There have been a number of great wide receivers to wear the Green and Gold over the course of the Green Bay Packers‘ history. From the man who started it all in the 1930s, Don Hutson, all the way to Donald “Quickie” Driver himself today, the Packers have had some game-changing wideouts.
Green Bay has been a pass first team over the last decades with Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers at the helm. However, during that time there have been a handful of receivers in Green Bay helping Favre and Rodgers eclipse numerous NFL records.
With Donald Driver retiring just a few short weeks ago and the recent news that the Green Bay Packers will not franchise tag wide receiver Greg Jennings, the 2013 Packers’ wide receiver group will look a bit different.
With the departure of Driver and Jennings, it got me to thinking: where do these two men rank on the Packers’ all-time wide receiver list?
Without further ado, here are your top 10 wide receivers in the history of the Green Bay Packers.
Stats: 275 receptions, 5,422 yards, 35 touchdowns, 19.7 yards per catch average
Carroll Dale is a bit of an unknown in Packers’ history, but his statistics speak for themselves.
Dale was brought to Green Bay in a trade in 1965 with the Los Angeles Rams. Prior to his days in Green Bay, Dale never was part of a winning team in L.A.
All that would change in Green Bay, however. Dale and the Packers won the three league championships and the first two Super Bowls, all within Dale’s first three seasons as a Packer.
Dale’s glory years in Green Bay came between 1968-70.
In 1968, Dale totaled 42 receptions, 818 yards and a career-high eight touchdowns all while being named to the All-NFL second team in 1968.
Dale left the Packers in 1972 to join the Minnesota Vikings, but only played one season in Minnesota before retiring in 1973.
9. Greg Jennings
Stats: 425 receptions, 6,537 yards, 53 touchdowns, 15.4 yards per catch average
It appears Greg Jennings has played his last down in Green Bay. With the team not franchise tagging him, and the Packers unwilling to shell out the reported $12 million a year Jennings wants, all signs point to both sides moving on.
Jennings has been a staple for the Packers the last seven seasons. His numbers stack up well against the best receivers the league has to offer since joining the Packers in 2006.
Jennings’ best season as a Packer came in 2010-11 when he caught 76 passes for 1,265 yards and 12 touchdowns. 2010-11, of course, was the year the Packers would go on to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV, 31-25. Jennings caught four passes for 64 yards and two touchdowns in the victory.
In just seven seasons Jennings has climbed up the list for Packers’ all-time receiving records. If he were to stay in Green Bay, Jennings could have easily challenged any receiving record previously set in Green Bay.
However, if we have seen the last of Jennings in Green Bay, it was a great run that saw Jennings and the Packers hold up the Lombardi trophy.
Stats: 448 receptions, 6,918 yards, 40 touchdowns, 15.4 yards per catch average
Boyd Dowler was a member of the Packers Glory Years in the 1960s. As a primary weapon in a historic offensive scheme, Dowler led the Packers to five championships, including Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II.
In 1963, Dowler had his best season as a pro. He caught 53 passes for a career-high 901 yards and six touchdowns.
Dowler’s career moment came in Super Bowl II when he caught a 62-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Bart Starr in a Packers’ victory. Dowler finished the game with two receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown.
Of Dowler’s 11 seasons in Green Bay, he led the team seven times in receiving yards, which is third all-time in Packers’ history.
Dowler left the Packers after the 1969 season. He would sit out the 1970 NFL season, then join the Washington Redskins in 1971, but only played one season for the Redskins.
Dowler was a two-time Pro Bowler in 1965 and 1967. His 6,918 career receiving yards is good for fifth all-time in Packers’ history.
7. Billy Howton
Stats: 303 receptions, 5,581 yards, 43 touchdowns, 18.4 yards per catch average.
Billy Howton just missed the Packers’ dynasty years of the 1960s. In just seven short seasons as a Packer, Howton racked up an impressive career in the Green and Gold.
Howton was drafted by the Packers in the second round of the 1952 NFL Draft.
As a rookie, Howton immediately made an impact on the field. He set a Packers’ record (which still stands today) with 1,231 yards receiving in his rookie season.
