Packers Top Rookie: 1939

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After losing to the Giants in the 1938 Championship game, Curly Lambeau brought in a huge crop of 14 rookies in 1939. Nine came via the NFL draft: Minnesota back Larry Buhler in round one, Nebraska center Charley Brock in round three, South Carolina end Larry Craig in round six, Minnesota guard Frank Twedell in round seven, Notre Dame tackle Paul Kell in round eight, Arizona center Tom Greenfield in round 15, Iowa fullback Frank Balazs in round 18, Michigan guard John Brennan in round 19 and Minnesota tackle Charlie Schultz in round 20.

Twedell and Brennan were gone in less than a year, Kell lasted two seasons and Buhler, Balazs, Greenfield and Schultz all stuck for three years, but none made a strong impact. The top-ranked Buhler would ultimately prove to be a disappointment whose career ended after an auto accident in 1941. Brock and Craig turned out to be the jewels of the draft.

Five undrafted free agents made the team, too: Rice end Frank Steen, Texas A&M end Allen Moore, Minnesota tackle Warren Kilbourne, Lake Forest guard John Biolo and Fordham end Harry Jacunski. The first four appeared in between one and five games for their careers, although Biolo later had a successful coaching tenure at Green Bay West High School where he worked as a principal. Jacunski had a six-year Packer career and is a member of the Packer Hall of Fame. As a rookie he caught five passes for two touchdowns.

Brock and Craig are also members of the Packer Hall of Fame. Both made an immediate impact in their first seasons. Brock would play outstanding center and linebacker for Green Bay from 1939-47, drawing All-Pro notice four times. Craig appeared in 121 games for the Packers from 1939-49, playing blocking back on offense and defensive end on defense, and twice drew All-Pro notice. Craig’s versatility allowed slightly-built Don Hutson to move from end to safety on defense and strengthened the whole team in the championship season; Larry Craig was the Packers’ top rookie in 1939.

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All custom cards are colorized.

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