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Packers Draft History: Ron Wolf found a franchise left tackle at pick #44

The Packers have made five selections at 44, but one stands head and shoulders above the rest.

Green Bay Packers v Carolina Panthers

The Green Bay Packers hold ten draft picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, and for a team that has a storied, 100-year history, they have predictably made selections in the past at every one of these draft slots. Over the next few days leading up to this year’s draft, Acme Packing Company will examine the Packers’ history at each current slot for 2019, as well as run down the names of recent picks around the league at the position.

While the Packers’ draft picks at the #30 slot in team history have left the team wanting, the most recent selection by Green Bay at #44 overall was a stalwart for over a decade. The team has picked 44th five times in history, but Ron Wolf found an absolute stud for the offensive line 2000, a player who steadily protected two quarterbacks for 12 years.

Here’s a look at the history in Green Bay with the 44th pick in the NFL Draft.

Packers’ History at #44

1953: Gib Dawson, RB

In the 1950s and 60s, the 44th pick was a fourth-rounder, and the Packers used it three times in those two decades. The first such pick was Dawson, a Texas running back who played just one season in the NFL. In that rookie year, he played seven games and served primarily as a punt and kick returner. Dawson had jut five carries for 18 yards, but he returned seven punts for 72 yards (including a 60-yard touchdown) and four kickoffs for 102 yards.

1956: Cecil Morris, G

Despite being a fourth-round draft pick, Morris never played a down of football in the NFL.

1964: Bob Long, WR

A 6-foot-3 flanker from Wichita State, Long served in a backup role for the Packers during their championship three-peat in 1965, 66, and 67. Long’s best season as a Packer was in 1965, when he played in 13 games and caught 13 passes for 304 yards and four touchdowns.

After Vince Lombardi left Green Bay following the 1967 season, Long did as well. After a year with the Atlanta Falcons in 1968, Long rejoined Lombardi in Washington for his most productive season, catching 48 passes for 533 yards and a score while starting every game. He played one more year in the NFL, suiting up for three games with the LA Rams in 1970.

1979: Steve Atkins, RB

By the late 1970s, pick 44 was now a second-round pick. In 1979, they tabbed Maryland running back Steve Atkins as their choice, and he served as a backup for parts of three seasons before being released early in the 1981 campaign.

Atkins carried the football 120 times for 467 yards and two touchdowns in 19 games with the team, adding 18 receptions for 138 yards and another score.

2000: Chad Clifton, OT

Unquestionably the finest 44th pick in Packers history was Clifton, a massive tackle from Tennessee who immediately stepped into the starting lineup for a decade. Ron Wolf made Clifton the 44th selection in Wolf’s penultimate draft as the Packers’ GM.

Early in his career, Clifton seemed destined to be remembered not for his excellent play, but for being the target on a brutal blind-side hit from Warren Sapp on an interception return late in the 2002 season. Clifton suffered a hip injury in that game that put his career in question, but he returned to the starting lineup the following year. In the following eight-year span from 2003 to 2010, however, Clifton missed just six games, protecting the blind sides of Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Clifton’s career came to an end following an injury-shortened 2011 season.

Somehow, Clifton only made two Pro Bowls in his stellar career, but Packers fans know how critical he was to the success of the offense. He earned induction into the Packers Hall of Fame in 2016.

Recent History at #44

  • 2018: Dante Pettis, WR, Washington (49ers)
  • 2017: Gerald Everett, TE, South Alabama (Rams)
  • 2016: Jihad Ward, DE, Illinois (Raiders)
  • 2015: Hau’oli Kikaha, OLB, Washington (Saints)
  • 2014: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama (Bills)
  • 2013: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue (Panthers)
  • 2012: Jeff Allen, OT, Illinois (Chiefs)
  • 2011: Titus Young, WR, Boise State (Lions)