A look at the draft-day trades pulled off by the Packers over the past 20 years
With two first-round picks in the upcoming NFL Draft, it stands to reason that the Green Bay Packers will be looking to make a trade.
Take a look back over the past two decades to see some of the draft-day swaps that the franchise has made. Bear in mind, evaluating these isn't as simple as looking at the players involved; often deals are made to get ahead of another, unseen team jockeying for the same player. Furthermore (and hopefully obviously), just because a player was selected in a slot previously held by the Packers doesn't mean Green Bay would have taken that player had the trade never happened.
With that caveat out of the way, let's do some judging, anyway.
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- Packers trade No. 92 (Monty Rice) and No. 135 (Rashad Weaver) to Titans for No. 85 (Amari Rodgers)
So much emphasis had been on the team's need for a wide receiver, so when the Packers made early selections addressing other positions, there was a healthy dose of draft-day consternation in Titletown. But in the third round, the Packers made a move up to acquire the pass-catcher from Clemson, sacrificing a fourth rounder to move up seven spots.
- Packers trade No. 30 (Noah Igbinoghene) and No. 136 (Brycen Hopkins) to Dolphins for No. 26 (Jordan Love)
This one will resonate for years to come, regardless of what comes next. Not only did the Packers draft a quarterback in the first round with Aaron Rodgers still holding the keys to the car, but they traded up to get the Utah State alumnus. Love is still with the Packers as the backup, but Rodgers went on to have back-to-back MVP seasons and remains cemented under center for the foreseeable future. The next quarterback taken, Jalen Hurts, fell to No. 53 and became the Eagles' starter by the end of his rookie season.
- Packers trade No. 30 (Deandre Baker), No. 114 (Dru Samia) and No. 118 (Hjalte Froholdt) to Seahawks for No. 21 (Darnell Savage)
It proved to be a productive first round in 2019 when Green Bay traded up for its second of two picks, adding the Maryland safety Savage to the selection of Rashan Gary. Both players were regular starters in 2021.
- Packers trade No. 14 (Marcus Davenport) to Saints for No. 27 (later traded again), No. 147 (later traded again) and a 2019 first-round pick (No. 30, later traded again)
- Packers trade No. 27 (Rashaad Penny), No. 76 (Mason Rudolph) and No. 186 (Jacob Martin) to Seahawks for No. 18 (Jaire Alexander) and No. 248 (Kendall Donnerson).
- Packers trade No. 101 (Ian Thomas) and 147 (Micah Kiser) to Panthers for No. 88 (Oren Burks).
First, the Packers traded down, then traded back up to take Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander, who has become a bona fide star in the league, so all the machinations to make it happen were worth it.
- Packers trade No. 29 (David Njoku) to Browns for No. 33 (Kevin King) and No. 108 (Vince Biegel)
- Packers trade No. 172 (Isaiah McKenzie) to Denver for No. 175 (DeAngelo Yancey) and No. 238 (Devante Mays)
The first one is a trade that will live in Packers infamy, not because the Browns got a productive player in Njoku, but because of the player taken next. Wisconsin pass rusher T.J. Watt has become a perennial defensive player of the year candidate in Pittsburgh and was the object of many Packers' fans affections in the late first round, but Green Bay lost its shot at Watt with the trade back. Former Badgers offensive lineman Ryan Ramczyk, who became an all-pro caliber tackle in New Orleans, also went in the interim. Though King became a starter, he never came close to matching what Watt's been able to do.
It's hard to really judge late-draft trades with the number of machinations in play, but on the surface, Green Bay also drafted two skill position players who didn't stick and could have had McKenzie, who's had a modestly productive career as a receiver in Buffalo but been valuable as a kick returner.
- Packers trade No. 57 (T.J. Green), No. 125 (Antonio Morrison) and No. 248 (Austin Blythe) to Colts for No. 48 (Jason Spriggs)
The Packers traded a surplus of picks to move up and grab the offensive tackle from Indiana. Spriggs didn't work out, but interestingly enough, Morrison wound up with the Packers, too, when he was traded there in 2018. The linebacker started eight games for Green Bay.
