Draft Rewind – Green Bay Packers

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With the NFL draft dominating the sports landscape, let’s take a look back at each team’s hits and misses over the past 25 years.

FIVE BEST PICKS

1. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Cal. 1st round, #24 overall in 2005.

Rodgers was draft day fodder in 2005, but has since had the last laugh. One has to wonder his fate, had Cowboy CB Nate Jones not knocked Brett Favre out of the game on a Thursday night late in the 2007 season;

Rodgers threw for 200 yds and a TD in relief, and you have to believe coaches and management were impressed enough in part to decide to move on from Favre in the offseason. Rodgers has since established himself as an elite QB.

2. Donald Driver, WR, Alcorn St. 7th round, #213 overall in 1999.
29 wide receivers were taken in the 1999 NFL Draft. Only likely Hall of Famer Torry Holt has had a better career than Driver. 14 seasons (10 as a starter), 10,000 yards receiving, and four Pro Bowls. Driver retired in 2013 holding Packer records for catches and yards.

3. Marco Rivera, OG, Penn St. 6th round, #208 overall in 1996.
It took a few years of World League allocations and game day inactivations, but Rivera eventually established himself as one of the better guards in football for a five year stretch in the early 2000’s. In 2011, he was inducted into the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame. Not bad for a 6th round pick.

4. Clay Matthews, LB, USC. 1st round, #26 overall in 2009.

Green Bay traded a 2nd and two 3rds to get the 26th pick and grab Matthews in 2009. Five years later, it looks like a very shrewd decision. Matthews has developed into one of the best OLB in football under the tutelage of Kevin Greene, and has a promising career ahead of him.

5. Mark Tauscher, OT, Wisconsin. 7th round, #224 overall in 2000.
Although not an elite RT during his career, Tauscher was a solid, nine-year starter for the Pack. When you get that kind of production from an OT in the last round of the draft, that is a very good pick.

FIVE WORST PICKS

1. Tony Mandarich, OT, Mich St. 1st round, #2 overall in 1989.
Sports Illustrated touted Mandarich on their cover as “The Incredible Bulk” leading up to the draft, and “…the best offensive line product ever”. Instead, he turned out to be a notorious bust. He was terrible with the Packers, lasted three years, and was soon in rehab. Future Hall of Famers were drafted with the next three picks in the 1989 draft. He did manage a mini-comeback with the Colts a few years later, actually exhibiting some decent line play.

2. Jamaal Reynolds, DE, Florida St. 1st round, #10 overall in 2001.
Reynolds never started a game in three years with the Packers, battling injury problems. The Packers moved up from 17 to 10 to draft Reynolds, trading Matt Hassellbeck to the Seahawks in the process. Rubbing salt in the wound, Seattle used the 17th pick to select future seven-time Pro Bowl guard Steve Hutchinson.

3. Justin Harrell, DT, Tennessee. 1st round, #16 overall in 2007.

Six years later it was the same story for the Packers; Harrell could never stay healthy, was not good when he was, and played 14 games in three forgettable seasons. LaMarr Woodley and Charles Johnson were on the board at 16, among others.

4. Vinnie Clark, CB, Ohio St. 1st round, #19 overall in 1991.

Clark was your average NFL nickel corner. He lasted five years and played for four teams; I will not bore you with his mediocre numbers. The Packers should have just drafted Brett Favre, whom they acquire the next year in exchange for a first round pick.

5. Brian Brohm, QB, Louisville. 2nd round, #56 overall in 2008.
Brohm was drafted as insurance the year Green Bay turned the offense over to Aaron Rodgers; fellow draftee Matt Flynn beat him out for the #2 job and he was released the following year without taking a snap for the Packers. He had two disastrous starts with the Bills and now plies his trade in the CFL. Green Bay otherwise had a solid 2008 draft, finding four future starters.

Stats courtesy of pro-football-reference.com

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