By JERRY TAPP
How about one more article on the recent NFL draft?
In addition to the chatter about how the Green Bay Packers used a first round choice on a QB, the other big news for the team was the fact that they did not select a wide receiver early in the draft … truth is they didn’t select any wide receivers among their 2020 selections.
Most experts had the Packers adding a playmaking receiver in the first couple rounds of the draft. When they didn’t select even one over the three days, a lot of people were surprised.
The last time the Packers did not select a wide receiver in any round of an NFL Draft was in 2012, eight years ago. If we check the team’s drafts from the last 50 years, it was only the ninth time since 1970 that the Pack did not choose a wide receiver in the draft.
Let’s go back to the selection of a wide receiver in the first round, again, an expected move for the Packers this season. In some respects, it should not come as a surprise that they didn’t use their first rounder on a wide receiver. Since 1970, only four times have the Packers chosen a wide receiver in the first round. The last time it happened was in 2002 when Green Bay selected receiver Javon Walker in the first round.
The other first round receivers taken by the Packers in the first round since 1970: Sterling Sharpe, 1988; James Lofton, 1978; and Barry Smith, 1973.
Both Sharpe (pictured above) and Lofton went onto great careers with the Packers. Sharpe had 595 catches with the Packers and ranks second behind Donald Driver’s 743 for most catches by a Green bay wide receiver. Lofton grabbed 530 passes as a Packers and ranks fourth on the wide receiver’s most catches list.
Sharpe, Lofton and Walker are the three Packers wide receivers drafted in the first round that had 150 or more career catches with the team. Of the 19 wide receivers who had 150 or more career catches with the Packers, five were selected in the second round, four were taken in the third round, four were taken in the fourth round or later, and two of the players came to the Packers via a trade or free agency, and one, Don Hutson, who ranks fifth on the list with 488 catches, was with the team before the NFL Draft was ever instituted.
Looking at the 22 NFL wide receivers that have 900 or more career catches, 10 were drafted in the first round, two were chosen in the second round, four were selected in the third round, four were taken in the fourth round, and two of those wide receivers with 900 or more career receptions were undrafted.
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