The Packers didn't have a selection in the round, but the tradeoff for parting with the pick in a deal with the New York Giants before last season has proved to be a coup. Green Bay landed running back Ryan Grant in the trade, and the young unknown became a household name the latter half of the season as the Packers made a run toward Super Bowl XLII.
"If you look at the players that went in the sixth round (this year), you'd probably rather have Ryan," Thompson said.
The Packers' brass is eager to see what Grant can do for a full season after he ranked second in the league with 929 rushing yards, behind San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson (947), the last 10 weeks of the 2007 regular season when he was thrust into the lead role. Grant further distinguished himself with postseason franchise records of 201 yards and three touchdowns on the ground in Green Bay's 42-20 win over Seattle in the NFC divisional playoffs.
Grant, an exclusive-rights free agent, hasn't signed the team's tender offer of $370,000. The second-year pro is seeking a more lucrative, long-term contract but is participating in offseason workouts, and recently said he won't be holding out of training camp if he doesn't have a new deal.
Of greater concern for the Packers is coming up with a couple dependable backups to Grant. Seven of Green Bay's nine draft picks this year were players on offense, but it didn't take a running back.
"It just didn't play out at that position," Thompson said.
The Packers don't have a shortage of backs on the roster, but question marks abound with those players. The common denominator among top candidates Brandon Jackson, DeShawn Wynn, Vernand Morency and Noah Herron is durability, or lack thereof, after each of them was sidetracked by injuries at some point last year.
Herron missed the entire season because of a knee injury. Nerve damage in a shoulder cost Wynn, a promising rookie last year, the second half of the season.
Jackson, a second-round draft pick last year, came on with increased opportunities running the football late in the season after he had lost the starting job at the outset because of a shin injury. Jackson struggled as a blocker in third-down situations, so he's spent considerable time in the offseason working on blitz pickups.
Green Bay added former Georgia running back Kregg Lumpkin to the mix, signing him as an undrafted free agent. The talented Lumpkin had his own injury history in college.