After one of the worst defensive seasons in recent memory, GM Ted
Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy served notice this weekend.
The Green Bay Packers picked a total of 8-players in this draft, the first six came on defense. The message from Thompson and McCarthy is that last year won’t be tolerated. Not only did last year’s defense finish as the worst pass rushing team in NFL history, they couldn’t tackle either.
Going with defense for the first 6 picks also tells some of the current defensive players that their jobs are on the line.
Ted Thompson traded up three times in the draft. When the GM trades up to get a player, it means he likes that player. That means, current roster players had better be ready for the battle of their lives.
The word that Mike McCarthy kept tossing around on Saturday was competition. There wasn’t enough competition on last years defensive roster and it’s what the Packers tried to change going into this draft.
What will competition mean on the defense. In particular, it’ll mean that players like Mike Neal, CJ Wilson and Jarius Wynn will have to shape up or ship out. Ted Thompson has brought in draft choices like Jerel Worthy, Nick Perry and Mike Daniels on the defensive line and signed free agents Anthony Hargrove and Daniel Muir in free agency. Those players have been brought in to upgrade the Packers defensive front.
One’s reaction after your team drafts is to instantly fall in love with the players, even before they set foot on the field. A few Packers’ fans I’ve talked to are trying not to do that. However, it’s hard not to be optimistic when the defense was as bad as it was a year ago.
The Packers missed out the Super Bowl because they couldn’t stop anybody. Ted Thompson is trying to get us to buy into the fact that 6-straight defensive players in the draft is just the way the board fell. But it really doesn’t matter what the GM says. It only matters that he didn’t ignore it in the draft.
Ted Thompson’s job is done now. Now it’s up to Mike McCarthy and the coaching staff to take this group of young defenders and put them into position to win.