- Packers trade No. 166 (Joe Cardona) and No. 247 (Darryl Roberts) to Patriots for No. 147 (Brett Hundley).
Hundley wasn't an effective starter at quarterback when he was given the chance to play during Aaron Rodgers' injury in 2017, eventually moving on thereafter, though he was seen as a player who could surpass his fifth-round draft slot. Cardona has been the Patriots' long snapper ever since, and Roberts has actually had a solid career for where he was chosen, last year playing in Washington. The real bummer is that Stefon Diggs was selected one pick before Hundley.
There were no trades in 2014.
- Packers trade No. 55 (Vance McDonald) to 49ers for No. 61 (Eddie Lacy) and No. 173 (later traded again)
- Packers trade No. 88 (Corey Lemonier) to 49ers for No. 93 (later traded again) and No. 216 (Charles Johnson)
- Packers trade No. 93 (Will Davis) to Dolphins for No. 109 (David Bakhtiari), No. 146 (later traded again) and No. 224 (Kevin Dorsey)
- Packers traded No. 146 (Quanterus Smith) and No. 173 (Vinston Painter) to Broncos for No. 125 (Johnathan Franklin)
The bottom line here is that the Packers traded a pick used on a cornerback who finished with one career interception and wound up with their left tackle of the future. Teams will spend first-round capital every year trying to replicate what the Packers were able to do in the fourth round that year, so it's by definition a successful series of trades.
Tight end Vance McDonald had 181 career receptions and 15 touchdowns for the 49ers and Steelers, but the Packers almost certainly make that trade again to land Lacy, the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2013 who ran for back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons to start his career — albeit one that ended after just five seasons (four in Green Bay).
- Packers trade No. 59 (Vinny Curry) and No. 123 (Brandon Boykin) to Eagles for No. 51 (Jerrel Worthy)
- Packers trade No. 90 (Jake Bequette) and No. 163 (later traded back to Green Bay) to Patriots for No. 62 (Casey Hayward)
- Packers trade No. 197 (Nate Ebner), No. 224 (Alfonzo Dennard) and No. 235 (Jeremy Ebert) to Patriots for No. 163 (Terrell Manning)
The first trade doesn't really work out; Worthy didn't stick long term and Curry is still in the NFL, with 32½ career sacks to his name. But Green Bay got a steal in landing Hayward, although he didn't become a Pro Bowler until the Packers let him walk. Ebner became a Patriots special-teams ace, once making second-team all-pro.
- Packers trade No. 129 (Julius Thomas) and No. 204 (Virgil Green) to Broncos for No. 141 (D.J. Williams) and No. 186 (D.J. Smith)
- Packers trade No. 163 (Daniel Kilgore) to 49ers for No. 174 (later traded again) and No. 231 (later traded again)
- Packers trade No. 174 (Charles Clay) and No. 231 (Frank Kearse) to Dolphins for No. 179 (Caleb Schlauderaff) and No. 218 (Ryan Taylor)
These were all trade-down situations, so it stands to reason that the other side would get the better players, but these still didn't really work out for the Packers. Julius Thomas made two Pro Bowls with Denver, and the tight end caught 226 passes with 36 touchdowns. Clay had a highly productive career as an H-back in Miami and Buffalo. The Packers did not get anything of comparable value in their maneuvers.
- Packers trade No. 86 (Daniel Te'o-Nesheim) and No. 122 (Mike Kafka) to Eagles for No. 71 (Morgan Burnett)
Green Bay traded up and landed a safety who was with the team for eight years and part of a run to the Super Bowl title, so it's an automatic victory. This draft also featured a pick (No. 230) initially sent to the Jets in the deal that also included Brett Favre, but New York returned it to the Packers, who wound up taking C.J. Wilson. The defensive end played a small role on the Super Bowl champion Packers as a rookie.
