Moving into the third part of this series, numbers five through nine will be covered in this week’s article about the best late-round unsung draft selections in Packers history.
Last week, names like Dorsey Levens (#10) and Marco Rivera (#11) were included in the second installment of this four-part series, and there will be many more notable names before the series concludes. So let’s jump into it!
#9- Mark Tauscher, T
Selected out of the University of Wisconsin in the final round of the 2000 draft, the Marshfield, WI native played 11 seasons with the hometown team, playing in 134 games and starting 132. Tauscher, who donned the number 65 while holding down the right tackle position for over a decade, had five seasons of 16 starts, including three consecutive seasons from 2003 to 2005.
Being a Badger and being drafted by the hometown squad, Tauscher became a feel-good story, but quickly evolved into much more than just a story. His steady performance helped anchor the offensive line, while the tandem of Tauscher and Chad Clifton helped solidify the trenches for many seasons.
After being cut by the Pack in 2011 for cost-saving measures, Tauscher never latched on with another team and eventually retired. Throughout his career, he received All-Rookie honors as well as the Walter Payton Man of the Year award for his performance both on and off the gridiron.
Currently, Tauscher is lending his time in the commentating booth, as he has teamed up with Matt Lepay to cover a few Wisconsin Badger football games. He also co-hosts a show on ESPN Milwaukee with Jason Wilde, titled ‘Wilde and Tausch.’
Tauscher starts the list off at number nine.
#8- Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, DE
KGB, whose name is one of the longest in the league, also came into the league in the 2000 draft, albeit two rounds earlier than Tauscher. Across his nine-year career, Kabeer’s motor and highlight reel were mainstays in Packer highlights across all seasons.
Kabeer was an Aztec, drafted out of San Diego State with the 149th overall selection, and played in 124 games, all with Green Bay. Number 94 had career highs of 35 tackles, 13.5 sacks (twice) and four forced fumbles for the Pack.
His lone Pro Bowl season came in 2003, as he racked up 10 sacks, two forced fumbles and 34 tackles. His previous season was his most well-rounded, as he had 12 sacks, 35 tackles, four forced fumbles and his lone career interception, a 72-yarder returned for a touchdown against Chicago, in a game that he also had two pass deflections, two sacks and three total tackles.
While under the radar, Kabeer’s career in Green Bay will not be forgotten, as he checks in at number eight on the list.
#7- Aaron Kampman, DE
Marking the second consecutive defensive lineman in this article, Kampman’s career in Green Bay lasted eight years, before he finished up his final two years in the league in Jacksonville.
Kampman was drafted out of Iowa in the fifth round of the 2002 draft, 156th overall. Kampman made an immediate impact in his rookie campaign, starting six games and appearing in 12, while earning a half-sack and 12 tackles.
Kampman earned two Pro Bowl nods, in 2006 and 2007, with 2006 being his best season. In 2006 alone, Kampman was an absolute matchup nightmare for opponents, with a career-high 15.5 sacks, 59 tackles and three forced fumbles.
Sadly, Kampman was moved to LOLB in his final season in Green Bay in 2009, and his effectiveness was not utilized as much as when he would line up with his hand in the dirt and his cleats in the trenches. His two seasons in Jacksonville left a lot to be desired, only earned four sacks and 16 tackles in 11 games.
Kampman checks in at number seven on the list.
#6- Bill Schroeder, WR
A true success story of overcoming the odds to make it big, Schroeder hails from Wisconsin but graduated from Division-III UW-La Crosse.
To put his chances of making the league into perspective, as of September 2017 there were only seven D-III players on an NFL roster, headlines by Pierre Garcon and Jerrell Freeman. D-III also has produced Cecil Shorts III, Trumaine Brock and Andrew Franks, among others.
Drafted in the sixth round of the 1994 draft (181st overall), Schroeder faced an uphill battle from the get-go. Coming from a small school put him at a disadvantage while trying to get into the league, but his determination didn’t fall on deaf ears.
Schroeder’s career began in Green Bay, but didn’t make an impact and joined the Patriots the following season in 1995. He didn’t actually get onto the field until 1997 (as he took 1996 off), when he appeared in 15 games and only made two catches, one going for his first career score.
His best season came in 1999, in his only 1,000+ yardage campaign, catching 74 balls for 1,051 yards and five scores.
In his career with Green Bay, Schroeder scored 20 touchdowns, caught 225 passes for 3,435 yards and averaged 15.3 yards per catch. Schroeder checks in at sixth on this list.
#5- Mason Crosby, K
The first kicker on this list (SPOILER), Crosby was selected in the sixth round out of Colorado in 2007. Kicking for the Buffaloes in Colorado helped set up Crosby for success in harsher conditions, which speaks to his consistency going into now his 12th season.
Having never missed a game in his career, Crosby ranks third all-time in Packer record books, behind Favre (255) and Forrest Gregg (187). Crosby also holds the record for most points in franchise history at 1,345 and he also leads the franchise in field goals made, extra points and fifty-yard field goals made.
Crosby’s best season was in 2011, as he only missed one extra point (68/69) and 24-for-28 in field goals, including a career-long 58 yarder.
While fans were calling for Crosby to lose his roster spot at certain points in his career, and with the team bringing in outside competition as well, Crosby has remained steadfast and has only gotten better with age (wine deal in his future?).
Crosby rounds out this portion of the list at number five.
Check back next week for the final installment of this series!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