GREEN BAY, Wis. -- At media day for Super Bowl XLV, Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson was only half joking when he said it was cutting into his draft meetings.
With no such inconvenience for the Packers this year, Thompson’s draft meetings with his personnel staff began this week.
It marked the start of months of preparation for the May 8-10 draft. The Packers have the 21st overall pick.
In a non-Super Bowl year, Thompson begins the draft meetings the week after the final college all-star game, the Senior Bowl, which took place last week in Mobile, Ala. His area scouts stationed around the country come to Green Bay and together with his personnel staff members who work at Lambeau Field, they begin the long and detailed process of setting their draft board.
The meetings typically begin early, usually around 7 a.m., and after a short break for lunch they resume until around 6 p.m. Those meetings lead up to next month’s NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.
The scouting staff then breaks to attend a series of pro day workouts that players take part in on their college campuses.
Thompson then brings in the Packers' coaches for another round of meetings before the final draft board is set.
It’s a long process that takes months to conclude.
“At some point, you have to put it to bed because you have to trust the work that you’ve done and live with it the way it is,” Thompson said a few days before last year’s draft.
Given Thompson’s well-known preference to build the team primarily through the draft, it’s no wonder he likes to get started on the process as soon as possible. That process includes input from dozens of personnel aides and members of the coaching staff, but ultimately it comes down to Thompson.
“It’s not a democracy,” Thompson said last year. “We don’t vote. We have discussions and everybody’s opinions are heard. At the end of the day, ultimately it’s my call, and we try to take the best player. I’m not saying that to say I’m some sort of almighty decision-maker, it’s just that’s my job and my responsibility.”