Originally posted on Speculative Sports  |  Last updated 3/25/12

GREEN BAY, WI - JULY 28: General Manager Ted Thompson of the Green Bay Packers watches as his team works out during summer training camp on July 28, 2008 at the Hutson Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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.

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Rams WR Stedman Bailey in hospital after being shot in head

Furious Brad Stevens blasts Celtics after lackluster game

Did Bryce Harper deserve the MVP?

Duke 5-star commit posts moving message after successful surgery

Ex-LSU commit still supports Les Miles

Report: Ray Lewis gave Bills pregame pep talk


Report: Marshawn Lynch out a few weeks to recover

Peyton Manning to miss at least two more weeks

Notre Dame DT: Committee 'spit in our faces' with ranking

LaRon Landry suspended indefinitely by NFL

Don’t blame Mike Pettine for benching Johnny Manziel. Blame Johnny.

Danny Ainge: Celtics’ Marcus Smart has shown ‘propensity to get injured’

Nick Young seems to take shot at Kobe Bryant

WATCH: College basketball player makes 3-pointer while wobbly from concussion

The five most overrated teams in the Week 13 coaches' poll

Clemson WR calls South Carolina fans 'rude'

Jonathan Lucroy trade market bolstered by weak catching market

Michigan State lists two starting QBs on depth chart

10 storylines for Week 13 of the college football season

LISTEN: Browns fan cries on radio while ripping Johnny Manziel

Texas A&M QB Kyle Allen says he was injured vs. Alabama

Report: Maple Leafs are no longer the NHL’s most valuable franchise

Ranking the 10 best games of 2015 college football rivalry week

Did a Chipotle employee convince Danny Ainge to trade for Isaiah Thomas?

Bud Black joins Angels organization as special assistant to GM

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The five most overrated teams in the Week 13 coaches' poll

10 storylines for Week 13 of the college football season

Ranking the 10 best games of 2015 college football rivalry week

Examining the Mavericks' hot start

Johnny Bench(ed): Manziel demoted to third string

Mike Trout, four years in

Tom Brady on ‘Rex Ryan!’ line call: It’s ‘in the playbook’

Five NFL teams trending downward

Not so fast, USC: Eagles Chip Kelly buys Philly-area home

The five best hockey fights from Week 7

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker