Mailbag: Not everyone likes Packers' 1st-round choice

Apr. 26, 2013

Not everyone is enamored with the Packersí selection of defensive lineman Datone Jones in the first round of the draft. Some wish the Packers had taken Alabama running back Eddie Lacy with the No. 26 overall pick.

As I dip into the Mailbag, here is one example of a reader that believes Packers general manager Ted Thompson blew it by picking Jones. My response follows the letter.

Rick, Upper Michigan: If the Packers lose out on Lacy, I hope someone at the Press Gazette has enough guts to question Thompson on it. He was there for the taking . What is it about Ted Thompson that when he has a glaring need to be filled, he does just the opposite of filling it? I donít understand this at all. Another 1st round pick WASTED!!! This guy would have been available in the 3rd round according to most of the draft pundits . I hope someone has the guts to call Thompson out on this. You reporters for the Press Gazette have kissed his (expletive) long enough!!!!!

My response: I like your spunk, Rick. Everyone is entitled to a strong opinion, even if itís off base like yours in this particular case. Do you not realize how glaring the Packersí need on the defensive line is? Did you not watch the Packersí playoff game against the 49ers, when the defense got blitzed for 579 yards and 45 points? Is it not obvious that if the Packers want to win another Super Bowl title, they are going to have to tighten up their defense? The general consensus was that Datone Jones would not have been available in the third round. He was projected as a late first-round or early second-round selection. He would not have been around when the Packers pick at No. 55 in the second round. The Packers are a pass-oriented team, so spending a first-round draft choice on a running back with an injury history, in my opinion, would have been a mistake.

Donít forget that the Packers won the Super Bowl two years ago with James Starks as their starting running back. I agree with you that they need to upgrade the position, but they can get by with an above average back and donít need a first-round caliber back.

I believe Thompson did the right thing in addressing the defensive line problem, where the Packers havenít been the same since Cullen Jenkins left in free agency two years ago. Jones could be the guy to fill the void left by Jenkinsí departure.

And whoís to say the Packers wonít address their need at running back in Round 2 or 3? Maybe they trade up to get Lacy or Montee Ball today. But it would have been wrong to take a back in the first round.

Finally, I get a kick out of readers that accuse the Press-Gazette of sucking up to Thompson. What a crock. As a columnist I call it like I see it and can show you numerous examples of times when I have disagreed with Thompson and called him out. But just because I support him in this case and it differs with your opinion doesnít mean Iím a Thompson apologist. Thompson has proven to be one of the best general managers in the NFL and his draft track record proves it.

Thanks for your opinion, Rick, even if I disagree. And for everyone else, keep those cards and letters and emails and tweets coming: or on Twitter @MikeVandermause .

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