Packers

Finding Gold: Ron Wolf’s Best Late-Round Picks

NFL Hall of Fame GM Ron Wolf is a Packers’ legend. He is the one responsible for bringing Brett Favre to Green Bay. Reggie White was lured to Green Bay by Wolf and coach Holmgren. He also brought the Lombardi trophy home to Green Bay after a 29-year championship drought. Wolf was able to accomplish this not only through shrewd trades and free agent signings, but also through finding gold in the late rounds of the draft. Below, we rank Ron Wolf’s best late-round picks:

Late-Round Pick #1- Donald Driver

Wide Receiver; 7th Round of the 1999 Draft

Donald Driver is the top choice for Ron Wolf’s late round picks for two reasons: how late he was chosen and the impact he had on the Packers. Driver had the benefit of spending his career receiving passes from Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Taken with the 213th overall pick in the 1999 draft, Donald Driver’s career got off to a slow start. In 2002, though, he became a starting receiver on the team and earned his first Pro-Bowl selection.

Driver would earn a Pro-Bowl selection three times and help the Packers win the Super Bowl in 2010. He had over 1,000 yards receiving seven times in his 14-year career. He finished his career as the Packers all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards.

Late-Round Pick #2- Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila

Defensive End; 5th round of the 2000 draft

KGB makes the second slot on this list of late round picks because he ended his career as the Packers’ all time leader in sacks (74.5). His team record would later be broken by Clay Matthews.

KGB spent all nine of his seasons in the NFL as a Green Bay Packer. He had 10 or more sacks in a season four times in that span. He earned one Pro Bowl selection (2003).

Late-Round Pick #3- Antonio Freeman

Wide Receiver; 3rd round of the 1995 draft

Antonio Freeman earns the third spot on this list of Ron Wolf’s best late round picks. He caught an 81-yard touchdown pass from Brett Favre in Super Bowl XXXI, in addition to the 57 touchdowns he caught from Favre in the eight seasons they played together. If one includes touchdowns received in the playoffs, Freeman and Favre combined for 67 touchdowns, good for seventh all time.

Freeman had over 1,000 yards receiving three times, including 1998 when he led the NFL with 1,424 receiving yards. He also scored 14 touchdowns that year. Freeman might be best remembered for a game against the Vikings in 2000, when a pass deflected off of his feet while he was on the ground. He was able to keep the ball from touching the ground and ran it in for one of the most insane touchdowns in Packers history.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lQmyLLxRNcA

Late-Round Pick #4- Marco Rivera

Right Guard; 6th round of the 1996 draft

Marco Rivera was drafted in the season following the Packers first Super Bowl win in 29 years and was tasked with protecting league MVP, Brett Favre. Following his rookie season, Rivera started every game he played for the Packers. He made three Pro Bowls in three straight seasons from 2002 to 2004. Rivera spent the last two years of his 10-year career with the Dallas Cowboys.

Late-Round Pick #5- Mark Chmura

Tight End; 6th round of the 1992 draft

Mark Chmura was drafted during the same offseason in which Ron Wolf traded for Brett Favre. Favre and Chmura made a deadly pass-receiving combination, as well as becoming close friends off the field. Chmura was a three-time Pro Bowl selection and helped the Packers win Super Bowl XXXI in 1996-97. His career ended in 1999 after he suffered a neck injury. He was waived by the Packers in 2000 when he was accused of sexual assault. Despite being acquitted of the charges, the Packers did not offer Chmura a contract for the 2001 season and he decided to retire.

Late-Round Pick #6- Robert Brooks

Wide Receiver; 3rd round of the 1992 draft

In the same draft in which Ron Wolf drafted Mark Chmura, he also drafted Robert Brooks. Chmura was placed higher on this list because he made more Pro Bowls than Brooks (3 to 0) and played his entire career with the Packers (Brooks played one season with Denver).

Robert Brooks had two great season for the Packers (1995 and 1997). In 1995, Brooks had 102 receptions for 1,497 yards and 13 touchdowns. He tore his ACL, MCL, and patella tendon in his right knee in 1996. In 1997, Brooks bounced back with 60 receptions for 1,010 yards and 7 touchdowns, but he was never the same explosive player that he had been before the injury.

Late-round Pick #7- Dorsey Levens

Running Back; 5th round of the 1994 draft

Dorsey Levens played 11 years in the NFL, eight seasons of which were spent in Green Bay. Levens was a one-time Pro Bowl Selection (1997) and rushed for over 1,000 yards twice in his career (1,435 in 1997 and 1034 in 1999). Together with Edgar Bennett, Levens helped form a running game that was instrumental in the Packers winning Super Bowl XXXI. Levens finished his time in Green Bay in 2001 and spent the next three seasons playing for the Giants and Eagles. He is currently sixth on the Packers all-time rushing list and third in catches among running backs.

Late-round Pick #8- Edgar Bennett

Running Back; 4th round of the 1992 draft

Edgar Bennett, the second head of the Packers running game that was victorious in Super Bowl XXXI, played seven seasons in the NFL, five with the Packers. He rushed for over 1,000 yards once in his career (1995) and was the Packers leading rusher in 1996, when they won the Super Bowl. What made Bennett such a great player for the Packers was how well he fit into Mike Holmgren’s West Coast offense. He finished his playing career with the Chicago Bears before returning to Green Bay as a coach, eventually becoming the Packers offensive coordinator. He is currently the wide receivers’ coach for the Las Vegas Raiders.

Late-round Pick #9- Na’il Diggs

Linebacker; 4th round of the 2000 draft

Na’il Diggs enjoyed a 12-year career in the NFL, six of which he spent in Green Bay. While never a Pro Bowl player, Diggs was dependable and started 80 games during his tenure with the Packers. In addition, he was named to the NFL’s All Rookie team after the 2000 season. Unlike many linebackers, Diggs was a pretty decent player in pass coverage and intercepted four passes during his time in Green Bay. Diggs played four seasons for the Carolina Panthers before spending one season each with Rams and Chargers.

Late-Round Pick #10- William Henderson

Full Back; 3rd round of the 1995 draft

The full back position is one that is not utilized much in today’s NFL, but in the 90s it was widely used by West Coast offenses. William Henderson was one of the best full backs to ever play for the Packers and was named a First Team All Pro full back in 2004. A member of the Super Bowl XXXI team, Henderson was the unsung hero of many a game in which he opened up holes for Dorsey Levens and Edgar Bennett to run through. He spent his entire 11-year NFL career with the Packers and retired following the 2006 season.

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