Ted Thompson's History With Vince Young
by Mike Conklin
August 27, 2012
This isn't a story. This isn't a rumor. This is simply an observation.
In 2006, the Packers had the fifth overall pick. Vince Young was one of the top prospects that year, and for a while during the draft process it appeared that there was a possibility he may fall into Ted Thompson's lap.
He ended up being chosen third by the Titans, and the Packers went ahead and picked A.J. Hawk when they were on the clock. But the fact that there was a very real possibility that Young would be there on the board for the Packers means that Ted Thompson must have considered him very carefully.
In light of how Vince Young's NFL career has played out, it is easy to forget what an amazing player he was in college. Most of us remember how he led Texas to a national championship in a thrilling come-from-behind victory over Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, and the USC powerhouse. What is often overlooked is the fact that he finished that season as the #3 passer in the nation, with a quarterback rating of 163.9. He was great with the ball in his hands, and gained over 1,000 yards on the ground while still passing for over 3,000 yards.
In the spring of 2006, Vince Young put on one of the greatest pre-draft workouts many scouts had ever seen. Thompson was in attendance, and despite his usual reluctance to speak about specific prospects he had some strong comments about Young.
"That was a hell of a workout," Thompson said. "What impressed me the most was his velocity on all his throws. And he's just so smooth in everything he does."
That does not sound like the Ted Thompson we have come to know the past several years. But he wasn't finished.
"The more I watch him now, the more I realize that I haven't seen anyone quite like him," added Thompson. "Usually, when you're scouting a player, you think to yourself, 'He reminds me of so-and-so.' But in this case, Young doesn't remind me of anyone. He seems to be one of a kind. The more I watch him, the more I just scratch my head and wonder how he did that."
And then there's the money quote...
"I'll go back to the Sam Bowie situation. If you have a chance to get Michael Jordan, you get Michael Jordan."
Thompson was, of course, referring to the infamous 1984 NBA draft when the Portland Trailblazers drafted the 7'4" center from Kentucky. They needed a big man, so the Blazers chose Bowie over a certain shooting guard from North Carolina who went on to become the best basketball player in the world.
We have had six years with Thompson since that time and have been able to observe how he usually handles the draft process. Those uncharacteristically strong comments from him could lead one to believe that he may have been posturing for other teams who may have wanted to trade up to draft Young. Even though Thompson doesn't seem like the typical smoke-blower, that does come with the job description of an NFL General Manager. After all, Thompson already had Aaron Rodgers waiting in the wings so there was no way he was going to draft another quarterback with the fifth overall pick.
But if there were any truth at all to what Thompson said, it is likely that he has not forgotten what he saw when he broke down that film of the dynamic Longhorns quarterback. He played the game like nobody had seen before. Before there was RG3 or Cam Newton, there was Vince Young. He was able to run and pass and keep defenses completely on their heels.
After the Bills traded for Tarvaris Jackson, it now looks like Vince Young will be available. He has bounced around for a while, and should come cheap. If the Packers decide the Graham Harrell experiment didn't go as planned, would they consider bringing in Young as a backup quarterback?
This has been an offseason of surprises from Thompson. He traded up three times in the draft, signed free agents, and even brought in "bad boy" Cedric Benson. Could Benson and Jermichael Finley's former teammate at Texas be next?
The chances of this happening are located somewhere between slim and none. But based on Thompson's comments six years ago combined with the current state of the backup quarterback situation, it is enough to at least raise an eyebrow.
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