The NFL Draft, as we have seen over and over with the Green Bay Packers, can make or break teams. Packers current General Manager Ted Thompson, to the chagrin of many and the admiration of others, uses the draft to stock his team with players – some who have hit home runs and others who have been huge disappointments.
But as we look back on the past 25 years of Packers drafts in this series, that is the nature of the draft.
Over the course of the next few weeks we will count down the years starting with 1989 and take a look at each of the drafts, how the players selected contributed (or didn’t) and impacted the team’s fortunes.
No team is immune from the surprises, the disappointments, and the hidden gems that have emerged from each year’s draft and no other draft epitomizes that more than the 1989 Green Bay Packers Draft.
As you can see below there was one memorable selection who turned out to be a flop; there were players who contributed for a short time and then faded away; there were players that were no-names coming in and went away as no-names; heck, there was even one who was just elected to the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.
|1989||1||2||Tony Mandarich||T||Michigan St.|
|1989||4||87||Jeff Graham||QB||Long Beach St.|
|1989||5||127||Vince Workman||RB||Ohio St.|
|1989||6||142||Chris Jacke||K||Texas-El Paso|
|1989||9||225||Scott Kirby||T||Arizona St.|
|1989||10||254||Ben Jessie||DB||Texas St.|
|1989||11||281||Cedric Stallworth||DB||Georgia Tech|
|1989||12||310||Stan Shiver||DB||Florida St.|
Nineteen-eighty-nine was a memorable year for the Packers. Here are some of the highlights as offered up by packers.com:
- Judge Robert J. Parins retires as president of Packer Corporation, elected honorary chairman of the board (June 5).
- Bob Harlan is elected president and chief executive officer of Packer Corporation, succeeding Judge Parins (June 5).
- Packers announce plans for construction of 1,920 club seats — a “first” for Lambeau Field — in south end zone and 36 additional private boxes at a projected cost of $8,263,000 (Aug. 22).
With the selection of Harlan as president and CEO, a new era was begun in this year – an era that would eventually bring about two Super Bowl appearances and one NFL Championship – but it wasn’t to be without some mountains to climb and some valleys to traverse – starting with the draft that season.
Tony Mandarich was going to be the block around which the Packers were to build, but unbeknownst to everyone at the time, he was to turn into the crumbling block that eventually became one of the biggest flops in NFL history. But there were a couple of other players who did contribute out of this draft. Second selection Matt Brock was a steady, but unspectacular defensive player for the Packers, Jeff Query was an undersized, yet consistent Division III wide receiver out of Millikin University, Vince Workman was a solid and popular NFL running back for the Packers, and Chris Jacke broke every Packers scoring record (at the time) and won some huge games with his leg – and has been selected to the Packers Hall of Fame.
The rest of the players, including quarterback Anthony Dilweg, didn’t do much, if anything for the Packers.
Let’s start with the bottom of the Packers’s draft in 1989 and move our way up to the first selection, providing a bit of information (if available) about each of these players:
• Stan Shiver, DB, Florida State, 12th round selection, number 310 overall: Known as the “Hit Man” at Florida State, Shiver didn’t make the Packers roster and apparently didn’t make it in professional football after being cut by the Packers. The following is a description of Shiver found on fanbase.com:
Stan “The Hit Man” Shiver was the best pure hitter at FSU during his reign. He was called “The Hit Man” because he assassinated receivers, running backs, and tight-ends. When Stan delivered a blow, they felt it two days later. He had excellent technique. Many tacklers make the mistake of leaving their feet and over extending. Stan would explode through his victims; knocking them back. When he hit you, the back of your helmet hit the ground and your feet were in the air.
Stan was one of the strongest defensive back on the team. He could bench press over 400 pounds. There was running joke on the team, because he couldn’t squat over 300 pounds.
• Cedric Stallworth, DB, Georgia Tech, 11th round selection, number 281 overall: Stallworth was injured in his first camp with the Packers and also didn’t make the roster, though he did go on to play in Canada and Europe and then back to Georgia Tech where he is now a computer scientist. Here is a brief on his journey:
After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Stallworth was drafted into the National Football League (NFL) by the Green Bay Packers. An injury before the start of the season, however, kept him from playing in the NFL. After recovering, Stallworth went on to play football professionally in Europe and Canada for two years as part of the World League of American Football. Following this, Stallworth returned to academics, earning a master’ s degree from his alma mater.
• Ben Jessie, DB, Texas State, 10th round selection, 254th overall: There’s not much information available about Jessie, either at Texas State or with the Packers. He did not make the roster.
• Scott Kirby, Tackle, Arizona, ninth round selection, 225th overall: Kirby was a starter with Arizona State for three years, but did not make the Packers roster.
• Brian Shulman, Punter, Auburn, eighth round selection, 206th overall: Why the Packers were selecting a punter in the draft is one question, but Shulman also didn’t make the team’s roster, nor did he play in the NFL. He has gone on to a successful career, however. He founded Learning Through Sports, a company that has inspired millions of children through learning resources that combine athletics and academics and has written “The Death of Sportsmanship – and How to Revive it.”
• Thomas King, DB, La. Lafayette, eighth round selection, 198th overall: Again, no information available on King, though he didn’t play a single game with the Packers.
• Mark Hall, DE, La. Lafayette, seventh round selection, 169th overall: Hall, a teammate of King’s, did stick with the Packers for two seasons, though he played in just 10 games, recording one sack with the team. However, it was on Jan. 24, 1991, that Hall was arrested, according to a news report at the the time, “after George Favors, of Patterson, was pulled over by deputies Tuesday afternoon for running a stop sign in Morgan City, St. Mary Parish sheriff’s spokesman Blaise Smith said. Deputies searched the car and found what appeared to be crack cocaine in the car.” The car, registered in Wisconsin, was owned by Hall.
