The history of the NFL Draft rarely gives one a good feeling of what is to come in the future. Still, it is always a fun exercise to look back into the past to see what successes (and failures) a team has had with the picks that they hold heading into a new draft.
This year, the Green Bay Packers enter draft weekend with 11 selections, including two picks each in the first and second rounds. Those additional picks come courtesy of the Las Vegas Raiders as compensation for acquiring wide receiver Davante Adams from Green Bay. As will be discussed shortly, one of those picks has a fun bit of history associated with it as we look back at how the Packers have used these selections throughout the franchise’s long and storied history.
The Packers have used the 22nd overall pick just three times in team history and only once in the past 78 years. That pick was a good one, however, as Green Bay selected Iowa guard Ron Hallstrom with that pick in the 1982 NFL Draft. Hallstrom did not start a game in his first two seasons, but would go on to be an eight-year starter for the Packers, playing nearly every game from 1984 through 1992 before going on to one final year with the Eagles prior to his retirement. Hallstrom compiled an Approximate Value of 58 for his career in Green Bay.
The Packers’ other picks at 22 overall were back Tom Kuzma from Michigan in 1944 and tackle Marty Schreyer out of Purdue in 1938 (the ‘38 draft featured the pick of Cecil Isbell at 7th overall).
Green Bay has used the 28th pick much more recently than the 22nd, as we only have to go back ten years to find that selection. The Packers chose pass-rusher Nick Perry from USC with the 28th overall pick in 2012 as they looked for a complement to go with Clay Matthews. Perry had a few nice years in a Packers uniform, most notably racking up 11 sacks in a contract year back in 2016. However, he was never quite the impact player that the Packers envisioned when using a first-round pick on him, and he dealt with myriad injuries during his seven seasons in Green Bay.
A much longer tenure as a Packers pass-rusher came from the team’s 1977 pick at 28, when Green Bay selected Ezra Johnson out of Morris Brown college. Johnson played for the Packers for 11 seasons, earning a Pro Bowl appearance in 1978 with an estimated 17.5 sacks (note that sacks were not an official statistic until 1981). He also racked up 14.5 sacks in 1983, the Packers’ lone playoff season between 1972 and 1992, and had a total of 82 estimated sacks for his Green Bay career before going on to play a few years in Indianapolis and Houston.
1963 saw Vince Lombardi draft safety Tom Brown from Maryland at 28, a player who would start next to Willie Wood on the back end of the defense during the team’s three-peat in 1965, ‘66, and ‘67. He played for Green Bay for five seasons and racked up 13 interceptions, then followed Lombardi to Washington in 1969 but played just one game that year. The Packers also selected 28th the year prior in 1962, picking guard Ed Blaine, who would go on to a brief but productive career with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The very best Packers pick at 28, however, came in 1952, when the team selected one of the most dominant safeties of the era: Bobby Dillon. Dillon made four All-Pro teams in the 1950s and accumulated a whopping 52 interceptions in just eight seasons, which still stands as the franchise’s career record. He would eventually earn induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2020 as a senior member of the special Centennial Slate of enshrinees.
This one is easy: Davante Adams. The Packers made Adams the 53rd overall pick of the 2014 draft, and in a coincidence, got the 53rd pick of this year’s draft back in exchange for trading the franchise-tagged Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders earlier this spring.
Green Bay’s only other 53rd overall pick was guard/linebacker Hank Bullough, the 53rd pick in 1955 who would play just two seasons for the Packers. However, he had a lengthy career as an NFL head coach and defensive coordinator, and had a longer stint as the Packers’ DC from 1988 to 1991 under head coach Lindy Infante.
The Packers have used the 59th pick a handful of times in team history, but never more recently than 1965, when they took guard Jim Harvey out of Mississippi. He was also selected by the Oakland Raiders in the AFL Draft, however, and ended up playing for Oakland instead — including a start against the Packers in Super Bowl II.
