10. Ken Ruettgers, OT, USC, 1985
The 7th pick of the 1985 NFL Draft, Ruettgers was rock solid for a decade as the Packers’ starting left tackle, including being named the team’s offensive MVP in 1989. Unfortunately, injuries left him unable to finish what would end up being a championship season in 1996. Ruettgers was named to the Packers Hall of Fame in 2014.
9. Willie Buchanon, CB, San Diego State, 1972
Dan Devine made MANY mistakes as Packers coach and GM, he didn’t drop the ball on this one. Willie was the 7th overall pick, and the 1972 Defensive Rookie of the Year. A three-time All-Pro, he had nine interceptions in 1978, including a record-tying four in one game against the Chargers, where he ended his stellar career.
8. Gale Gillingham, G, Minnesota, 1966
Country strong before that phrase became popular, “Gilly’s” great play was sometimes overlooked due to the fact he played most of his career on dismal Packers teams. He was a 5-time Pro Bowl pick and selected to the Packers Hall of Fame in 1982. He died at age 67 in 2011.
7. Clay Matthews, LB, USC, 2009
Undoubtedly the second-best of Ted Thompson’s #1 picks as
6. Sterling Sharpe, WR, South Carolina, 1988
I have Sharpe ranked here due to the incredible impact he had as the Packers’ sole star receiver during most of his time in GB, a career cut short by a neck injury in 1994. Fearless over the middle, and blessed with strong hands, he caught 107 passes in 1992. Had it not been for his early retirement, Packers’ receivers would probably still be chasing his records.
5. James Lofton, WR, Stanford, 1978
Without question the top draft pick of Bart Starr’s tenure as Packers GM, Lofton was an 8-time Pro Bowl selection (seven with the Packers, one with the Buffalo Bills). He was immortalized in Canton in 2003.
4. Dave Robinson, LB, Penn State, 1963
After backing up Dan Currie during his rookie season, Robinson became a starting outside linebacker for the Packers and remained in that role with the team through 1972. Alongside the immortal MLB Ray Nitschke (a third-round pick) and Pro Bowler Lee Roy Caffey, the threesome formed one of the best starting units of linebackers in NFL history. “Robby,” as he was affectionately known, was inducted into the Pro Football of Fame in 2013.
3. Paul Hornung, HB, Notre Dame, 1957
Hornung is the first in pro football history to win the Heisman Trophy, be selected as the first overall selection in the NFL Draft, win the NFL most valuable player award, and be inducted into both the professional and college football halls of fame. Enough said.
2. Herb Adderley, HB, Michigan State, 1961
He began his professional career as a halfback on offense, but with Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor already starring as running backs, Vince Lombardi switched Adderley to cornerback. Adderley was an all-NFL selection five times in the 1960s and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980. He also holds the Packers’ record for most interceptions returned for touchdowns in a career with seven (a mark he shares with Darren Sharper.)
1. Aaron Rodgers, QB, California, 2005
After sitting on the bench as Brett Favre’s understudy for three years, the 2-time MVP has kept the Packers’ run of excellence going like the Energizer bunny. Most teams would have struggled to land a solid starter for years after losing a player like Favre, so that gives A-Rod the nod as the Packers’ all-time best round one selection.
Ron Kramer, end, Michigan, 1957; Dan Currie, LB, Michigan State, 1958; John Anderson, LB, Michigan, 1978; Wayne Simmons, LB, Clemson, 1993; Craig Newsome, CB, Arizona State, 1995; Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa, 2010.
Submitted by: Mike Jacquart