At the top of the list of names being pursued that could have dramatically altered the course of the 2007 season was Randy Moss, swept away from the Packers by the Patriots on Sunday morning. The Patriots agreed to a deal with the Raiders for a modest fourth-round pick.
This should have been an impact draft for the Packers after two re-building ones under Thompson the previous two years. When it concluded late Sunday afternoon, though, it was anything but. Really, it fell right in line with Thompson's draft tendency of trading down and acquiring more picks. The Packers turned their original nine picks into 11.
While additional picks may be nice, the Packers are at state now where they need quality over quantity. They have acquired enough youth and depth over the past two years to seemingly field two teams, and with 11 new players acquired through the draft, they are overloaded at a number of positions. Roster spots will be few and far between with the players already returning, so much of the 2007 draft class stands to look for work with other teams or occupy time on the practice squad.
What the Packers really needed was Moss (as strange as that may sound). Instead, they watched the Patriots swiftly acquire the disgruntled, but talented wide receiver right before their eyes.
The Packers should have had the inside track in obtaining Moss, but for whatever reason could not get a deal done which was months in the making. Moss respects Brett Favre as much as any player in the league, and together, they could have put a magical ending on Favre's career. For that and other reasons, Green Bay was beginning to shape up as a pretty good fit for Moss. So what happened?
Various reports said the Packers and Raiders could not agree on the value for a trade or appropriate contract terms with Moss could not be reached. In a teleconference, Moss seemed elated to be going to the Patriots. Maybe he thought that was just a better team for him.
Still, the Packers would have had a decent shot at contending in a wide-open NFC. Plus, they have salary cap flexibility and even traded for an extra third-round draft pick that could have trumped the Patriots' fourth-round deal.
Thompson declined to discuss details about a trade for Moss, only affirming that he thought he still had a chance to get him on Sunday. Like much of the media on hand at Lambeau Field, though, he found out on television early Sunday morning that any chance of Moss coming to Green Bay was over. The Patriots got it done.
"What we try to do is everything in our power, we try to help to make this team as good as it can be," said Thompson. "You have to take a lot of things into consideration. Sometimes it's an aggressive move, sometimes that aggressive move's not the appropriate time, but you just keep doing everything you can to make the team better. And that's all you can do."
To Thompson's credit, he looked and spoke the part of someone who tried to get something major done. Several times he referred of the record length (in time) of the first round of the draft and even appeared a little mentally weary after two long days. That is what made not getting a major deal done even more difficult to swallow. The Packers missed a great opportunity that could have had a similar impact to that of Reggie White coming to Green Bay in 1993.
"I'm disappointed," summed up Thompson, "not speaking about anything specifically, (but) I was disappointed a couple times on some things that we were working on that didn't work out."
No doubt Thompson was speaking of Moss. Or maybe Marshawn Lynch, who went four picks ahead of the Packers in the first round. Or maybe even the possibility of trading for the Chiefs' Larry Johnson, or the Chargers' Michael Turner. All such acquisitions would have given the Packers some immediate spice, but instead they will have to move forward with what they have. Thinking about what could have been will only be too painful.
Matt Tevsh is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com and Packer Report. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.