Packers Top Rookie: 1953


Nine rookies played for the Packers in 1953: five draftees, three free agents and one who came via a trade. Draft picks that made the team included halfback Al Carmichael (1), middle guard/linebacker Bill Forester (3), halfback Gib Dawson (4), linebacker Roger Zatkoff (5) and center Jim Ringo (7). Two future picks, Al Barry and Bill Lucky, would join the team in 1954. Two disappointments in the year’s selections were second round pick Gil Reich of West Point and the University of Kansas who did not sign and sixth rounder Bob Kennedy who left training camp to go to graduate school.

End Clive Rush, who much later had a short but spectacularly bizarre tenure as the head coach of the New England Patriots, halfback Don Barton and fullback Howie Ferguson all arrived as undrafted free agents. Ferguson was a regular for several years in Green Bay. Finally, safety Val Joe Walker was obtained from the Giants for the rights to quarterback Arnold Galiffa and teamed with Bobby Dillon in the defensive backfield for four solid years.

Al Carmichael was a fine return man and occasional halfback, but never lived up to his draft status as the seventh overall pick. Jim Ringo went on to become a Hall of Fame center, but as a rookie he played behind Trapper Stephenson. Roger Zatkoff made the Pro Bowl for the last three of his four years as a Packer, but the best player as a rookie was Bill Forester. Forester moved right into the starting lineup at middle guard and frequently slid back to middle linebacker during games. He didn’t really come into his own as perhaps the best corner linebacker in the game until Vince Lombardi arrived in 1959, but he was still the best rookie on the 1953 Packers.

Custom card is colorized and is based on Topps Baseball Rookie Team cards from the 1950s and 1960s.


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