Bart Starr. Paul Hornung. Ray Nitschke. Aaron Rodgers.
The list of Hall of Fame players the Packers have drafted are the envy of every team in football.
Then, there was Justin Harrell.
Harrell was selected as the No. 16 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, and to say it was an unpopular pick is an understatement. At the time, the draft was held over tow weekend days and the Packers held a big party in the Lambeau Field Atrium.
The locals were unhappy.
I think I was trying to tell the people out there to get them to quit booing me, I think (Harrell) has the potential to have been a single digit pick,” Packers General Manager Ted Thompson told reporters shortly after the selection was made.
The crowd was right. Harrell was a bust. And after four injury-riddled and unproductive years, Harrell was gone, forever given the label of “bust” by fans and media alike.
No, drafting isn’t an exact science. And while those that have plied their trade in Titletown often times wind up in Canton, there sure were some whiffs along the way, too.
Tony Mandarich, the No. 2 overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft, is generally regarded as the biggest bust in team history. But that may be a product of hype, more media scrutiny, and his own big mouth.
After all, it was a no-brainer for the Packers. Everyone knew that Mandarich was going to be the pick. It’s hard to fault the Packers for doing what every other team would have done.
And sure, Tony Mandarich is an easy whipping boy. After all, the No. 2 overall pick-can’t miss-Sports Illustrated cover boy-tattooed behemoth came in with the most press and played like the month of March – in like a lion and out like a lamb – he still did start 31 games and play three seasons on the Packers offensive line.
The same can’t be said for others.
In 1981, the Packers drafted Cal quarterback Rich Campbell with the No. 6 overall selection, passing on the likes of Ronnie Lott, Mike Singletary, and Howie Long.
In his career, Campbell never started a game, threw three touchdowns against nine interceptions, for a total of 386 yards.
But quarterbacks coming out of college are tough to judge sometimes. Case in point, 2008, when the Packers selected Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm in the second round.
The on-camera crew at ESPN raved about the pick. Merrill Hoge said he likes Brohm better than Aaron Rodgers as Green Bay’s long-term solution to succeed Brett Favre.
Brohm never played a snap for the Packers, but did play two seasons in Buffalo, completing 27 of 52 passes for 252 yards, no touchdowns, and five interceptions for the Bills. He also kicked around for a few years in the Canadian Football League before retiring in January to try his hand at coaching.
But the biggest bust in Packers history?
Randy Duncan, who not only might he be the Packers No. 1 bust, he might the NFL’s biggest bust of all time.
Duncan was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1959 NFL Draft after a stellar career at Iowa. He never played a snap in the NFL, choosing instead to play in Canada for the BC Lions. But he only lasted two unsuccessful seasons in the CFL, before starting two games for the AFL’s Dallas Texans in 1961.
Then he retired to become an attorney back home in Iowa, where he is still revered as a high school and college superstar.
Others on the “bust” list include Derek Sherrod, Jamal Reynolds, and John Michels; all first round picks that never amounted to anything as NFL players, but all share a special place in (forgettable) Packers lore.