"This was a player that we identified a long time ago as someone who can come in and impact our defense," head coach Mike Sherman said. "He can make a difference in stopping the run. We're excited to be able to get him with this pick."
"We like the team we've got coming back, and Nick Barnett is going to be a big part of that and we're excited about that."
Sherman expects Barnett to compete for the starting middle linebacker position next season and play an integral part on special teams.
Green Bay passed on the much hyped Boss Bailey who was considered the top linebacker in the draft.
Barnett is the first Beaver football player since 1963 to be drafted in the first round. He joins Terry Baker who was drafted in 1963 by the Los Angeles Rams, Ken Carpenter who was selected in 1950 by the Cleveland Browns, and Joe Gray who was drafted in 1938 by the Chicago Bears.
Green Bay Packer Nick Barnett and coach Sherman
Following the opening round, one Beaver was selected in the fourth and and another in the fifth.
Highly touted cornerback Dennis Weathersby, who was shot
in the back last week, was selected in the fourth round (98th overall)
by the Cincinnati Bengals.
"To get a guy of this caliber at this round of the draft is a coup for us," defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said. "You've got to think that without that incident, he wouldn't have been on the board this morning."
Weathersby is expected to miss another 6-8 weeks but should be on the field when training camp opens July 27.
Defensive tackle James Lee was also selected by the Packers in the fifth round (147th overall) and will join Barnett in Wisconsin.
"He is a big guy with quickness who can get off the ball," said Sam Seal, the Packers' college scout. "When you guys see this guy, he is wide. It is not a bad-looking wide. It is a good-looking wide."
Green Bay Packer James Lee
- Nick Barnett
- Packers pick seven players in final rounds of draft
- Packers' first draft choice makes first trip to Lambeau
- Green Bay welcomes
first round pick (Good quotes in this article.)
- Recovering from drive-by shooting
- Weathersby convinces Bengals
- Bengals take Weathersby in first round