Packers Day 1 draft notes

With his first ever draft selection as general manager of the Green Bay Packers on Saturday afternoon, Ted Thompson proved that he was a man of his word.<p>

He selected quarterback Aaron Rodgers of California with the No. 24 pick overall in the first round after saying repeatedly that the Packers would take the best player available regardless of the team's needs - foremost among them help on defense.

"We felt like he was the best player on the board," said Thompson, minutes after the selection.

Entering the draft, Rodgers was thought to be a potential No. 1 pick overall or likely a top five selection. Then the 49ers chose to go with quarterback Alex Smith of Utah with the No. 1 overall selection, and when the Dolphins (No. 2 overall), Browns (No. 3 overall), and Buccaneers (No. 5 overall) all passed on Rodgers, it appeared likely that he could drop to late in the first round. No other team drafting between No. 6 and 23 really had the immediate need to draft a quarterback, thus the Packers had the unexpected opportunity to select Rodgers.

"We've been watching tape and working on these guys for a year now and we had Aaron Rodgers rated one of the top players in the draft," said Thompson. "We felt very fortunate to get him at pick No. 24."

Thompson was coy regarding where he had Rodgers ranked among the other quarterbacks in the draft, but said he would not have taken any other quarterback at No. 24 had Rodgers not fallen. He also was sure while the Packers were on the clock for the pick that he had a consensus agreement from his staff, including head coach Mike Sherman.

"I walked around the room again," he said. "I wanted to make sure I talked to people individually so they could speak their mind and make sure everybody was comfortable with what we were doing. To a man, everybody in the room was very comfortable and thought this was the best decision for the Green Bay Packers."

The last time: Rich Campbell was the last quarterback taken by the Packers in the first round of the NFL Draft (1981). Like Rodgers, he, too, played at California.

Campbell still holds the school record for completion percentage at California (64.5%), a mark that Rodgers had a chance to break this season, only to fall short (63.2%).

Trading down: Thompson made his first draft-day trade with the Packers late Saturday night when he moved the team's third-round selection (89th overall) to the Carolina Panthers for two fourth-round selections (115th overall and 126th overall). That gives the Packers three fourth-round selections, including the 125th overall pick that they had entering the draft.

"We're very excited about making the trade there in the third-round. It was very good value type trade," said Thompson.

Shut out:The Packers were not awarded any compensatory selections in this year's draft for the first time in 10 years. The NFL began awarding such picks in 1993 to teams for losing players in free agency.

In past drafts, the Packers have taken advantage of their compensatory selections by picking up such players as Tyrone Williams (1996), Marco Rivera (1996), Aaron Brooks (1999), David Martin (2001), Najeh Davenport (2002), and Scott Wells (2004).

Only the Dallas Cowboys (25) have received more compensatory selections than the Packers (22).

Quote to note: Rodgers on why he will be better than several other quarterbacks coached by California coach Jeff Tedford who have been drafted in recent years: "Well, a lot of those guys got in situations where they didn't have a supporting cast around them, not that that's an excuse, but coming to the Packers, I'm not only going to be playing under less pressure right away, but I'm going to be playing with a supporting cast – Donald Driver, Ahman Green, Bubba Franks – there are some good players there which makes my job a lot easier." Editor's note: More notes will be added to this story as the Packers continue to make their selections.


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