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Mike Vandermause column: Thompson can't pass on receiver prospects

May 9, 2014
 

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Fresno State's Davante Adams catches a touchdown pass over New Mexico's Devonta Tabannah during a Nov. 23, 2013, game in Fresno, California. / Getty Images

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The Green Bay Packers’ newest wide receiver, Davante Adams, is going to be a star in the NFL based on general manager Ted Thompson’s draft history.

Thompson has a phenomenal track record when it comes to selecting receivers in the second round.

The impressive list includes Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and James Jones.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was thrilled to be given yet another in a long line of talented weapons.

Soon after Adams was drafted by the Packers on Friday night, Rodgers tweeted: “Love it.”

As long as Rodgers is slinging footballs through the air and Mike McCarthy is directing the offense, the Packers will be a pass-oriented team.

It makes sense to put the ball in the hands of the best quarterback in the NFL as often as possible. And the Packers followed conventional wisdom, which says the more weapons Rodgers has at his disposal, the more dangerous he is.

The Packers lost James Jones in free agency during the offseason and there was growing concern about a thin pass-catching corps.

But the Packers took advantage of a draft deep in receivers and landed Adams with the 53rd overall pick. It has become Thompson’s specialty to find talented receivers soon after the big-name first-rounders are off the board.

Jennings was picked at No. 52 in 2006, Jones went at No. 78 in 2007, Nelson at No. 36 in 2008 and Cobb at No. 64 in 2011.

With a glowing resume like that, is it any wonder Thompson has never drafted a receiver in the first round?

The only second-round receiver that didn’t work out for Thompson was Terrence Murphy, who was taken at No. 58 in 2005 but suffered a career-ending neck injury as a rookie.

Adams sounded thrilled to land in receiver-friendly Green Bay.

“I couldn’t be happier being anywhere else,” Adams told Wisconsin media members via conference call. “Aaron Rodgers has always been one of my favorite quarterbacks and obviously has proven to be the best quarterback in the league, so just like in college with having Derek Carr throwing me the ball, and he made my job easier, Aaron is going to do the same thing and I can’t wait to get started working with him.”

Thompson sounded equally thrilled to welcome Adams into the fold.

“We feel really good about the pick,” he said.

When asked about his uncanny success in landing quality second-round receivers, Thompson said with a sly smile: “Don’t jinx us.”

The Round 2 receivers have some similarities, according to Thompson.

“Athletically they are similar in some respects and different in others,” he said. “Again, if you get back to it, their ball skills are all remarkable. Jordy and Randall and like you say Greg and those guys, that’s first and foremost the thing that we look for. So if I was going to get stuck on one thing it would be that. But they’re good people. All those guys … are good people and good teammates and that’s what this kid’s (Adams) supposed to be too.”

For good measure, Thompson used his third-round compensatory draft pick at No. 98 to address the Packers’ tight end shortage by taking California’s Richard Rodgers.

Although Thompson wouldn’t admit it, the move appears to be a clear signal that Jermichael Finley won’t return after suffering a serious neck injury last season.

Tight end coach Jerry Fontenot said the starting job is wide open and there’s nothing that would prevent a rookie like Rodgers from contributing right away.

While Thompson has acted to address some pressing defensive needs this year, with the signing of Julius Peppers and the drafting of safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round on Thursday, he obviously isn’t neglecting his offense.

That is the Packers’ bread and butter unit, and leaving your MVP quarterback short of weapons simply isn’t an option in Green Bay.

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

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