Packers Top Rookie: 1998

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With Reggie White showing signs of age, Ron Wolf attempted to find his successor with the 19th pick of the 1998 draft, North Carolina defensive end Vonnie Holliday. Wolf then gave up his second round pick to grab guard Mike Wahle after he was bounced from the Navy for steroid use. The rest of the 1998 draft was not so successful. Tennessee defensive end Jonathan Brown came in round three, Morris Brown defensive back Roosevelt Blackmon in round four, Jackson State receiver Bradford in round five and New Mexico safety Scott McGarrahan in round six. Brown appeared in four Packer games and Blackmon three. Bradford was speedy, but never fulfilled his potential. McGarrahan was just a guy.

Two other drafted players joined the 1998 rookie class in Green Bay. Center Mike Flanagan, a third round pick from 1996, recovered from his leg injuries to make the team at last, and defensive back Kerry Cook, the Viking fifth round pick in 1998, spent nine games with Green Bay.

Undrafted free agents included defensive lineman Billy Lyon, guard Joe Andruzzi , linebacker Jude Waddy and runner Michael Blair. Lyon would prove to be a useful reserve for several seasons.

In the long run, Wahle and Flanagan became anchors of a very solid Packer line in the new millennium, but were not much of a factor as rookies. Vonnie Holliday would start for five years in Green Bay and last 15 years in the NFL, eventually playing for six teams. Always stout and steady, he never became a star and never went to a Pro Bowl. However, his eight sacks as a rookie playing opposite Reggie White would prove to be a career high; Vonnie Holliday was the Packers’ top rookie in 1998.

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