It's happened 95 times in Green Bay Packers history: A first-round NFL Draft pick. Green Bay holds the #30 overall selection in this week's NFL Draft, but before that, here's a look at some facts about the Packers' all-time first-round picks.
Why look back on the history of the first round? It's an interesting history, with players landing anywhere from Draft bust to a bust in Canton, Ohio at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Also, why do the Packers draft so many offensive linemen in the first round?
Let's take a look at some of the historical notes about the Packers' first-round NFL Draft picks, all 95 of them.
95 times, the Packers have picked in the first round of the NFL Draft. While the Packers have picked #30 overall four times in their history, this year will be the third time (barring trades) that Green Bay will have that selection end up in the first round. In 1997, the Packers picked up tackle Ross Verba, who would go on to start 107 of 113 games played in the NFL. 2015's result was Damarious Randall, who is currently with Cleveland after being traded for quarterback DeShone Kizer.
The spot in the first round of the Draft the Packers have picked at this most? That would be #7, which they've done 10 times, but none since 1988. In fact, only four of these have come since the Lombardi-era Packers, each with a career reaching at least 112 games played. That number is how many games Sterling Sharpe played in the NFL, before an injury ended his outstanding career.
Sharpe, a three-time first-team NFL All Pro and five-time Pro Bowler, caught 595 passes for 8,134 yards and 65 touchdowns. Only the yardage total would be eclipsed by Hall of Fame selection James Lofton, who played 136 of his career 233 games with the Packers from 1978 to 1986.
Speaking of Lofton and the Hall of Fame, four Packers first-round Draft picks have made it to Canton in addition to Lofton: 1963 pick Dave Robinson, 1961 selection Herb Adderley, and 1957 addition Paul Hornung. The Packers' four Hall of Fame members that were also first-round picks by the franchise combined for 42 Pro Bowls and eight first-team NFL All-Pro selections, led by four from Adderley.
14 of the Packers' 95 first-rounders have made it on to the NFL All-Pro first team. Only five have had multiple selections: Adderley with four, Sharpe with three, Hornung with two, Gale Gillingham (an offensive lineman in the 60's and 70's) with two, and Aaron Rodgers with two. Rodgers is easily the only non-Hall of Famer on the first-round pick list by the Packers who is a lock to make it in a future induction; Rodgers has more yards, touchdowns, and virtually every other passing stat than any other quarterback picked in the first round in Packers history.
Green Bay has drafted seven quarterbacks in the first round, as well as one converted tailback. The 2005 selection of Rodgers was the first time the Packers added a quarterback with a first-round pick since 1981's draft, when Green Bay picked another University of California quarterback, Rich Campbell, who played in just seven games and had only 68 pass attempts.
Rodgers and Campbell are the only two players picked by the Packers in the first round out of Cal. The college that the Packers have picked the most often from in the first round in team history is... Minnesota! Seven times, a Gopher has crossed over state lines to become a Packer, most recently Darrell Thompson in 1990. Thompson rushed for 1,941 yards in his NFL career.
It's also probably no shock that running back, in its various incarnations as tailback, fullback, or even simply back, has been the spot the Packers have picked the most first-rounders at. 20 "backs" have been picked in the first round by the Packers all-time, or nearly a quarter of the Packer's all-time first-round selections. The last running back picked in the first round by Green Bay was Thompson in 1990.
Naturally, offensive line makes up a good portion of any teams' selections; it's the largest position group on the field. Three centers, five guards, and nine tackles for a total of 17 first-round selections have come up front for Green Bay, eight of them in a 30-year stretch from 1982 to 2011. Defensive line is next at 16 selections, although defensive end (10 picks) is a murkier designation now with edge rusher a recognized on-field position in the past decade or so.
Speaking of edge rushers, a third of the Packers' last 12 first-round picks have come at that position: Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Datone Jones, and Rashan Gary, in addition to heavy free-agent investments. Another defensive position as of late has received some high draft picks by Green Bay: the defensive backfield. Four times since 2014, the Packers have added to the back end of the defense.
In fact, defense has been the name of the game for the Packers' first-round NFL Draft selection in recent memory. Eight straight first-round picks have been spent by the Packers on the defense, dating to 2012. Green Bay drafted offensive tackles in 2010 and 2011 in the first round. Aaron Rodgers was the Packers' last non-defense, non-lineman pick on offense (2005), and the last skill position player on offense taken in the first round by Green Bay was Javon Walker in 2002.
Green Bay's never taken a kicking specialist in the first round. In the age of fullbacks, Green Bay tabbed four as first-round selections (all 1962 or earlier), and has drafted tight ends just twice: 1970 and 2000.
In terms of games played, the career leader is James Lofton, who played in 233 career games (including his nine seasons in Green Bay). Second on the list is Vonnie Holliday, a 1998 first-round pick who developed into one of the early adopters of the edge rusher position in the NFL, and bounced around after five years in Green Bay. Holliday appeared in 214 games, just five more than another former Miami Dolphin, Terrell Buckley, who played in 209 games (46 with Green Bay).
Among active players, Rodgers is sixth on the list at 181 games, eight behind quarterback Babe Parilli. Rodgers trails only Lofton in games started in the NFL by Packers' all-time first round picks, 212 to 174.
Green Bay has had the #1 overall pick just twice in franchise history, and none since 1959, when the Packers scooped up Randy Duncan. Duncan appeared in just 14 NFL games. The other first overall pick was Paul Hornung, a Hall of Fame member.
The Packers have never picked at #17 or #31 in the first round of the NFL Draft. Green Bay has had just three picks in the top ten in the last 20 NFL Drafts: 2006 (A.J. Hawk, #5), 2009 (B.J. Raji, #9), and 2001 (Jamal Reynolds, #10).
Nine of the Packers' 95 all-time first-round picks are still active in the NFL as of 2019, with two others still trying to make it in pro football. Five of them still play for the Packers.
All stats referenced are from Pro Football Reference (see below) - click here to see the table
Photo: Getty Images