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Packs, 1st rd filled with flops, follies by Mike Vandermaus

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by PWT36, Apr 18, 2007.

  1. PWT36

    PWT36 Cheesehead

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    Mike Vandermause column: Packers' first round filled with flops, follies


    By Mike Vandermause

    First-round draft choices are far from a sure thing in the National Football League. Just ask the Green Bay Packers.


    An assessment of the Packers' No. 1 picks dating to the NFL merger in 1970 shows a long list of misfits, no-shows and busts.


    Of the Packers' 42 first-round selections from 1970 to 2006, just one — receiver James Lofton — has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Just eight, or 19 percent, have been invited to the Pro Bowl.


    Maybe that helps explain why the Packers have captured only one championship in the past 40 years. First-round picks are supposed to build a franchise's foundation, but far too many of the Packers' top choices have drifted into oblivion.


    After reviewing close to four decades of Packers first-round picks, here are some observations:



    Quarterback Brett Favre wasn't drafted by the Packers, so he isn't included in team draft lists. But the best use of a first-round choice in franchise history, bar none, was former General Manager Ron Wolf's decision to trade the No. 17 overall pick in 1992 to the Atlanta Falcons for Favre. Perhaps Wolf should have traded more of his first-rounders. Of his 11 No. 1 picks from 1992 to 2001, only tight end Bubba Franks earned a Pro Bowl berth.

    Two of those choices were top-10 selections, which are considered can't-miss prospects. Of course, we know better. Terrell Buckley (No. 5) and Jamal Reynolds (No. 10) were two of the biggest stiffs drafted during the Wolf era.


    To Wolf's credit, he overcame his first-round struggles to build a championship team in Green Bay by finding gems in later rounds, making key trades and signing impact free agents.



    There have been so many first-round clunkers that choosing the worst should be a challenge. However, Dan Devine, a former coach and general manager, made it an easy decision by inexplicably dealing two first-round picks (plus two seconds and a third) for over-the-hill quarterback John Hadl in 1974. It will go down as the worst trade in NFL history.

    But let's not forget the waste of the No. 2 overall pick in 1989 on tackle Tony Mandarich, a blunder that was magnified because Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders was taken with the next selection. Or flushing away the No. 4 overall pick in 1980 on Bruce Clark, who fled to Canada and never played a down for the Packers. Or trading the No. 14 overall pick in 1986 for cornerback Mossy Cade, who spent more time in prison than on the Packers' roster.



    Despite Devine's colossal giveaway, the Packers were loaded with first-round picks in the 1970s. They had two first-rounders in 1970, 1972, 1977, 1978 and 1980, which gave them 15 first-round picks in the span of a decade. But when the Packers should have been reaping the benefits, they were suffering through one of their longest droughts.


    The Packers went to the well seven times to select a first-round cornerback, more than any other position. But their luck ran dry after 1972, when they chose three-time Pro Bowler Willie Buchanon. Since, the Packers have been plagued at cornerback by injuries (Tim Lewis, Craig Newsome) and incompetence (Vinnie Clark, Buckley, Antuan Edwards, Ahmad Carroll).


    The Packers' best draft success came at wide receiver, even though they missed badly on Barry Smith in 1973. Since, they hit the jackpot with Lofton, Sterling Sharpe and Javon Walker.


    Don't hold your breath on the Packers' No. 16 overall pick next week. Just two of 14 (14 percent) Packers selected between Nos. 11 and 20 in the first round earned a Pro Bowl berth.
    Mike Vandermause is sports editor of the Press-Gazette.
     
  2. bozz_2006

    bozz_2006 Cheesehead

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  3. Tiger

    Tiger Cheesehead

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    Jeez its not like they are as bad as the Bengals!
     
  4. packerfan1245

    packerfan1245 Cheesehead

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    He made it look like the packers franchise sucked forver 0.o. We kinda are the best franchise. Every team has busts. It happens. Your not getting pro bowlers or hall of famers every time......
     
