Packers trade up to get receiver

The Green Bay Packers swapped picks with the Seattle Seahawks to move up in the first round of the NFL draft, then selected wide receiver Javon Walker out of Florida State. Walker is expected to compete for a starting job opposite newly acquired Terry Glenn in the Packers offense.<p>

Walker, 6-foot-2 3/4, 210 pounds, played the last two seasons for the Seminoles, making 65 catches for 1,257 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was drafted by the Florida Marlins in the eighth round of the 1997 Major League Baseball free agent draft and spent one full season and two summers in the organization. He played receiver for Jones (Miss.) Junior College before going to Florida State.

"We're a faster team," said Packers head coach and general manager Mike Sherman about the addition of Walker. "He can stretch the field and make the difficult catch."

Walker is the first receiver selected by the Packers in the first round of the draft since Sterling Sharpe (South Carolina) in 1988.

Sherman, engineering his first draft as general manager of the Packers, worked a deal with ex-Packers head coach Mike Holmgren, now head coach and GM of the Seahawks. Green Bay gave the Seahawks its second round pick (60th overall) and 28th pick of the first round for the right to pick at No. 20. The Packers also received a fifth round pick from the Seahawks in this weekend's draft.

Sherman said Walker is a "quality receiver" and one that the Packers had targeted. Sherman said that if the Packers hadn't made a trade with Seattle another team would have selected Walker prior to the 28th pick.

"I thought a couple of teams would go after him," Sherman said.

The Packers embraced Walker's size and speed. He also has larger hands (10 3/8 inches) and solid character.

"He could be something special in our system," Sherman said.

Walker worked out for the Packers prior to the draft. Though he only scored a 9 on the Wonderlic test, he showed an ability to pick up on the West Coast offense during his visit to Green Bay.

"When I came up for my visit, they threw the playbook at me and they were pretty surprised what I did," Walker said. "I'm looking forward to coming in and picking up the offense."

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