Sydney Speaks! Long weekend ahead

Former Packers assistant coach Harry Sydney has spent a number of draft weekends inside Green Bay's draft room. Sydney offers premium subscribers a unique, detailed description of how the Packers proceed to acquire top players from the Friday before the draft begins through the conclusion of the two-day event.

The Packers and Ted Thompson are preparing for a weekend that might just change the direction of this organization. With the NFC being up for grabs, this draft could take the Packers to the next level. Instead of trying to figure out who they are going to take or whether they will move back or move up, let's take a look at how things will happen this weekend, but let's go day-by-day starting today.

I am going by what happened when I was on the coaching staff under Mike Holmgren and Ron Wolf. Since Ted Thompson learned from them I don't expect things will be different.

So let's start with Friday. This will be a day when everyone will get together and make sure everything is in place. What I mean by that is that everyone will bring all the rumors that they have heard to the table and try to prepare for the unexpected. Scouts will have talked to scouts to see if the board needs to be adjusted based on any late bloomers or whether anyone has lost steam because of injuries or problems. They will even go over who the players' agents are because, believe it or not, some teams don't want to deal with certain agents. They also discuss all the trade talk and get everyone up to speed and let people know what they can or can't say.

I know right now the hot talk is about the possibility of trading for Larry Johnson or Randy Moss. So Friday is for getting everything in place. They will even go over where the big boys will sit. What that means is that Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy and the two coordinators will be setting at the really big table facing the draft board. They might add a new seat because of the promotion of Winston Moss since he now is overseeing the defensive development. In front of them will be three phones one that will be hooked up to New York and the others will be used to wheel and deal with the other teams in the league on Saturday and Sunday that might come calling.

Then they will split everyone up and will get all their information ready to bring to the War Room for the players that are on the board that could be taken on the first day. The only other people that will have assigned seats with be the team doctors, Patrick McKenzie and John Gray, because they will bring all the information about any potential Packer draft pick. On each player's name tag, there are colors and each color indicates different degrees of injuries. That is very important on draft day because of the money that is at stake. Then they will be told what time to show up on Saturday.

On Saturday everyone will show up excited about the possibilities the day will hold. There will be televisions all around to watch what is happening. Some coaches will be in the war room others will branch off in smaller groups. But in the war room, as the draft starts, you will have Ted, Mike, the coordinators, Winston Moss the doctors and even Bob Harlan and John Jones will be in there at times. Besides them there will be several scouts and the rest of the coaches.

Besides the big wall that is in front of the big table, there is another wall that will feature every team. When anyone drafts a player there are runners which are someone's kids and they remove the name of the drafted player off of one board and put it on the other one. As the draft goes on you can see who was selected and where they went. An amazing thing that happens is when the phone rings. It gets so quite that you can hear a pin drop. It's like the old E.F. Hutton commercials - someone is assigned to turn the television down and everyone stops talking, except Ted Thompson and sometimes he's talking on both phones at the same time. Then after the conversation if it's good he will summon Mike McCarthy and whichever coordinator it will effect in his office and discuss whatever the call was about. This will happen all day long.

Now when it's time to make the pick, in the past usually John Dorsey is on the phone to the Packers representative in New York letting them know who's name to turn in to the commissioner. This is how it will go on Saturday.

Sunday is somewhat different because of the time allotted for each round, which is only five minutes between picks. On this day, it's more the position coaches day because the picks from the fourth round until the seventh are the players that the coaches have worked out and have a personal feeling about.

This day is not over because at the bottom of the board is a list of hopeful free agents that the coaches don't want to get drafted, either by the Packers or other teams. Scouts assigned to get on the phone with them immediately after the draft to try and sign them to contracts. There is a whole lot of preparation for A LONG WEEKEND AHEAD.

Harry Sydney

Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. E-mail him at

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