Packers GM Thompson has history with Vince Young
Mike Conklin, Packers contributor
Photo: Image by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
CREATED Aug. 5, 2013
GREEN BAY - News has broken that the Packers will reportedly work out Vince Young.
Considering that fact, it is interesting to look back at the surprisingly storied history that Packers General Manager Ted Thompson shares with the former Texas Longhorns and Tennessee Titans signal caller.
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 chance 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 outstanding player he was in college. College football historians remember how Young 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.
Seven years have passed since that time and fans have been able to observe how Thompson 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.
Could the Packers be serious about signing Vince Young to back up Aaron Rodgers? Stranger things have happened.