On Saturday, the Packers traded away three picks to regain the 163rd overall selection and used it to land North Carolina State linebacker Terrell Manning in the fifth round.
"I don't know if I've seen that. I might have and just don't recall it," general manager Ted Thompson said of trading and regaining a pick. "Yeah, it's almost like kissing your sister. It's just the way it worked out. It was a place where we felt like a player was being undervalued a little bit and we didn't know how long he would be undervalued."
If the No. 163 merry-go-round or Thompson's three trade-ups weren't surprising enough, Manning said he was surprised, too.
"I honestly didn't think they were interested in me," Manning said of the Packers.
Moreover, Manning thought he might go in the second or third round.
"There was a run of linebackers for a little while and a couple of guys came off that were ranked right in the same area," Manning said. "I had been one of the top picks for a while on TV so I figured that my time was next. When it didn't happen, I knew that it would happen in the fourth. You can't really predict the draft. This is definitely an example of that."
Manning entered the draft following a junior season in which he finished fourth on the team with 76 tackles while pacing the squad with 5.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for losses despite missing the first two games after arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. That's why Manning, who tore the ACL and MCL in his right knee during an all-star game following his senior year of high school, was named a "Super Sleeper" by NFL scout Dave-Te' Thomas.
"I think Terrell is a very solid tackler," inside linebackers coach Winston Moss said. "He's very aggressive in his pursuit to the ball. I think that with every guy that you look at and evaluate, there's always going to be things that he can do better. From a tackling standpoint I think he's going to be able to bring something to the table."
Manning holds some appeal with his pass-rushing ability. The Packers finished last in the NFL in sacks per passing attempt last season, and they spent most of the draft addressing that shortcoming. Manning had 10 sacks in his two seasons in the starting lineup.
"In evaluating that, I would agree with that," Moss said. "He had the ability to show that he can be in a two-point stance off the edge and rush with effectiveness. I saw some good snaps to where he got in a three-point stance and he was able to come off that left side, right side from inside. He had some production there; he had some impact there. So, I would expect him to be able to do that on this level."
Manning believes he's better than most – if not all – of the linebackers selected for him. He called his style of play "relentless" and intends to play with a chip on his shoulder.
That's exactly the mentality Moss is looking for as he enters a position group with two established starters.
"Hopefully he's going to have a minds-et that he's going to come in here and he's going to come in and challenge, and if he's not prepared to be a starter-type linebacker for us, then we're getting the wrong guy."
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