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Packers: Drafting Brohm no slight to Rodgers

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- As if trying to fill Brett Favre's shoes wasn't tough enough, Aaron Rodgers now must try to do so with a highly regarded rookie quarterback right behind him.

After trading out of the first round of the NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers took Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm with the second of their three second-round picks Saturday.

Packers general manager Ted Thompson said the team made it clear to Brohm that he's coming in to learn the position as a backup. And Thompson didn't feel it was necessary to call Rodgers right away to reassure him that his job was safe.

"He'll be fine," Thompson said. "Aaron's a pro. He knows this is his gig now."

Of course, that won't stop Brohm from trying to compete.

"I'm just going to keep going about my business and work as hard as I can and let the coaches make those decisions," Brohm said. "All I can do is go in there and learn the playbook, do the best job that I can do to show the coaches what I have."

The Packers passed on a pair of chances to get a much-needed insurance policy at quarterback and still managed to come away with one.

Green Bay traded out of the first round and took a wide receiver, Kansas State's Jordy Nelson, with the second-round pick they received along with a fourth-rounder from the New York Jets.

Brohm, who returned to Louisville despite projections that had him going in the first round last year, wasn't as impressive as a senior but still wasn't expected to last deep into the second round.

Thompson said he considered taking Brohm with the pick they used on Nelson, and said the Packers tried to trade up throughout the second round to get Brohm. But Brohm slid all the way to the 56th pick, and the Packers grabbed him.

"It was a long wait, but I'm just excited to be in the NFL, to be a Green Bay Packer, kind of excited and relieved," Brohm said. "I'm just pumped up and fired up right now."

The Packers then took Auburn cornerback Patrick Lee with their final second-round pick, the 60th overall selection.

Although Brohm could quickly become a fan favorite if Rodgers struggles to fill in for Favre -- who retired last month but continues to hint that his decision might not be 100 percent firm - Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Rodgers is confident in his place on the team.

"Aaron's fine," McCarthy said. "He knows how we feel about him, he knows what his role is on our football team, and he'll be given every opportunity to be successful here."

Saturday wasn't all bad news for Rodgers. He did get a new receiver.

Thompson stuck firmly to his draft philosophy earlier in the day by trading down and taking Nelson, an All-American for the Wildcats last season.

Thompson believes in trading down to acquire more picks and isn't afraid to take the player he and his staff deem the best available -- even if the player isn't a household name and doesn't fill an immediate need.

Wide receiver appears to be one of the Packers' best-stocked positions. 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.

Thompson's conservative philosophy earned him jeers last year from the Packers faithful gathered for a draft party at Lambeau Field. And his decision to trade down and take a receiver apparently didn't go over very well this year.

"I'll be darned if they didn't boo me again a little bit," Thompson joked. "I'm going to have to quit going down there."

Packers wide receivers coach Jimmy Robinson said he wasn't surprised that the team would use its first pick on a position where the team already has considerable talent.

"We're looking for great football players, and guys that are good people," Robinson said. "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.

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