Relaxed Thompson won't rule out QB

At his pre-draft news conference on Monday, the general manager says he'll stick with best player available mantra, and discusses the merits of trading up and down

Ted Thompson looked relaxed, like he was enjoying a fifth day at the beach rather than being five days away from the draft.

Standing at the podium and making fun of his famous secretive ways, Thompson conducted a pre-draft news conference on Monday at Lambeau Field.

"Don't get mad at me at the end of it when you realize I haven't said a whole lot. That's sort of my job. I apologize for that," Thompson said with a grin at the start of his 23-minute question-and-answer session.

Don't, however, accuse Thompson of lying in an effort to spread disinformation around the league.

"We don't lie. I think I've been consistent with that throughout," Thompson said. "I also will not tell you anything that I think is proprietary to the Packers and could do us some harm. It's not that we don't want the fans to know, but other people read this stuff and everybody is trying to get an edge.

"Quite frankly, I don't have many answers because we don't know how the outcome of all the picks in front of us are going to be, whether it be in the first round or in the last round. It's all a mystery to us."

The most newsworthy thing to come out of the news conference was Thompson saying he wouldn't rule out drafting a quarterback in the first round, if that's the best available player. Asked if he thought doing so would negatively impact first-year starter Aaron Rodgers, Thompson said, "I don't think it's going to affect people the way you think. ... I don't think any feelings are going to get hurt."

There is, of course, a lot of pressure on Rodgers to succeed the legendary Brett Favre while leading a team with Super Bowl aspirations. What if the Packers start slowly and the fans began clamoring for the hot-shot rookie to get a chance?

"First off, I'm not anticipating (a bad start), Thompson said. "Again, this is the National Football League and everybody has to stand on their own two feet. Aaron's been preparing for this time and hoping for this time to come, and now it's come. So, he's going to be our quarterback.

"If we take another (quarterback) at 30, we're not saying this other guy is going to be our quarterback. You can never have too many people, especially at the most important position in the National Football League."

As always, Thompson said the Packers will be targeting the best available player.

"Yeah. Yeah. We try to," he said. "It might not be the best available player in everyone's eyes, but we'll try to stick to that. We always think that's the best way to go, but oftentimes, it works itself out. The bad thing is, we're picking at 30. The good thing is, we're picking at 30, that way, 29 other teams have to make some decisions before us, and it makes our decision easier."

Thompson said it isn't difficult to keep himself from reaching for a player to fill a need.

"A draft is a long-term investment for the organization," he said. "It's not that you go into the draft with blinders on. We realize that you'd like to have another of this and another of this. I just think the draft is a long-term investment, especially with early-round picks. If you take a lesser player, in your mind, if you know Player A is a better player and you wind up taking Player B because he happens to play at a different position, I think that's a mistake."

Thompson discussed the merits of trading down — something he's done frequently — and trading up — something he's never done in Green Bay or Seattle.

Thompson pointed out the obvious benefit of trading down and acquiring more picks — "Obviously, the more picks you have, the greater your odds of finding more players to make your team," he said — but added that, with a vastly improved roster, there is a "danger of having diminishing returns."

As for trading up, Thompson joked he might do it just to say he's done it.

"I think we've tried at one time or another in probably every draft I've ever been involved in," he said. "But, you have to have another team willing to make that trade at that particular time. You have to have a team willing to say, ‘OK, we can do that,' or maybe we didn't offer enough. But there's a price to be paid for giving up picks, obviously."

Steve Lawrence is a frequent contributor to E-mail him at

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