  5. retiredgrampa

    retiredgrampa Cheesehead

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    Re: Packs, 1st rd filled with flops, follies by Mike Vander

    Perhaps more evidence that we should trade down. So many teams have experienced disaster in the 1st rd., especially with what it costs to sign a potential flop, that the cost would seem extreme. Besides, we have many areas that need attention. In addition, every team in the league, even the elite teams, have a large number of guys playing important roles that most of us had never heard of before being drafted. These are the blue collar, hard working grunts who quietly get the job done in their way. We need a bunch of those guys. There is a reason why so many different, talented GMs made so many costly mistakes, including the beknighted Ron Wolf. The first pick is often made for glamor...the rest are made for team needs. Those are the guys that make a team a winner.
     
  6. cheesey

    cheesey Cheesehead

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    Re: Packs, 1st rd filled with flops, follies by Mike Vander

    To me the big question is, just how many 1st round picks of ALL teams during that time turned out to be great players, and how many were average or worse? To me, that would be a more honest measuring stick.

    Plus, how many LATER round picks of the Packers turned out to be great players? For every 1st rounder that didn't pan out, how many later round picks did well? Donald Driver comes to mind. What number pick was he? He was number 213 overall. 212 guys were picked in front of him.
    How did so many people miss him? Even the Packers didn't pick him till then.
    It's all a crap shoot!
     
  7. Greg C.

    Greg C. Cheesehead

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    It's pretty bad that only 19 percent of the Packers' first-round picks since 1970 have been invited to the Pro Bowl, and only 9 percent for Ron Wolf. By that standard, Mike Sherman is already way ahead of the game. Javon Walker has made the Pro Bowl, giving Sherman 33 percent. If Nick Barnett makes it, which is quite possible, Sherman will be up to 67 percent. I don't think we have to worry about Ahmad Carroll making it to the Pro Bowl, however.
     
  8. cheesey

    cheesey Cheesehead

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    Re: Packs, 1st rd filled with flops, follies by Mike Vander

    I really wish we could see how all the other teams in the league faired during the same time span. Thats the only real way to judge if the Packers did that bad, or are they average or even better.
    Anyone out there that knows how to do that search, please feel free to do so! (I haven't got a CLUE how to do that!)
     
  9. PWT36

    PWT36 Cheesehead

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    I have researched how Our past Talent evaluators, head coaches did on 1st round draft choises. Well, The first NFL draft started in 1936. So from 1921 to 1935, the rookiess NFL player could sign with any team who

    lambeau signed 6 furture Hall of famers "Curly signed
     
  10. all about da packers

    all about da packers Cheesehead

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    I'm sorry but I'm not sure why Pro Bowls are the measuring stick of "success". I mean just look at Woodson last year, 8 INTs and an OUTSTANDING season, but he got snubbed.

    It is quite possible that the first round picks played well, perhaps at times well enough to deserve a Pro Bowl birth, but didn't get it for whatever reason.

    Or another explanation might be that they refused to go to the Pro Bowl (after getting an invitation) because let's face it: it is a joke.

    Also, I would expect pretty bad rates of first round draft picks from the 70s and 80s, and perhaps to an extent the 90s. When you look at all the instruments available to GMs now, in terms of easier access in getting to college games due to better transportation, more access to video highlights, more access to background information (IE criminal history)... I think the discrepancy between the draft pick success rate in the 70s/80s/part of 90s is explainable.

    I mean in the 70s and 80s, I'd imagine more and more GMs relying on their own opinions of players to judge them. In the 90s, you had more and more availability to other resources to get an opinion from.

    Heck even recently, and I'm talking mid 90s here, we've seen an explosion in the amount of interest in the NFL draft; where every Tom, Dick, and Harry have their mock drafts. What you have is a much broader range of opinion, and a greater range of nit picking players that may lead to some valid points and concerns being raised by someone about a player.

    Finally, as cheesey said, I'd love to see the success rates of 1st round picks for other teams during the same time period. For the reasons above, I'm willing to bet that they were quite similar in terms of failure rates.
     
  11. mi_keys

    mi_keys Cheesehead

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    Like someone else said, I wonder how those numbers compare to other teams. I'm sure there are quite a few teams that have done worse. Still, it does make a good point that you can't be guaranteed of a good player even with a high level pick.
     
  12. vikesrule

    vikesrule Cheesehead

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