Packers Top Rookie: 1972

Rookies1972wbuchanon2

Thus far, only one player drafted in 1972, Franco Harris, has been elected to the Hall of Fame, so the Packers actually did pretty well in a somewhat weak draft that year. Unfortunately, the draft was deep in running backs and linebackers, but the Pack’s biggest needs were at QB and WR. Green Bay selected 16 players in 17 rounds and eight made the team.

San Diego State cornerback Willie Buchanon proved to be excellent with the seventh overall pick, but the team’s second first rounder, the 11th overall pick, was a major disappointment: Nebraska quarterback Jerry Tagge. The Green Bay native Tagge was one of five quarterbacks chosen that year who would throw at least 50 passes in the NFL, and only one, Buchanon’s San Diego State teammate Brian Sipe in the 13th round, developed into a good player. The other four quarterbacks (Tagge, John Reaves, Pat Sullivan and Joe Gilliam) all failed as professionals.

Dan Devine made a surprising choice in round two with Hillsdale kicker Chester Marcol, and that turned out well with Marcol leading the NFL in scoring in two of his first three years in the league. The team’s only other pick in the first five rounds was Notre Dame linebacker Eric Patton in round four. However, Patton never played in the NFL, unlike Colorado receiver Cliff Branch who was picked in round four by Oakland.

Later in the draft, Green Bay picked Eastern Michigan defensive tackle Dave Pureifory (round six), Northeast Oklahoma runner Bob Hudson (round six), Oregon receiver Leland Glass (round eight), Nebraska guard Keith Wortman (round 10) and Clemson linebacker Larry Hefner (round 14). Tackle Kevin Hunt, a 1971 draftee, also made the Packers, as did free agents Bob Kroll (a safety) and Paul Gibson (a wide receiver).

Pureifory had a nice career in Green Bay and Detroit, and Marcol fixed the long-standing kicking problem in Green Bay, but Willie Buchanon solidified the defense, was the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year and the Packers’ top rookie of 1972.

1972twbuchanonroy  1972twbuchanon

1972tjtaggecas  1972tdpureifory

A sampling of 1972-style custom cards.

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