As the 2010 NFL Draft approaches, and anticipation builds, Packer fans everywhere are hoping the team’s first round draft pick will turn out to be the team’s next Hall of Famer. Unfortunately, Packers’ history says that’s not very likely.
The Green Bay Packers have 19 players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Only 3, however, were first round draft choices (Paul Hornung, Herb Adderley and James Lofton). Only 2 (Adderley and Lofton) were between the years of 1959-2009 that this article covers.
In the 72-year history of the NFL Draft, Green Bay has only had the first overall pick once, in 1959. It would be Vince Lombardi’s first draft and his selection, quarterback Randy Duncan, unfortunately made my previous list of the WORST Packers first-round draft picks of the last 50 years.
You may be surprised to know that the Packers have been very active first-round traders. In 28 of the past 50 drafts, the Packers have made a trade involving a first round draft choice.
Before we get to the picks, two disclaimers:
You will not find Jerry Kramer or Paul Hornung on this list as they were drafted before 1959.
You will not find Aaron Rodgers or Clay Matthews on this list as their bodies of work, while impressive, are still too short.
So, without further delay, here is the list:
Nick Barnett – LB – 2003 – Selected 29th overall – 6’2″, 236 lbs.
For you Packer fans without NFL Network (like myself), looking for something to watch this weekend, I have just the ticket.
NFL network has a series where they chronicle the greatest Super Bowl Champions. This one is on the 1966 Green Bay Packers and contains some fantastic footage and interviews, many of which I hadn’t seen before.
The interviews include some great Packers anectdotes. Here’s one:
By 1964, the “mystique” of Vice Lombardi had already become legendary, both inside and outside of the game. Center Bill Curry was drafted by the Packers in 1964. Training camp time rolled around and Curry went to the airport to catch his flight to Green Bay for the first day of camp. When he got to the airport, he was told that his flight had been cancelled, and he had been put on the next flight out, which wasn’t until the next morning.
Curry asked to speak with the airline’s manager. Curry told the manager (paraphrasing here…) “You’re going to make me late for my first meeting with Vince Lombardi. It’s your fault and your airline’s fault, and I’m going to make sure the coach knows that.”
The manager had Curry’s bag retrieved, arranged for a single engine plane, personally put Curry on the plane, had him flown to Manitowac and had a van waiting there to pick up Curry and take him to St. Norbert College. Curry made it to his first meeting with Lombardi with 15 minutes to spare and everyone, especially the airline manager breathed a huge sigh of relief. Nobody wanted to incur the wrath of Vince Lombardi…
Selecting the All-time Packers Team on offense was no simple task. With 12 world championships in its glorious history, Green Bay, WI., has been home to many of the best to ever play in the NFL. A visit to the Packers Hall of Fame is second only to Canton itself.
The Packers have, seemingly, always been rather progressive on the offensive side of the ball. Whether it was Curly Lambeau’s passing attack, Vince Lombardi’s power sweep, or Mike Holmgren’s modified West Coast offense, Green Bay have been NFL offensive pioneers on many occasions.The end result is an enormously talented pool of players to choose from. Some of these picks will be obvious. Some will be controversial. But they were all the best of the best in different ways for different reasons.
Let’s proceed to the All-time Green Bay Packers offense:
Center: Jim Ringo
131 games as a Packer
1953-63, Green Bay Packers
1964-67, Philadelphia Eagles
10 Pro Bowls
Seven-time first-team All-Pro
1960s All-Decade Team
Pro Football Hall of Fame Member
Two NFL Championship rings
Out of Phillipsburg, New Jersey via Syracuse University, Jim Ringo came to the Packers as a 20-year-old seventh round draft choice in 1953.
At the time, the 6′2″ Ringo weighed only 211 pounds, which even then was vastly undersized for an NFL lineman. Intimidated by the size of his competition, Ringo tried to quit during his first training camp, but his family promptly sent him back to camp, unwilling to take in a “quitter.”