Packers Top Rookie: 1977

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After a streak of four years of skimpy rookie crops, the Packers began to turn that around in 1977. Bart Starr had two first round draft picks and used them both on defensive ends: Mike Butler from Kansas and Ezra Johnson from little Morris Brown. In the second round, he grabbed a tackle who would also prove to be a long-term starter: Greg Koch from Arkansas. Third round runner from Memphis Terdell Middleton came via a trade with the Cardinals and would have a brief moment of stardom in Green Bay. Seventh round guard Derrel Gofourth from Oklahoma battled injuries to serve as a decent starter for five years.

Other draft picks to make the team included: Tennessee State runner Nate Simpson in round five, Syracuse defensive back Tim Moresco in round six, Furman quarterback David Whitehurst in round eight, Oklahoma runner Jim Culbreath in round 10 and American International defensive back Terry Randolph in round 11. Wide receiver Aundra Thompson, the fifth round pick from 1976, came off the injured list to start his career in 1977. Two free agents also joined the team: guard Blane Smith and wide receiver Keith Hartwig.

Greg Koch got to start three games as the heir apparent to right tackle Dick Himes, and Ezra Johnson showed flashes of his pass rushing prowess coming off the bench, gaining his first three sacks. Top pick Mike Butler moved right into the starting lineup on opening day and finished with five sacks, third on the team behind Dave Roller and Bob Barber; Mike Butler was the Packers’ top rookie in 1977.

1977tejohnson  1977tgkoch

Koch 1977 custom card is colorized.

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