I typically shy away from judging a draft pick or playing along with all of the worthless hype surrounding the NFL Draft. I get bored with the monotonous speculation and the same old stories. One about Joe Fratboy, who, God forbid, may fall out of the top ten. Then there is the feel good story about a kid who beat the odds to realize his NFL dreams and the ridiculous last minute speculation over the 1st overall pick. And finally, Ted Thompson plays it safe, trades down, and picks 10 mediocre players hoping a couple of them will pan out.
The 2009 NFL draft started no differently. Will the Lions actually pick Stafford? Where will this year’s Joe Fratboy, Mark Sanchez, go? When will ESPN get to air the special about Michael Oher’s improbable path to the NFL? Of course, the Lions picked Stafford, the Jets made their typical attempt at a blockbuster trade, the Raiders chose speed over skill, and “Trade Down Ted” played it by the book, making a safe selection at #9.
Satisfied with Raji, I left the house, not intending to spend my entire Saturday night on the couch entranced by this spectacle. I wasn’t planning on the Packers picking for at least another half hour and let’s be honest, I pretty much figured that Ted Thompson would trade down anyway.
In the car, I swapped my CD player for some sports radio. As I did so, I caught the tail end of an update about the Packers trading up. Trading up?! As the station broke for a commercial, I panicked. First, the packers DON’T trade up. Second, if they did, I had no idea who the pick was.
I scanned other radio stations and immediately made phone calls to see what had happened. Thanks to my mother, who was at her computer, I was informed that the Packers had indeed traded up for Clay Matthews. I was thrilled. I was ecstatic. Nothing like this had ever happened before. Sure, I have always been a little anxious to read about Packer draft picks, but names like Justin Harrell, Ahmad Carroll, and Antuan Edwards are nothing to pee your pants about.
This year is different. “Trade Down Ted” was aggressive. He drafted tough, solid, and motivated players, who will make an immediate impact in Green Bay. So, raise your glass. I propose a toast to Ted Thompson, the most conservative GM in football, who finally grew a pair and gave us something to be excited about on draft day.