Howton was best known for his tremendous speed and big play ability
Howton led the NFL in receiving yards twice (1952 and 1956) and led the Packers team in receiving for six straight years from 1952-57.
Vince Lombardi was hired to be the Packers’ coach in 1959 following a 1-10-1 season. One of Lombardi’s first moves as coach was trading Howton to the Cleveland Browns in 1959 in exchange for two players. The move was very controversial, but worked out for Lombardi as he went on to dominate the 1960s.
Like Jennings, if Howton would’ve been in Green Bay longer he would have had a great opportunity to break many Packers’ receiving records.
Howton broke the Packers’ single-game receiving record in 1956 against L.A Rams when he caught seven passes for 257 yards.
Howton was inducted into the Packers’ Hall Of Fame in 1974.
Stats: 345 receptions, 6,346 yards, 50 touchdowns, 18.4 yards per catch average
Max McGee was one of the longest-tenured receivers in Green Bay history playing 12 seasons for the Packers.
The Packers took McGee in the 5th round (51st overall) of the 1954 NFL Draft. McGee had a solid rookie season with 36 catches for more than 600 yards and nine touchdowns. His nine touchdowns as a rookie is good enough for second all-time in Packers’ history.
However, McGee would take the next two seasons off to join the Air Force before returning to Green Bay for the 1957 season.
McGee’s best season as a pro came in 1961 when he caught 51 passes for 883 yards and seven touchdowns.
McGee led the NFL in yards per catch in 1959 with 23.2. However, the Packers would have their worst season in team history with a 1-10-1 record.
McGee is fifth all-time in Packers’ history with 50 career touchdown receptions. He led the team in receiving for four times (1958, 1960-62).
McGee won five NFL Championships, including the first two Super Bowls. He would retire following the Packers’ victory in Super Bowl II over the Oakland Raiders.
McGee was inducted into the Packers’ Hall Of Fame in 1975.
Stats: 431 receptions, 6,651 yards receiving, 57 touchdowns, 15.4 yards per catch average
The Green Bay Packers selected Antonio Freeman in the third round (90th overall) in the 1995 NFL Draft out of Virginia Tech.
In his rookie season, Freeman appeared in 11 games and only caught eight passes in an exclusive kick/punt returning role for the Packers.
In his second season, Freeman’s role would dramatically increase. He caught 56 passes for 933 yards and nine touchdowns. In the Packers’ Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots, Freeman caught three passes for 103 yard and a touchdown in the victory.
The following year, the 1997-98 season, Freeman had his breakout year. Freeman started all 16 games for the Packers. He caught 81 passes for 1,243 yards and 12 touchdowns. In the Packers 1998 Super Bowl loss to the Denver Broncos Freeman caught nine passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns. However, it was his drop on third-and-6 on the Packers’ final attempt at a game-tying drive that would do the Packers in.
Freeman’s best season came in the 1998-99 season where he caught 84 passes for 1,424 and 14 touchdowns. His 1,424 yards receiving in 1998-99 is good enough for the third most receiving yards in a season in Packers’ history.
Freeman was an All-Pro and a Pro Bowl selection following his career season in 1998-1999.
Freeman became a member of the Packer’s Hall of Fame in 2009.
Stats: 530 receptions, 9,656 yards, 49 touchdowns, 18.2 yards per catch average.
The Packers selected James Lofton with the sixth overall pick in the first round in the 1978 NFL Draft out of Stanford.
In Lofton’s rookie season he caught 46 pass for 818 yards (second most by any Packers’ rookie) and six touchdown receptions.
From 1980-86 Lofton was practically impossible to defend. His unique mixture of size (6-3) and speed made him a matchup nightmare for defenses around the NFL.
In his nine seasons in Green Bay, Lofton was named to the Pro Bowl seven times and a member of the All-Pro team four times.
Lofton’s best season as a Packer came in 1981 when he caught 71 passes for 1,294 and eight touchdowns.
The only knock on Lofton’s tenure as a Packer was the late 1970s and 1980s were a stage of mediocrity for the Packers. The team struggled to win consistently, so the play of Lofton wasn’t always recognized, which is part of the reason he decided to leave Green Bay following the 1986-87 season.
