Green Bay Packers NFL Draft history: Number one pick – 1936

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Willard Russell Letlow

Drafted out of San Francisco, Willard Russell Letlow was a lineman who played guard and tackle … an amazing feat in that he was just 6-foot, 214 pounds – a far cry from the 300-pounders who dominate the game of today.

Born in Dinuba, Calif., in 1913, Letlow lived 74 years, dying in San Luis Obispo, Calif., Oct. 12, 1987.

Letlow was the seventh overall selection of the draft in 1936.

Wearing only the leather helmet of the time, Letlow played 10 years in Green Bay and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1938 and 1939.

He was also part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-Decade team.

According to Wikipedia, his drafting by the Green Bay Packers was very, very different from the high-profile event of today. Here is how it’s described there:

"At the time, Letlow was unaware that he had been selected, and had signed with the Chicago Cardinals following the conclusion of his collegiate football career at the University of San Francisco. In Letlow’s rookie season, the Packers won their fourth World Championship (and first championship game – see stats below). Letlow played for the Packers from 1936–42, and again in 1946. He was selected as an All-Pro for four straight seasons from 1937-40. 1936 NFL Championship Game Green Bay Packers Boston Redskins 21 6 1 2 3 4 Total Green Bay Packers 7 0 7 7 21 Boston Redskins 0 6 0 0 6 Date December 13, 1936 Stadium Polo Grounds City New York City Attendance 29,545"

In addition to his longevity, Letlow was named a member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1972.

Overall, he was a fine selection by the Packers of the time – a player who showed toughness during a time when the game was just a game.

Here are his all-time statistics provided by Pro Football Reference:

Year Age Tm Pos G GS AV
1936 23 GNB g 8 2
1937 24 GNB LG 11 5
1938* 25 GNB LG 11 7
1939* 26 GNB LG 10 6
1940 27 GNB LG 11 7
1941 28 GNB 4 0
1942 29 GNB g 11 2
1946 33 GNB g 5 1
Career 71 30

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 2/15/2015.

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