2012 NFL Draft Grades: Green Bay Packers, Through 3rd Round

Apr 26, 2012; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell introduces defensive end Nick Perry (Southern Cal) as the 28th overall pick by the Green Bay Packers in the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-US PRESSWIRE

Editor's note: We know it's silly to grade drafts before players have been pros for a couple of years. We're grading in terms of filling needs and whether or not reaches were made for players.

The first round saw Ted Thompson let the chips fall and take the best player available in Nick Perry. It was predictable, but Perry is a solid fit for the Packers' scheme, and provides Green Bay with an excellent physical specimen to rush the passer opposite Clay Matthews.

The trade up to select Jerel Worthy was a masterful work of patience and negotiation. As I predicted, once Worthy and Still were both available after the 45th pick, Ted made his move. Kendall Reyes' selection at 49th showed that the run on linemen was about to begin, and Thompson got his man in Worthy, who very well could be an immediate starter at defensive end. At first glance, this looks like Thompson's best move in the draft since trading up for Clay Matthews.

Trading up to draft a corner did not surprise me, but the player chosen did. I was expecting a player like Trumaine Johnson of Montana or Brandon Taylor of LSU, but what Casey Hayward may lack in size and speed he makes up for in character and football IQ. His presence immediately improves the depth in the secondary and should keep Jarrett Bush restricted to special teams duty.

All in all, Thompson made what appear to be excellent decisions with the situations he was given. With no willing trade partners at 28, he took the best available player. With linemen sliding down the board, he used the glut of picks in the middle rounds to trade up for a first round talent. He then moved up again to bring immediate depth to a secondary that struggled mightily in 2011. Balancing need with the players on the board is not often executed, but Thompson has made it into an art form.

Grade: A-

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