As the date grows nearer to his first draft as the general manager of the Green Bay Packers, Ted Thompson met with the media Friday, and not unsurprisingly did not tip his hand as to which way he and the personnel staff are leaning with the 24th pick they are scheduled to exercise next Saturday.
Thompson stayed true to his previously stated beliefs, saying the Packers will be looking to draft the best player available to them in every situation when their turn comes over the two days of the draft.
"No, it's safe to say that we're going to focus on trying to get the very best player we can whenever it's our turn to pick," Thompson replied when asked if it would be a safe bet the Packers would be looking at a defensive player in the first round. "I know that's a cliché, but we're going to try to take the best player available."
The G.M. stated that there are a wide variety of factors that will determine whose name will be called when the Packers turn their card into Commissioner Tagliabue at New York City's Jacob Javits Center next week.
"I think that you have certain wishes that you would hope things turn out the way you want them to turn out, but I've said before that the drill of the draft is that there's lots of things happening and many, many variables," he said. "We try to go through all of those options and scenarios, but at the same time you can't really focus on just one position or even one side of the ball."
Thompson revealed that he and his staff will be using much the same formula that has been in place surrounding Packer drafts for years, dating back to the Ron Wolf era. He said that this formula will help to ensure the Pack will be bringing in the best possible player, and not sacrifice value for need.
"I know that the way I approach is that we do the draft board the same way it's been done here for many, many years," he said. "We put players in rounds that we would be very happy to take them. We try not to allow need to factor into it."
He said that one of the major reasons for not making decisions based on a perceived need at certain positions is that those needs can change so rapidly.
"We're going to take the best player available because what you think is a strong position today may tomorrow not be a strong position," Thompson explained. "You may think that we're really, really set at a certain position and then somebody sprains an ankle or twists a knee and then all of a sudden we need someone there. That's happened on numerous occasions in the past.
"We'll try and stick with value. I think as long as you draft good football players, all the other things will take care of themselves."
Thompson said that he is eager to utilize the pair of second-round picks the Packers own, and doesn't envision trading them - but didn't make any promises. The 51st and 58th overall picks would be the first time Green Bay made a selection in the second round since picking Robert Ferguson in 2001.
"We place value on all our picks," said the general manager. "Certainly having two '2s' gives us the opportunity to add two players to our team that we think will be high quality. We think this draft is deep enough that we can get two really good players in the second round. We won't cavalierly throw those away - we're looking forward to drafting in the second round."
Overall, Thompson is excited about the two-day selection process that lies ahead. Packer fans should be excited too, as the new general manager begins to fully place his stamp on the roster that will be fielded in the fall.