- Packers trade No. 41 (Darius Butler), No. 73 (Derek Cox) and No. 83 (Brandon Tate) to Patriots for No. 26 (Clay Matthews) and No. 162 (Jamon Meredith)
The first-round maneuver made headlines when it happened and worked out even better in retrospect, when Matthews became a six-time Pro Bowler, first-team All Pro and key piece in the team's run to the Super Bowl in his second season. The Packers also got defensive tackle B.J. Raji with its original scheduled pick; it goes down as one of the biggest nights in franchise draft history.
- Packers trade No. 30 (Dustin Keller) to Jets for No. 36 (Jordy Nelson) and No. 113 (later traded again)
- Packers trade No. 113 (Dwight Lowery) and No. 162 (Erik Ainge) to Jets for No. 102 (Jeremy Thompson)
- Packers trade No. 128 (Keenan Burton) to Rams for No. 137 (later traded again) and No. 217 (Brett Swain)
- Packers trade No. 137 (John David Booty) to Vikings for No. 150 (Breno Giacomini) and No. 209 (Matt Flynn)
- Packers trade No. 237 (Adrian Arrington) to Saints for No. 187 in 2009 (Brandon Underwood)
Lowery had 17 interceptions and a nice career in the NFL, but this is a series of trades the Packers would certainly make again, if only because it wound up landing one of the greatest receivers in franchise history, Jordy Nelson. It's also a bit of schadenfreude to pick up Matt Flynn while the division rival Vikings drafted a quarterback who never saw the field — albeit one with a much cooler name — while Flynn fashioned a highly respectable career despite being a much lower pick in the trade.
- Packers trade No. 47 (David Harris) and No. 235 (Chansi Stuckey) to Jets for No. 63 (Brandon Jackson), No. 89 (Aaron Rouse) and No. 191 (Korey Hall)
- Packers trade No. 112 (Daniel Sepulveda) to Steelers for No. 119 (Allen Barbre) and No. 192 (Desmond Bishop)
Harris had an excellent NFL career, playing mostly with the Jets and making second-team all-pro in 2009 en route to more than 1,100 NFL tackles, 37 sacks and 11 forced fumbles. You'd have to think Green Bay would do the deal again, however, knowing it would get a key piece in the Super Bowl run in Jackson and, to a lesser extent, Hall. Bishop, who would also become a huge part of the Super Bowl puzzle, was drafted after the Packers traded back and Pittsburgh selected a punter.
The Packers actually had three straight picks in this draft, using No. 193 on Mason Crosby.
This is a draft where the Packers reportedly did not take Cleveland up on an offer to trade a first round pick, with the opportunity to pick up another first-rounder in the 2008 draft. Instead, the Packers kept their pick and infamously selected Justin Harrell, a player with injury concerns who couldn't stay healthy in the NFL.
- Packers trade No. 36 (Chad Jackson) to Patriots for No. 52 (Greg Jennings) and No. 75 (Jason Spitz)
- Packers trade WR Javon Walker to Broncos for No. 37 (later traded again)
- Packers trade No. 37 (Jimmy F. Williams) and No. 139 (Quinn Ojinnaka) to Falcons for No. 47 (Daryn Colledge), No. 93 (later traded again) and No. 148 (Ingle Martin)
- Packers trade No. 93 (Dominique Byrd) to Rams for No. 109 (later traded again) and No. 183 (Johnny Jolly)
- Packers trade No. 109 (Jason Avant) to Eagles for No. 115 (Will Blackmon) and No. 185 (Tyrone Culver)
The Packers traded back in a deal where the Patriots took a receiver with 14 career receptions, and the Packers used the later pick to draft one of the great receivers in their history plus an offensive lineman who started 45 games in his career. Advantage: Packers. There's a lot more here to unpack beyond that deal; Colledge, Jolly and Blackmon all became staples, even though Avant wound up having more than 4,100 yards receiving and 13 touchdowns in his career. Walker was unhappy in Green Bay and was pushing for a trade.