The Packers’ other picks at 59 include halfback Pres Johnston (1942), tackle Millard White (1940), guard Frank Twedell (1939), and end Merle Wendt (1937).
Neither of the two players picked 92nd by the Packers in the last 50 years did much for the team. In 2002, the Packers selected safety Marques Anderson with that pick; he would start as a rookie, intercepting two passes and taking two of them back for touchdowns, but got dealt to the Raiders after falling out of favor in his second season in Green Bay. The Packers also drafted running back Brendan McCarthy from Boston College in 1968, but he didn’t play a game for the team, instead playing just 15 career games between the Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos.
Other picks at 92 include end Russ Dennis (1956), back Lauren Hargrove (1953), and center Tom Moulton (1947).
The Packers have used the 132nd pick four different times in their history, starting with center Jay Bachman in 1967, running back Bryan Thomas in 1983, and wide receiver Charles Wilson in 1990. Wilson was the only one of those three players to suit up for the Packers in a game, as he caught 26 passes for 389 yards and a score over two seasons.
The most recent pick, however, came in that same 2012 draft class that brought the Packers Nick Perry. However, at 132, they got arguably their best selection of that draft: defensive tackle Mike Daniels from Iowa. Daniels would become the team’s primary starter recorded 29 sacks in seven years with the Packers and made a Pro Bowl in 2017.
The last time the Packers picked at 140 was back in 1971, when they drafted Alabama quarterback Scott Hunter in that spot. Earl McQuiston, a guard from Iowa, was the Packers’ pick at 140 in 1963. He would immediately step in as the Packers’ starter and after a rough rookie season, he helped lead the Packers to a 10-4 record in 1972 and an NFC Central Division title. The Packers traded Hunter to Buffalo in the summer of 1974, however, and he would bounce around to a few more teams before being out of football after 1979.
The Packers’ other picks at 140 came earlier, and none are recorded to have played a game for the team:
- Dick Curran, back (1953)
- Max Burnett, back (1956)
- Gale Weidner, QB (1962)
- Earl McQuiston, G (1963)
There’s not much to see here with the 171st pick. The Packers selected tackle Charley Tatom in 1948, back Ton Newell in 1958, and linebacker Eric Wilson in 1985. Only Wilson ever played an NFL game, but he did not do so in Green Bay; instead, he played 14 games for the Bills as a rookie, then started three games early on for Washington in 1987, earning a Super Bowl ring. The most notable part about the Wilson pick for the Packers is that it’s the pick they acquired via trade from the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for kicker Jan Stenerud.
This late in the draft, there are few notable players to mention. Here are Green Bay’s selections at 228 across team history:
- George Zellick, end (1943)
- Grady Bolton, OT (1966)
- Keith Myers, QB (1978)
- Gregg Harris, G (1987)
- Neal Wilkinson, TE (1988)
- DeShawn Wynn, RB (2007)
Only Wynn ever played in the NFL, appearing in 16 games for the Packers over three years and 23 total in his NFL career. Wynn rushed for 332 yards on 64 carries, scoring five touchdowns as a complement to Ryan Grant and Brandon Jackson.
Linebacker Eugene McCaslin has the distinction of being the only player ever drafted by the Packers with the 249th pick in the NFL Draft. He was drafted out of Florida in 2000 and he played in just one game, which came during his rookie season. McCaslin dabbled as a running back for a bit for the Gators before moving to linebacker as a senior, where he started 12 games but missed Florida’s bowl game after having knee surgery.
Another who’s who of picks who did not make an impact in Green Bay, the Packers have made four selections all-time at 258:
- Pete Susick, back (1943)
- Len Liss, tackle (1944)
- Art Felker, end (1951)
- Dave Hathcock, DB (1966)
Hathcock was the only one of these players to suit up in the NFL, as he would play every game for the Packers as a rookie en route to the team’s victory in Super Bowl I. He then played six games for the New York Giants in 1967, returning a handful of punts and kickoffs.