Trading up is worth it

Thompson must make a move up to get Oklahoma running back

Last year at this time Ted Thompson had gaping draft needs on both sides of the ball. He wisely traded Javon Walker and parlayed seven picks into 12. His intention was to collect players like Angelina Jolie collects kids, in hope of landing a few diamonds in the rough.

Mission accomplished.

But this season is different. Even after sleeping through free agency, Green Bay is in prime position to fill their biggest holes - receiver, running back, and tight end. It's a just a matter of who and when. With few needs, why not trade up?

Temporarily changing his philosophy from quantity to quality could be the key to a playoff return. Some players are worth sacrificing later picks for. Just ask former GM Ron Wolf who tried to move up in the 2000 draft to take linebacker Brian Urlacher. Talks broke down and the Packers chose tight end Bubba Franks, five picks later. Talk about a power shift. Put the '05 defensive player of the year on Green Bay's defense and Chicago never overtakes the Packers in the NFC North.

Now Thompson has his shot.

Rumors have it that Washington is desperately trying to get out of the sixth spot. Considering the ‘Skins don't have second, third, or fourth round picks, it's logical that team owner Dan Snyder wants to trade down.

Thompson trading up?

Snyder trading down?

Anything can happen on NFL draft weekend. (Just ask Vikings fans. Four years ago their team failed to make a pick in the 15 minutes at seventh overall, allowing Jacksonville and Carolina to jump ahead of them. I'm thinking Mike Tice was involved in some capacity.)

So, who knows? Maybe Thompson and Snyder will switch draft attitudes. The price will be steep for the Packers, who would probably have to part with second and fourth round picks at the least. But moving up ten spots is worth it.

Marshawn Lynch is a very promising dual-purpose back, but Peterson is an instant franchise running back. Plus there's a chance that Buffalo would select Lynch four picks before Green Bay anyways. So, why not move up to the sixth pick for a legitimate shot at the Oklahoma tailback?

Strength. Size. Homerun ability. Peterson is a complete back. He's 6-2 and weighs 217 pounds but runs a 4.38 in the 40-yard dash and has a 38-inch vertical. Athletes like this are almost nonexistent. Freakish if you may. In 24 games at Oklahoma, Peterson ran for 4,045 yards and 41 touchdowns, relying on decisive cutting ability- a perfect fit for Green Bay's zone blocking scheme. His college-to-pro transition would be seamless in Green Bay.

Many players use money as a motivator. Not Peterson. When he was seven years old, he witnessed a drunken driver kill his nine-year old brother, Brian, who was riding his bicycle.

Dislocated shoulder? High ankle sprain? Broken collarbone? To Peterson these collegiate injuries might as well have been a hang nail, a paper cut, and a bruised elbow. He knows what real pain is, and it fuels him every carry.

"Resilience is what I'm all about," Peterson said. "I run angry. Football allows me to take out some of my pain on the field. When I go out on the field, I just put it in my mind that I'm playing for my family."

Whoever drafts Adrian Peterson automatically gains a mental edge in the backfield. In an era where players admit they don't try their hardest, Peterson runs violently with vengeance every time he touches the ball. Whoever drafts Peterson is striking gold.

And even if Peterson is snagged by Cleveland (third overall) or another team, Thompson can still strike silver. Settling with do-it-all LSU safety LaRon Landry is one heckuva worst case scenario.

Injuries are a concern for Peterson, but 2003 draftee Frank Gore taught us that injuries shouldn't overshadow ability. Gore suffered two ACL injuries, slipping him into the third round. Now he's the NFC's leading rusher.

In almost any other year, Thompson wouldn't even consider sacrificing later picks for one player, but he must realize that the Packers are on the verge of playoff contention. Green Bay did a solid job rewarding players from within. Inking Nick Barnett, Cullen Jenkins, and Al Harris to long-term deals reverberates a positive message of loyalty throughout the organization. With minimal defensive needs, Thompson has a chance to land two or three big time playmakers this weekend.

Don't discount the fading Randy Moss trade rumors just yet too. Oakland may be planning to release Moss in June, but the Packers will want to address their WR concerns this weekend. Green Bay still needs another receiving option for Brett Favre. With three promising young wideouts (Greg Jennings, Ruvell Martin, Carlyle Holiday) already grooming, adding a veteran to contribute immediately instead of a fourth project makes a lot more sense. It just may take Aaron Rodgers as bait.

Sure, a trade with Washington is unlikely, but if Thompson and his disciples exit the draft room after Day One with Peterson, Moss, and a tight end, such as Iowa's 6-7 Scott Chandler, then the Packers will have taken a major step toward a championship.

Green Bay can settle with Lynch at pick 16 and a receiver such as Ohio State's Anthony Gonzalez or South Carolina's Sidney Rice in the second round. Or they can think outside of the box and go big.

Expect Thompson and the Packers to get creative this weekend.

Tyler Dunne is a student at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY. E-mail him at tydunne07@yahoo.com.


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