After selecting 10 players and engineering three trades involving 11 draft choices, the Packers’ 2011 NFL draft is in the books. What follows is a closer look at some of the numbers surrounding this year’s three-day draft of 254 players, the 10 players Green Bay selected and where they fit compared to the previous 1,289 players chosen in Packers draft history.
General Manager Ted Thompson lived up to his reputation as a willing trade partner on the draft’s third day. The details of trades sometimes get lost in the flurry while selections are being made.
In a trade with Denver in round four, the Packers moved the 129th overall pick, along with the 204th selection, the latter acquired in a 2009 trade with Carolina for long-snapper J.J. Jansen. In return Green Bay received the Broncos’ fifth-round choice (141st overall) and sixth-rounder (186).
In round five, Green Bay traded its 163rd overall choice to San Francisco. In return, the Packers received a sixth-round pick (174th overall) and the 49ers’ seventh-round selection (231).
Neither draft choice would stay in the club’s possession for long. The Packers sent the 174th and 231st picks to Miami to slide down in the sixth round to No. 179, but move up in the seventh round to 218th overall.
First-round pick Derek Sherrod is the first player from Mississippi State selected in the first round by an NFL team since Buffalo chose wide receiver Eric Moulds in 1996. Chosen 32nd overall, he is also the Bulldogs’ first offensive lineman to have been picked in the opening round.
Over the last 14 drafts, the Packers have selected just two offensive tackles in the first round: Sherrod and Bryan Bulaga last year. Prior to 1998, Green Bay also took tackles Ross Verba of Iowa in ’97 and USC’s John Michels in ’96.
Sherrod started 36 games for the Bulldogs in his career and was named to seven All-America teams as a senior. He was the seventh tackle selected by Thompson since his first draft heading the club’s football operations in 2005.
Second-round selection Randall Cobb, taken 64th, is the club’s highest choice from Kentucky since QB Babe Parilli was chosen fourth overall in 1952. Cobb also played quarterback briefly for the Wildcats, starting four games and completing 62 of 122 passes for 689 yards, with five TDs and five interceptions. He was most productive as a runner, receiver and returner.
In 2010, Cobb set the SEC record for all-purpose yards with 2,396, breaking the mark of 2,310 yards set in 2007 by Darren McFadden of Arkansas. Cobb ranks eighth in school history with 1,483 receiving yards, and also rushed for 1,265 yards on 220 carries, with his average of 5.75 yards per attempt setting a Kentucky record.
Cobb is the first player the Packers have drafted from Kentucky since DT Bill Bushong was taken in the seventh round in 1972.
Running back Alex Green became the first player the team has drafted from the University of Hawaii when the Packers took him in the third round at 96th overall, and the highest-drafted running back in school history. He rushed for 1,199 yards in 2010, including a school-record 327 vs. New Mexico State. Green is the fourth running back Thompson has selected. Green attended Butte Community College (Oroville, Calif.), as did quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Cornerback Davon House, the first player the Packers have selected out of New Mexico State in franchise history, was taken 131st overall in the fourth round with a compensatory choice. He was the first NMSU player drafted by an NFL club since safety Siddeeq Shabazz by Oakland in the seventh round in 2003. House set New Mexico State’s all-time record with 319 yards on 11 interceptions, including three touchdowns. He started 43 of 49 games in his career.
Fifth-round pick D.J. Williams was taken 141st overall, making him the earliest an Arkansas tight end has come off the board, topping Jim Collier in 1961, who was taken in the seventh round by the New York Giants. Williams is the first player the Packers have plucked out of Arkansas since cornerback Ahmad Carroll was selected in the first round in 2004.
Williams won the John Mackey Award in 2010, awarded to the nation’s best tight end. His 61 receptions in 2008 were a school season-record for the position and the second-most among all players in Arkansas record books.
The Packers selected guard Caleb Schlauderaff out of Utah in the sixth round at 179th overall. After starting the last 49 games of his college career, Schlauderaff is the first player Green Bay has taken out of Utah since RB Del Rodgers in the third round in 1982.
Appalachian State linebacker D.J. Smith arrived in the sixth round at 186th overall, the first player the club has drafted from the Mountaineers. Smith had 525 career tackles, the most at Appalachian State since Dexter Coakley, who was the last linebacker drafted from the school by an NFL team. Coakley was taken in the fifth round by the Cowboys in 1997.
Ricky Elmore became the first linebacker Green Bay has selected from Arizona when the Packers drafted him at 197th overall in the sixth round. The three-year starter is also the first player the Packers have chosen from the Wildcats since safety Chuck Cecil was taken in the fourth round in 1988.
The Packers’ first selection in the seventh round was tight end Ryan Taylor, chosen 218th overall. He’s the first Tar Heels product drafted by Green Bay since defensive tackle Vonnie Holiday was chosen in the first round in 1998. Taylor is the fifth tight end the club has picked under Thompson’s direction.
Green Bay closed the 2011 draft by choosing Arizona State defensive end Lawrence Guy at 233rd overall. The seventh-round pick opened 31 games for the Sun Devils and had eight career sacks. The Packers hadn’t selected a player out of Arizona State since cornerback Craig Newsome in the first round in 1995.
Including the thrill of entering the NFL, the first selection next year will have an additional honor of being the 1,300th draft pick in Packers history.