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Wolf is right: Thompson was 'killing it' with 2nd-round deals

Apr. 27, 2012
 
Analysis: Day 2 of 2012 NFL Draft
Analysis: Day 2 of 2012 NFL Draft: The Green Bay Packers showed no pretense of going after defensive help during Friday's second round of NFL draft. Pete Dougherty and Rob Demovsky comment on the day's action.

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Green Bay Packers assistant director of player personnel Eliot Wolf said it best on Twitter on Friday night when describing his boss.

“Ted Thompson killing it right now,” Wolf wrote in the middle of the NFL draft’s second round.

Casting caution to the wind, Thompson was a man on a mission as he boldly and swiftly took much-needed steps to fix the NFL's worst-ranked defense.

On Thursday, Thompson filled the Packers’ gaping hole at outside linebacker by drafting USC’s Nick Perry in the first round. But as it turned out, he was just getting started.

On Friday, Thompson traded up twice in the second round to land what he hopes are key pieces to the Packers’ defensive puzzle.

His solution for a sagging defensive line was to move up eight spots from No. 59 to No. 51 to draft Michigan State’s Jerel Worthy, who was given first-round value by some draft analysts.

Thompson’s answer for a beleaguered secondary was to package third- and fifth-round picks to acquire the No. 62 choice that he used to draft Vanderbilt cornerback Casey Hayward.

Just like that, a Packers defense that surrendered gobs of yardage and a boatload of big plays for much of last season has taken major strides toward respectability.

Of course, the low-key Thompson wasn’t buying into that notion. He wouldn’t even acknowledge that the Packers' defense needed fixing.

“I think we’re just trying to help the team,” Thompson said. “We also had a defense that helped us be 15-1 this season. I think sometimes that’s overlooked.”

The fact is, the Packers won 15 games last year in spite of their defensive shortcomings. The good news for the Packers is that by adding so many dynamic new elements via the draft, their potential is off the charts.

Defensive coordinator Dom Capers had to practically bite his tongue to hide his glee over the developments of the past two days. He looked like a little kid on Christmas morning with his arms full of shiny gifts.

It was a far cry from last year, when Capers received a lump of coal after Thompson drafted three offensive players with his first three picks.

“It just tells you, OK, that patience is a virtue,” Capers said. “Last year was a long draft so this year has been a good productive draft for us in terms of being able to get players at all three levels of our defense.”

Capers is a good soldier and would never complain publicly, but there is no doubt his hands were tied last season. He lost defensive end Cullen Jenkins to free agency and was given no adequate replacement. He was forced to cobble together defensive schemes with just one credible pass rusher. His secondary was at times shaky after injuries to safety Nick Collins and cornerback Tramon Williams.

But now, thanks to Thompson, Capers has more weapons in his arsenal and a greater chance to field a dangerous unit.

Or as Wolf might say, the Packers' defense could be killing it this fall.

-- mvandermause@greenbaypressgazette.com and follow him on Twitter @MikeVandermause.

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