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Batting Averages

GM Ted Thompson had a press conference this week to discuss the upcoming draft. Obviously he didn't tip his hand in regards to the players he really has his eyes on, except he went into some detail about Wisconsin T Joe Thomas who it is very safe to assume the Packers will not draft.

The thing a lot of people don't know, I know that you would know this, is he's an outstanding person and he's going to be a quality addition to any locker room, and quarterbacks are going to love him.
It would be great to see him in Arizona where Thomas could spend the next several seasons protecting QB Matt Leinart.

He couldn't talk about players on other teams, so no WR Randy Moss discussion. This is the most interesting point he raised at the press conference:

(Ron used to say if he got three solid starters out of a draft, it would be a good draft. Do you have a certain standard?)
That would be good. You'd like to hit on all your draft picks, but history tells you if you bat .300 or .350, just like in baseball, you're probably a pretty good hitter. But we'd like to add some more players, yeah.
Have Thompson or the Packers hit .300 to .350 in recent drafts?  Let's take a look at the post Ron Wolf era (2002-2006).

2002 through 2004 were Mike Sherman's picks and he got WR Javon Walker (he did start in Green Bay so he's included) and DE Aaron Kampman in 2002, only LB Nick Barnett in 2003 (ignoring LB Hunter Hillenmeyer who starts in Chicago but never played in Green Bay), and DT Corey Williams and C Scott Wells in 2004. Add CB Al Harris into the equation because Sherman traded his 2nd round pick in 2003 for him. That's 6 out of 21 for a .285 average. Eight of those selections were in the 6th or 7th rounds where it's a longshot to find a starter, although Sherman batted a respectable .250 down there. 2004 is what killed him in Green Bay as a GM; four picks in the top 100 and none of the players even remain with the Packers.

Normally I wouldn't include the 2006 draft against Thompson until after the 2007 season, but a number of those players have already become starters so it's in his favor to include them. 8 out of 23 picks have started for the Packers for a .347 average. Better quantity than Sherman, but the quality isn't the same. S Nick Collins and LB Brady Poppinga have become solid, but unspectacular starters (it's best to forget that G William Whitticker started a lot of games, poorly, in 2005 until he was released before the 2006 season). LB A.J. Hawk and LG Daryn Colledge have become very good starters who are likely to continue to improve, while RG Jason Spitz is just behind Colledge in quality, G/T Tony Moll is just a little bit behind Spitz, and WR Greg Jennings had some great early season promise until he collapsed at the end of the season. Still it's likely Jennings greatly improves himself, and doesn't hit the rookie wall, in 2007. It's impressive that all the players from the 2006 draft, except 4th round selection WR Cory Rodgers, remain with the team and it's possible that some of them like LB Abdul Hodge, CB Will Blackmon, DT Johnny Jolly, or S Tyrone Culver become starters in the future. Only S Marviel Underwood from 2005 has a real chance at becoming a future starter from that draft class. The quality is better from Sherman's drafts, but the quantity is better from Thompson.

I'm not as familiar with the players that Seattle selected from 1999 through 2004, when Thompson was involved, but not in charge of those drafts. It doesn't look too impressive based on the current roster. Obviously RB Shaun Alexander has been great and G Steve Hutchinson was too until he bolted for Minnesota. The only other players that are certain starters are CB Marcus Trufant, SS Michael Boulware, and T Sean Locklear. A number of other guys still play roles on Seattle, but no one really jumps out at me. I'd say Thompson would be lucky to have batted .300 with those selections.

Thompson's batting average appears pretty high over the last two drafts and hopefully he can keep up the good work in 2007.