Will the Green Bay Packers select a Hall of Famer with one of the draft picks they received in the trade for Aaron Rodgers? Odds of course suggest that the 13th selection will be the team’s best chance to do so, and league history has a handful of players who have busts in Canton — or who will in the future — who heard their names at that spot.
Tight end Tony Gonzalez was the 13th pick in the 1997 draft and was enshrined in 2019. A predecessor of his at that position, Kellen Winslow, was #13 back in 1979. Running back Franco Harris was the pick back in 1972 as well, while the most recent #13 who will be in the Hall is defensive tackle Aaron Donald of the Rams. There’s a notable tight end who went at 42 as well and will likely be headed for Canton — Rob Gronkowski went to the Patriots at that spot in 2010.
Now that the trade is settled, we can repeat the exercise we performed earlier this week — looking at the Packers’ draft history at their spots in 2023 — but examining the updated picks. Here’s a look back at those selections at 13, 42, and 207, which the Packers acquired while giving up 15 and 170.
Strangely enough, all three of the instances of the Packers using the 13th overall selection came in an eight-year span from 1959 to 1966 — with none before or since. The first such selection was halfback Alex Hawkins out of South Carolina. However, after the Packers drafted him 13th overall in 1959, he ended up with the Baltimore Colts, where he would win two NFL titles and played some wide receiver.
Five years later, the Packers drafted defensive end Lloyd Voss, who was also selected by the New York Jets in the AFL draft. The Nebraska product chose to stick with the Packers, playing two seasons in Green Bay and serving as a backup on the 1965 NFL championship team. Before 1966, he departed for Pittsburgh and spent six seasons as a starting defensive lineman for a series of poor Steelers teams before wrapping up his career by playing one season for the Denver Broncos.
The third and final 13th pick in team history is the finest, however, as the Packers drafted a five-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman in 1966. Madison native Gale Gillingham played his college ball at Minnesota and was that selection, and he would go on to serve as a starting guard for the Packers for eight seasons. Gillingham was named to the All-Pro team twice, as a first-teamer in 1970 and a second-teamer in 1969. After an injury-shortened season in 1972, Gillingham again made the Pro Bowl in 1973 and ‘74 and would earn praise from the likes of Forrest Gregg, Bart Starr, and Henry Jordan (all Pro Football Hall of Famers) as one of the best guards to ever play in the NFL.
Bizarrely, the Packers have used the 42nd selection just once in franchise history. That pick came in 1963, right in the middle of their run of 13th picks, when they selected Tulsa offensive lineman Tony Liscio 42nd overall. Like Voss above, Liscio was also a Jets selection in the AFL draft, but like Hawkins, he never played for the Packers. Instead, Liscio ended up with the Dallas Cowboys and played for eight seasons there, most as the starting left tackle. Liscio was a member of Dallas’ first Super Bowl team, when the team won Super Bowl VI over the Miami Dolphins.
Finally, we have a modern-day draft pick in this batch. Green Bay’s most recent pick at any of these slots came in 2018, when they selected wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown from Notre Dame. The oldest of the St. Brown brothers, he spent four years in Green Bay, recording 543 receiving yards and catching one touchdown. St. Brown signed a contract with the Chicago Bears for the 2022 season, where he tied a career-high with 21 receptions and fell just five yards short of his production as a rookie (323 to 328 yards).
Green Bay also has three other picks at 207 in the team’s history: back Credell Green in 1957, defensive end Emery Barnes in 1954, and offensive tackle Howard Tisdale in 1952. Barnes was the only one of the three to appear in an NFL game, suiting up for the Packers in two contests in 1956.