Last year, Ted Thompson was the bold one. The Green Bay Packer general manager was the cavalier chasing up his draft board for potential starters on defense.

Twelve picks became eight. He moved up three times.

Out of character?

"I'm not my father's son anymore," Thompson joked then. "It's pathetic."

The theme of the 2012 draft was aggressiveness, defense, need. Thompson looked to invigorate the league's last-ranked pass defense through trades and by riding the first-round wave of pass rushers in USC gamble Nick Perry.

This year - picking at the end of the first round again - it'd be wise for Thompson to be his father's son.

This time, he should trade down.

The stars may align for such a scenario. If a market for quarterbacks - think Ryan Nassib, E.J. Manuel, Mike Glennon, maybe even Matt Barkley - does build then Thompson should capitalize and trade out of the first round.

This draft is dense in the first three rounds. Not much separates the top 15 prospects from the top 40-50. If those quarterback-needy teams wisely wait early on, they'll be hungry to jump back into the first round a couple hours later.

Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix himself has done just about everything but fly above all NFL cities with a helicopter message announcing his desire for a quarterback.

Thompson hasn't exactly been a fan favorite this off-season. Fans want action, a big splash, a new face that strikes fear in the 49ers. Instead, they acquired a kicker released by the 49ers in training camp.

No, trading down isn't what his constituents (owners?) want to hear. But it's the smart thing to do. If the Denver Broncos will trade three picks - a second, a third and a fourth - for Tim Tebow at No. 25 . . . and the Cleveland Browns will trade a second and a future first for Brady Quinn at No. 22 . . . and the Buffalo Bills will trade a second, a fifth and a future first for J.P. Losman, well, OK you get the point.

Visions of Manuel dizzying defenses with read option or Nassib in the cockpit of a West Coast offense will multiply. So often at quarterback, GM's convince themselves what they want to believe and overvalue.

So without one glaring need - unlike last season - the Packers should deal down. Maybe they're able to fle