GM Thompson says Packers could draft a quarterback

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson won't pass up a worthwhile passer in this weekend's NFL draft.

And if the Packers end up taking a quarterback with the 30th pick in the first round, Thompson said it shouldn't be interpreted as a lack of confidence in new starter Aaron Rodgers.

"If we take a player at any other position, it's no slight on the players that we have at those positions," Thompson said in his pre-draft news conference Monday. "Aaron, he's comfortable in his own skin. He understands the NFL is the NFL."

Rodgers, the Packers' first-round pick in 2005, finally gets his chance to start next season now that Brett Favre has retired - presumably for good. Thompson said that won't change, even if the Packers draft a quarterback early.

"This is the National Football League, and everybody's got to stand on their own two feet," Thompson said. "And Aaron's been preparing for this time and he's been hoping for this time to come and now it's come. So yeah, he's going to be our quarterback."

Louisville's Brian Brohm could be available when the Packers are on the clock. Other quarterback prospects who could fall to the second round include Delaware's Joe Flacco and Michigan's Chad Henne.

"If we take another guy at 30, we're not saying this other guy's going to be our quarterback," Thompson said. "We're saying that we've gotten another guy to play the position. You can never have too many people, especially at the most important position in the National Football League."

The Packers could be tempted to trade down with a team more desperate to land a quarterback. But if they do draft a quarterback, Thompson won't be worried about Rodgers' mind-set -- even though he knows from his days as a linebacker in Houston that no veteran player likes seeing his team draft a player at his position.

"I was with the Oilers for 10 years, and nine of those 10 springs, I sat there and I was hoping that the Oilers would not draft a linebacker, because I didn't want that added competition," Thompson said. "But there's nothing you can really do about it. That's part of it. I think all the players know they came from the draft, and there will be other players that will come behind them, and that's just the way it is."

The Packers still need to find a viable backup for Rodgers, but Thompson said they don't necessarily need to find that player in the draft. Thompson said the team is still pursuing veteran options.

"The quarterback position is an important position, and we feel very good about Aaron," Thompson said. "There are other ways to get quarterbacks as you go through the spring and the summer, so we don't feel compelled to do anything. But again, if we can create more competition, that's a good thing."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

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