Lofton holds the Packers’ record for most games of 100 or more receiving yards in a game at 32.
He is also third all-time in Packers’ history for total yards from scrimmage with 9,901.
Lofton is a member of the 1980s NFL All-Decade Team. He was selected to the Packers’ Hall of Fame in 1999.
Lofton became a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003.
Stats: 735 receptions, 10,137 yards receiving, 61 touchdowns, 15.6 yards per catch
The Green Bay Packers took a flier on Donald Driver in the seventh round (213th overall) in the 1999 NFL Draft.
Driver was the longest-tenured receiver in Packers’ history before retiring last month.
Being an undersized wide receiver from a little school and being drafted in the seventh round, Driver always played like there was a chip on his shoulder.
Driver’s breakout year came in 2002, his fourth NFL season, when he caught 70 passes for 1,064 yards and a career-high nine touchdown receptions.
For 14 seasons Driver was the definition of durability, missing only four games in his career.
Driver helped finish the career of Bret Favre and launch the career of Aaron Rodgers in his time in Green Bay.
His trademark smile and love for the Packers fans have made him arguably the most liked Packer of all-time. As great a player as Driver was on the field, he was even a better person off the field.
In his time in Green Bay Driver set numerous Packers’ receiving records including most seasons of 1,000 or more yards receiving (7) most career receiving yards (10,137) most seasons of 50 or more receptions (9) and most receptions in a career (735).
Driver and the Packers’ won their first Super Bowl in 14 seasons in 2010-11.
Sharpe was an outstanding player and contributed to the Packers’ offense right away. His rookie season he caught 55 passes for 791 yards and a touchdown.
The following season, 1989-90, Sharpe broke out and caught 90 passes for 1,423 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Sharpe’s best season came in 1992 when he broke Art Monk’s record of 106 receptions in a season (since broken by Marvin Harrison’s 143 in 2002). Sharpe finished that season with 108 receptions for 1.461 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Unfortunately, Sharpe’s brilliant young career was cut short in 1994 after he suffered a neck injury. Sharpe’s injury put him in the same class as Bo Jackson and Gale Sayers as great talent cut short by injury.
Sharpe was a five-time Pro Bowl selection in just seven NFL seasons in Green Bay. He was also a three-time All-Pro selection in 1989, 1990 and 1992. He led the NFL in receptions three times (1989, 1992, 1993). He led the NFL in touchdown receptions twice (1992 and 1994).
One of only seven players in the history of the NFL to hold the NFL’s receiving version of the “Triple Crown” which entailed leading the league in receptions, touchdowns, and yards.
Sharpe holds the following Packers’ receiving records: most receptions in a season (112) and most receptions in a rookie season (55).
Sharpe is a member of the Green Bay Packers’ Hall of Fame, but not of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
Hutson was able to put up numbers in the 11-game schedule at the time that players would struggle to accomplish in the 16-game schedule now played in the NFL. For example, in 1942 Hutson caught 74 passes for 1,211 yards and 17 touchdowns all while only “starting” four games that season.
Forget Packers’ receiving records for the moment, Hutson still owns a number of NFL records. These records include most seasons leading the league in receptions (8) most seasons leading the league in receiving yards (7) most seasons leading the league in touchdown receptions (9) and most seasons leading the league in scoring (5).
In his day, Hutson wasn’t just a star receiver, he was a defensive back and punter. In 1943 he intercepted eight passes and had 30 for his career.
Hutson was an eight-time All-Pro (1938-45), three-time NFL Champion, a member of the 1930s All-Decade team, according to NFL.com he is rated as the No. 9 NFL player of all-time.
Don Hutson holds the following Packers’ records: most seasons leading team in receiving (10) most receptions in a game (14) most games of 200 or more yards receiving (4) most touchdown receptions in a career (99) most consecutive games with 100 or more yards receiving (4) among others.
He is a member of both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Green Bay Packers’ Hall of Fame.
His No. 14 jersey is retired by the Green Bay Packers.
He is your No. 1 receiver in the history of the Green Bay Packers.