Grading Thompson on the Quarterbacks

We kick off a position-by-position lookback at Ted Thompson's draft history, starting with the quarterbacks. Thompson has hit on just 2-of-5 picks but could hardly have done better with Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn. (Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY)

This will be Ted Thompson’s 11th draft atop the Green Bay Packers, meaning there’s a decade’s worth of history to examine as this year’s draft approaches. We are taking a position-by-position lookback to see where he and his scouting department have turned up gems and where they have turned up turkeys.

Quarterbacks

2005, 1st round — Aaron Rodgers, Cal (6-2, 223; 4.77 40-yard dash): Thompson’s initial first-round pick almost certainly will go down as his best first-round pick. Rodgers is on the way to the Hall of Fame. He is a two-time MVP, a Super Bowl champion and owner of the best passer rating in NFL history. Rodgers was the second of 14 quarterbacks selected. Even while barely playing in his first three seasons, his 226 touchdown passes are almost twice as anyone else selected. Grade: A-plus.

2006, 5th round — Ingle Martin, Furman (6-2, 220; 4.65): Martin didn’t throw a pass during his one season in Green Bay, and had brief stints in the locker rooms of the Titans, Chiefs and Broncos. Martin was the ninth of 13 quarterbacks selected. Only Bruce Gradkowski (20 career starts) threw a pass among the final five quarterbacks chosen. Grade: F.

2008, 2nd round — Brian Brohm, Louisville (6-3, 230; 4.83): Brohm was the third of 13 quarterbacks selected and one of five taken in the first three rounds. Of that quintet, he was the first out of the league, lasting just two years. He never threw a pass for the Packers and wound up starting one game apiece for the Bills in 2009 and 2010. His career totals: zero touchdowns, five interceptions, rating of 26.0. Grade: F.

2008, 7th round — Matt Flynn, LSU (6-2, 231; 4.79): Flynn was the 12th of 13 quarterbacks taken in this draft. Only first-rounders Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco and second-rounder Chad Henne have thrown more touchdown passes; only Ryan, Flacco and Flynn have a positive touchdown-to-interception ratio. Grade: B.

2012, 7th round — B.J. Coleman, Tennessee-Chattanooga (6-3, 233; 4.94): In the past six drafts, Coleman is the only quarterback selected by the Packers. Coleman was the 10th of 11 quarterbacks selected in 2012. Eight of them have started at least six games and nine have thrown at least one touchdown pass; Coleman, on the other hand, was the only one not in the league last season. Coleman demonstrated the challenge in finding a quarterback. He had plenty of talent, intelligence and drive. Despite those three necessities, it never got close to working out for a player that a scout predicted would attract a first-round pick in a trade. Grade: F.

Overall grade: If this were school, the Packers would get a 1.4 grade point average for picking quarterbacks. But let’s be real: If you draft a Hall of Famer in the first round and a quality backup in the seventh, you get an A.

What it means (if anything) for 2015: Even in what’s been deemed a poor draft for quarterbacks, the Packers likely will take a dive into the shallow talent pool. While it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for the Packers to take one in the third round — especially if a pro-style quarterback like Colorado State’s Garrett Grayson falls into their lap — chances are it will be a late-round swing of the bat. Thompson has used three late-round picks on quarterbacks with Martin, Flynn and Coleman. Martin and Coleman played at FCS-level programs while Flynn started just one season at LSU. Three quarterbacks is a small sample size but that could make Nevada’s Cody Fajardo, Old Dominion’s Taylor Heinicke or Southeastern Louisiana’s Bryan Bennett prime targets.

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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