Packers continue habit of drafting defensive players in the first round

Lukas Van Ness at the NFL Combine
Lukas Van Ness at the NFL Combine / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

With the selection of defensive lineman Lukas Van Ness from Iowa with the 13th pick of the first round of the draft, the Green Bay Packers for the third straight season chose a defensive player with their first-round pick.

In 2022, the Pack selected Georgia defensive teammates Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt, and in 2021 they chose defensive back Eric Stokes, again from Georgia.

Of the Packers' last 13 selections in the first round, they have chosen a defensive player with 12 of those picks. The only offensive player they chose in the first round since 2012 was quarterback Jordan Love in 2020.

Here is a look at the Packers' last 13 first-round picks (since 2012):

Green Bay Packers first-round picks since 2012

  • 2012: Nick Perry, EDGE
  • 2013: Datone Jones, DE
  • 2014: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, DB
  • 2015 Damarious Randall, S
  • 2016: Kenny Clark, DT
  • 2018: Jaire Alexander, CB
  • 2019: Rashan Gary, EDGE
  • 2019: Darnell Savage, S
  • 2020: Jordan Love, QB
  • 2021: Eric Stokes, CB
  • 2022: Quay Walker, LB
  • 2022: Devonte Wyatt, DT
  • 2023: Lukas Van Ness, EDGE

In the last 14 NFL drafts, only one team has chosen more defensive players in the first round than the Packers… the New York Jets. Since 2010, the Jets have selected 13 defensive players of their 18 first-round selections. This year they picked Will McDonald, a defensive end from Iowa State with the 15th pick overall.

Following are the number of defensive players chosen by each team in the NFL Draft since 2010.

Most defensive players drafted in the first round since 2010

  • 13: New York Jets
  • 12: Green Bay
  • 9: Arizona, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, New Orleans, San Francisco
  • 8: Buffalo, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay
  • 7: Carolina, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, L.A. Chargers, Miami, New York Giants, Philadelphia, Washington
  • 6: Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Denver, New England
  • 5: Cincinnati, Seattle, Tennessee
  • 4: Chicago, Indianapolis, L.A. Rams

In case you were wondering, the Packers selected seven defensive first-rounders from 2000-2009 of the 10 first-round selections they had that decade.

The last time Green Bay drafted offensive players in the first round in back-to-back drafts was in 2010 and 2011, when they selected offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga from Iowa in 2010 and then next year chose another OT in Derek Sherrod from Mississippi State.

The last time they chose an offensive player in the first round in three or more consecutive years was from 1985-1990. In '85, they selected tackle Ken Ruettgers. In '87, they chose running back Brent Fullwood. In '88, they chose receiver Sterling Sharpe. In '89, they picked tackle Tony Mandarich. In '90, they selected running back Darrell Thompson.

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