Mailbag: Ted Thompson's running backs

My suggestion that the Green Bay Packers could bolster their running back depth through the draft met with this response from Brandon of Las Vegas:

"Interesting that you would assume Ted Thompson would take a RB in the draft. Since he has been in GB (2005) Ted has only taken 5 RB's in the draft, and one of them, Quinn Johnson was taken for use as a FB. The guy just doesn't draft RB's. The highest he has taken was Brandon Jackson (2007) in the second round followed by Alex Green (2011) in the 3rd. I'm guessing that in that span he has taken fewer RB's than most GM's in the league."

I'm glad you asked, Brandon. It's true: Thompson has drafted five running backs in his tenure, as the chart shows.

But believe it or not, Thompson is pretty much in line with league trends over the years. With the help of NFC West colleague Mike Sando, I took a look at a spreadsheet of all running backs drafted since Thompson's tenure began in 2005. The most any team drafted was eight, and the fewest were three. Eighteen teams drafted more than the five that Thompson has.

You could note that Thompson has never taken a running back in the first round, and in fact the Packers as an organization haven't done that since before the arrival of general manager Ron Wolf. (Darrell Thompson, 1990.) But there are 12 other teams that haven't taken a running back in the first round since 2005, and in fact, there are three teams -- the New York Jets, Washington Redskins and Atlanta Falcons -- who haven't taken one in the first or second rounds over that period.

The point isn't to defend Thompson nor to lash out at Brandon. But facts are facts. The Packers haven't been the most aggressive NFL team at the running back position during Thompson's tenure, but their spot near the midpoint of the league composite makes it difficult to argue that they have a policy against it, either.

I don't know if that makes the Packers any more or less likely to use their first-round pick on a running back, but I'm not ready to rule out a draft focus at that position, either.