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Packers’ Last Five Draft Classes Have Produced Few Star Players

On Monday, I commented on how the Green Bay Packers’ rookie class was graded among the bottom 10 NFL teams for 2016. This time around I’m going to view the topic from a slightly different perspective.

Gil Brandt, a senior writer for nfl.com, has been selecting all-rookie teams for the NFL for many years. I decided to go back and see which teams have had the most players on his all-rookie teams for the last five years, from 2012-16. Usually Brandt picks about 25 players, a couple at each position. By taking a 5-year view, this approach is more thorough than my previous posting that covered just the 2016 rookie class.

Teams with the Most Rookie Stars (2012-16)

10 Chicago
9 Tampa Bay
7 Minnesota
6 Kansas City
6 San Diego Chargers
5 Atlanta
5 Dallas
5 Detroit
5 Miami
5 New England
5 New York Giants
5 Washington
4 Buffalo
4 New Orleans
4 New York Jets
4 Oakland
4 Seattle
4 St. Louis/LA Rams
3 Arizona
3 Carolina
3 Cincinnati
3 Cleveland
3 Green Bay
3 Pittsburgh
3 San Francisco
2 Baltimore
2 Houston
2 Indianapolis
2 Philadelphia
2 Tennessee
1 Jacksonville
0 Denver

The Packers are in a seven-way tie for 19th place. Their rookie all-stars over the past five years were: Casey Hayward (2012), Eddie Lacy (2013) and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (2014). The Packers still have Ha Ha, they may or may not keep Lacy and Hayward left for San Diego as a free agent last offseason.

So, over a five-year period, Green Bay’s draft choices have landed well into the bottom half of the league based on how well they performed in their rookie seasons. As you will see below, the Packers have also been consistently losing ground on draft day to their three divisional rivals.

Divisional Comparisons, 2012-16 Rookies

Chicago Bears: OLB Leonard Floyd (2016 nfl.com all-rookie), Cody Whitehair (2016 all-rookie), RB Jordan Howard (2016 all-rookie), S Adrian Amos (2015 all-rookie), WR Kevin White (2015 all rookie), CB Kyle Fuller (2014 all-rookie), P Pat O’Donnell (2014 all-rookie), G Kyle Long (2013 all-rookie), DE Shea McClellin (2013 all-rookie), WR Alshon Jeffery (2012 all-rookie, 2013 Pro Bowl)

Minnesota Vikings: ST Miles Killebrew (2016 all-rookie), WR Stefon Diggs (2015 all-rookie), ILB Eric Kendricks (2015 all-rookie), QB Teddy Bridgewater (2014 all-rookie), OL Anthony Barr (2014 all-rookie), KR Cordarrelle Patterson (2013 all-rookie, 2014 & 2016 Pro Bowls), LT Matt Kalil (2012 all rookie, 2013 Pro Bowl)

Detroit Lions: OT Taylor Decker (2016 all-rookie), G Laken Tomlinson (2015 all-rookie), G Larry Warford (2013 all-rookie), DE Ziggy Ansah (2013 all-rookie, 2015 Pro Bowl), P Sam Martin (2013 all-rookie)

Green Bay Packers: CB Casey Hayward (2012 all-rookie), RB Eddie Lacy (2013 all-rookie, 2014 Pro Bowl), and S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (2014 all-rookie, 2016 Pro Bowl)

Is it any wonder that the Packers have had to fight so hard over that last five years to stay at or near the top of the NFC North? The evidence points to poor drafting – and with no Green Bay players on nfl.com’s all-rookie teams the past two years, things seem to be getting worse.

Tags:
Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.

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6 Comments

  1. Brian Pawluk February 21, 2017

    Actually, they are in a 7 way tie for sixth place you idiot! There are also only a couple of teams above them that will be picking after them in this years draft. According to your stupid stats, the bears should have won the Super Bowl!

  2. Kato February 21, 2017

    Eh. This is just first year production. More important to look at overall body of work. Mike Daniels and Bahktiari are legit stars.

  3. PF4L February 21, 2017

    I don’t know if i’d consider Daniels a star. Lately his talk is outperforming his playmaking. (everyone has a plan until they get hit in the mouth) said before the Falcons game. That was before the Falcons torched the Packers for 500 yards and 44 points. That game Daniels had 3 assisted tackles and all 0’s across the stat box. Much the same as the rest of the defense.

    Overall body of work?

    2011-2016 drafts overall?

    Keep up the good work TED!!!!!

    1. Kato February 21, 2017

      Respectfully disagree on Daniels. But no, I wasn’t sticking up for Ted. 2-3 top players over the course of 6 drafts is terrible, and unacceptable. Datone Jones, Jerel Worthy, Khyri Thornton, Carl Bradford, ect are unacceptable.

      1. PF4L February 21, 2017

        Daniels regressed, just 33 tackles, 4 sacks, 0 FF’s. I’d consider Perry a bigger star this season than Daniels and Perry had 4 sacks basically one handed. But it took Perry 5 years to do it, i need to see a longer sample size. He will get his cash, hopefully he stays hungry.

        Daniels didn’t make 1 play in 3 playoff games, you have to do more than that to be called a star. Especially when you talk smack.

  4. Big B February 22, 2017

    Since inception of the fifth year option for first round draft picks the Packers have yet to do it ……that sums up the performance of recent first rounders. Harsh indictment.