The Green Bay Packers have surely had some great former first-round picks over the years. Here are the 15 best first-round picks Green Bay has made to date.
The Green Bay Packers have been around for a long, long time, going on 100 years as a North American professional football franchise in fact. In the last 10 decades, The Pack have won 13 league championships, including four Super Bowls. This team is so good that the Super Bowl trophy is named after the Packers’ iconic head coach Vince Lombardi.
In recent years, the Packers have built their team almost exclusively through the NFL Draft. Though they dabbled in free agency under new general manager Brian Gutekunst in 2018, we know why the Packers are strictly a draft-focused team. Green Bay is exceptional historically when it comes to drafting players.
To win as many championships as Green Bay has, an organization has to crush it in the draft, especially in the first round. What is even more impressive with the Packers’ ability to nail the first round of NFL Drafts is that they rarely are picking inside of the top-10. Outside of the rough years in the 1970s and 1980s, Green Bay has almost always been relevant in the NFL.
With the 2018 NFL Draft right around the corner, let’s take a look back at some of the best draft picks The Pack have made thus far. Here are the organization’s 15 best first-round picks to date. Some guys are in Canton. Others are in the Packers Hall of Fame. Let’s not forget about the guys that are still playing, so here we go!
LB, Ohio State Buckeyes, 2006
Former Ohio State Buckeyes standout linebacker A.J. Hawk only hung of the spikes very recently. He spent nine of his 11 NFL seasons playing for the team that drafted him in Green Bay. The Packers took Hawk with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft out of Ohio State. Obviously, his best seasons came in Green Bay.
Though he never made it to a Pro Bowl, Hawk was an instrumental figure in the middle of the Packers’ defense for nearly a decade. He finished third in AP Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2006. In nine seasons with the team, Hawk only missed two games for the Packers. Those came in the 2014 NFL season. Hawk was a leader at middle linebacker on the Packers’ Super Bowl championship team in 2010.
Overall, Hawk played in 142 games, starting 136 of them for the Packers from 2006 to 2014. He recorded 628 tackles, 298 assists, 33 passes defended, 19.0 quarterback sacks, nine interceptions for 121 yards, five fumble recoveries and four forced fumbles.
Hawk served as an on-field mentor for another great Packers linebacker we’ll surely get to in a bit in Clay Matthews III. Without Hawk, Green Bay may not have been able to beat the feisty Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV in Arlington. For one of the best defenses in Packers’ history, Hawk was the ultimate glue guy and totally worth the No. 5 overall selection out of Ohio State back in 2006.