It came with its share of bad picks, controversial cuts and losing seasons, but if you look back at the past seven years as steps in the overall plan of Ted Thompson, I don't know what other word you can reasonably use.
Thompson inherited a team populated mostly by aging veterans and failed Mike Sherman draft picks, with lousy cap management and without a whole lot of talent. He traded down, traded down and traded down again in the draft, picking 34 times in his first three years.
Under him, the Packers accumulated cheap talent through the draft and off the street, augmented the team with a few veteran free agents, and refused to deviate from drafting the best player available. Meanwhile, he rebuilt the coaching staff after the mass purgings in 2005 and 2008 and built a strong front office.
Thompson's first four years as GM looked like this: 4-12, 8-8, 14-4, 6-10. His last three? 11-6, 14-6, 15-2 and one Super Bowl win.
After last season, the offense doesn't need any work. Sure, the Packers could use a backup center and QB, an upgrade at running back, and they don't have a solid left tackle for next year. But it's the defense that needs immediate help, and good Lord, did Thompson deliver.
On Wednesday, the Packers needed help at outside linebacker, at safety, at cornerback and at defensive end. What did they take? First round, OLB. Second round, traded up for a DT/DE. Second round, traded up again for a CB. Fourth round, DT/DE. Fourth round, S. Fifth round, traded up once more for a LB.
If you're scoring at home, Thompson traded up thrice in the past three days, which is as many times as he'd done so in the previous six years. And prior to the draft, he went out and got defensive tackles/ends Anthony Hargrove and Daniel Muir as unrestricted free agents, an action which nearly caused Packer fandom to swallow its collective tongues.
Make no mistake: This is for the championship.
The Packers were third in total offense last year and last in total defense and still won fifteen games. If you're looking for Green Bay to go win a championship in 2012, no one will say that Thompson didn't do his damnedest to help the Packers get one.
The time for trading down and slowly building a team has come and gone in Green Bay. The time for getting the few key pieces for another Super Bowl run has arrived.
The Packers are as deep and talented on offense as any team in football. Combined with their existing defensive core, the coaching staff now has the pieces it'll need to win on defense.
There are foes to reckon with, for sure. The Bears and the Lions are waiting in the NFC North. The Giants will contend again. Philadelphia has too much talent not to put it together this year, and San Francisco should be back in the title hunt. And with what might now be the deepest team in football, the Packers will be right there with 'em.