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GM Thompson Holds Pre-Draft Press Conference


Ted Thompson, Executive Vice President, General Manager and Director of Football Operations for the Green Bay Packers on Monday held a press conference to preview the 2006 NFL Draft.

The Green Bay Packers have 7 selections to make in the 2006 NFL Draft, April 29-30.

Here are some of the highlights:

On the goal in the days leading up to Saturday:

"This week is more focused on fine-tuning on where we stand (in football operations) as opposed to where position coaches or the offensive and defensive coordinators stand on a particular player. We try to get that in unison. It never gets all the way where everybody's exactly OK with every name on the board, exactly where they are, but we do work it as a group process and I think everybody feels part of the process. I think there's some value to that."

On positions of strength in the 2006 draft pool:

"The Commissioner frowns on us if we talk about a particular position being weak, and we don't want that."

On whether there are fewer scenarios picking fifth, compared to 25th:

"No, you have to prepare for whatever. What if all the sudden we're picking at 25? You just never know. I'm not saying how that could happen. You try to rate the players. First-round players are first-round players, and obviously as you get closer, and obviously in my own mind I've been whittling down that group that we might consider at five."

On potentially trading his first-round pick, and whether he has entertained offers for WR Javon Walker:

"I wouldn't comment on anything specific. We do get calls from teams from time to time, all over - going back, going forward - and that's normal. I imagine we'll get a call from all 31 teams before draft day, saying, 'If you guys would be interested in coming back, we might be interested in coming forward, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It depends on what's there.' And we do the same thing: 'Well, we might, maybe we will, maybe we won't.' Nobody knows because you don't know the circumstances when it gets to be your pick. You don't know the circumstances when it gets to be Pick No. 3 and you decide you should move."

On comparing one impact player vs. multiple players of combined equal value:

"It depends on how you have the players rated. In my view, if you have a chance to get a remarkable player, you take the player. If you have an opportunity to get a similar player moving backward, then that makes it a little bit easier, but it's our view that we're going to have a chance to get a pretty good player no matter how it falls."

On worrying about the fans' reaction should the Packers take another quarterback in the first round:

"I don't. I probably should, but I don't. I think, and I've said this before in a couple of different venues, that you have to do what you think is best for the organization. You have to take the best player available. And I think history will bear me out in that when you stray from that, that's when you make mistakes."

On whether his gut still tells him he will keep the No. 5 choice:

"I do. I do, for a couple of reasons. No. 1, I think there's a high probability, in fact it's almost a certainty, that there's going to be a really good player there for us at No. 5. The second is, people that want to trade when they're at the top of the draft and want to trade backward, it's difficult to do because you have to have somebody that really wants to come up there and to come up there, you have to realize that the price of playing poker has gone up, the salary and the pressure and that sort of thing. So, there's not that many people that want to come up."

On whether roster uncertainty at quarterback and receiver will affect draft decisions:

"No, I don't think it can or it should. Now, you might think about it, but the draft as I've said before, it's a long-term thing. It's a long-term process for your organization. It's an investment in the future and I don't think you can look at it from a short-term point of view. You have to look at it from a long-term point of view. "

On how he balances prospect feedback from scouts compared to opinions of coaches:

"We value our coaches' opinions. I think it's important that you get the coaches' input on anything because they're the ones who are going to have to coach them. They know the exact kind of player they want for a particular scheme or for a particular defense or offense. So, we take that into consideration. Certainly, I put a lot of weight in our personnel group because I think they're good at what they do and they work very hard at what they do. At the end of the day if there are disagreements, I weigh all that, but ultimately it's my call. But we take everybody's point of view into consideration, even the ones that disagree with me; they don't get as much consideration, but they get some."

