Packers Top Rookie: 1973


Coming off a division title in 1972, Dan Devine did almost nothing to improve the Packers in 1973. He made 14 picks in the draft, but only had two selections in the top five rounds due to trades. The second rounder had gone to Dallas for Ron Widby and Ike Thomas the previous year. The four and five brought in spent veterans Tommy Joe Crutcher and Carleton Oats.

Devine chose Florida State wideout Barry Smith in round one and Minnesota linebacker Tom McLeod in round three. Smith caught 15 passes as a rookie and didn’t get any better after that. McLeod, however, replaced Dave Robinson at left linebacker and played well.

Devine’s other picks that played for Green Bay included Idaho State linebacker Tom Toner in round six, Prairie View defensive back Hise Austin in round eight and unheralded Illinois center Larry McCarren in round 12. Four free agents also made the team: Colorado State defensive back Perry Smith, Missouri runner Ron McBride, Yankton runner Les Goodman and Houston tackle Kent Branstetter. Only Smith lasted more than two years as a Packer.

Ultimately, Larry McCarren would be the only star of the 1973 rookie class, but he spent most of the year on the taxi squad and appeared in just five games in his first year. Tom McLeod played very well as a rookie starter before being swapped to Baltimore for Ted Hendricks in the off season; McLeod was the Packers top rookie of 1973.

1973tbrsmith2  1973tlmccarren2


McCleod custom card is colorized.


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