Packers Top Rookie: 2004

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2004 was Mike Sherman’s Waterloo as a GM, the year when he thoroughly proved that he had reached his level of incompetence, ala the Peter Principle. With star cornerback Mike McKenzie demanding to be traded, Sherman drafted cornerbacks with Green Bay’s first two selections in the draft, but both picks — Ahmad Carroll from Arkansas in round one and Joey Thomas from Montana State in round three — were flops. For his other two third rounders, Sherman took Clemson defensive tackle Donnell Washington, who never played a down in the NFL, and Ohio State punter B.J. Sander, who spent one season in NFL Europe and one disappointing year in Green Bay before getting on with his life’s work. Sherman did pick two late winners, Arkansas State defensive tackle Corey Williams in round six, and, Tennessee center Scott Wells in round seven, but it was a disastrous draft that led to Ted Thompson hiring as GM.

From the 2003 draft, fifth round Oregon State defensive tackle James Lee and seventh round Carson Newman linebacker Steve Josue made the roster in 2004. Penn State tight end Sean McHugh was a seventh round pick of the Titans, and quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan came up from New Orleans in the October trade of Mike McKenzie. None of them could play.

Eight other rookies made the Packers as waiver wire pickups or undrafted free agents. Running backs Walt Williams and Vonta Leach, receivers Kelvin Kight, Andrae Thurman and Ben Steele and defensive back Jason Horton left no trace in Green Bay. Nose tackle Colin Cole, though, spent five years with the Packers and 10 in the NFL, while Central Michigan defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins spent the first seven years of his 13 year NFL career in Green Bay as a versatile and reliable player at both the tackle and end positions; Cullen Jenkins was the Packers top rookie in 2004.

2010cjenkins  Custom card in 1960 Topps style.

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