In the theme of late-round picks trying to make names for themselves in recent OTA’s and mini camps (think Brett Swain, thanks for the update Cheeshead TV), we are continuing our series of looking back to some of the biggest draft “steals” in Packers history. Part II will focus on draft steals from the 1970’s, which I must say was a lot tougher to find some gems than it was in Part I.
While the below list does not contain any Hall of Famers, all of the players had some kind of impact, lasting or brief, on the team and merited to be considered draft day steals.
Ken Ellis – 1970, Round 4, Pick 93
Ellis was a model of consistency at the cornerback position from 1970-1975, starting every game he played for six seasons. A two-time Pro Bowler and an All-Pro in 1972, Ellis picked off 20 passes in his career, leading the team three times in the category. Besides his play at corner, he was also one of the best special teams players in the league during his career, leading the NFL in punt return average in 1972.
Larry McCarren – 1973, Round 12, Pick 308
Many of us know the “Rock” for his work as color analyst for the Packers’ radio broadcast. However, his role centering the Packer offense for 12 years puts him on this list. McCarren started 162 consecutive games, which ranks fifth all-time in franchise history and most for a center. His model of consistency also earned him two Pro Bowl bids in 1982 and 1983. A great leader and one of the toughest players in his era (in 1980 he started just 24 days after hernia surgery), McCarren was a definite steal at pick #308. This past spring’s draft only had 256 draft picks.
Mike Douglass – 1979, Round 5, Pick 116
Despite never making a Pro Bowl, the linebacker better know as “Mad Dog” will always have a special spot in fans’ hearts. Known for his crazed manner and penchant for making impact plays, Douglass is the third-leading tackler in team history (967 tackles) and tallied at least 160 stops in three different times. Voted the Packers’ Most Valuable Defensive Player in 1980 and 1981, “Mad Dog” ended his career with 13 interceptions. He is currently a professional body-builder. Suprised? I wouldn’t be.
Rich Wingo – 1979, Round 7, Pick 184
Maybe a bit of a stretch as the former Alabama product only played five seasons with the Packers, but his rookie season at linebacker was one of the best in team history. Drafted the same year as Douglass, Wingo’s 166 tackles is still the team record for a rookie and the third most in a season by any Packer player. Even though his career peaked there, a rookie season like Wingo’s is a draft steal.
Thanks for checking in for Part II and stay tuned in the coming days when OBOD breaks down the draft steals of the 1980’s.