• Chris Jacke, K, Texas El Paso, sixth round selection, number 142 overall: We all know what Jacke did for the Green Bay Packers. Nobody, in the end, questioned this draft pick of a kicker. Jacke ended up playing eight years with the Packers, two with the Arizona Cardinals, before finishing his career with a partial season with the Washington Redskins. Jacke played 126 games with the Packers, making 173 of 224 field goal attempts (77.2 percent). He also made 17 of 26 from beyond 50 yards.
Here’s a brief description of Jacke, provided by Wikipedia:
In his last year with the Packers, he assisted the Packers to a 13-3 record and a win in Super Bowl XXXI. In 1997 Jacke became a free agent and was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers. During training camp he was injured and never played a game for them. Later that season he was signed by the Washington Redskins, only playing in one game. He finished his football career with the Arizona Cardinals for the 1998 and 1999 NFL seasons.
Jacke was a first-team AP All-Pro in 1993 and is a 2013 inductee into the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame.
• Vince Workman, RB, Ohio State, fifth round selection, number 127th overall: Workman played four years with the Packers, appearing in 56 games, while playing a total of 106 games in the NFL, finishing his career bouncing between Tampa Bay, Carolina and Indianapolis.
For the Packers, Workman was a blue collar, hard-nosed, but shifty runner who gained 927 yards on 242 attempts (3.8-yard average) and 10 touchdowns as a spot reliever and kick returner. He was also a reliable receiver out of the backfield, catching 97 balls for 691 yards (7.1-yard average), and five touchdowns. In all, he gained 1,618 yards from scrimmage for the Packers between 1989 and 1992.
• Jeff Query, WR, Millikin University, fifth round selection, 125th overall: Query was a wiry, speedy receiver whose career with the Packers was short, but impressive, as he teamed up with quarterback Don Majkowski for some fine moments during those three seasons. Query played in 48 games with Green Bay, catching 64 passes for 902 yards (14.1-yard average), and 4 touchdowns.
- Query was the first player of his Division III college to be drafted into the NFL.
- Set an Millikin receiving yard season record with 830 yards in 1987 (broken in 2000).
- Holds the record for the longest punt return in Millikin history (92 yards, 1986).
• Jeff Graham, QB, Long Beach State, fourth round selection, number 87 overall: Graham was cut by the Packers as a rookie and didn’t play a single down. However, he did play for the San Diego Chargers (one year), Seattle Seahawks (three years), and Oakland Raiders (one year), but didn’t record a single down with those teams either. If there was the epitome of the career backup, he was it.
• Anthony Dilweg, QB, Duke, third round selection, 74th overall: Dilweg played two unremarkable seasons with the Packers, 10 games overall and nine in 1990 when Don Majkowski went down with injury. In 1990, he started seven games, completing 101 passes in 192 attempts (52.6 percent), 8 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He finished with a 2-5 record during that stretch.
• Matt Brock, DE, Oregon, third round selection, 58th overall: Brock played six years with the Packers and his final two seasons with the New York Jets. In 76 games with the Packers, he started 61 of them, recording 12.5 sacks and one interception. He also had 203 tackles and one assist. In 1991, he led Packers defensive linemen with 57 tackles. According to LinkedIn, he is now the account executive at Integra Telecom in Portland, Oregon.
• Tony Mandarich, OT, Michigan State, first round selection, second overall: Look at any listing of the biggest NFL Draft busts, Tony Mandarich will be at or near the top of the list. Calling Green Bay a village after being selected by the Packers, it’s not like Mandarich got off on the right foot to begin with. Though it wasn’t a secret at the time, Mandarich was a steroid monster in college, switching over to pain killers before entering the NFL. He played three seasons in Green Bay and wasn’t even close to average. After being let go by the Packers in 1992, he was out of football trying to find himself. It was at 1996 at age 30 that he made a comeback with the Indianapolis Colts, playing three seasons there before retiring.
In his entire career, he played in 86 games, starting 63 of them.
Here is what’s provided on his Wikipedia page about his post football career:
After his career was over, he moved back to Canada; he owned a golf course and remarried his wife Char in 2004.From September 2004 until September 2005, Mandarich served as an NFL analyst for The Score TV sports network in Canada. He quit in October 2005 and moved to Arizona.
He now runs a photography studio; he began doing nature photography as a hobby in 1990. Mandarich has expanded his business, named Mandarich Media Group, to include photography, video production, web design, search engine optimization, and Internet marketing.
In September 2008, Mandarich admitted to using steroids at Michigan State and faking a drug test before the 1988 Rose Bowl. Mandarich has denied using steroids while in the NFL but has admitted to an addiction to alcohol and painkillers while playing for the Packers.
Tony had an older brother, John, who was instrumental in his development as an athlete, including sponsoring his younger brother’s transfer to a stateside high school before Tony’s senior year. John made his own reputation in professional football in the Canadian Football League. John Mandarich’s early death from skin cancer is documented in Tony’s memoir.
In the March 2009 issue of Sports Illustrated he tells about his use and addiction and about his new book called My Dirty Little Secrets—Steroids, Alcohol & God. In that book, Mandarich ascribes his underwhelming performance with the Green Bay Packers to his painkiller addiction, which buffeted his drive and work ethic. His addiction was so powerful he kept syringes in his athletic supporter to have his narcotics supply close at hand. Mandarich goes on to describe his traumatic and triumphant stint in rehab, and his subsequent return to the NFL. “I didn’t write the book for forgiveness,” Mandarich said. “I wrote the book for explanation and for, hopefully, helping somebody see the light that there is hope for addiction or alcoholism and that you can change and save your life.”