Packers Top Rookie: 1987


1987 was perhaps the ugliest season in NFL history, with a players strike and three scab games featuring “replacement” players. We will not concern ourselves with the 42 “rookies” who only appeared in replacement games, but will note the four replacement rookies who also appeared in regular season games. Altogether there were 18 Packer rookies in Forrest Gregg’s final season as coach. Gregg, however, was no longer in charge of the draft, since the team hired Tom Braatz as Executive Vice President of Football Operations in 1987.

Braatz’s first draft was not a washout, but neither was it a great success. He selected Auburn Runner Brent Fullwood in round one; Texas A&M linebacker Johnny Holland in round two; Arizona State linebacker Scott Stephen and Fort Hays State receiver Frankie Hays in round three; Stanford defensive end Tony Leiker in round seven; Iowa defensive tackle Jeff Drost in round eight; Virginia quarterback Don Majkowski in round 10, Grambling receiver Patrick Scott in round 11 and LSU defensive back Norman Jefferson in round 12. USC linebacker Brent Moore, a ninth round pick from 1986, also made the team, as did undrafted free agent runner Kelly Cook from Oklahoma State.

Three former USFL players joined the Packers, too: defensive back Kenneth Johnson, receiver Keith Paskett and guard Tommy Robison. The four rookie replacement players who stayed with the team after the strike included defensive back Jim Bob Morris from the USFL and Kansas State, receiver Lee Morris from Oklahoma, 340-pound tackle Steve Collier from Bethune Cookman and kicker Max Zendejas from Arizona. Zendejas was the only non-draftee who continued with the team in 1988.

Among the draft picks, Fullwood was a lackadaisical fumbler, and Hays, who had flunked out of Florida which led him to Fort Hays State in Kansas, was cut after one year. After that, Hays got arrested multiple times and never made it back to the NFL. Scott Stephen eventually worked his way into the starting lineup in 1990, but was ordinary at best. The two gems in the draft were Holland and Majkowski. The Majik Man showed promise in his five rookie starts and would bloom in 1989, but injuries wrecked his career. Holland moved right into the starting lineup as a rookie and was a tackling machine for seven years until a neck injury ended his career after the 1993 season; Johnny Holland was the Packers top rookie in 1987.

1987tdmajkowski  1987tjbmorris

1987xtjbmorris  1987xtlmorris

1987xtscollier  1987xtmzendejas

Regular Jim Bob Morris custom card is colorized.

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