1973: Terrible draft turns up one treasure

The first in a series looking back at past Packer drafts. Today: 1973.<P> Thirty years ago, Richard Nixon was in his second term the White House, Dan Devine was in the middle of his Packer tenure, and the team was coming off a winning season, NFC Central title and playoff berth. Little did anyone know that the roof was about to cave in on all of the above.<P>

Fast forward just a couple years to find Nixon and Devine out of their previous jobs.

Similarly, a look a couple years down the road found all but ONE member of the Packer Draft Class of '73 no longer with the team. And that guy was a 12th round pick. Any guesses? We'll tell you who he was (and still is) at the end of this article.

The Packers selected wide receiver Barry Smith out of Florida with the 21st pick that year. Smith spent only three seasons with the Packers. He was sixth among the team's receivers his rookie year with just 15 catches. Smith fared only slightly better his sophomore campaign with 20 receptions and a touchdown, but fell practically off the charts during his third and final season in Green Bay. Injuries hindered Smith, who caught passes from an interesting assortment of quarterbacks: Scott Hunter, Jerry Tagge and John Hadl.

Green Bay traded its second-round pick to Dallas in the CB Ike Thomas/ P Ron Widby trade from the previous year. Both Thomas and Widby were gone after the '73 season. With the third round pick (74th overall), Green Bay selected linebacker Tom McLeod from Minnesota. MacLeod started at left linebacker and had two interceptions, but was packaged traded for Ted Hendricks before the 1974 season. The second-round draft pick the Packers also received in that deal was one of the bevy of draft riches spent on Hadl.

The fourth pick of the '73 draft had been traded two years prior to re-acquire linebacker Tommy Crutcher. In his second cup of coffee with the Pack, Crutcher lasted only through 1972-73.

The Packers also sat out the fifth round, having spent that pick in a trade with the Raiders for Carleton Oats. The defensive tackle spent just one season in Green Bay. Are we sensing a theme here?

In the sixth round Green Bay got linebacker Tom Toner out of Idaho State with the 152nd overall pick. Toner, like so many other members of this draft class, didn't last long. Off the roster in 1974, Toner later returned and started for the Pack in 1977.

Eighth-round draft pick Austin Hise, a DB/WR from Prairie View, spent one season in Green Bay and saw very little PT.

Picks from rounds 7, 9-11 and 13-17 never saw the light of day in Green Bay. That leaves us with our aforementioned "mystery man" from the 12th round.

If you guessed Larry "Rock" McCarren, long-time starting center, Packer Hall of Famer and now part of the Pack's radio broadcast team, you were correct.

McCarren was selected out of Illinois with the 308th overall pick. He spent his rookie season as backup to the legendary Ken Bowman, then took over as starting center in 1974. McCarren played 12 seasons in Green Bay, starting for 11 of them. Hence the nickname.


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