GREEN BAY – Ted Thompson’s least favorite part of the NFL Draft each year is watching good players he likes come off the board before his team goes on the clock.
So it was on Thursday night, when the Green Bay Packers general manager watched more than a few enticing pass rushers be taken before he could get them.
South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram went No. 18 to San Diego. Boise State’s Shea McClellin went No. 19 to Chicago. Syracuse’s Chandler Jones went No. 21 to New England. Alabama’s Don’t’a Hightower went No. 25 to New England. And Illinois’ Whitney Mercilus went No. 26 to Houston.
When the Packers went on the clock at No. 28, they had Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw, Clemson’s Andre Branch and USC’s Nick Perry to choose from – and Thompson opted for Perry.
“At the end of the day, we thought he’d make a really good addition to our outside linebacker group,” Thompson said shortly after the selection. “He’s played with his hand on the ground (at USC) and we’re convinced that he’s athletic enough to play standing up and do some of the things that we do. Very physical guy, can set the edge, can rush the passer. We feel good.”
Thompson said the Packers had some conversations about trades but wound up staying put.
“We always do. We were talking about going up, we were talking about going back, we were talking about the whole thing,” Thompson said. “Nothing really came to fruition.”
It’s unclear what separated Perry from Upshaw and Branch in the Packers’ opinion, but Thompson clearly liked Perry better and didn’t like Ingram, McClellin, Hightower or Mercilus enough to give up one of his second-day picks (Nos. 59 and 90) to move up. Perry is quicker (4.58 seconds in the 40-yard dash) and more explosive than Upshaw, who ran the 40 in 4.81 seconds.
“There were a number of defensive players we were kind of looking at – and on the offensive side, we were looking at them, too. To me, when you’re picking as low as we are at 28 and last year at 32, I don’t think you can sit around and try to predict. You just try to be ready for whatever happens,” Thompson said. “I felt like it turned out pretty good for us.”
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