Lombardi: Thompson's quandary

WIll the Packers general manager really take the best player available?

Ted Thompson has stated that the Packers draft the best available player whenever they are on the clock. There is nothing wrong with this philosophy and some folks probably see it as a strength. I personally have no qualms with it, but do see how it might make the upcoming NFL draft a bit dramatic.

What happens if the Packers are sitting there at pick No. 30 and they have at the top of their draft board a quarterback, specifically Brian Brohm of Louisville or Joe Flacco of Delaware? Throw in Chad Henne of Michigan if you want. This possibility has been raised in the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

I doubt this scenario happens for the simple reason that for one of those two or three guys to be drafted by the Packers at No. 30, one or all of them would have to be rated higher by the Packers than No. 30. Another team, or teams, probably will draft a player that the Packers have ranked lower than No. 30 on their draft board. It happens every year. So and so is on the clock and they draft a guy with the 10th pick who your team has ranked as the 50th best player in the draft. Your initial reaction is that they must be out of their mind and then you start to doubt yourself. Did we miss something? What did they see that we did not? These numbers are arbitrary, but the gist of it is right on.

Say five teams reach down their draft boards for players rated lower than No. 30 on the Packer draft board. That means the Pack could take their 25th rated player with the 30th pick assuming Ted Thompson stays true to form. If that is Brohm or Henne or Flacco, does he take them and risk undermining Aaron Rodgers' confidence? Does he trade out of the spot if someone comes calling? Does he just bend a bit and take the 26th rated guy and call it a day?

Bob Knight once said he has just a few rules for his team, that way there are very few that can break them and get in trouble. I think of that when I see guys paint themselves into corners with statements of intent about what they will or would do in certain situations. By being adamant about taking the best player available, Ted Thompson is sort of forced to do just that or undermine his word. Granted that no one outside of the dozen or so people at the top of the Packer organization will be in the know, so it complicates things. Is it too much to ask a person to just say they do not know what they will do if faced with a hypothetical situation?

Why commit yourself to drafting the best available player over drafting for need? Ted Thompson is so reticent to provide any insights into his plans or mindset, that it is striking that he is so adamant about this strategy. At least to me.

The fans and media want to know everything about everything, but is it too much to say that you just don't know. When I was a Plebe at the Naval Academy, we were allowed five basic responses to an inquiry by the upper classman: Yes Sir, No Sir, Aye, Aye Sir, No Excuse Sir and I'll find out Sir. We were not allowed to say we did not know the answer to something. There was no excuse for not knowing and if we did not know, we had to find out.

Last time I checked, Lambeau Field is not the Naval Academy and Ted Thompson is too old to be a Plebe. He could easily tell us he does not know. It's not as if I will make him drop and do pushups or something.

Would it be nice to know everything that goes on over there? Yes, of course, but really, why do we expect that and why should we? The guy is trying to win football games not a popularity contest. It makes the media's job harder and the team should take into account all the free publicity that the media generates and help out as best it can.

Ask yourself if you would rather field a winning football team and have no insight into what is going on or be in the know and go 6-10 every year? Do I really need to answer that?

John Lombardi is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at johnlombardi22@yahoo.com.

Packer Report Top Stories