With 11 draft picks in this year’s NFL draft—including two in the first round—general manager Brian Gutekunst has plenty of potential options to bolster the Packers roster in the next three days.
With a deep receiver class, don’t be surprised to see the Packers select two impact receivers among their four picks (#22, #28, #53, #59). Tomorrow we’ll look at those possibilities; today we’ll review Green Bay’s past selections at #22 and #28.
Since the NFL Draft was instituted in 1936, the Packers have made just three picks at the 22nd overall spot and five at the 28th.
Green Bay has fared much better at the No. 28 spot.
In the 1938 draft, Green Bay chose Purdue tackle, Marty Schreyer, with the 22nd overall pick in the third round. He never played a down for the Packers.
Same fate for Tom Kuzma, a halfback from Michigan, the 22nd overall pick in the third round of the 1944 NFL draft. Only Ron Hallstrom from the 1982 draft class had a productive career in Green Bay.
Among the franchise’s selections at the 28th overall spot, all five played at least one season in Green Bay. Here’s a look at past Packers selections at the 22nd and 28th overall spots who made the team.
Bobby Dillon, 28th overall, 1952.
Dillon almost didn’t pursue an NFL career with a family on the way.
“Pro football wasn’t very popular at the time—the draft wasn’t a big news item like it is today—and I didn’t even know where Green Bay was,” Dillon said. “I had my accounting degree and was going to get a job with a family on the way, but I talked it over with Ann (his wife) and we decided that I should try it for one year, enough to put a down payment on a house. It turned out to be more than a year.”
Packers personnel director Jack Vainisi assembled one of the best drafts in franchise history, headlined by future Hall of Famer Dillon.
Vainisi nailed it by selecting Kentucky quarterback Bab Parilli in the first round, Rice receiver Billy Howton in the second, and Dillon of Texas in the third round with the 28th overall pick.
The Packers also drafted Arkansas defensive tackle Dave Hanner in the fifth round and guard/linebacker Deral Teteak of Wisconsin in the ninth round in a 30-player draft class, who became defensive stalwarts in the forgettable 1950s.
Dillon was a standout safety from 1952-59 on dismal Green Bay teams that experienced only one winning season in his career: a 7-5 campaign in his final campaign under new head coach Vince Lombardi.
He typically went one-on-one with the opposition’s best receiver, but still led the Packers in interceptions in seven of his eight seasons—and three times recorded nine interceptions in a 12-game season.
Dillon holds the franchise record for career interceptions with 52. He earned four Pro Bowl berths and was selected All-Pro four times and was inducted into Canton in 2020—a long-overdue honor for a player with a glass eye noted for his speed, remarkable instincts, and running ability after the interception.
Ed Blaine, 28th overall, 1962.
Blaine told his college professor he’d only devote five seasons to pro football and then go back to school and earn his doctorate. He did just that and made life-altering discoveries in his field.
The former Missouri guard was drafted by Lombardi on a deep and talented Green Bay team, the defending champions of the National Football League, to add depth to a unit anchored by center Jim Ringo, tackles Forrest Gregg and Bob Skoronski, and guards Jerry Kramer and Fuzzy Thurston.
Blaine would only play one season with the Packers and appeared in 14 regular-season games, but what a season it was: 13-1 and repeat league champions by virtue of an epic 16-7 victory over the Giants in New York in the NFL title game.
Blaine was acquired by Philadelphia in 1963 and made his mark by earning All-Pro honors in 1964 and even a greater one off the field after retiring after five NFL seasons. He earned his doctorate from Missouri and his research led to the discovery of drugs to treat hypertension and improve the health and lives of millions of people.
Tom Brown, 28th overall, 1963.
Brown—who almost pursued a major league baseball career—had an NFL career forever linked to his game-saving interception in the 1966 NFL Championship game in Dallas.
It’s a dramatic play etched in the history of the Green Bay franchise that helped produce a berth in Super Bowl I.
On the game’s final play, Brown intercepted Dallas quarterback Don Meredith’s desperation lame-duck pass with linebacker Dave Robinson draped all over him, in the back of the end zone.
The Packers were the NFL champions for the fourth time in six years and it was sweet redemption for Brown, who was whistled for pass-interference on Dallas’ final drive that set the Cowboys up with first-and-goal at Green Bay’s 2-yard-line. “I got another chance,” Brown said in a 2009 Packer Plus interview. “Dave blew right in and got to Meredith.”
