GREEN BAY—Ted Thompson has armed the Packers with a slew of picks for Saturday’s third and final day of the draft.
Making a total of three trades on Friday and selecting just one player – Alabama running back Eddie Lacy late in the second round – the Packers enter Saturday with 10 remaining picks.
They are as follows: two in the fourth round, three in the fifth, two in the sixth and three in the seventh.
“We felt like the board held together really good,” Thompson said. “We came into this hoping to be able to add some picks for tomorrow, and it worked out today.
“We still have to finish it tomorrow.”
All the trades back most likely indicate the Packers have a lot of players on their board with late-round grades and wouldn’t have been maximizing value in the third round to select one of them.
Of course, on Saturday the Packers could be interested in moving up to select a player and package some of their newly acquired picks in order to do so. It sets up an intriguing final day of the draft for Green Bay.
Last year, the draft went the other way, with Thompson trading up three times to select players he had targeted. Thompson said the accumulation of so many picks is not a reflection of his feelings about the team’s current roster.
“I don’t look at it that way,” he said. “It’s more a function of the board.”
Thompson’s night of trading started by moving back six spots, from No. 55 to 61, and picking up an extra sixth-round pick from San Francisco (173).
Then, after taking Lacy, Thompson initially moved back five spots in the third round, from 88 to 93, and acquired a seventh-rounder (216), again from the 49ers.
Finally, Thompson traded that 93rd pick to the Dolphins, moving the Packers out of the third round altogether, while picking up three picks from Miami – a fourth (109), a fifth (146) and a seventh (224).
As for the one player the Packers did select on Friday night, Lacy had been in New York City on Thursday but wasn’t drafted in the first round. On a plane flying back to school, Lacy actually got the call from the Packers when he landed. Fortunately, he turned his phone back on “as soon as the wheels touched the ground.”
“It was a big relief. I’m very excited,” he said, calling his two-day wait to get picked “very long” and “nerve-racking.” Lacy’s stock may have fallen due to a hamstring injury that delayed his workout for scouts. When he finally did work out, he said he wasn’t at full strength, but he claims to be 100 percent now.
“From day one I’m going to step in and be ready to go,” said Lacy, who will wear No. 27 for the Packers.
Projected by many to be the first running back taken in this draft, Lacy ended up being the fourth. No backs were taken in the first round, and then North Carolina’s Giovani Bernard (Bengals), Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell (Steelers) and Wisconsin’s Montee Ball (Broncos) all went in the second round ahead of Lacy.
The Packers originally had their choice of Ball or Lacy at pick No. 55, but after trading back, the choice was made for Green Bay, as Ball went at 58.
Lacy becomes the biggest draft investment Thompson has made at running back in his nine drafts. The previous high was the 63rd pick, used on Nebraska’s Brandon Jackson back in 2007.
“We felt very good about taking him, we really did,” Thompson said. “Between the lines, he’s a go-getter.”
At 5-11, 230, Lacy was immensely productive at Alabama, averaging an eye-popping 6.77 yards per carry for his career in the ultra-competitive Southeastern Conference (355 carries, 2,402 yards). That set an all-time SEC record for backs with at least 350 carries, surpassing the mark of 6.62 set by Auburn’s Bo Jackson back in the early 1980s.
Playing behind Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson in earlier years, Lacy got one season as the Crimson Tide’s feature runner, in 2012. He averaged 6.48 yards per carry (204 rushes, 1,322 yards, 17 TDs) to set a school record and tie for second in SEC history for a single season with a minimum of 200 carries. Georgia’s Garrison Hearst averaged 6.79 yards in 1992.
“When you watch the film, he rarely goes down with one guy trying to tackle him,” said Director of College Scouting Brian Gutekunst, who added the Packers also liked what they saw on film of his pass-catching and pass protection. “More guys have to tackle him. He’d have to be gang-tackled.”