Clay Matthews

We know the Green Bay Packers will have the No. 26 pick in the first round of the NFL Draft thanks to their exit in the divisional round of the playoffs.

We’ll get into prospects and needs at a later date, but we always find it interesting to look at the players drafted in recent seasons in the Packers’ draft slot. It gives an idea about what sort of impact you might be able to expect from that player.

So, here they are from the last five years along with their rookie-year stats.

2012 — Whitney Mercilus, outside linebacker (Houston)
Four starts, 25 tackles, 6 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
Mercilus was obviously a contributor as a pass rusher on one of the league’s best defenses.

2011 — Jon Baldwin, receiver (Kansas City)
Three starts, 21 receptions, 254 yards, 1 TD
Baldwin has only 41 catches and 10 starts in his two seasons for a team without many receiving options.

2010 — Dan Williams, defensive tackle (Arizona)
Zero starts, 38 tackles, 0 sacks
Williams isn’t really a big stats guys — he’s a fat body to clog up the middle. He started 11 games this season and had 44 tackles, which is pretty good for a defensive tackle.

2009 — Clay Matthews, linebacker (Green Bay)
Thirteen starts, 51 tackles, 10 sacks, 1 forced fumble
You know the story here.

2008 — Duane Brown, tackle (Houston)
16 starts
Made the Pro Bowl his rookie season and has been a full-time starter ever since.

Out of the group, you have two top-tier talents in Matthews and Brown, two contributors in Williams and Mercilus and one guy who hasn’t done much of anything in Baldwin.

The draft is somewhat of a crapshoot, but at least it’s at least relieving to know the Packers did pretty well the last time they picked at No. 26.