Packers Top Rookie: 1971

Rookies1971jbrockington

Although 11 rookies, including six 1971 draft picks made new coach Dan Devine’s first roster, only one had a lasting impact in Green Bay – top pick John Brockington. In fact Brockington was the only one to have an initial impact as well.

I previously wrote about how switching two picks in this draft could have had a major effect on the whole decade of Packers football. In short, had Devine selected Kansas State quarterback Lynn Dickey in the second round and Missouri receiver Mel Gray, Devine’s own player, in any round up to the sixth, the team would have been much better off. Instead, Devine picked Grambling runner/receiver Virgil Robinson in the second round and cut him prior to the start of the season.

Other draftees to make the 1971 team were Pitt cornerback Charlie Hall in round three, Southern University defensive end Donnell Smith in round five, weak-armed Alabama quarterback Scott Hunter in round six, Tennessee A&I receiver Dave Davis in round seven and New Mexico Highlands tight end Len Garrett in round 15. Free agent rookies included kickers Tim Webster and Dave Conway, punter Ken Duncan, while centers Wimpy Winther and Cal Withrow were both obtained in trades for late draft picks.

Brockington, of course, was a rookie sensation, gaining 1,105 yards rushing, averaging 5.1 yards per run, being named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and All Pro; he was the Packers’ top rookie in 1971.

1971tvrobinson

Custom card of Robinson is colorized.

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