The New York Jets and Green Bay Packers made one of the most surprising trades in NFL history in 2008. With Brett Favre at the tail end of his career, the Packers sent him to the Jets for a conditional pick, which ended up being a third rounder. However, that move didn’t have nearly as big of an impact as the one that came in the months prior.
Before the Favre trade in August, the Jets and Packers swapped picks on the day of the 2008 NFL Draft. After selecting Vernon Gholston with the No. 6 overall pick, the Jets made a move to get back into the first round. They sent a second-round pick and a fourth rounder to the Packers for No. 30 overall, giving them two first-round selections in 2008.
How did those picks turn out? Let’s take a look back.
Dustin Keller: With the 30th pick, the Jets selected Dustin Keller, a tight end out of Purdue. Keller played in all 16 games as a rookie, catching 48 passes for 535 yards and three touchdowns. In five seasons with the Jets, Keller caught 241 passes for 2,876 yards and 17 touchdowns. He was a consistent tight end in New York — something they haven’t had this season — but his career ended too soon in 2013. After signing with the Miami Dolphins, Keller suffered a career-ending knee injury in the preseason, tearing his ACL, MCL and PCL, while also dislocating his knee.
Jordy Nelson: As surprising as it sounds, the Packers got Jordy Nelson (Kansas State) in the second round — No. 36 overall. Prior to this season, Nelson had missed just seven games in his career and emerged as one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. In 2014, he caught a career-high 98 passes, 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns, but a torn ACL in August has forced him to miss the entire 2015 season. Still, nearly all of his numbers double those of Keller’s. In his career, he has 400 receptions, 6,109 yards receiving and 49 touchdowns. Needless to say, the Packers got the better of this trade as Nelson has become one of the most consistent receivers in the league.
Jeremy Thompson: Fortunately, the Packers nailed their second-round pick in Nelson because Jeremy Thompson, the team’s fourth-round pick, didn’t work out. Thompson started three games as a rookie, but only appeared in 15 in his career. He recorded nine tackles in two seasons before suffering a season-ending neck injury in 2009. In April of 2010, Thompson retired due to an undisclosed injury.
The Packers got the better of this trade, even with Thompson’s career coming to an abrupt end. It didn’t doom the Jets by any means, but it certainly helped the Packers win the Super Bowl in 2010.