Ranking Packers first-round draft picks based on most games played
By Jerry Tapp
First-round draft choices in the NFL are supposed to be team changers: Players who can come in from college, become starters, and contribute right away with their new NFL team. It is, however, not an exact science.
Some first-rounders go on to have long careers with the team that drafted them. Others have injuries or other issues that translate to a short NFL career. And some have little success with the team that drafted them but go on to successful careers with a different team.
The Green Bay Packers are no exception to these scenarios. In fact, the Packers since 1970 have drafted 59 different players in the first round. Their first-rounders range from Aaron Rodgers, who went on to play 230 games with the Packers, to six players drafted in the first round who played 20 or fewer games with the Packers.
Let's look at both extremes. Following are the Green Bay Packers' first-round draft choices since 1970 who went on to play in 100 or more games with the Pack, and those first-rounders who saw action in fewer than 40 games with Green Bay. (Noted is the number of games played with the Packers, their position, and the year they were picked in the first round.)
Packers first-rounders with 100+ games
- 230: Aaron Rodgers, QB, 2005
- 162: Ron Hallstrom, G, 1982
- 156: Ken Rutledge, T, 1985
- 148: Ezra Johnson, DE, 1977
- 146: John Anderson, LB, 1978
- 143: Clay Matthews, LB, 2009
- 142: A.J. Hawk, LB, 2006
- 136: James Lofton, WR, 1978
- 116: Rich McGeorge, TE, 1970
- 115: Bryan Bulaga, T, 2010
- 114: Bubba Franks, TE, 2000
- 112: Sterling Sharpe, WR, 1988
- 107: Nick Barnett, LB, 2003
Packers first-rounders with fewer than 40 games
- 0: Bruce Clark, DE, 1980
- 7: Rich Campbell, QB, 1981
- 14: Justin Harrell, DT, 2007
- 18: Jerry Tagge, QB, 1972
- 18: Jamal Reynolds, DE, 2001
- 20: Derek Sherrod, T, 2011
- 24: John Michels, T, 1996
- 32: Vinnie Clark, DB, 1991
- 34: Ahmad Carroll, DB, 2004
- 39: Damarious Randall, S, 2015
Here's a few notes you may find interesting about the above list and the 59 first-round picks by the Packers since 1970:
Bruce Clark was a first-round pick of the Packers in the 1980 draft, the fourth pick overall. Clark decided, however, to play instead for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. He eventually played in the NFL with New Orleans and Kansas City.
All the first-round picks by the Packers going back to 2016 were still active with the team in 2022: Kenny Clark (2016), Jaire Alexander (2018), Darnell Savage (2019), Rashan Gary (2019), Jordan Love (2020), Eric Stokes (2021), Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt (2022).
None of the 12 first-round picks by the Packers in the 1990s played more than 66 games with the team.
Of the 12 first-round picks of the Packers from 2000-2011, six went on to play more than 100 games for the Packers, and five played less than 40 games with the Pack.