseason game in 1980. In 2002, the Packers began the draft with the 28th pick but made a trade with Seattle to move up eight spots to take receiver Javon Walker.

We’re No. 28
The last 10 players taken with the 28th pick in the draft were:
• 2011 New Orleans: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
• 2010 Miami: Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State
• 2009 Buffalo: Eric Wood, C, Louisville
• 2008 Seattle: Lawrence Jackson, DE, USC
• 2007 San Francisco: Joe Staley, T, Central Michigan
• 2006 Jacksonville: Marcedes Lewis, TE, UCLA
• 2005 San Diego: Luis Castillo, DT, Northwestern
• 2004 Carolina: Chris Gamble, CB, Ohio State
• 2003 Tennessee: Andre Woolfolk, CB, Oklahoma
• 2002 Seattle: Jerramy Stevens, TE, Washington

More

In the 1990s, they nabbed guys like Tyrone Williams, Marco Rivera and Matt Hasselbeck.

In the 2000s, they picked up Scott Wells and Josh Sitton. Without compensatory picks, the Green Bay Packers might never have landed any of them.

Since the NFL began awarding “bonus” draft picks in 1994 to compensate teams that lost more or better free agents than they acquired, only one team — the Baltimore Ravens with 33 — has been awarded more compensatory picks than the Packers, who have been given 30.

Included in that total are four extra picks in this week’s draft — two near the end of the fourth round and two more near the end of the seventh, giving General Manager Ted Thompson a total of 12 picks in the three-day draft that begins Thursday. None of the compensatory picks can be traded.

“We’re certainly glad to have them,” Thompson said. “It’s always good to have extra picks. Like (former Packers GM) Ron (Wolf) said, ‘The more swings you have at the plate, the better off you usually do.’ We’re hopeful that we’re prepared come Thursday, Friday and Saturday that we can help the team with all those picks. We’ve had some success in the later rounds with more picks.”

With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the best Packers’ compensatory picks, in chronological order:

• Tyrone Williams, CB

1996, third round, No. 93 overall

Played in 111 games, including 108 straight, for the Packers through 2002. Unexpectedly became a starter in his second season after Craig Newsome sustained a season-ending knee injury on the first play from scrimmage in the 1998 season opener against Chicago. Started the remaining 15 regular-season games plus the three playoff games, including Super Bowl XXXII and didn’t give up his starting job until he left Green Bay. Played two more seasons in the NFL, for Atlanta (2003) and Dallas (2004).

• Marco Rivera, G

1996, sixth round, No. 208 overall

Didn’t become a starter until his third year after spending all of his rookie season on the game-day inactive list and his second season playing primarily on special teams. Won the starting left guard job in the 1998 training camp and held that job through 2004 and started all 16 games in six straight seasons until he left in free agency to sign with the Cowboys. Was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame last summer.

• Matt Hasselbeck, QB

1998 sixth round, No. 187 overall

Never started a game for the Packers and spent only two seasons on the active roster as a backup but developed into a starting-caliber quarterback who the Packers traded to Seattle in 2001 to move up to 10th in the first round and get the Seahawks’ third-round pick. The problem was, they used those picks on Jamal Reynolds and Torrance Marshall, neither of whom became productive players. Hasselbeck, who is still in the NFL with Tennessee, made three Pro Bowls and one Super Bowl with the Seahawks.

• Aaron Brooks, QB

1999, fourth round, No. 131 overall

Never appeared in a game for the Packers, who traded him in 2000 to New Orleans for linebacker K.D. Williams and a third-round pick, which was later to dealt to San Francisco as part of a trade that got the Packers a second-round pick they used to take receiver Robert Ferguson. Brooks started six full seasons for the Saints.

• Scott Wells, C

2004, seventh round, No. 251 overall

Started 100 games for the Packers and was the primary starting center from 2005 to 2011 before leaving in free agency last month to sign with St. Louis. Made his first Pro Bowl last season.

• Josh Sitton, G

2008, fourth round, No. 135 overall

Earned the starting right guard job in his second season and has been on the verge of the Pro Bowl the last two seasons. Has made 48 career starts and is only 25 years old.

• All-time Packers compensatory picks

1996: Tyrone Williams, CB (third round); Marco Rivera, G (sixth round); Keith McKenzie, LB (seventh round).

1997: Ronnie McAda, QB (seventh round).

1998: Matt Hasselbeck, QB (sixth round).

1999: Cletidus Hunt, DT (third round); Aaron Brooks, QB (fourth round); Josh Bidwell, P (fourth round); Scott Curry, T (sixth round).

2000: Gary Berry, S (fourth round); Charles Lee, WR (seventh round); Eugene McCaslin, LB (seventh round); Rondell Mealey, RB (seventh round).

2001: David Martin, TE (sixth round).

2002: Najeh Davenport, RB (fourth round).

2003: Brennan Curtin, T (sixth round); DeAndrew Rubin, WR (seventh round); Carl Ford, WR (seventh round); Steve Josue, LB (seventh round).

2004: Scott Wells, C (seventh round).

2006: Tony Moll, G/T (fifth round); Dave Tollefson, DE (seventh round).

2007: Clark Harris, TE (seventh round).

2008: Josh Sitton, G (fourth round).

2010: Marshall Newhouse, T (fifth round).

2011: Davon House, CB (fourth round).

rdemovsk@greenbaypressgazette.com and follow him on Twitter @RobDemovsky.

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