A star baseball player from Maryland, Brown fulfilled a life-long goal by signing with the Washington Senators in the spring of 1963. But Vince Lombardi drafted him with the 28th pick in the 1963 NFL draft.
Torn between the sports, Brown ultimately chose football after struggling at the plate in the minors. He reported to training camp in July 1964 and earned a starting safety spot alongside Willie Wood. Wood, Brown, and cornerback Herb Adderley formed the nucleus of a talented secondary for the ensuing five seasons. He totaled 13 picks in his five-year Green Bay career and played in 70 regular-season games.
Ron Hallstrom, 22nd overall, 1982.
Hallstrom was almost a New Orleans Saint.
“On draft day, I got a call from Bum Phillips and he said I’d be their first pick in the second round,” Hallstrom said.
But a phone call from head coach and general manager Bart Starr changed all that—and made the 6-foot-6, 300-pound Iowa guard a number one draft choice.
And that was the beginning of a whirlwind NFL career that spanned from 1982-1993, the final year in Philadelphia.
“When I got to Green Bay, they didn’t know what to do with me—I bounced around from guard to tackle my first two years,” he said. “Then Bart was fired and Forrest Gregg came in. I got a real confidence boost from my new offensive line coach (Jerry Wampfler), who said they never would have drafted me No. 1.”
The message was clear: produce and start in the 1984 season or pack your bags.
Halstrom produced, taking over at right guard and keeping the job for the next eight years, playing in 162 regular-season games in his Green Bay tenure.
Hallstrom started through and endured the ups (10-6 in 1989) and downs (4-12 in 1991) of the Linde Infante era and the first year under new head coach Mike Holmgren in 1992.
“After 10 years, I knew that this team was going to be something special,” Hallstrom said. “There were a lot of great guys on that team, like Favre, Frankie Winters, and Mark Chmura. I thought, ‘This is how it’s supposed to be, how it’s supposed to feel.’”
Ezra Johnson, 28th overall, 1977.
At 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, the rookie from Morris Brown College in Atlanta was undersized.
But it was his 4.50 speed and quickness and ability to pressure opposing quarterbacks that head coach and GM Bart Starr valued most in making Johnson his first-round draft choice in 1977.
Johnson was a defensive playmaker, and he quickly made his mark in year two of an 11-year career in Green Bay, earning Pro Bowl honors and establishing himself as one of the NFL’s most dominant pass rushers with 17.5 sacks.
But he also made headlines with his infamous hot-dog eating incident in the 1980 preseason, which resulted in a $1,000 fine from Starr. Defensive line coach Fred vonAppen quit over the incident and the resulting turmoil impacted the team before the season-opener. It was a regrettable incident that seems permanently attached to Johnson’s resume.
Johnson led Green Bay in sacks in 1979 with six, 1980 with nine, and the strike-shortened 1982 season with 5.5. Johnson added nearly 20 pounds of muscle over the next two seasons and led the team with 14.5 sacks in 1983 and again two years later with 9.5.
Johnson played on just two winning teams in Green Bay and suffered a back injury in 1984 that required multiple surgeries. In the ensuing years, he played only on passing downs and his production waned. He ended his career in Indianapolis and Houston. Johnson, who played in 148 regular-season games, was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1997.
Nick Perry, 28th overall, 2012
Perry was general manager Ted Thompson’s first-round selection to complement Clay Matthews, envisioning a USC duo on the Packers linebacking corps that could be difference-makers for the next decade.
Perry packed power on a 6-foot-3, 265-pound frame, an athletic defender with 4.5 speed, and a 38 1/2-inch vertical jump. He was a defensive end in college but transitioned to an outside linebacker in Green Bay’s 3-4 defensive scheme.
The lofty expectations were never realized in Green Bay. A rash of injuries early in his career took their toll and stunted his development, taking Perry to year five to finally showcase his potential.
That was a contract year, and Perry produced his best season with a career-high 11 sacks, 12 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, and 16 quarterback hits in 2016.
It earned him a 5-year, 59-million contract that kept him in Green Bay and solidified a major player in a thin linebacking corps. He had surgery to repair an injured hand early in the 2017 season before ankle and shoulder injuries forced the team to place Perry on injured reserve in late December. He finished with seven sacks and 38 total tackles in 12 games and his production dipped to 1.5 sacks and 24 tackles in nine games in 2018. Green Bay released Perry in March 2019.