Packers Select Jordy Nelson With First 2nd-Rd Pick
Green Bay Packers NFL Draft Party
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- After trading out of the first round, the Green Bay Packers used the first of their three second-round picks on Kansas State wide receiver Jordy Nelson.
By taking Nelson, an All-American and All-Big 12 selection for the Wildcats last season, general manager Ted Thompson stuck with his draft philosophy of trading down to acquire more picks and taking the player he and his staff deem the best available - even if that player isn't a household name and doesn't fill an immediate need.
With Donald Driver and Greg Jennings, wide receiver appears to be one of the Packers' best-stocked positions heading into next season. But defensive tackle was a strength last year and that didn't stop Thompson from using his first-round pick on a player at that position, Tennessee's Justin Harrell.
Packers wide receivers coach Jimmy Robinson said he wasn't surprised by the pick.
"Not a surprise, based on what I think our philosophy is," Robinson said. "We're looking for great football players, and guys that are good people. And whatever position it happens to be, if we feel like that's one on the board that's there at the time we pick, that's certainly not my call but that's what Ted does."
Nelson doesn't have overwhelming speed, but has good size for a receiver - 6-foot-2, 217 pounds - and can run for yards after the catch, a critical part of the Packers' offense.
"I think I'll be able to fit in real well, and I'm excited to get started," Nelson said.
The Packers passed over a better-known wide receiver, Texas' Limas Sweed, to take Nelson with the 36th overall pick in the draft. By trading the 30th pick in the first round to the New York Jets, the Packers also passed over several other high-profile receivers and a highly regarded tight end, Purdue's Dustin Keller.
Robinson said Nelson's size and ability to run after the catch made him a good fit for the Packers.
"There's a lot of good receivers in the draft, but we just felt like this young man really fit what we do really well," Robinson said.
Nelson ran the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds at the NFL scouting combine, making him a step slower than the NFL's elite receivers.
Packers scout Lenny McGill conceded that Nelson's timed speed is "probably average," but said his combination of good size and decent speed allows him to make plays.
"When you're 6-2 and as big as this kid is, I think 4.5 is good enough speed," McGill said. "The one thing about him is he lined up in the Big 12 conference against pretty good competition, and week in, week out, the kid made plays."
By taking Nelson, the Packers also passed up a chance to take a quarterback to back up new starter Aaron Rodgers, as Michigan's Chad Henne and Louisville's Brian Brohm both were on the board when the Packers took Nelson.
Green Bay traded its first-round pick to the Jets to pick up the second-rounder they used on Nelson as well as New York's fourth-round pick. The Packers have two more second-round picks to make - the 56th and 60th overall selections.
© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.