“It won’t be an easy task. We’re anxious to take on this challenge,” he said.
On the heels of the Packers’ Super Bowl XLV victory, Thompson, Head Coach Mike McCarthy and their staffs are receiving plenty of congratulatory handshakes from their peers on other teams, as NFL scouting and coaching staffs move in and about Lucas Oil Stadium. Thompson’s focus, of course, has turned sharply toward the upcoming draft.
“This league is about what’s next. Everybody’s been very gracious. They’ve said congratulations. I did the same thing. I didn’t mean it,” Thompson joked. “It’s a tough business and it’s here today, gone tomorrow. We’re just trying to get better.”
From the bottom of the draft order, Thompson will watch as the top of his value board is decimated by the teams ahead of the Packers.
“The first round will be excruciating because we’ll look at all these good players being picked, but that’s a problem we like to deal with,” he said.
One of the prominent questions Thompson faced during Friday’s press conference concerned the future of backup quarterback Matt Flynn, who rose to prominence last season with a sterling performance against New England. Flynn would likely have significant trade value.
“His future is to be on our team,” Thompson said when asked if he would consider trading Flynn. “I think people are getting ahead of themselves by saying this is the logical next step. That’s not the logical next step. He’s on our team.”
During a season in which the Packers had to overcome a rash of injuries that forced them to uncover depth few thought they possessed, players such as running back James Starks surfaced and played prominent roles in the Packers’ run to the Super Bowl title. Thompson and the Packers’ personnel department, of course, are being hailed for having acquired such depth, despite drafting near the bottom of the order each year.
How did they do it?
“We don’t do anything anybody else doesn’t do,” Thompson said in his typically humble fashion. “If you sign an undrafted free agent and he does good, you probably were lucky because he probably should’ve been drafted in the first place. We don’t pat ourselves on the back on that stuff.”
Thompson reaffirmed the “best available player” philosophy of drafting that was instilled in him by former Packers general manager Ron Wolf, who hired Thompson in 1992.
"He strongly believed in building your core through the draft. That’s just the way we were taught,” Thompson said. “We feel very strongly that our best policy is to draft the best player.”