Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

The Packers Best and Worst Draft Classes of the Last Ten Years

With the season winding down and the draft approaching, here's a look at the Packers best and worst draft classes of the last ten years.
Packers Best Draft Class

With a plethora of young players on both sides of the ball, the Packers have doubled down on their commitment to build through the draft.

The Packers Best and Worst Draft Classes of the Last Ten Years

Teams rarely hit on multiple draft picks in a class, much less at a high frequency. For this reason, free agency and the trade market have become popular avenues for team building. The Packers remain one of the few teams in the NFL that prioritize building their team through the draft over signing big names in free agency or being aggressive at the trade deadline. 

Doing so has allowed them to reward players such as Aaron Rodgers, Kenny Clark, David Bakhtiari, Jaire Alexander, and Rashan Gary. While Rodgers is no longer with the team, and Bakhtiari’s future in Green Bay is uncertain, this approach has largely paid off. Green Bay’s philosophy has, however, caused scrutiny over the years. A reluctance to pay for players that were drafted and developed in-house, too, has led to mixed opinions.

With the season winding down and the NFL draft approaching, here’s a look at the Packers best and worst draft classes of the last ten years.


2013: Finding Bakhtiari in the fourth round, plus picking a work-horse running back in Eddy Lacy gave the Packers important pieces to their offense. Among the notable players in that class are J.C. Tretter and Micah Hyde, though both players found more success once they left the Packers.

2014: This class was memorable because of one player: Devante Adams. While Adams took time to grow into his own in Green Bay, his contributions over the past decade exceed just about any Packer not named Aaron Rodgers. Corey Linsley is another player who became a fixture for the Packers during his tenure. But in his last season in Green Bay, Linsley earned All-Pro honors.

2019: Much like 2014, this class is memorable because of one selection: Rashan Gary. The former five-star recruit out of Michigan was eased into the lineup in Green Bay early on. Gary finally burst onto the scene in 2021 after switching positions. He is now considered one of the league’s best edge defenders, and he has been paid accordingly.

2022: Many players from this class have become key players for the Packers. From Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs to Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt, both the current offense and defense rely heavily on these players. Add in the emergence of Zach Tom along the offensive line, plus Samori Toure at receiver, and this class has a chance to be exceptional.


2015: With Ty Montgomery being the only active NFL player from this class, the 2015 draft was far from spectacular for Green Bay. Perhaps a product of drafting late in the early rounds, Green Bay came away with mainly role players who found themselves competing for starting spots throughout most of their respective careers. Montgomery accurately exemplifies this trend.

2016: Simple math will quantify this draft class as a bust. While the Packers were able to select Clark late in the first round, he is the only notable player from this class. Clark is one of the Packers top players and has been paid accordingly. While Blake Martinez started a ton of games for the team, the bulk of this class was forgettable.

Good, Bad, and Ugly

2017: History is written in permanent marker, not pencil. This class stands out to many Packers fans based on one decision: to trade out of the first round and into the early second to grab Kevin King. The consequence of this decision: passing up T.J. Watt. A few picks later, Watt went to the Steelers and quickly became their franchise’s all-time leader in sacks. No matter how King is viewed, the decision did not age well. On the other hand, Green Bay was able to find a gem in Aaron Jones in the fifth round. The Packers also found Jones’ running mate in Jamaal Williams in the fourth. This tandem, which the Packers rode for many years, plus the whiff on Watt, puts this class into a category of its own.

2018: This class is a perfect example of the Packers philosophy during Aaron Rodgers’ tenure in Green Bay. The Packers kicked off the draft with the selection of three defensive players. Not until the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds did Green Bay look to bolster their receiving corp. The decision to go defense paid off, with the Packers finding one of the league’s top shutdown cornerbacks in Jaire Alexander. But the decision to wait for offensive help largely backfired. Green Bay got 39 starts, and a handful of splash plays, out of Marquez Valdes-Scantling. However, fans are more likely to remember some of the catches he did not make. With a mix of great, poor, and mediocre play, this class was mostly underwhelming.

2021: Based on the amount of games Josh Myers, Royce Newman, and Isaiah McDuffie have played, this class has made an impact. Green Bay’s decision to draft Eric Stokes in the first round has produced mixed results. Stokes has battled injuries and played in only 10 games since starting 14 as a rookie. A bounce-back year is imperative for Stokes if he is to remain a Packer. A resurgence from Stokes would also allow for this class to not look like a true miss. Amari Rodgers is another name that sticks out to Packers fans. But Rodger’s abrupt exit from Green Bay is a big reason why the 2021 class received this designation. 

Too Early to Tell, but Trending Upward:

2020: This class hits differently for Packers fans. Immediately, the decision to trade up for Jordan Love polarized fans and pundits alike. Love sat behind Rodgers for three years before finally taking the reigns. Eleven games into his first season as a starter, the opinions still vary. The team wisely restructured his contract before the 2023 season to protect themselves from overpaying for one season of great play. While the ‘great’ has been inconsistent, there have been, at the very least, encouraging signs from Love. This class also produced A.J. Dillon and Jon Runyan Jr. Both have carved out roles, but neither one is guaranteed to receive an extension.

2023: Grading players on one season of play is irresponsible. Rookies like Jayden Reed, Dontayvion Wicks, Luke Musgrave, and Tucker Kraft have been bright spots this season. As he was in college, Lukas Van Ness remains a rotational player. The flashes from Van Ness, however, give reason to think he can emerge as a difference-maker on defense. Even Carrington Valentine has carved out a nice role for the team. All signs point to this class being a hit, but it is still too early to adequately grade the class.

Main Photo Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports


More Posts

Send Us A Message