This will be Ted Thompson’s 13th draft running the Green Bay Packers. We look back on his previous 12 drafts and try to find trends that might be worth remembering as we look ahead to this year’s draft. We lead off this series with the quarterbacks.
2005, 1st round — Aaron Rodgers, Cal (6-2, 223; 4.77 40-yard dash; 10 1/8-inch hand size): 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 297 touchdown passes are almost equal to the next-highest totals combined (Ryan Fitzpatrick, 166; Alex Smith, 157; total 323). Grade: A-plus.
2006, 5th round — Ingle Martin, Furman (6-2 1/4, 220; 4.65; 9 1/2 hands): 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 threw a pass among the final five quarterbacks chosen. Grade: F.
2008, 2nd round — Brian Brohm, Louisville (6-2 7/8, 230; 4.83; 9 3/4 inches): 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. Chad Henne was taken one pick after Brohm. Henne hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire with 58 touchdowns vs. 63 interceptions but at least he’s still in the league. Brohm, meanwhile, 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 1/4, 231; 4.79; 9 1/4 inches): Flynn was the 12th of 13 quarterbacks taken in this draft. Flynn ranks fourth in that group in touchdown passes with 17, trailing only first-rounders Matt Ryan (240) and Joe Flacco (182) and Henne (58). Only Ryan, Flacco and Flynn have positive touchdown-to-interception ratios. The seven quarterbacks taken in Rounds 3-6 combined to throw six touchdown passes. Grade: B.
2012, 7th round — B.J. Coleman, Tennessee-Chattanooga (6-3, 233; 4.94; 10 3/8 inches): Coleman was the 10th of 11 quarterbacks selected in this draft. Each of the nine drafted ahead of him has thrown for at least 1,370 yards; eight of the nine has been a full-time starter for at least one season. Coleman, on the other hand, never threw a pass. 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 eventually attract a first-round pick in a trade. Grade: F.
2015, 5th round — Brett Hundley, UCLA (6-3 1/4, 226; 4.63; 10 1/2 inches): Hundley was the sixth of seven quarterbacks selected in this draft. The first two (first-rounders James Winston and Marcus Mariota) and the last (seventh-rounder Trevor Siemian) have been full-time starters. Of the seven, Hundley ranks sixth with two completions and 17 yards. This will be a big offseason and preseason for Hundley. As a rookie, he had a huge preseason with league-leading figures of a 129.7 rating, 630 yards and seven touchdowns. He missed most of last preseason with a pair of ankle injuries, then went 2-of-10 for 17 yards with one interception in mop-up duty in his first regular-season action. Grade: Incomplete.
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, a quality backup in the seventh and a promising prospect in the fifth, you get an A.
What it means (if anything) for 2017: Green Bay has Rodgers, Hundley and Joe Callahan, an undrafted free agent last year, as their trio. In a poor draft class of quarterbacks, it’s possible some quarterback-hungry team will inquire about Hundley, who has spent two years working with Mike McCarthy, Alex Van Pelt and Rodgers. Though with last year's injury likely put that possibility on hold for a year.
There doesn’t appear to be an obvious formula for the Packers at this position, other than all six quarterback selections were Scouting Combine invites. Thompson has gone with pocket passers and spread quarterbacks. He’s picked athletic quarterbacks and “iron deer on the lawn,” to use one of former Vikings coach Brad Childress’ favorite phrases to describe non-mobile quarterbacks. Height and hand size could be key. Rodgers is the shortest (6-foot-2) and Hundley the tallest (6-3 1/4), so Thompson hasn’t drafted short quarterbacks or tall quarterbacks. Big hands have been key. The Combine average for the past two decades has been about 9 5/8 inches. Four of Thompson's six picks have beaten that, with three bigger than 10 inches.
Taking the elite quarterbacks out of the equation, the Combine quarterbacks with at least 9 3/4-inch hands and perhaps in the “Goldilocks” zone for height are Minnesota’s Mitch Leidner (6-3 1/2; 10 inches), Colorado’s Sefo Liufau (6-3 3/8; 10 3/4) and Pitt’s Nathan Peterman (6-2 1/2; 9 7/8). Of those three, Peterman is the only sure thing to be drafted — and he might be long gone before Green Bay is ready to get a quarterback.
Liufau is an interesting prospect with incredible toughness and excellent accuracy. According to Pro Football Focus, he was the nation's most accurate deep passer, sixth-most accurate passer under pressure and fourth-most accurate passer overall. With 10 3/4-inch hands, he'd be an interesting seventh-round or undrafted acquisition. He'd be a project but a worthwhile one for a team with no pressing needs at the position.
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.