Found March 25, 2012 on Speculative Sports:
Gettyimage.ashx_url_http_3a_2f_2fcache.gettyimages.com_2fxc_2f82101595.jpg_3fv_3d1_26c_3dewsasset_26k_3d2_26d_3d17a4ad9fdb9cf1935e9d3d1a6545d2bb94ff137b25003c4d

In his first year as Green Bay Packers General Manager (2006), Ted Thompson grabbed Charles Woodson and Ryan Pickett via free agency. Neither appeared to be a stud at the time—the Oakland Raiders thought Woodson was breaking down—but adding two starters to a team that had gone 4-12 was a step in the right direction.

In the five years that followed, Thompson’s free agents were undrafted rookies, special teamers and situational players. While Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder kept dolling out the big bucks and getting at most one playoff win, Thompson was building a champion through the draft. His teams have consistently been among the youngest in the NFL while going 55-25.

Yet right now, the “Latest Buzz” on NFL.com shows the Packers filled the hole left from Scott Wells’ depature with Jeff Saturday and added Daniel Muir. They are also pursuing Dave Tollefson, Anthony Hargrove and Manny Lawson. So why is he breaking the pattern?

Things change, and the Packers lack of pressure was the primary difference between winning the Super Bowl in 2010—when they were second in the league in sacks—and losing in the divisional round in 2011 after finishing in the bottom-five in sack percentage. His pursuit of these players is a tacit admission that the team could not overcome the loss of relatively low-cost defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins, and shows he understands he cannot rely on his anointed replacement Mike Neal.

Neal was hurt his senior season at Purdue and most of both NFL seasons. He will be suspended for four games in 2012 for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Thompson knows he cannot fill holes in the secondary, outside linebacker and defensive line with the 28th and 59th picks in the draft.

Muir and Tollefson were on the Packers roster as rookies and have been solid players elsewhere. They may be able to start and can at least give the team depth. Hargrove, part of the 2009 New Orleans Saints defense but is likely not facing suspension, is undersized to play end in a 3-4 and lacks the athleticism to play outside linebacker, but would make a good situational player at the right price.

The Packers have a plethora of mediocre outside linebackers (Frank Zombo, Brad Jones and free agent Erik Walden) to line up opposite Clay Matthews, III. Lawson, who was a starter for the San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals the past four seasons, would be an upgrade over any of them.

If Thompson can sign or trade for (perhaps from the depth at wide receiver or OLB) one more starter, he can draft everything else the Packers need.

THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Packers receive four compensatory draft picks

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- For a general manager like Ted Thompson, these are the types of days to look forward to. On Monday, the NFL awarded the Green Bay Packers four compensatory draft choices. For Thompson, who has built the current Packers' roster almost entirely through the draft, this means four more opportunities to build upon a 15-1 team last season that is also just one...

Anthony Hargrove Headed to Green Bay Packers

ESPN Milwaukee is reporting that Anthony Hargrove is headed to Green Bay. Hargrove’s Tweet: Play with Pickett when he was a Ram. Going to be great playing with him again… The 272-lb. defensive end may seem too small for the position in a 3-4, but generally if a player has success at both end and tackle in a 4-3 they can handle the end responsibilities in a 3-4. When he earned...

Saturday in the Hall?

Jeff Saturday is without doubt my favorite Colt. His everyman story of struggling just to make in the NFL is inspiring. He's a good man, a father and clearly a man on great character. He's also been one whale of an offensive lineman and a leader to boot.  Nate Dunlevy tackles the tough question about Jeff's credentials for the Hall of Fame in his tweet bag: A: Great...

Saturday signed Friday to play Sunday with Packers

I can't really take credit for that headline concept (darn it!). That was more or less an ESPN line. Something to the effect that "Jeff Saturday signed Friday to play Sunday." Well done, es-pen, well done indeed.Anyway, the point of all the above is that veteran, venerable, free agent center Jeff Saturday was signed by the Green Bay Packers yesterday. He will replace...

Anthony Hargrove to Become a Packer?

  There is some interesting news floating around regarding Anthony Hargrove and the Green Bay Packers, as according to Aaron Wilson of Profootball.scout.com, Hargrove Tweeted this: "not official but like i said green and yellow green yellow. can't wait for my first Lambeau Leap on game day. not yet but we screaming green and yellow green and yellow go packers go."...

Hargrove Would Come With Baggage

Former Saint has already been suspended twice by the league Unable to sign a proven pass rusher in free agency and unwilling to rely on the likes of Erik Walden and Jarius Wynn for another season, the normally conservative Ted Thompson now appears willing to go the unconventional route in an effort to improve what was his team’s Achilles’ heel in 2011. What other explanation...

Kuhn Traveled Extra Miles To Pursue Passion

NC State's Markus Kuhn, who was born in Germany, has the size, athletic ability and love of the game to appeal to the Packers, who needed a defensive end before Mike Neal's suspension. Kuhn, who will 26 in May, is one of the most underrated players in the draft and is a midround prospect.

Path to Draft 8: MSU's Saulsberry

Jeff Saturday was a great addition but he does nothing to address the long-term needs at center. Mississippi State's Quentin Saulsberry is the Packers' kind of lineman, with starts at four positions during his career.

Packers sign defensive tackle Daniel Muir

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Ted Thompson has suddenly become quite active in free agency. Just hours after signing center Jeff Saturday, the Packers have added defensive tackle Daniel Muir. Muir, 28, played for Green Bay as an undrafted rookie in 2007, appearing in three games and recording four tackles. Muir has spent the past four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, where he started 26...
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.