Part 3 of the 4 part series examines the top 5 draft picks that didn’t pan out for the Pack, to say the least. If you don’t want to suffer through this alone, please forward to a fellow friend to ruin their day too!
5. B.J. Sander (2004 3rd Round, 39.2 yards per punt)
The 2004 draft is what did Mike Sherman in (more to come later.) Two teams have drafted a punter in the 3rd round since the Packers drafted Sander: The Titans and the Jaguars. Look at how those juggernauts have done over the years. B.J. Sander did win the Ray Guy award the previous season at Ohio State. Someone has to win it every year, I guess.
Even for being picked in the 3rd round, he still couldn’t beat out Bryan Barker in the 2004 season. The following year, he wowed the Lambeau faithful with a 39.2 average per punt.
Let’s face it. There will never be another special teamer like Chester Marcol!
4. Derek Sherrod (2011 1st Round, 1 start)
Maybe the Packers felt sorry for the rest of the league after winning the title in 2010? Defending champions can often draft someone who’s not an immediate need. Green Bay decided they had no immediate needs as defending champs, and drafted an OT that rode the bench until pressed into service late in 2011 when Bryan Bulaga was injured.
Sherrod proceeded to almost instantly shatter his leg.
He never made it back onto the field until 2012, and managed one start. He was a total liability when he was on the field, as we easily noticed with a crown jewel at QB that nobody ever wants to see hit.
The broken leg doomed him before he had a chance. DeMarco Murray could’ve been chosen with that pick, but so could have Titus Young
3. Jamal Reynolds (2001 1st Round, 3 sacks, 14 tackles)
The pedigree was certainly there. A unanimous All-American out of Florida State would seem to be a safe pick. Oh how the draft is a cruel thing and can make suckers of us all.
The Packers traded up to the 10th overall pick in the draft to take Jamal Reynolds. That trade involved sending Matt Hasselbeck to the Seahawks, by the way. Reynolds was supposed to fill a serious need at pass rush. Instead, he suffered a knee injury in camp and didn’t step foot in a regular season game until much of the season had passed. By age 25, Reynolds’ injury plagued career came to an unceremonious end after failing a physical with the Indianapolis Colts.
Interesting enough, the troubles for Reynolds opened the door for one Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. Green Bay got their pass rusher; he just happened to wear a different jersey and have a much harder name to pronounce at first.
2. Justin Harrell (2007 1st Round, 0 sacks, 18 tackles)
I remember leaving work during the draft in 2007. I texted my friend Peter to see who the Packers drafted. He said Justin Harrell. I asked who in the world is Justin Harrell? Me and the rest of America except for a group of scouts from Green Bay and the diehards from Rocky Top asked this.
Have you ever known someone to get hurt while reaching for a carton of milk in the fridge, or tearing a chest muscle while sneezing? Chances are, Harrell has suffered injuries doing these multiple on multiple occasions. He’s the only player I’ve heard of with a high school scouting report that mentioned he was injury prone. The injuries continued into college, and naturally the NFL.
The 2010 season opener summed up the Packers’ season: surgical precision passing from Aaron Rodgers, pass rushing dominance by Clay Matthews (oh, how those days have passed), and a season ending injury for Justin Harrell.
1. Ahmad Carroll (2004 1st Round, 3 sacks, 3 INT, 1 FR, countless blown coverages)
This guy was the absolute worst. I was in college when he played, and I will always say one of my worst experiences in my college years was suffering through the Ahmad Carroll years. Imagine a cockier, more boneheaded version of Damarious Randall this past year and multiply that by 50. That was Ahmad Carroll. I will always remember in 2005 against the Falcons when he actually defended a pass for once to help seal the game. He proceeded to face the entire Falcons bench and flex his muscles. The Packers finished 4-12 that year. He was acting like they were headed toward a first round bye in the postseason, and like he was actually good or something.
By 2006, Packer fans were more than ready to move on from his weekly boneheaded plays. Opposing teams had dubbed him “Highway 28”. As you can probably figure out, this was because there was no faster way to the end zone than through #28, Ahmad Carroll. He was immediately cut after getting torched against the Seahawks on Monday night game. Until the Fail Mary, Ahmad Carroll was the worst memory against Seattle. He is the Tony Mandarich of Packers draft busts on the defensive side.
________________John Piotrowski is a UW-Eau Claire alum, spending most of his life in western WI. He makes the trek east to Lambeau whenever possible. Follow him on twitter at @piosGBP.