If Ted Thompson was unwilling to draft inside linebacker Myles Jack and his problematic knee at No. 27 overall, I’m not sure I can see the Green Bay Packers general manager trading an extra pick to move up for Jack in the second round. But you never know.
So I looked into a possible trade, and according to the standard trade chart – that’s the Jimmy Johnson chart from the 1990s – Thompson doesn’t have a lot of ammo. That’s not the only chart out there, and from talking to scouts around the league some and perhaps many teams use charts they’ve devised in-house. But those are proprietary, and it’s impossible to know how much they differ from the Johnson chart.
According to the Johnson chart, which places an extremely high value on the first round and much lower on the middle and later rounds, the Packers’ second-round pick (No. 57 overall) is worth 330 points. Their third rounder (No. 88) is worth 150, and their fourth rounder (No. 125) is worth 47.
Related: Complete Packers draft coverage
Trading the second- and third-rounders gets the Packers pick No. 42 (up 15 spots from 57), according to the Johnson chart. And trading the second and fourth-rounders moves them up only four or five spots from 57.
So if that’s the cost and reward, would Thompson spend his third-round pick to move up about 15 spots for Jack, who may or may not need microfracture surgery within the next couple years? Seems like an awfully steep cost, especially for a GM who values picks and disdains trading up like Thompson does.
Or, if Jack gets within about five picks of 57, would Thompson trade his fourth-rounder? I doubt it, not for a player with this injury issue.
Here’s the rub with Jack: He’s a top-10 talent if healthy and would fill a huge need in the Packers' defense as an every-down inside linebacker built for today's spread-passing-game NFL. But he had surgery to remove cartilage from his knee early last season and still hasn’t been able to work out for scouts this spring. He’s expected to play this season but has said publicly he might need microfracture surgery in the future.
I talked briefly with a front-office executive for another team today, and he said players who need microfracture surgery are a big risk because the results are so unpredictable. It involves poking holes in bones in the knee, which creates bleeding. The hope is the blood will spur cartilage regeneration. The scout said that according to his team’s medical staff, sometimes it works great and other times not at all. That’s what made Jack such a high-risk pick in the first round, and at the cost of trading up in the second round. In fact, the aforementioned executive said he'd have major qualms about drafting Jack in the second round, though other teams might feel differently.
Then there’s the possibility that Jack won’t ever need the procedure. That makes him a player, and maybe the player, to watch tonight.