For the past couple of weeks, fellow Packers Talk writer Michael Johrendt has been breaking down the Packers first round picks since 2000, going in five year increments. It’s a fun venture to look back at past years and I thought I could do the same, just with later rounds. So, as he has taken a look at the first round, I’ll go with what is now known as Day Two of the NFL Draft. That is, Rounds Two and Three. And like him, I’ll go in increments, starting with 2000-2005.
Writers Note: When making my own re-draft selections, I’m looking at players who were taken between Packers picks. So, I know that Tom Brady went 199 in 2000, but he wasn’t a reasonable second round pick at that time. Rather, I’ll focus on those who went before the Packers next pick.
Despite some shaky picks during Ron Wolf’s final two seasons at the helm, he hit one out of the park with Chad Clifton. Seizing the starting left tackle job midway through his rookie season, Clifton was a rock on the blindside for the next decade, only missing time because of a nasty injury following a cheap shot from Warren Sapp and other lingering injuries. He wrapped his career in 2011 and was inducted into the Packer Hall of Fame in 2016. There’s no doubt that I would take Clifton again in a heartbeat.
In the third round though Wolf swung and missed. Warren was a good prospect out of Nebraska as a run stopper. Drafted to eventually take over for Santana Dotson and line up with Cletidus Hunt, he never was able to stay healthy, missing the entire 2001 season with a quad injury. When he did see the field, he wasn’t productive at all, with a single sack in 25 games, none of them starts. He was released in 2003 after failing a physical and never played again. Just six picks later, the Seahawks took wide receiver Darrell Jackson, who would have three 1000 yard seasons with former Packers Matt Hasselbeck and Mike Holmgren.
Redraft Selections: Chad Clifton, Darrell Jackson (80th)
Oh, boy. This was a rough year. Beyond drafting Jamal Reynolds after trading up in Round 1, they also got Torrance Marshall in the same trade. Of the three players in this group, Ferguson was the best, but he only averaged 28 catches and 386 yards during his four best years in Green Bay. Jue had a solid rookie season, starting seven games, but never build off it and started just four more over the next three seasons before leaving for San Diego. As for Marshall, he was a complete flop in Green Bay, starting two games in four years and recording 60 tackles in 51 games.
In redrafting, if they wanted a receiver, they should’ve stayed in state. Wisconsin’s Chris Chambers went 52nd overall to Miami, and excelled, recording at least 700 yards in each of his first five seasons, making the Pro Bowl in 2005. He would’ve been a great fit to replace Corey Bradford and Antonio Freeman. The Jue and Marshall picks hurt even more because of who went just a couple picks later: Steve Smith. His numbers were great with Jake Delhomme. Just think of what he could’ve done with Favre and Rodgers. And if they wanted another defensive back instead of Jue, Dwight Smith went 84th to Tampa Bay and carved out a very solid career, starting 83 games.
Redraft Selections: WR Chris Chambers (52nd), WR Steve Smith (74th), S Dwight Smith (84th)
2002 – S Marques Anderson (Rd 3, 92nd)
After trading their second round pick to Seattle, the Packers were left with one “Day Two” selection, taking Anderson out of UCLA. And he had a decent, if short, run in Green Bay. He started 11 games as a rookie and had four interceptions, two of which he took back for scores. His future looked extremely bright, but he struggled badly with his tackling and was traded to Oakland after losing the starting battle to Mark Roman in 2004. It also wasn’t a great draft for depth, with the only Pro Bowlers between Anderson and the Packers next pick at 135 (Najeh Davenport) being Chris Hope and David Garrard. But one role player stood out when looking back. At pick 126, after trading with the Packers, the Patriots took defensive end Jarvis Green. Green carved out a nice career as a rotational rusher, recording 28 career sacks and playing an underrated role in the Patriots dynasty.
