NFL

StaTuesday: Best Packers draft picks ever

There is no tried and true method in determining the best NFL players.

But pro-football-reference.com has one scientific option: Approximate Value.

Is this a perfect way to determine, say the best all-time draft picks for a certain team? Maybe, maybe not, but it seems like a decent way to go. There are flaws to this methodology, such it really begins in 1960 and perhaps you don't agree with the computations. For more on the Approximate Value you can read much more about it here.

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For our purposes, we're going to use Weighted Career Approximate Value (described as "100% of the player's best season, plus 95% of his 2nd-best season, plus 90% of his 3rd-best season, plus 85% of his 4th-best season" and so on).

To determine the best draft picks in Green Bay history, we ordered it by the Approximate Value only for when that player appeared in a Packers uniform. For example, Mark Brunell has the fourth-highest Career AV of any Packers player drafted, but he appeared in all of two games with Green Bay, resulting in an AV of 0.

Another caveat: While pro-football-reference says Approximate Values have been assigned back to the 1950s, really 1960 is a more realistic beginning. Thus, that does leave out some old-time Packers greats like Paul Hornung and doesn't give the full picture of someone like Bart Starr, but this is the hand we're dealt (and besides, this does keep it to more of a "modern" football feel).

So, with that out of the way, here are the top draft picks in Packers history, according to their time spent playing for Green Bay:

Player Pos Year Rd Pick CarAv DrAv
Aaron Rodgers QB 2005 1 21 124 124
Herb Adderly DB 1972 1 12 106 95
Ray Nitschke LB 1958 3 36 94 94
LeRoy Butler DB 1990 2 48 90 90
Bart Starr QB 1956 17 200 90 90
Forrest Gregg T 1956 2 20 89 87
Jim Taylor RB 1958 2 15 84 81
Donald Driver WR 1999 7 213 76 76
Jerry Kramer T 1958 4 39 76 76
Josh Sitton T 2008 4 135 78 74
Boyd Dowler FL 1959 3 25 75 73
Clay Matthews LB 2009 1 26 73 73
Chad Clifton T 2011 2 44 72 72
James Lofton WR 1978 1 6 101 71
Sterling Sharpe WR 1988 1 7 69 69

Perhaps surprisingly, of the top-15 draft picks of all-time, only one-third were chosen in the first round. And maybe LeRoy Butler should be getting some Hall of Fame consideration, yes?

Despite our above caveat, Starr makes the list and is perhaps one of the greatest draft picks in NFL history, based on what round he was chosen. The Packers have done quite well finding gems, with four of the top 15 coming in the fourth round or later. As we'll see, Green Bay found plenty more, too.

For reference, here are the top picks in each round from 1-7, with anyone from round 8 or on (the NFL moved to a seven-round draft in 1994) included in one batch. Since quarterbacks are more likely to have a higher value, we've included the top non-QB as well, when applicable. Also, when an AFL player was the highest-rated, we've also included the highest NFL-rated draft pick in that round.

Round -- Player, AV

1 -- Peyton Manning, 177; Ray Lewis, 160
2 -- Brett Favre, 156; Mike Singletary, 121
3 -- Fran Tarkenton, 149; Terrell Owens & Jason Taylor, 119
4 -- Jahri Evans, 108
5 -- Tarkenton (AFL); Zach Thomas, 118
6 -- Tom Brady, 164; Greg Lloyd, 93
7 -- Bobby Bell (AFL), 103; Tom Nalen, 102
8-plus -- Johnny Unitas, 9th round, 114; Paul Krause, 12th round, 113

Here's the top-five picks by the Packers in every round since their inception, using Career AV rather than the AV just with the player's time in Green Bay:

First Round

Player Pos Year Pick CarAv DrAv
Aaron Rodgers QB 2005 21 124 124
Herb Adderly DB 1972 12 106 95
James Lofton WR 1978 6 101 71
Dave Robinson LB 1963 14 81 66
Clay Matthews LB 2009 26 73 73

Second Round

Player Pos Year Pick CarAv DrAv
LeRoy Butler DB 1990 48 90 90
Forrest Gregg T 1956 20 89 87
Darren Sharper DB 1997 60 89 49
Jim Taylor RB 1958 15 84 81
Chad Clifton T 2011 44 72 72

Third Round

Player Pos Year Pick CarAv DrAv
Ray Nitschke LB 1958 36 94 94
Boyd Dowler FL 1959 25 75 73
Antonio Freeman WR 1995 90 64 60
Mike McKenzie DB 1999 87 50 29
John Rowser DB 1976 78 49 5

Fourth Round

Player Pos Year Pick CarAv DrAv
Josh Sitton T 2008 135 78 74
Jerry Kramer T 1958 39 76 76
Aaron Brooks QB 1999 131 65 0
Lionel Aldridge DE 1963 54 58 54
Ken Ellis DB 1970 93 58 49
Tim Harris LB 1986 84 58 46

Fifth Round

Player Pos Year Pick CarAv DrAv
Mark Brunell QB 1993 118 96 0
Aaron Kampman DE 2002 156 57 55
Max McGee E 1954 51 57 57
Dorsey Levens RB 1994 149 54 47
Mike Douglass LB 1978 116 50 50

Sixth Round

Player Pos Year Pick CarAv DrAv
Matt Birk C 1998 173 84 65
Matt Hasselbeck QB 1998 187 88 0
Marco Rivera G 1996 208 73 61
Ken Gray G 1958 62 68 0
Bryce Paup LB 1990 159 64 23
Doug Evans DB 1993 141 56 33

Seventh Round

Player Pos Year Pick CarAv DrAv
Bobby Bryant DB 1967 167 71 71
Adam Timmerman G 1995 230 81 21
Jim Ringo C 1953 80 78 49
Donald Driver WR 1999 213 76 76
Scott Wells G 2004 251 65 55
Mark Tauscher T 2000 224 59 59

Eighth Round Plus

Player Pos Year Rd Pick CarAv DrAv
Jerry Mays DE 1961 11 141 81 0
Bart Starr QB 1956 17 200 90 90
Daryle Lamonica QB 1963 12 168 76 0
Timmy Brown RB 1959 27 313 66 0
Larry McCarren C 1973 12 308 57 57
Mike Bass DB 1967 12 314 56 0

Among active Packers, Jordy Nelson (67 AV) is on the precipice of joining the top-five second-round pick group while maybe David Bakhtiari (41) could make the fourth-round quintet someday.

Players like Bryan Bulaga (1st round, 43 AV), Randall Cobb (2nd, 47), Mason Crosby (6th, 22), Mike Daniels (4th, 25) and Corey Linsley (5th, 20) have a ways to go.