Packers Top Rookie: 1968

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The 1968 draft was the last conducted by Vince Lombardi. Held on January 30 and 31, just two weeks after the Packers’ triumph in Super Bowl II, Lombardi would turn over the coaching reins to Phil Bengtson on February 1. As usual, Vince had a plethora of picks, including two in the first, third, fourth and fifth rounds. Six of his 21 picks made the team, and three would prove to be excellent choices.

With the fifth overall pick in the draft, Lombardi chose Fred Carr from Texas-El Paso. He followed that on the last pick in the first round by taking Arizona guard Bill Lueck. Although Green Bay had no second round pick, Vince selected UTEP quarterback Billy Stevens and Ohio State tackle Dick Himes in the third round. Other picks to make the team were Memphis defensive end Francis Winkler in round five and Dartmouth defensive back Gordon Rule in round 11.

While Stevens, Winkler and Rule had little impact in Green Bay, Lueck and Himes became solid mainstays on the offensive line for several years, and Fred Carr developed into an All Pro at linebacker.

Other rookies to appear during the 1968 season included free agent kicker Errol Mann, defensive end Leo Carroll (obtained in a trade with Atlanta for Bob Long), and two players who had been in training camp in 1967: defensive lineman Leon Crenshaw and wide receiver Dave Dunaway.

Of the three significant rookie additions, Lueck and Himes rode the bench in 1968, learning from veterans Jerry Kramer and Forrest Gregg. Lueck would claim a starting slot in 1969 and Himes in 1970. Carr also had to wait until 1970 when Lee Roy Caffey was traded to gain a starting linebacker position. Green Bay first tried him at defensive end and tight end before setting him free as a rugged, athletic, playmaking linebacker. Even as a rookie, though, Fred was a demon on special teams and exhibited vast potential. Fred Carr was the Packers top rookie in 1968.

1968alttblueck2  1968alttfcarr

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Lueck and Carr custom cards are colorized.

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