In 1991 The Green Bay Packers traded their first round draft pick in the 1992 NFL Draft for a quarterback who started his college career as a as the seventh string QB at a small, non-power five conference school in Mississippi. It was the only school that had offered him a scholarship. In his one year as a pro he had thrown an interception that was returned for a touchdown on his very first pass. In three more passes he did not make a single completion and threw one more interception in four total attempts while taking a sack for an eleven yard loss for good measure. His first NFL coach never wanted him and claimed it would take a plane crash for him to play him. The Packers gave up their 19th overall pick for him anyway. Then he flunked his physical which should have nullified the trade. The Packers took a risk. For those of you have been in a coma for three decades, it worked out for them (and glad you are feeling better, by the way).
In his very first game as a Packer he came into the second half down 17 points to Tampa Bay and threw his very first completion for a loss of seven yards… to himself, off a deflected pass. In the next game he replaced an injured Don Majkowski and after four fumbles and the crowd trying to boo him off the field, he drove the Packers 92 yards and threw the winning touchdown with 13 seconds left. That game would be the first time he did NOT start for the next 18 seasons. Favre ended up taking the Packers to two Super Bowls and winning one. He set every important all time passing record you could hold, and he is generally viewed as one of the best three quarterbacks to ever play the game. He did not do it all alone however. He had a lot of teammates who helped him along the way, and also a few who did not help that much. Here are the 8 best, and 7 worst Packers of the Brett Favre era.
15. Best: Ahman Green
Ahman Green was probably the best running back in the NFL over his first four years with the Packers. Originally drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the third round of the 1998 NFL Draft, Green played his college football at the University of Nebraska. During his freshman year he was behind Cornhuskers legends Tommie Frazier and Lawrence Phillips but over the next three years he established himself as one of the all time Nebraska greats. In 2000, Green was traded to the Packers and from that season until 2004 he gained more total yards from scrimmage, 9,036, and more rushing yards, 6,848, than any other player in the NFL. He was injured for much of 2005 but returned to form in 2006 with another 1000 yard rushing season. He finished his career as a Packer holding most of the team’s major rushing records.
14. Worst: Jamal Reynolds
Following a standout career for the Florida State Seminoles where he was a unanimous first team All-American, Jamal Reynolds was drafted by the Green Bay Packers with the 10th selection in the 2001 NFL Draft which they received from the Seattle Seahawks in a trade for Matt Hasselbeck. Due to injuries and being outplayed by Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, Reynolds only played six games during his rookie year. He did not show much improvement when he received more playing time in the following seasons. Over his three year career with the Packers, he played 18 games and only recorded 14 tackles and three sacks. After being cut by the Packers he tried to catch on with the Colts and Browns but was unable to make his way back to the NFL.
13. Best: Donald Driver
Having spent his college career at unheralded Alcorn State University, Donald Driver was not thought of as a highly sought prospect in the 1999 NFL Draft. The Green Bay Packers saw something in him however and when their seventh round pick came around they selected Driver. He ended up playing his entire 14 year career with the Packers setting the team’s all time record for receiving yardage. Eight of Driver’s seasons were during the Favre era during which he compiled over 1000 yards in five of those seasons. Driver was a four time Pro-Bowler with the Packers and won Super Bowl XLV with them. He finished with over 10,000 yards receiving on 743 receptions with 61 touchdowns splitting his career almost evenly between Favre and Rodgers.
12. Worst: Ryan Wetnight
After playing for two years for the Stanford Cardinal, Ryan Wetnight was not selected in the 1993 NFL Draft but was signed by the Chicago Bears. He ended up playing seven seasons for the Bears before he came to the Green Bay Packers for his final year as a pro. He had over 1500 yards receiving during his time in Chicago averaging almost nine yards per catch. Once he became a Packer he played in ten games but only had three catches on nine targets for 20 yards and no touchdowns. Now it is probably not the case, but if you were a conspiracy theorist, one might think that after spending his entire career with the rival Chicago Bears, his final year with the Packers may have been an undercover sabotage job based on his 33% catch rate and lack of any notable production… but probably not.
11. Best: Chad Clifton
After red-shirting his first year at the University of Tennessee, Chad Clifton became a three year starter for the Volunteers offensive line, winning a National Championship in 1998. In the second round of the 2000 NFL Draft the Green Bay Packers chose Clifton with the 44th overall selection. It only took about six games until he claimed the starting left tackle position where he would remain for most of his ten plus year career. He protected Favre’s blind side for over seven seasons until Favre retired (the first time). Clifton was named to two Pro-Bowls and won a Super Bowl protecting Favre’s replacement Aaron Rodgers in Super Bowl XLV. Needless to say, not all the best Packers of the Favre era had thousands of catches or hundreds of tackles, some of them just did their job of helping Favre remain upright for long enough to throw all of those passes.