GM poised for draft

Thompson open to trading down for more picks

Ted Thompson held his pre-draft press conference today at Lambeau Field, but as you might expect, he didn't reveal a whole lot. The Packers general manager and his staff are putting the final touches on their draft board in preparation for this weekend's 71st annual player selection meeting.

The Packers have seven picks (five of their own and two compensatory picks), including the fifth overall selection of the draft.

Thompson is known for trading down to acquire more picks in the draft. The Packers began last year's draft, Thompson's first as GM of the Packers, with seven selections and finished with 11 via draft-day trades. He operated by the same philosophy during his time with the Seattle, so don't be surprised to see the Packers trade out of the fifth overall spot in order to pick up one or two more selections.

The Packers have glaring needs at linebacker, wide receiver/return specialist, the interior of the offensive line, cornerback and quarterback. Thompson said the uncertainty regarding quarterback Brett Favre, who is unsure if he will return, and wide receiver Javon Walker, who does not want to return to Green Bay, won't affect how he selects players, nor has it ever affected his strategy.

"You might think about it, but the draft is a long-term process for your organization," Thompson said. "It's an investment in the future. I don't think you can look at it from a short-term point of view. You have to look at it from a long-term point of view."

Thompson said he has no particular focus heading into the draft, but just "making sure that we get the board right. This week, we worked our way through all the spring (workouts), and the (NFL) Combine, and the fall tape over the course of the last 10 days with out scouts. "This week is more focused on fine-tuning where we stand, as opposed to where the position coaches, or the offensive or defensive coordinator stand on a particular player," Thompson said. "Try to get them in unison. It never gets all the way where everybody is OK with every name on the board exactly where they are, but we do work it as a group process. I think everybody feels part of the process and I think there is some value to that."

Many draft experts, including's TFY Draft Preview, are predicting that the Packers will select Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk fifth overall. While the pressure is on Green Bay to select a player who can make an impact in 2006, Thompson said he is preparing for anything to happen, including a move down in the first round. Don't be surprised if he goes in that direction, especially if Hawk slides down.

"If you have a chance to take a remarkable player, you take the player," Thompson said. "If you have a chance to get a similar player moving backwards, then that makes it a little easier. I think we'll have a chance to get a pretty good player no matter how it falls."

In general, Thompson, who said he watches film or attends personal workouts of nearly every draft-eligible player, named a few positions that he feels are fairly deep with talent this season.

"It's a strong defensive back group," he said. "It's pretty strong at linebacker. We think there are some quality defensive linemen. The running backs could be remarkable. The quarterbacks are very good, especially at the top. The offensive line has depth in it, we think. The tight end position is very strong. The receiver group is not quite as strong as it has been in the past, but it has very good depth, maybe as good as I've seen."

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