The Lakeland Mirror

Draft booms and busts

John Biever

John Biever

Tony Mandarich. I’m sure he was a fine person, but, man, was he a bad pick.

Greg Heinen, Advertising Manager

Tonight begins Ted Thompson’s favorite time of the year: draft time. The first round of players will be selected tonight at 7:30. In honor of this event, below is a culmination of the best and worst first round draft picks in Packers history.

Booms

Aaron Rodgers, QB, University of California – It seems fitting that the reigning MVP Rodgers is on top of the list. Rodgers was semi-groomed by egotistical Brett Favre and eventually went on to win a Super Bowl for the Packers. Rodgers’ numbers have him on the fast track to the NFL Hall of Fame.

Sterling Sharpe, WR, South Carolina – Sterling Sharpe was an impressive specimen. He was drafted in the 1988 draft with the 7th pick. Sharpe made an immediate impact as a receiver. In his second year he led the league in receptions with 90. He also was one of seven receivers to win “The Triple Crown” – to lead the league in catches, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. Unfortunately, Sharpe suffered a neck injury in 1994 which ultimately ended his short but stellar career.

Clay Matthews III, OLB, USC – The long hair and beefed up muscles of Clay Matthews III instantly made him a fan favorite. Matthews recorded ten sacks in his first season and went to his first Pro Bowl. In his second season, he helped the Packers become one of the best defenses in the league and led the Packers to the Super Bowl.

Busts

Tony Mandarich, OT, Michigan State – Nicknamed the “Incredible Bulk”, Tony Mandarich was selected 2nd in the 1989 draft just ahead of Barry Sanders. Ouch. Mandarich was an All-American at Michigan State, and he figured to be a great prospect. However, Mandarich underperformed and was addicted to painkillers and steroids. He later got the nickname the “Incredible Bust.”

Justin Harrell, DE, Tennessee – Packer fans did not like this pick from the start. This was the one hiccup Ted Thompson had in his drafts as GM of the Packers. Harrell was an injury-prone lineman that had good size but poor durability. The sad part was Thompson didn’t want to give up on the guy for years. He finally did after Harrell sustained yet another injury.

Ahmad Carroll, CB, Arkansas – Ahmad Carroll was known for his propensity to commit penalties and was a friendly target for quarterbacks to pick on. He was constantly burnt time and time again. In 2007, Carroll was arrested on gun and drug charges, which ended his time in the NFL. Carroll is currently playing football for the Arizona Rattlers in the Arena Football League.

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