Redraft Selection: DE Jarvis Green (126th)
2003 – DT Kenny Peterson (Rd 3, 79th)
Looking back, it’s absolutely stunning to see how successful Ted Thompson was in Rounds 2-3 when Mike Sherman continually bombed. This selection was no different. He did make a smart move with his second round pick, trading it for Al Harris, but with the draft itself it is a different story. The Packers 2003 Draft was horrendous to begin with, with Nick Barnett the only one who did anything with the team, but drafting Peterson 79th is absolutely head-scratching. Peterson played three seasons in Green Bay, recording three sacks in in 34 games, starting none. He ended his career in Denver in 2009.
The Packers didn’t pick again until 147, when they took James Lee. In between, some really good players were selected, including Terrence McGee, Asante Samuel, and Brandon Lloyd. But the biggest miss was a pass rusher, who dwarfed the production of Peterson. Picked 138th, Robert Mathis played 13 seasons and 123 sacks. Again, while playing the “What if” game, but imaging a pass trio of Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, Aaron Kampman, and Robert Mathis. Goodness
Redraft Selection: DE Robert Mathis (138th)
Oh, boy. Where to begin with this group. After drafting the definition of pass interference in Ahmad Carroll in the first round, Mike Sherman doubled down and took the raw, but talented Thomas. After making numerous blunders, he then wore out his welcome with some public comments directed at his teammates and was cut midway through the 2005 season. He played 20 games in Green Bay, starting one and making a grand total of 29 tackles with no interceptions.
Washington was an even bigger bust. He last two years in Green bay but never played in a game. That is the definition of a wasted pick.
Then we get to the move that may have cost Mike Sherman his job as GM, trading up for BJ Sander. The Ohio State product had to spend a year in NFL Europe to adjust to professional football and then flopped in his single year as an active Packer in 2005. He would end up as the poster boy for the Mike Sherman General Manager Experience.
When redrafting, I won’t break my rules listed at the top of this article, and I’ve got to get someone better than Joey Thomas. Luckily, the pick between Thomas and Washington was Defensive Tackle Randy Starks. He was a solid player who made a pair of Pro Bowls. Between picks 72 and 87, the Packers could’ve found their complement and eventual replacement for Bubba Franks in Chris Cooley. The eccentric H-back had four consecutive years (and five of six) with at least 700 yards. The picks between Sander and their next pick (Corey Williams) had even more stars, including three future Pro Bowl pass rushers. Antonio Smith and Shaun Phillips were good players, but the if I’m redrafting, I’m taking Jared Allen. He went 126th overall to the Chiefs and was one of the best in the league for over a decade (136 career sacks)
Redraft Selections: DT Randy Starks (71st), TE Chris Cooley (81st), DE Jared Allen (126th)
After four years of disappointment, we get some happiness for the Packers. It’s widely accepted that Ted Thompson’s best draft was his first, mostly because of his first two picks. After drafting the most talented quarterback the league has ever seen, he got an unknown safety from Bethune-Cookman and gave him Leroy Butler’s Number 36. Safe to say, it worked out swimmingly. Nick Collins became a three-time All-Pro and made three Pro Bowls before his career ended due to a neck injury in 2011. During his three All-Pro seasons, he had 17 interceptions and three scores in the regular season. He then capped everything of with a Super Bowl Pick-Six. He was elected to the Packer Hall of Fame in 2016.
On the other side, we get to the story of Terrence Murphy. An extremely promising prospect as a slot receiver, Murphy had his career ended after a neck injury that he suffered recovering a fumble. He played only three games in the NFL after a great training camp and preseason. His story is one of the biggest “What If” ones in recent Packers history, much like Mark D’Onofrio in 1992.
As a redraft, taking into account Murphy’s injury, we grab another receiver, Northern Colorado’s Vincent Jackson, who went 61st Overall to San Diego. He had a very nice career, with three Pro Bowls and over 9000 yards receiving. Obviously, we’re taking Collins again.
Redraft Selections: S Nick Collins, WR Vincent Jackson (61st)
Of the 12 selections made in Rounds Two and Three between 2000 and 2005, I’m only taking two of them a second time (Nick Collins, Chad Clifton). That shows both how tough the second round can be, and how bad the Packers were at picking in those rounds until 2005. What do you think of my new picks? Let me know and don’t forget to keep reading Michael Johrendt’s redrafting of the first round.