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Packers mailbag: Why Ted Thompson loves to draft receivers

5/22/2015

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Each week, we'll take questions about the Green Bay Packers. They can be submitted via Twitter using the hashtag #PackersMail.

This week, we will discuss the following topics:

  • General manager Ted Thompson's penchant for drafting receivers.

  • Why Mike Neal's roster spot is safe.

  • Turnover in the personnel department.

  • Eddie Lacy's longevity.

  • Damarious Randall's contract negotiations.

Demovsky: Part of me wonders whether he still hears former Packers GM Ron Wolf saying that perhaps his biggest regret was not giving Brett Favre enough offensive weapons. But yes, Thompson loves to draft receivers for Aaron Rodgers. He picked another one this year in the third round, Ty Montgomery of Stanford. Since Thompson took over in 2005, he has drafted 16 receivers. That's the most in the NFC North, and it's not even close. Now it should be noted that the other teams in the division have had multiple general managers during that stretch so organizational philosophies change with new leaders, but in the same time frame, the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings each have drafted 11 receivers, while the Detroit Lions have picked only nine.

Demovsky: If the Packers were going to dump Neal, they would have done it back in March, when he was owed a $1 million roster bonus on the third day of the league year. But they paid it, which essentially ensured his spot on the team. Thompson wouldn't have thrown away $1 million if he didn't intend for Neal to be on the 53 this September.

Demovsky: Lee Gissendaner's area was the East coast, so Thompson will have to put someone new in that territory. That hasn't happened yet, so it's possible there could be some restructuring going on. But Thompson has proven that his department structure can absorb change. He's lost high-level scouts John Schneider, Reggie McKenzie and John Dorsey to general manager jobs, and he has promoted the likes of Eliot Wolf, Alonzo Highsmith and Brian Gutekunst to top-level positions. One thing about the Wolf-Thompson general manager model is that there never seems to be a lack of qualified talent evaluators in the department.

Demovsky: My initial thought on Lacy as a rookie was he'll be lucky to get a second contract with the Packers given how much of a pounding the running back takes game in and game out. But last season, coach Mike McCarthy seemed to do a better job managing Lacy's snaps and carries. Still, it's way too early to think about a contract for a running back who is still two seasons away from free agency. Two years from now, Lacy could be a worn-down, beat-up back.

Demovsky: There's nothing holding it up. In fact, it should get done with a week or so. In the days before the collective bargaining agreement of 2011, it took a lot longer to get these deals done. It was not uncommon for first-round picks to miss a few days of training camp. Now, they all get done by June. As of the close of league business on Friday, 20 of the 32 first-round picks have been signed. It's clear the Packers worked their way from bottom up. Their last two signings were second-round pick Quinten Rollins and Montgomery. Now, their first-round pick is the only deal yet to be completed.