Green Bay Packers: 5 greatest draft picks in franchise history

(Photo by Joe Kohen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Kohen/Getty Images) /

Ranking the five greatest draft picks in Green Bay Packers history.

With the 2018 NFL Draft quickly approaching, everybody and their brother is trying to guess who will get picked and by which team.

But today I’m going to look back at the five greatest draft picks in Green Bay Packers history.

So strap on your cheese hat and hop in my DeLorean as we look back at Packers News’s finest.

5. LeRoy Butler (1990, Round 2, Pick 48)

Every now and then a player is remembered for not only his great skills, but also for contributing a great and time honored tradition. LeRoy Butler is one of those men.

Over his 12 seasons in the NFL, Butler was a force to play against. He recorded 889 tackles, 205 sacks, 38 interceptions and 13 forced fumbles. In the 1996 season, Butler helped lead the Packers to a Super Bowl victory and was selected to the Pro Bowl.

Perhaps his greatest contribution to football though came in a 1993 game vs. the Rams. Butler forced a fumble and was able to run it back for a touchdown. After scoring, he leaped into the stands at Lambeau Field. The move caught on and is still done to this day.

4. Jim Taylor (1958, Round 2, Pick 15)

Jim Taylor was drafted one year before Vince Lombardi took over as the Packers head coach. His rookie year was not that great and the Packers were a mediocre team.

But Coach Lombardi came in and changed everything. Lombardi made him the feature back along with Paul Hornung. In 1960, Taylor rushed for 1,101 yards and 11 touchdowns. That Packers team would win the first of four championships with Taylor that year.

Taylor had five consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons between 1960 and 1964.

In the 1966 season, the Packers played the Chiefs in the first ever Super Bowl, and Taylor led the day rushing with 56 yards and he scored the first Super Bowl touchdown.

He played his final year with the Saints before retiring in 1968. In 1976, he was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Defenses all around knew not to mess with Taylor.

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3. Donald Driver (1999, Round 7, Pick 213)

Yep, you read that right. When the Packers selected Donald Driver, the draft was just about over. He proved a lot of people wrong and went on to have a truly amazing career.

Driver is the the all-time yards leader in franchise history with 10,137. Between 2004 and 2009, he had six consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. His greatest season came in 2006 with 1,295 yards and eight touchdowns.

In 2010, Driver was part of a truly great group of catching weapons that included Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Jermichael Finley and James Jones. Behind the arm of Aaron Rodgers, that group made it to Super Bowl XLV and brought the trophy home. Unfortunately for Driver, he sprained his ankle early in the game. He came back later after the Packers secured victory.

Perhaps the thing fans loved the most about Driver was that despite multiple opportunities to leave and maybe get paid more, he stayed in Green Bay his whole career and helped bring the title home.

2. Aaron Rodgers (2005, Round 1, Pick 24)

ARLINGTON, TX – OCTOBER 08: Aaron Rodgers
ARLINGTON, TX – OCTOBER 08: Aaron Rodgers /

Some people call him A-Rod, or the GOAT. Some simply call him God. Aaron Rodgers is by far the most talented quarterback not only in Packers history, but you could argue in NFL history.

He was looked over by many teams in the 2005 NFL Draft and was considered average at best.  But the Packers saw something. Brett Favre was nearing the end of his career (or so we all thought) and new GM Ted Thompson was looking to the future. Rodgers would sit for three seasons until Favre “retired”.

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In 2008, Green Bay went 6-10. In 2009 they went 11-5 but lost to Arizona in a classic playoff game. Ironically, it was a Rodgers fumble that cost them the game and many wondered if he was the answer for the Packers.

All doubters were silenced the next year when Green Bay went 10-6, won three playoff games and then won Super Bowl 45. The Packers have made it to two NFC Championship Games since then, and Rodgers has earned league MVP honors twice.

The Packers have overhauled things a little for the 2018 season and are hoping with Rodgers back healthy, another Super Bowl run is coming.

1. Bart Starr (1956, Round 17, Pick 200)

C’mon, who else could be in this spot?  Long before Tom Brady was able to boast about his five rings, Bart Starr had five in an age of much tougher football. Drafted in rounds that don’t even exist anymore, Starr was a backup until Coach Lombardi took over. In 1960, Lombardi pulled the starting QB and put in Starr. They made it to the NFL Championship but lost to the Eagles.

The next two years the Packers were dominant, winning back-to-back titles. In 1965, Starr led the Packers to a 10-3-1 record and to yet another championship. In 1966, things changed for pro football as the champions of both the NFL and rival AFL would play for the ultimate pro football title.

The Packers showed no mercy, going 12-2 and defeating Dallas for the first ever Super Bowl trip.  In Super Bowl I, the Packers handled the AFL champion Chiefs and Starr was named the first ever Super Bowl MVP. And 1967 was very much like the previous year.

The Packers once again made it to the NFL Championship Game against the Cowboys. That is when Starr made the most famous play call of his career. Starr called a QB sneak and executed it perfectly. Green Bay went on to destroy Oakland and Starr capped off his career with five rings.

Next: Top 30 moments in Green Bay Packers history

Starr was a player ahead of his time. He was selected to the Pro Bowl four times, was named league MVP once and Super Bowl MVP twice. In 1977 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. For many years, he was the standard that all quarterbacks were measured.