The Green Bay Packers have a rich history of drafting well. Vince Lombardi drafted well in the Packers’ Golden Age, and the team has had very successful general managers in recent years (Mike Sherman excluded). Ron Wolf, Ted Thompson, and Brian Gutekunst have all made excellent draft picks to add to the long history of highly-rated drafted players in Green Bay. However, note very pick has worked out.
No, Jordan Love is not on this list. Quarterback Jerry Tagge could have been, but this list is just too short to include him. For curious minds, Tagge was drafted in the first round of the 1972 draft to be a potential replacement for Bart Starr. He three three touchdown passes in his career with the Packers compared to 17 interceptions. However bad the Green Bay native was, he still is not among the five worst draft picks in the history of the Packers. There are numerous names that could make this list, but only five made the final cut. Some names may be familiar, others may not. In any case, there is no arguing that these players certainly were wasted picks.
#5- Randall Woodfield: WR- Portland State University
The name Randall Woodfield may be familiar, but it is not because of football. The Green Bay Packers drafted Woodfield with the 428th pick in the 1974 draft. At six foot one and 170 pounds, Woodfield would not even be considered for Division I football today. However, back in the 70’s, he was the ideal size for a wide receiver and had good speed for the time. He ran a 4.70 in his 40-yard dash, which is what current 300-pound linemen can run in today’s game. Again, though, this was really good for the time.
Woodfield never put up flashy stats in college, but the Packers sent a scout out to Oregon to take a look at him. The team believed he had the intangibles and potential to at least make the roster, so they drafted him in a round that no longer exists. Woodfield did not play any games as a Packer, though, and he was released before the season began.
This is not what made him a terrible pick, though. In fact, it may not have been his play that led to his release. Randall Woodfield reportedly had at least 10 instances of indecent exposure in Green Bay during his short time in Packers’ training camp. He had had a history of sex-related crimes in the past, but these were covered up by local police. Had the Packers known, the surly would not have wasted one of their many draft picks on him. After his release, he went on to become known as the infamous I-5 Killer, who is believed to have murdered up to 44 people. He is currently serving a life sentence for his crimes at the Oregon State Penitentiary.
#4- Ahmad Carroll: DB- Arkansas
In the first part of this article, Mike Sherman was excluded from the list of great Packers’ general managers. There are several reasons for this. Taking Ahmad Carroll in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft may be chief among them.
In 2003, the Green Bay Packers were embarrassed by the infamous 4th and 26 play in the playoffs. In short, the defense had backed the Eagles up and could win the game with a stop. The Eagles, though, converted on the play and ended up winning 20-17. It ended what was a deplorable season for the pass defense, which ranked 23rd in the NFL that year.
Sherman responded by drafting Carroll to be a starting cornerback in 2004. Not only did Carroll not help, he made the passing defense even worse. In addition, Carroll sucker-punched fellow Packers’ draft pick Joey Thomas when the two met later that year. The passing defense finished 25th in the NFL in 2004, which continued the team’s defensive frustrations.
In 27 starts with the Packers, Carroll only intercepted three passes and had an irritating knack for giving up touchdowns. He was traded to Jacksonville midway through the 2006 season and was out of the NFL by 2009. He was not the only bust of Mike Sherman’s draft picks, but he certainly may be the worst.
#3- Rich Campbell: QB- California
Long before the Packers drafted Aaron Rodgers out of California to replace Brett Favre, they drafted Rich Campbell from the same school to replace Bart Starr. Whereas Aaron Rodgers continued Hall of Fame quarterback play in Green Bay, Campbell contributed to an era of terrible quarterback play in a forgettable era of Packers’ history.
Lynn Dickey was the Packers’ quarterback from 1976-1985. However, he was often injured and did not move well in the pocket. As a result, the Packers used the sixth pick in the 1981 draft to select Rich Campbell out of California.
Campbell played for the Packers for four seasons, but never made a single start. In the limited time he did play, he was down right awful. He ended his tenure with just three touchdown passes and nine interceptions. In addition, he completed just 45.6% of his passes. The Packers released him after his four seasons and he never played in the NFL again.
All of a sudden, that Jordan Love pick doesn’t sound so bad. At least he wasn’t a top ten pick.
#2- Derek Sherrod: OT- Mississippi State
Following the Packers’ 2010 Super Bowl victory, the team decided to invest in its offensive line with their first round pick. As a result, they selected Derek Sherrod to be their left tackle of the future.
On the surface, Sherrod had everything any team could want in a draft prospect at the offensive line. He was light on his feet, had adequate strength, had ideal height, and could block the edge well. That was, of course, in college. The NFL game is a different animal altogether.
Derek Sherrod’s brief NFL career was marred with injury after injury. During his rookie season, he suffered a sever leg injury on December 18, 2011 against the Chiefs. The injury, a fractured tibia and fibula in his right leg, required emergency surgery after the game by the Chiefs’ team physician. He could not even wait to get back to Green Bay to get it taken care of.
The injury forced Sherrod to miss the entire 2012 season as well. When he finally returned midway through the 2013 season, Sherrod was a shadow of his former self. He did not play well and was finally released by the Packers in 2014. All in all, he appeared in just 20 games for the Packers and started just one of those games. That is certainly less than ideal for a first-round pick.
#1- Tony Mandarich: OT- Michigan State
Not only is Tony Mandarich considered one of the worst draft picks in Packers’ history, he is regarded as one of the worst picks in the entire history of the NFL. While his play in Green Bay definitely did not make him worth the second overall pick in the 1989 Draft, it was the players who were taken after him that sealed his legacy as a bust.
The Green Bay Packers passed over Hall of Famers Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas, and Deion Sanders in order to take the bulky lineman. The face of performance enhancing drugs in the late 80’s, Mandarich’s game never really translated to the NFL.
Mandarich was not good enough to be a starter in his rookie season, and he played poorly when he did start in 1990 and 1991. He lacked the quick feet to keep up with NFL defenses and was constantly thrown around as he struggled to keep his balance.
The Packers released Mandarich after the 1991 season. He did not find work in the NFL again until 1996. After being out of the NFL for years, he ended up playing offensive guard for the Colts, a position that better suited his abilities. He never lived up to the hype of being taken second overall, though. His underwhelming career came to an end in 1998.
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