- Packers trade No. 89 (Atiyyah Ellison) to Panthers for No. 115 (Marviel Underwood) and No. 126 (later traded again)
- Packers trade No. 126 (Todd Herremans) to Eagles for No. 167 (Mike Hawkins), No. 175 (later traded again) and No. 245 (Kurt Campbell)
- Packers trade No. 175 (Anttaj Hawthorne) to Patriots for No. 195 (Craig Bragg) and No. 246 (Will Whittacker)
You'd be forgiven for not knowing any of the names on this list, though Herremans started 126 career games at guard and, perhaps of greater thrill, has two career touchdown catches on two career catches. Hawthorne played college football at Wisconsin.
- Packers trade No. 55 (Greg Jones) to Jaguars for No. 70 (Joey Thomas) and No. 102 (later traded again)
- Packers trade No. 102 (Will Poole) and No. 153 (Roderick Greene) to Dolphins for No. 87 (BJ Sander)
- Packers trade No. 86 (Jorge Cordova) and No. 118 (Anthony Maddox) to Jaguars for No. 72 (Donnell Washington)
- Packers trade No. 188 (Andy Lee) and No. 226 (Christian Ferrara) to 49ers for No. 179 (Corey Williams)
- Packers trade No. 185 (Andy Hall) to Eagles for No. 245 in 2003 draft (Chris Johnson - no, not the running back)
Punters, man. The Packers took some criticism for trading up for Ohio State punter B.J. Sander, and that turned out to be justified when he was unable to stick in the league, even if the Dolphins didn't get much from the picks they obtained. As added insult, the Packers later traded up to get Corey Williams (a productive defensive lineman for Green Bay), and San Francisco selected punter Andy Lee with one of the selections in the swap, 101 picks after the Packers took Sander. Lee is now a three-time all-pro and is still punting, having become one of the greats at the craft. Greg Jones had a long career as a fullback.
- Packers trade No. 94 (Angelo Crowell) and No. 127 (Sam Aiken) to Bills for No. 79 (Kenny Peterson)
- Packers trade No. 165 (Chris Davis) and No. 203 (Kareem Kelly) to Seahawks for No. 147 (James Lee)
- Packers trade 185 (Jeremy Bridges) and No. 244 (Norman LeJeune) to Eagles for No. 166 (Hunter Hillenmeyer)
Not much to write home about from this draft. Crowell and Bridges played for a few years. Hillenmeyer finished his career with 382 tackles, seven sacks and seven forced fumbles ... but for the Bears.
- Packers trade No. 28 (Jerramy Stevens) and No. 60 (Anton Palepoi) to Seahawks for No. 20 (Javon Walker) and No. 156 (Aaron Kampman)
In addition to an earlier deal that landed Terry Glenn for a draft pick, this was a productive draft on the wide-receiver front. Walker, out of Florida State, made the 2004 Pro Bowl and had four solid years in Green Bay, perhaps most notably when he was on the receiving end of four Brett Favre throws in an unforgettable 2003 tilt in Oakland shortly after Favre's father died. Oh, and not only that, the Packers landed a player who twice was named second-team all-pro at defensive end during his eight years with the Packers. Stevens was decent, but there's no question this exchange worked out for Green Bay.
- Packers trade No. 47 (Jamie Winborn), No. 80 (Kevan Barlow), No. 179 (Rashad Holman) and No. 222 (Dennis Norman) to 49ers for No. 41 (Robert Ferguson), No. 71 (Bhawoh Jue) and No. 105 (Bill Ferrario)
Whoa, that is one sizeable deal. Barlow ran for nearly 4,000 career yards and 30 touchdowns and is probably the best player in the trade, though Ferguson flashed with the Packers.
The Packers also acquired a first-round pick (No. 10) that year in exchange for Matt Hasselbeck and the No. 17 pick, which didn't work out when the Packers took Jamal Reynolds with that pick (while Seattle took future Hall of Fame offensive lineman Steve Hutchinson at No. 17). But if it's any consolation, it did work out when Hasselbeck threw an infamous 2003 interception in the playoffs. It was one of several picks that swapped hands before the draft, including a deal that sent quarterback Aaron Brooks to the Saints and exchanges that landed Allen Rossum from Philadelphia and Nate Wayne from Denver.
JR Radcliffe can be reached at (262) 361-9141 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @JRRadcliffe.