Ted Thompson Press Conference Transcript - April 26

Read the transcript of General Manager Ted Thompson’s press conference following the draft Sunday from Lambeau Field.

(What is your overview on how you have restocked and what do you feel best about?)

I think we had some guys targeted in spots where it worked out for us. There were some specific players that we sort of eyed, and those guys kind of fell down where we thought they would go, and we were able to get them. We think all things considered it was a pretty successful weekend.

(We know you will say you like every pick, but was there a specific guy you were excited to see available when your pick came up?)

It is sort of like children. You love them all and you love them all the same. I don't know, I guess since we were picking in the fourth round, we always talked about maybe trying to get T.J. Lang. We had to watch for such a long time; I guess I probably watched that name a little bit more than others. It doesn't mean I love them any more or any less.

(What did you like about him?)

I think he is a very versatile player. He plays left tackle. I had an opportunity to see him in an all-star game out in El Paso. During that week he lined up at all five spots, and he looked like he was very good at that. Our coaches really like that versatility, as you guys know. Many of our guys were left tackles in college and they move all over the place now. I think that and just watching him play the game. He has got good feet. He has got good balance. He is a very good technician and I think he is a good player.

(You always say you take the best player available, but you also filled needs? Did you tweak your approach at all?)

No, we stick with it. I have never said need doesn't factor in, but we went into this draft feeling like we didn't have to draft anybody at any position. It wasn't like we had to do something, that we were OK with our core players. Once you get going in the draft, you do like to balance it out. If you pick all defensive guys it would look a little strange to the offensive side of the ball. Like I said, we targeted guys, and as you go through the draft, it kind of works itself out. I thought it went pretty well. We'll see.

(Do you see either of the offensive linemen as a possible starter at right tackle right away?)

They both played tackle in college. Actually I'll preface that by saying Meredith has played tackle a lot in college. He was moved to guard this year, which gave him a little versatility. That's the coaches' decision in terms of where they are going to play them, but I think both of those guys have shown the ability to play multiple spots.

(What did you think of where the division stands after this draft?)

Quite frankly I have been so focused on what we have done or tried to do. I can't even recall what everybody has done. I know Chicago traded for a quarterback a few weeks ago, and the like. The NFL is a hard business. This division is always tough, and I don't have any doubt that it is going to be difficult again. But I haven't really focused on what they have done. I do that like starting tomorrow probably. You kind of look back and you try to evaluate other people's drafts and how they came to those conclusions and you kind of think it through from their point of view as much as you can. Then you really focus in on your division, but I'm not there yet. I apologize for that; I just haven't focused on it.

(Are you happy with the amount of effort you put into your defense?)

I was happy to be able to get the players that we got. Hopefully they can come in and add to our group. Because again, our success this year will depend on our existing group, not necessarily these guys coming in. And that's the case with any team.

(Are you tracking Mark Tauscher's progress and do you see a possible future for him?)

There hasn't been any determination made there. It's still a medical thing. The timing of when he's going to be well, that sort of thing.

(But that is open right now?)

Yeah, he's still an unrestricted free agent.

(If he proves to be healthy, do you want him back?)

I don't think it's a question of want. It's a question of timing and the medical thing.

(You said the way you drafted would not be affected by the switch to the 3-4, but did that change at all as the draft went on?)

No. Yeah, I mean, certain guys fit a 3-4 differently, but it doesn't change your methodology of drafting. You still go through the same process.

(What do you think you have done for your pass rush and what does Jones give you?)

Brad Jones is a very interesting player. We started watching a lot of tape on him over the course of the last month. The more you watch, the more you like, and he lines up everywhere. He'll line up as a pass rusher with his hand down. He'll rush from the inside linebacker spot. I've seen him detach from the formation and play over the slot, not unlike what USC did with Clay, they moved him all around as well. I think he gives us a guy that can really, really run, has coverage ability, and is a pretty productive pass rusher, so we thought he was a nice get there in the seventh round.

(Do you think with the three guys (nose tackle, outside linebackers) you added that your pass rush will improve?)

I would hope they would add to the group, yeah, just like I've said. Again, it's going to take the group, the scheme that Dom's going to put in, the whole thing. That's the whole emphasis behind this switchover is to try to create uncertainty on the offense's part and to try to create more pressure.

(What stands out when you look at Brandon Underwood on tape?)

Very versatile player. He played both safety and corner this year. I thought he played both positions pretty well. I had a chance to watch him at an all-star game as well. I was in there in the fall, on a school call, and I think he's a good player. He's got good size, he runs well, very athletic. We were pretty keen to him.

(What was your thinking in taking Quinn Johnson? Did you feel like you needed to upgrade the fullback position?)

Well, we just felt like it was a great value pick. You go in there as Alonzo and myself did during the course of the year, and SEC football, you hear a lot about it, but it is a physical league, and you watch games like LSU against Alabama, and it's mano-a-mano. He's a very, very effective lead blocker. He's a physical presence. He was a running back in (high school) who rushed for over 1,000 yards. He's got a skill set, and he's a big, physical guy. We felt like that would be a nice get. We thought that was a value pick.

(If there is one characteristic that a lot of these guys share, what would that be? You said physical a lot.)

I don't know. Right, well, I get going sometimes and get stuck on one word, so you'll have to forgive me. I don't know if there's one thing. I hope at the end of the day they're all good football players. I think they're good people, and hopefully they'll add to this team and hopefully add to the tradition of the Green Bay Packers in an honorable way.

{sportsad300}(How long was Underwood on your radar? Did you follow his saga at Ohio State?)

In mid-May we go to our combined scouting meetings, and you first get reports on prospects that are seniors. So that's probably the first time. I didn't know him when he was at Ohio State or his high school career, other than after the fact. But I knew that he was at Ohio State and academics and then he went to Cincinnati and paid his own way his first semester and earned the respect of the coaching staff and the team and was a productive player for them this year.

(You have said a few times that your success will depend on the existing players, but how much of a chance do some of these guys have to contribute right away?)

Well, we'd like them all to pitch in and do their part. How much of a role that is, the coaches will determine as we go through practices in the summertime. And that goes for our existing players, everybody. Bum Phillips says all the time that if you're not getting better, you're getting worse, so we want everybody to continue to improve. That's sort of what we stress through the whole process.

(The two first-rounders could contribute right away though?)

I think they're capable of coming in and helping out. Yeah, I do.

(Do you consider Raji and Matthews tough guys?)

I do. Yeah. They're completely different players, obviously. But they are both physical guys. They play with strength, they play with leverage, and they understand their position. I think I went through that with both Raji and Matthews yesterday. But they use their hands, they do the things you have to do to play in the NFL. Now, they haven't played in it yet, so we'll have to wait and see, but I think they're going to be OK.

(You managed to fill some holes on the 3-4. Do you have more holes to fill or are you pretty comfortable with where you are?)

Like I said before the draft, we were in a position where we didn't have to do anything. We didn't feel like there were any gaping holes. I don't think you ever stop trying to push the competition level and try to make your group better by adding players. But I don't necessarily think we have any gaping holes, nor did I before.

(Knowing your reputation in the draft, how difficult was it to sit out the second and third rounds, and were there chances to get back in there?)

To answer your last question, no. Nor did we try to. Once we'd spent those picks yesterday, I was pretty much done giving away picks. But even before we'd made that trade, some of the guys that we picked, and others, we felt like we could get in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds, and some of those guys came to us and it worked out pretty well. But it's a long round for us when you don't have any picks, especially when you go two and three.

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