NFL Draft

By the time the 29th pick rolls around, the marquee names are gone, right? After all, by that time more than two dozen of the best collegians have been deemed a better buy than the rest of the crowd.<P> It doesn't always work that way. The Packers have struck gold with late round picks before, and with the interesting twists and turns promised by this year's selections, the time is right for it to happen again.<P>

Exactly 10 years ago, the Packers landed safety George Teague out of Alabama with the 29th pick. Teague had three successful seasons with Green Bay and is best remembered for his 101-yard interception return in the Packers' playoff victory over the Detroit Lions in the Silverdome in his rookie year. That unforgettable highlight led to the Packers' first playoff win in 11 years, and their first post-season victory in a full (non-strike) season since Super Bowl II. Teague's return still stands as a team and NFL postseason record.

A couple years later, the Packers traded their No. 22 spot to Carolina and slid back to make their first pick at No. 32 in the 1995 Draft. They used that pick to snare Arizona cornerback Craig Newsome. History repeated itself, as a late-round find again made a miracle happen in the playoffs as a rookie. Newsome scooped up a Wayne Simmons-forced fumble and ran into the 3Com Park end zone as the Packers upset the defending-champion 49ers in the divisional playoffs.

Twenty-five years ago, the Packers found one of their most beloved post-Lombardi Era players with a late first-round pick. Linebacker John Anderson was selected out of Michigan with the 26the pick in the 1978 draft. Anderson enjoyed a 12-year career with the Packers and was a beacon of professionalism through some lean years.

Other notable late first-rounders: DE Erza Johnson, Morris Brown, 28th in 1977; LB George Cumby, Oklahoma, 16th in 1980; CB Antuan Edwards, Clemson, 25th in 1999.

It seems like offensive linemen have been a weak spot for the Pack in the late first round. After a promising start, Green Bay's 27th pick of the 1996 draft, tackle John Michels from Cal, didn't pan out. The 30th pick of the 1997 draft, Iowa tackle Ross Verba, fared better but peaked early didn't return to form before parting ways with Green Bay.


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