GREEN BAY, Wis. -- When the Green Bay Packers are on the clock with the 29th pick in the draft next Thursday night, it might seem like a stressful time for general manager Ted Thompson and the myriad scouts and coaches in the room with him.
But things are not always what they seem.
According to Thompson, who is about to run his 13th draft in Green Bay, his pick rarely comes down to a last-minute decision.
“There's been a couple in my lifetime where it went 'boom,' something changed and all of the sudden I had to make a decision, [and] 'boom,' we do that,” Thompson said Wednesday in his annual pre-draft news conference. “Most of the time, it's you sit there, you kind of know who you want to take and everything falls the way it's supposed to fall, and you wind up taking [him]. It doesn't necessarily mean that your thought process was correct, but it just means that you never waver. You're going to try to take this particular player and hope for the best.”
And even when there is a last-minute debate, Thompson said it’s usually a small pool of players.
“Most of the time there’s one particular name that you’re thinking about,” Thompson said. “Sometimes there could be three. Normally it’s not too many more than that. And then you have to make a decision, sure.”
At this point, most of the work Thompson and his personnel department have put in is done. The time between now and next Thursday is typically spent re-checking the work they’ve already completed.
“All of a sudden I’ll get an idea about a particular player and run to the draft room and watch it and turns out to be the same player that we watched three months ago,” Thompson said. “So there’s a lot of that, but there’s also I think great value, certainly to me to have the certainty and [assurance] of having done our work. With the staff that the Packers have given to me to help run the draft, there’s a lot of confidence in terms of our evaluations.”
Even though Thompson has the final decision, he said he always consults with coach Mike McCarthy on draft decisions.
“We’ve always conducted it like a partnership,” Thompson said.
Perhaps the toughest part of the draft is the long wait before it starts on Thursday night.
So what does he do all day?
“A lot of waiting,” he said. “Most of the time, there are people around the league or associated with the league that’ll start to spread rumors. So, somebody was in a car wreck the night before or something like that, so you’re chasing down rumors and things. None of which is usually true.”