10 Best First-Round Draft Picks in Green Bay Packers History

10 Best First-Round Draft Picks in Green Bay Packers History

Packers First Round Draft Picks
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The Green Bay Packers have had their fair share of busts in the first round of the NFL Draft. In fact, it is those blunders that have really cost Green Bay over the years. However, the Packers have also made some quality picks in the first round, which has brought them plenty of success. Check out the list of the 10 best first-round draft selections in Packers history.

10. Gale Gillingham – No. 13 Overall (1966)

Gale Gillingham
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

10. Gale Gillingham – No. 13 Overall (1966)

Gale Gillingham
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive lineman Gale Gillingham was selected to the Pro Bowl five times in a six-year span, first-team All-Pro twice and he is a member of the Packers Hall of Fame. He became the starter at left guard in 1967 and moved to right guard in ’68 after Jerry Kramer retired. Gillingham played a big role for Green Bay during their Super Bowl years and he is considered one of the best offensive linemen of his generation.

9. Cecil Isbell – No. 7 Overall (1938)

Cecil Isbell
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9. Cecil Isbell – No. 7 Overall (1938)

Cecil Isbell
Wikipedia

Not many fans may recognize the name Cecil Isbell, but he’s considered to be one of the best players in franchise history. Isbell was a member of Green Bay’s 1939 NFL championship team. He led the league in touchdowns and passing yards in ’41 and ’42. Don Hutson is the recognizable name of that era, but it was Isbell who tossed him all of those touchdown passes. He’s in the Packers Hall of Fame and a member of the NFL 1930s All-Decade Team.

8. John Brockington – No. 9 Overall (1971)

John Brockington
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8. John Brockington – No. 9 Overall (1971)

John Brockington
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Running back John Brockington bulldozed over defenders in the open field. The ’71 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year racked up 5,185 rushing yards in his seven years. He was a three-time All-Pro and he was selected to the Pro Bowl three times. Like the two men before him on this list, he’s a member of the Packers Hall of Fame.

7. Sterling Sharpe – No. 7 Overall (1988)

Sterling Sharpe
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7. Sterling Sharpe – No. 7 Overall (1988)

Sterling Sharpe
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The great Sterling Sharpe was on pace for a Hall of Fame career before a neck injury cut his playing days short. If only he had more time with Brett Favre, who knows what the two would have been able to accomplish together. Sharpe was one of the most talented wide receivers of his time. He was a five-time first-team All-Pro, five-time Pro Bowl selection and is in the Packers Hall of Fame. He also holds an abundance of NFL records.

6. Clay Matthews – No. 26 Overall (2009)

Clay Matthews
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6. Clay Matthews – No. 26 Overall (2009)

Clay Matthews
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Clay Matthews was picked after Ted Thompson moved up in the draft by using the third round draft pick he got from trading Brett Favre to the New York Jets. It would be a defining movement of Thompson’s career as Matthews played a big role in Green Bay’s Super Bowl XLV victory. Matthews is an incredible talent and one of the most feared pass rushers in the league. He’s on pace to break the Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila’s all-time sack record.

5. Dave Robinson – No. 14 Overall (1963)

Dave Robinson
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5. Dave Robinson – No. 14 Overall (1963)

Dave Robinson
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Dave Robinson was the highlighted member of the best linebackers in the NFL in the 1960s. He had all the talent in the world, which made him one of the most devastating defenders of his time. He was big, quick and hit with force. Robinson is a three-time NFL champion and he was named to three Pro Bowls. He’s also a member of the Packers Hall of Fame, the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

4. Herb Adderley – No. 12 Overall (1961)

Herb Adderley
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4. Herb Adderley – No. 12 Overall (1961)

Herb Adderley
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For nearly a decade, there was no better cornerback than Herb Adderley. He was the very definition of a shutdown corner, and he had the playmaking skills that struck fear in quarterbacks. Adderley was a six-time NFL champion, five-time first-team All-Pro selection and made it to five Pro Bowls. He also is in the Packers Hall of Fame, Pro Football Hall of Fame, a member of the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team and the NFL 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.

3. James Lofton – No. 6 Overall (1978)

James Lofton
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3. James Lofton – No. 6 Overall (1978)

James Lofton
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James Lofton was the lone bright spot during a very dark time for the franchise. He was by far the best player on the team and one of the best wide receivers in the league. Who knows what could have been if the Packers were able to put some talent around him. Lofton was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection, a member of the Packers Hall of Fame and the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003.

2. Paul Hornung – No. 1 Overall (1957)

Paul Hornung
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2. Paul Hornung – No. 1 Overall (1957)

Paul Hornung
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Vince Lombardi changed Paul Hornung’s career when he strictly made the “Golden Boy” the halfback, opposed to several other roles he held on the team. Hornung led the league in scoring three times and he was named the NFL MVP in 1961. Not to mention, he played a huge role on four of Lombardi’s NFL championship teams. Hornung is in the Packers as well as the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He’s also a member of the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team.

1. Aaron Rodgers – No. 24 Overall (2005)

Aaron Rodgers
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1. Aaron Rodgers – No. 24 Overall (2005)

Aaron Rodgers
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Aaron Rodgers fell in the 2005 NFL Draft. At the time, it seemed miserable, but it was a sign of greater things to come. Rodgers is considered one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and he could go down as one of the greatest of all time when it’s all said and done. He was the MVP of Super Bowl XLV and took home the NFL MVP the following season. He also holds several Packers and NFL records, some of which may never be broken.


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  • Scott

    Hard to see Sharpe so far down on that list. Not sure who you’d bump, but it seems like a shame. He was better than Lofton IMO and would have ended up as a 1st ballot HOF’er if not for the neck injury. I think I might put Adderly 2nd on this list just because he is one one of the all time greats.

    Hornung is always overrated on Packers list. They had him pretty high on the NFL Network as well when listing the top 10 Packers of all time. He was a nice player, but he was more versatile than great at anything. About 4,000 yards rushing for his career. He did set the single season record for points scored, but Jerry Kramer was also a Packers kicker. And he was a very good blocker for Taylor on that Packers sweep.

    Apparently Taylor wasn’t a 1st round pick. I thought he was out of LSU, but must not have been as he obviously would have been in the top half of this list if he was.

    Isbell would also likely be one of the greatest Packers of all time had he not retired in his prime as he was revolutionizing the passing game. I’ll be honest, I don’t know what happened to him. If he got hurt or just quit. I know he started coaching, but he was in his mid 20′s yet and had broken all time NFL records. He was Gifford before there was a Frank Gifford…but a better passer. Caught the ball, led the team in passing and rushing a couple years…and again, the passing records when hooking up with Hutson. But…5 years.

    I guess I’d have Clay down the list and Sharpe, Isbell and a couple others over him, but he’s going to pass them up anyway.