Reading various articles about the NFL combine at Football's Future and Draft Insiders' Digest made me look back at the four picks GM Ted Thompson made in the first three rounds last April. It didn't look good at the time and he was booed off the stage at the Packer draft party when the first pick was announced. He seemed partial to draft players who had disappointed at the NFL combine that February.
WR James Jones
3rd round, 78th player taken overall.
Jones was the lone exception. He had a great workout at the combine by tying the combine record in the bench press for a receiver and running a fast time of 4.2 seconds in the 20 yard shuttle. The NFL combine solidified him as a solid prospect.
DT Justin Harrell
1st round, 16th player taken overall.
He couldn't stay healthy at Tennessee and just finished a disappointing senior season which ended early with a bicep injury. Then he shows up at the combine and struggles with the bench press and 3-cone drill. Weak and slow doesn't sound like a good combination for a defensive tackle. Booooooo.
RB Brandon Jackson
2nd round, 63rd player taken overall.
Jackson had an outstanding junior season, but it was only nine games and he didn't enter the season as the starter. Still he was a hard runner and good receiver, except he had a poor 4.55 time in the 40 yard dash at the NFL combine.
S Aaron Rouse
3rd round, 89th player taken overall.
He "runs well enough", "has adequate strength", and "a decent vertical jump" at the combine after finishing a very disappointing senior season. Another guy who needed a strong showing at the combine to prove himself who instead came up short.
This is not a knock on any of these guys. Harrell and Jackson showed flashes of potential, Jones had a strong rookie season, and Rouse might be the best safety on the roster. They all are either going to contribute, and Harrell and Rouse should have a chance to compete for a starting job, in 2008. I'm sure he doesn't ignore the results, but it's obvious Thompson doesn't make up his mind about a player exclusively on his performance at the NFL combine. Something to keep in mind as you hear and read about reps and times about many players over the next two months.