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Packers and Ted Thompson have little preference for any College Football conference

A study published by SB Nation shows that unlike some other teams, Green Bay has little or no preference when it comes to what conference their draft picks play in.

The Miami Redhawks' Quinten Rollins is just one of three non-Power 5 players drafted by the Packers last year.
The Miami Redhawks' Quinten Rollins is just one of three non-Power 5 players drafted by the Packers last year.
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers look for talent and production over pedigree. That much is certain with Ted Thompson at the helm, as the team has spent plenty of draft picks (and high ones) on players from schools that are not thought of as traditional powerhouses. Certainly, the top talent tends to end up playing for upper-echelon schools, and the Packers' first-round picks illustrate that, but when it comes to draft picks overall, Ted doesn't care where you played - he only cares if you can play.

SB Nation recently broke down every NFL Draft from 2006 through 2015, a convenient time frame to look at Ted Thompson's track record since he took over the general manager job in 2005. That study compared each team's draft rate of players from the Big Ten, Big XII, SEC, ACC, and Pac-12 conferences to the overall rates for each of those leagues, and also looked at players from outside those conferences.

The results should not surprise you where the Packers are concerned: they do not stray too far from the norm towards any particular conference. Whereas most other teams draft from one or more of those groups at least 30% more or 30% less than their normal rates, the Packers are just one of just six teams to not fall outside the 30% mark with any league.

We do have the numbers on which affiliation is the most prevalent for the Packers, compared to their normal rates: non-Power 5 conferences. Considering that Thompson has taken numerous players from not only FBS teams outside the big five but from FCS schools as well (and the occasional Division II player - looking at you, Jeff Janis), this probably is not that surprising. On average, the Packers pick players from these lower tiers of football 24% more often than the average team. Believe it or not, this is only the fourth-highest skew reported, as Miami, Jacksonville, and Oakland all are even more likely to take a player from outside the Power 5.

Where the Packers are least likely to turn compared to the league average is to the Big XII, as they draft players from that conference 28% less than the league average. Compare that to the Dallas Cowboys, whose +82% number means that they are almost twice as likely to draft a player from the plains than the average team.

In a vacuum, this seems to mean very little as far as the Packers are concerned. They will still take any player they feel to be the best value remaining when on the clock, regardless of where he played his college football. Still, it is interesting to see that the narrative of Thompson's diligent small-school scouting being reflected at least somewhat in the numbers.