On whether there's more pressure to get the right guy at No. 5:

"Well, I guess there should be. I don't feel that way. I mentioned it in terms of teams wanting to trade up. Sometimes if you're sitting at 12 or 15 or 20 or 30, it's pretty comfortable back there. You've got to sit there and watch a lot of good players come off the board. So that can get aggravating but you know there's nothing you can do about it. When you're picking at five you're going fairly early in the draft, it'll probably be an hour and 15 minutes or something from the start of the draft, which is quick in real terms. But I don't feel any more particular pressure, any more than I did last year."

On adding draft picks through trades:

"I think with most teams, the more picks they have, they would feel better. There are several teams that have a lot of picks right now and they're happy that they have them. There are some teams like us, or teams that have fewer picks than us, and wish they had more. Yeah, in a perfect world you would wind up with more picks, but I would think more times than not, we would probably just pick right where we pick."

On being more likely to trade back if letting the board come to him:

"I suppose, but the board may be screaming out to you when you're four picks away and you only have one player up there that you'd like to take, it may be screaming out to you to get some picks and move up there. It gives you more flexibility when you go into the draft with multiple picks, I'm talking about say 10 or 11, it gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of moving around during the draft as opposed to maybe not so many picks. We have five of our original picks, and we have two compensatory picks. You can't trade those compensatory picks so the only picks we could trade would be our original five picks."

On Javon Walker:

"I've spoken with Javon over the course of the spring. I think I'll let the original statement that we put out stand there. I know that things get said from time to time and I think the less said on something like that, the better.

"I wouldn't presume to speak for Javon. Javon's a very bright young man and well thought of here, so I'll just leave it at that.

On whether Walker will ever play in Green Bay:

"That would be presumptuous of me to guess."

On whether the team would welcome Javon back:

"I would. I'm sure the team would. He's very well liked here. I assume you guys would agree with me."

On whether the team is still in the hunt for CB Charles Woodson:

"Nothing new to report...I don't know, the hunt gets scary sometimes. But there are still conversations going on if that's what you mean."

On whether the Packers would've had a better chance to land players like LaVar Arrington had Brett Favre come to a decision:

"I don't know that. There's all kinds of reasons why people will come to a team or stay with their original team. It would just be guessing. Maybe on an individual case if you went and polled them, maybe you could talk to them, but I haven't gotten that indication, that someone has decided not to be here because of the indecision on Brett's part."

On whether he expects to talk to Favre this week:

"It wouldn't surprise me that I would, but I don't know that I expect to. We've spoken on the phone some, not in the past recent days just because it's been kind of hectic here. I've gotten to the point where I'm not necessarily anticipating, but at the same time it wouldn't necessarily surprise me if we got some sort of answer."

On whether he'd prefer to see Favre at the first mini-camp:

"We'd like all of our players here for the mini-camp."

On whether the Favre indecision is frustrating to him:

"I suppose it probably is. I bet it is for Brett, too. I'm sure it is for you guys, especially those that went to the golf tournament. But it is what it is. He's reached a certain position in this game. He's trying to make this decision and trying to do it in the best way he can for him and his family. You wish we could've had it earlier. We'd like to know, but I'm sure he'd like to know."

On whether he has to have an answer from Favre before the draft:

"No. The way I look at this is, Brett is an outstanding player. We want him to be our quarterback. There will come a day and it probably won't be too far from now when he will decide he doesn't want to play anymore, he wants to retire. We know that day is coming. So, again, draft decisions are based on what's best long-term for the organization, so it doesn't have an effect on what we're going to do Saturday and Sunday."

On why he hasn't opened up the purse with so much room under the salary cap this offseason:

"We've opened it up some. That's a mischaracterization of my view on free agency. I think free agency is a very interesting tool to use to help you patch some holes and do some things. We may continue to make several efforts to do some things. But again, it's free agency. You have to have two parties come together and sometimes we thought we were very close and it didn't work out, and other times we never did get very close. So, it's just the way it works in free agency. There's no reluctance on our part. We do try to make certain that what we do is not just fantasy football. We're investing in a player that's got to come in a play a particular role. If we don't think that player can perform to that contract, then it doesn't make sense for us to do it just to say, 'Look what we've spent.'

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