Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson opened his annual pre-draft news conference Wednesday morning with thanks and condolences.
Thompson thanked his scouting department for the work they've put in over the past year, as well as the coaching staff that has met with Packers personnel over the past several days to discuss the draft.
"Helping us put together this brick-by-brick process," Thompson said.
Thompson also acknowledged the death last week of Lee Remmel, the team's longtime public relations man and historian.
"He was an interesting fellow," Thompson said, "and he meant a lot to the Green Bay Packers."
Here are some quick notes from Thompson's time with the media.
On the work that must be done in the final week:
The finishing of it. Most of the grind stuff is over with. We've got different things going on. We've got relationships with other teams, relationships with agents, relationships with those kind of things. Finishing up the boards, going back through the board again, but as we get closer that all starts to die down.
On how many prospects he sees in person throughout the year:
Quite a few. Not as much as I once was. My schedule has been changed quite a bit with the video equipment we have. So I spend most of that time here in the office instead of going to the pro days. I still go to a couple.
On how Thompson considers roster needs in the draft:
You factor everything in, but that doesn't carry as much weight as it might with other organizations because they go about weighting those things differently than we do. There's a certainly amount of weighting in terms of need, but I am adamant that's not the way of the draft. The way of the draft is to take your best player because you don't know what you're going to need. You may think you need something, but this isn't play time or something like that. This is real life. Injuries happen, life happens. If you take real solid players that you think can contribute, even at a position that may be a little heavier, as long as you're getting value there, it's good. The pressure, in my view, is making sure we take good players.
On extra preparation time with the draft coming later:
I think we can handle it, but scouts are pretty much set in their way. I'm worse than any of them. But we'll find our way.
On how he consolidates several opinions:
Everyone has their say. In fact, we had several discussions with coaches in the past several days, but we've been at this – everyone we have has been for some time together. Everyone has their say. It's not a democracy, we don't vote. Ultimately, I make the call.
On whether he expects several rookies to contribute immediately this year:
Yeah, we expect these guys to come in and help contribute to the veteran team that we have in this building. That's what I'll continue to do. We're not going to ask them to carry the burden, but we are going to help them out.
On why Thompson doesn't announce prospect visits:
We don't necessarily think it's pertinent or anybody's business. If I can keep something from Team B just a little bit, then that helps the Packers, in my opinion. We're not really trying to keep secrets, we just prefer our business not be out in public.
On how college game has affected quarterback evaluation:
I think you can find out whether a guy can play quarterback or not. There's a lot of things going on, and sometimes you don't know, you don't know what's being called in the huddle and how it got to a certain progression in the play – whether that's a good thing or bad thing. We don't have the college coach sitting with us, so we have to make our evaluation. But I think you can figure out whether guys can play.
On why Thompson hasn't drafted many quarterbacks:
I just think that's the way it's worked out. We do, too, we like taking quarterbacks. Coach (Mike) McCarthy and his staff, we've got several quarterback coaches. It's just the way it works out. We want this more than this.
On the Packers' cornerback group:
We feel OK. We've got some young guys that we think can play, and we're going to give them a chance. We'd prefer to keep all our guys. I always say that, if we can keep all our guys, it's preferable.
On success at picking wide receivers:
Well, it's always good to have good quarterbacks. No, I don't think we do anything differently or special with receivers. We try to take good receivers, just like we do with other positions.
On how much the combine and pro days weigh into decisions:
It weighs in. You try to pick out ball players first, and then you factor in testing and stuff. I don't think you draft a guy because of the 40-yard dash, but you may shy away from one.
On how often Thompson is disappointed with a player he wants not being available when Packers pick:
It varies. Sometimes you like a guy, but there's no way he's going to get to you, and you can't trade up and get to him, and you just live with it. then every once in a while, a guy stays on the board a little bit longer, and you think he's a good player and other people didn't value him as much. But, again, I don't have any secrets. If I did, I wouldn't tell you.
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