Since the year 2000, the Green Bay Packers have had 18 first round selections, including two years (2008 and 2017) that had no selections, and 2009, where the team made two first-round selections.
The selections were mainly defensive for Green Bay, as 13 were on the defensive side of the ball. Probably the most famous selection was made in 2005, as Aaron Rodgers fell into Green Bay’s lap, and the rest is history.
In the first part of this series, let’s take a look back at selections from 2000 to 2005 and see how many were hits and how many the team missed on, and who the team could have selected instead.
2000- Bubba Franks, TE
For me, this is one of the selections that I forget about. Franks, in his eight seasons with Green Bay, amassed 2,300 yards on 256 catches to go along with 32 touchdowns.
He was one of the most consistent tight ends in Green Bay’s history and was a part of an era that ushered in the importance of the tight end position.
Franks’ best seasons came in 2001 and 2002, as he had a combined 16 touchdowns and 764 yards on 90 catches. He was one of Brett Favre’s best weapons, but health issues and age caught up with Franks, and he was not able to replicate that production with Rodgers in the fold.
GB selection: Bubba Franks My selection: Bubba Franks
2001- Jamal Reynolds, DE
Our first flop on the list, Reynolds was selected 10th overall, with sights set on wreaking havoc in the offensive backfield. Out of Florida State, Reynolds’ college production never met with his NFL expectations, and he soon flamed out in three years.
In total, Reynolds amassed a measly 18 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles across three seasons and 18 games.
Going offensive for the second consecutive year, I chose a player more for a want than a need, Reggie Wayne. At the moment, Antonio Freeman, Bill Schroeder and Donald Driver manned the ranks for receiver, and they also drafted Robert Ferguson in 2001.
Instead of drafting Ferguson in the second round, the team could go grab Wayne, who was selected by Indy at the bottom of the first round.
GB selection: Jamal Reynolds My selection: Reggie Wayne (30th)
2002- Javon Walker, WR
The second consecutive Seminole taken in the first round by Green Bay, Walker’s career in green and gold was impressive, but I think the team gave up on him before they should have. Only being in Green Bay for four seasons, Walker had one season over 1,000 yards, the same year he had 12 touchdowns.
The season after his career year in 2005, Walker tore his ACL in the first game and missed the rest of the season. In 2006, after the disgruntled Walker told the team he wanted out, was traded to Denver for a second-round selection, closing the book on Walker’s time in Green Bay.
While Walker’s production helped the team, he did not last as long as you’d like to see a first rounder stay with a team. Ed Reed, who was drafted 24th, would have been a better usage of the first round selection, in part due to the fluctuation in the defensive backfield. Can you imagine pairing Darren Sharper up with Ed Reed for safeties?
GB selection: Javon Walker My selection: Ed Reed (24th)
2003- Nick Barnett, MLB
One of the more solid picks in the early 2000s for Green Bay, Barnett came out of Oregon State and was the second linebacker drafted (after Terrell Suggs).
Barnett’s career in Green Bay lasted eight productive years, and he only missed two games in his first five seasons.
As a rookie, Barnett started all 15 games he appeared in, racking up 112 total tackles and three interceptions. In every season except 2008 and 2010, Barnett had at least 105 tackles, speaking to his stability as the defensive captain.
While there were other prospects out there that would have been good fits for this team, Barnett was the player the team needed to plug into the defense.
GB selection: Nick Barnett My selection: Nick Barnett
2004- Ahmad Carroll, CB
Carroll’s career in Green Bay was a disaster from the get-go, as he faced scrutiny from the media for his on-field performance as well as for his off-field antics. Carroll did nothing well while in Green Bay and seemed to earn playing time simply because then-head coach and GM Mike Sherman didn’t want to blow another first round selection.
Carroll lasted two full seasons in Green Bay before being released four games into the 2006 season by first-year head coach Mike McCarthy, who was not a fan of his performance.
In lieu of selecting Carroll, Sherman and his scouts should have gone with Bob Sanders, a long-tenured defensive back who was selected by Indy (again) in the second round. Sanders had a nose for the football and surveyed both the field and the quarterback well. With the team only having three functioning cornerbacks and Carroll on the team after this draft, replacing Carroll with Sanders is a likely swap Sherman would be alright with making.
GB selection: Ahmad Carroll My selection: Bob Sanders (44th)
2005- Aaron Rodgers, GOAT
This explanation really does not need to be long, as everyone knows how great Rodgers is. But, what would have happened if Rodgers would have been selected where he was projected to go?
Hypothetically, if the 49ers still select Alex Smith first overall, any amount of teams in the top 10 could have selected Rodgers, from Miami at no. 2 all the way to the Redskins at no. 9, who took Jason Campbell a pick after GB selected Rodgers (side note: Detroit picked 10th, and they had just selected Joey Harrington in 2002 and he had not completely worn out his welcome in 2005).
So if Rodgers had gone before GB picked, who would they have taken instead? Barring a trade, selecting Logan Mankins (32nd) or Frank Gore (65th) would have filled the gap as well if Rodgers wasn’t there.
So there is the first run through of first-round selections for Green Bay since 2000. Check back next week, where I go through selections from 2006-2010.
Thoughts on who should have/should not have been selected? Leave your thoughts below!뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23