GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers traded back four slots on the first night of the NFL draft on Thursday, gaining the opening selection in the fourth round from the Cleveland Browns but losing the chance to draft two attractive players to beef up their defense.
Green Bay dealt its first-round choice, No. 29, to the Browns. In exchange, Cleveland gave the Packers the first pick in the second round (No. 33) on Friday night and the first choice in the fourth round (No. 108) on Saturday morning.
On one trade value chart used by NFL teams, the Packers traded 640 points and received 658 for a plus-18.
“We felt like today went pretty well,” general manager Ted Thompson said. “We thought things fell in ways we thought were advantageous to us. Especially set up for the next couple days, and we did not have to give up a whole lot to get a couple of the breaks.
“We feel good at where we are, but we didn’t draft anybody. We will see about that tomorrow. We have something kind of unusual. We have the first pick tomorrow and the first pick on Saturday.”
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By trading, the Packers lost out on outside linebacker T.J. Watt of Wisconsin, who went 30th to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and inside linebacker Reuben Foster, who fell all the way to No. 31 and the San Francisco 49ers.
Foster was regarded as the No. 1 player at the position in the Journal Sentinel’s pre-draft polling of personnel people despite injury and off-the-field concerns.
Several prominent names, however, remain for the Packers on Friday when the draft resumes at 6 p.m.
Kevin King of Washington, at 6 feet 3 inches the tallest top cornerback in the draft, was held in highest regard by the Packers before the draft.
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In addition, Florida State’s Dalvin Cook, the terrific running back and another of the Packers’ targeted players, remains available. Cook was regarded as a distinct character risk by several teams due to various arrests dating back to high school in Miami.
Two other players, guard Forrest Lamp of Western Kentucky and cornerback Quincy Wilson of Florida, also would seem attractive to Green Bay.
“You could tell from tonight that the board was pretty strong there at the end and we felt good about where we were,” Thompson said. “We were fortunate to have a team or two interested in doing something with us.
“You need to have a dancer.”
Thus, for the first time since 2008 the Packers won’t have a selection in the first round.
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In that draft, Thompson traded the 30th pick to the New York Jets in exchange for a second-round pick (No. 36) and a pick in the fourth round. In those days, the draft was a two-day affair, so the Packers didn’t have to wait long before selecting wide receiver Jordy Nelson.
Nelson developed into one of the NFL’s leading wide receivers. Now the Packers will be attempting to it again first thing Friday night.
The trade with Cleveland on Thursday night marked the 20th time in Thompson’s 13 drafts in Green Bay in which he has moved down. In contrast, he has traded up nine times
“I think it is very good strategy-wise,” said Thompson. “We know where we’re at and what we’ll do.”
In all, the Packers have nine selections in the remaining six rounds in which to bolster their thin defense and increase their roster of 64 players, which is 26 beneath the 90-man limit.
ROUND 1: Traded No. 29 to the Cleveland Browns for pick No. 33 (second round) and pick No. 108 (fourth round).
ROUND 2: No. 33 overall (from Browns)
ROUND 2: No. 61 overall
ROUND 3: No. 93 overall
ROUND 4: No. 108 overall (from Browns)
ROUND 4: No. 134 overall
ROUND 5: No. 172 overall
ROUND 5: No. 182 overall (compensatory pick)
ROUND 6: No. 212 overall
ROUND 7: No. 247 overall