GREEN BAY – To pick or not to pick.
That’s the question Packers General Manager Ted Thompson will ponder leading into the start of Day 2 of the NFL Draft on Friday.
Thompson traded out of the first round for the first time in nine years Thursday, dealing the 29th overall pick to Cleveland for its second- (No. 33) and fourth-round (108) choices.
The move puts Green Bay in the unique position of holding the first pick on both Day 2 and 3 of the draft, affording the Packers plenty of time to determine whether they want to use those draft choices to take a player or swing more trades.
If Thompson has an inkling of what he plans to do with that first pick when the Packers go on the clock at 6 p.m. CT on Friday, he’s not tipping his hand.
“I think it’s very good strategy-wise,” said Thompson shortly after moving back. “We know where we’re at and what we’re going to do. There’s a couple different ways of looking at it. It could be we highlight a player that we know we can get and they can’t take him away from us, so we sit there and pick him.
“It could be a team sees an opportunity to maybe trade up and get a player they didn’t think they could get and maybe it’s a trade that works well for us.”
Thompson said he chose to trade out of the first round because the quality of players still available on the board at 29 gave the Packers confidence they’d still have several of their favorite targets available at 33.
Ultimately, they had to give up very little to pick up an extra fourth-rounder, which was worth it for Thompson.
It’s a similar situation to the last time the Packers traded out of the first round in 2008, dealing the 30th overall pick to the New York Jets for second- (No. 36) and fourth-round (113) selections.
The Packers then used that second-rounder to draft future Pro Bowler Jordy Nelson and leveraged the fourth-rounder to trade up later in the draft.
Green Bay entered this year’s draft with eight selections, but now has two picks each in the second (33, 61), fourth (108, 134) and fifth rounds (172, 182), in addition to its third- (93), sixth- (212) and seventh-round (247) selections.
The nine picks give Thompson plenty of ammunition to address the Packers’ needs during the final two days of the draft.
“There were lots of things going on right there at the end,” said Thompson of the conversations before the Packers went on the clock Thursday. “The reason we were doing something with trading, we felt like the board was strong enough to absorb it. I think it did and we’re looking forward to picking (Friday).”
Thompson and Head Coach Mike McCarthy have been open about their desire to add another running back and could be in the market for help at pass-rusher and cornerback, as well.
The Packers also have drafted a defensive lineman in each of Thompson’s 12 previous drafts and an offensive lineman in 11 of the 12.
“We wanted to add a little meat to shoring up the roster,” Thompson said. “We felt like it was important to get a little more ‘oomph’ out of it. Thanks to the people up there (in the draft room) working their tail off, they were able to do exactly that. We’ll see where it goes (Friday) because the board is still strong. Who knows what will happen?”
Asked whether he’s open to trading that No. 33 pick, Thompson laughed while responding in the affirmative.
“Oh yeah. You can put that down,” Thompson said. “That’ll save us a couple phone calls.”
2017 DRAFT TRACKER