Thompson Has Plenty of 'Valuable Information'

Packers general manager Ted Thompson held his pre-draft news conference on Thursday. Here are the highlights, including a look back at the "risk" of trading up to get Clay Matthews in 2009.

Here are the highlights from Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson's pre-draft news conference. (This was done on the fly so pardon any typos.)

- I'm sure there will be a lot of valuable information, Thompson jokes.

- Says he misses Reggie McKenzie, John Schneider and John Dorsey. "We have good people to stand in in their place."

- Anything change with personnel changes: Some adjustments. Certain people in charge of certain things.

- People in room are "mandated" to challenge to "make sure we're doing what's right for the organization."

- Meeting with defensive coaches Thursday afternoon; met with offensive coaches on Wednesday afternoon.

- Says he speaks to Dorsey "fairly often" especially during weekends. Same with Schneider and McKenzie. "They're good people. They're thinking a million different scenarios that could happen."

- On trading up to get Matthews (three picks). Risk of trading up because you lose more than one pick: "It's the risk-reward ratio that you work with at any time in the draft. Do we take this guy now or do we take a chance on him being there a little later?" Or do you take a talented guy who's a "knucklehead." On Matthews, thought the move was "worthy" at the time.

- What see in Matthews: "We liked him, we liked the things that he would bring to our defense. He played that position in college. ... When you watched his senior tape, it was good stuff."

- Traded up three times in 2012 draft. Reason to trade up: "When you think you see value. That's why we go backward (too)." Will trade back when several quality players ranked the same so can move back and can get a guy they want.

- Would he prefer to move back to get more picks: "It's like Ron always said: You're not going to get a hit every time you go to the plate but if you have more swings you have a better chance of getting a hit." Prefers more quality than anything.

- Does he consider his current roster when looking at draft board or is there some fitting of needs: "We certainly have those conversations ... to make a player fit in our scheme but, at the end of the day, I do separate them." When player is drafted, try to draft the best player.

- Coaches jump in before Combine and start watching tape on selected players provided by the scouts. "It's interesting to see it from a different set of eyes."

- Everybody's opinions are heard but "it's not a democracy." ... Would he listen to a coach who says, "No, I don't like this player"? "At the end of the day, it's my call and we try to pick the best player." Not that he's a dictator but "That's my job and my responsibility.

- Durability issues are factored into decisions.

- Drafting and developing "is the best way to build your team over the long term." Doesn't mean he won't sign free agents but "we do believe that continually, every year, you need a new class of players in order to sustain a long-term ability to compete and win in the NFL."

- Pressure to not be wrong, given the draft focus. "It's not that much pressure. I'm not trying to make light of this. It's important and we gnash our teeth to try to make the best decisions but, at the end of the day, we don't fuss over whatever."

- Draft grades fluctuate much from the season to all-star games to Combine to pro days: Says board set initially, guys get moved around at Combine and at pro days," then board tends to go back to where it was back in January.

- Importance of Combine and pro days: "There are guys that test better and will improve their stock and there are other times where guys don't test very well and it might lower their value. Does it decide who can play in the NFL? No, it doesn't." But you like to see numbers that equate to production.

- Challenge of building roster with so much invested in Matthews and, eventually, Rodgers: "In a general sense: We understand the restraints and the requirements of the salary cap."

- Will he take a bit of a break to be fresh for draft/danger of overanalyzing: "We'll put this thing to bed and maybe a little bit sooner than normal" and then start contacting other teams. "You've got to trust the work that you've done."

Have it to bed by ... Certainly by Wednesday.

- Danger of saying too much: Calls it "guesswork" when he reads that a team might be leaning toward a specific player. Is that what a team really is going to do or is he laying a trap?

- Cedric Benson on the radar? "I wouldn't comment. He's an unrestricted free agent" and an "injury thing we have to get past."

- Nothing to update on Jolly.

- Rule out bringing back Woodson: "I wouldn't care to speculate on things like that."

- Importance of area scouts going to schools throughout season and pro days in spring: "The study of the game tape and being able to watch them practice and see how they look ... move around in person, I think that's more valuable than going to a pro day or to the Indianapolis Combine." Stuff is gained at those things but "the closer you get to the draft, the more you get back to the football thing."

- Good idea who will be at 26: "I don't know that yet. I'm not going to know that."

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