The scuttlebutt around Green Bay early last year was that Packers coach Mike McCarthy had become “fed up” with general manager Ted Thompson’s penchant for building his teams almost exclusively through the draft.
That may explain why Thompson went a little off script this spring and signed tight ends Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks in free agency. Still, it’s hard to beat the results of Thompson’s longstanding draft-and-develop approach.
The 2016 season was the second in the last three years in which the Packers reached the NFC title game and the ninth in the 12 years since Thompson took over as Green Bay’s GM that the Packers have made the playoffs.
There’s nothing to suggest that playoff run is nearing an end. At 33, quarterback Aaron Rodgers is still in his prime, and thanks to Thompson’s approach to team building, he has a lot of young talent around him.
Good thing, too, because his rare foray into free agency aside, there’s little to suggest that Thompson has any plans to drastically alter his approach to team building anytime soon.
With that in mind, here’s a look at the five players who will likely have the biggest impact on the Packers in the years just ahead and why they are the players most important to the Packers’ future.
Aaron Rodgers, QB
Rodgers may be 33, but he’s playing like he’s 23. If you doubt that, check out this stat: A year ago, Rodgers tied for the league lead with 13 touchdown passes thrown outside the pocket. The player that matched him was 23-year-old Buccaneers quarterback…
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