1920s: Curly Lambeau
The best homegrown player of the decade, Verne Lewellen, was used more sparingly in his first year. Curly was the team’s backbone right from the start.
1930s: Clarke Hinkle
This decade was arguably the greatest for rookies in team history. Backs Arnie Herber, Hank Bruder, Clarke Hinkle, Bob Monnett, Joe Laws, Ed Jankowski and Cecil Isbell all came to Green Bay in the 1930s…not to mention ends Don Hutson and Milt Gantenbein and linemen Lon Evans, Russ Letlow and Charlie Brock. Hutson would be the obvious choice, but he was just getting warmed up with 18 catches in 1935. Cecil Isbell led the team in rushing and threw eight touchdown passes. Best of all, Clarke Hinkle led the team in rushing for his first three seasons, played devastating defense at linebacker and was a team leader right from the jump.
1940s: Ted Fritsch
The War decade was a time of dwindling resources for the Packers. The team’s best freshmen came in the first three seasons. While Tony Canadeo was clearly the player of the decade and demonstrated his wide range of talents in his first season, Ted Fritsch had a more impressive rookie season. Ted replaced the retired Clarke Hinkle at fullback/linebacker and led the team in rushing while converting four of five field goal attempts to lead in that category as well.
1950s: Billy Howton
The Packers spent this lost decade collecting a lot of talent, most of which would bloom in the following decade. The two rookies who shown brightest at the start were center/linebacker Clayton Tonnemaker who received All-Pro notice and receiver Billy Howton. Howton led the league in receiving yards with 1,231 and set an NFL rookie record for TD catches with 13 that would stand for 46 years. He also drew All-Pro notice in his first season.
1960s: Lionel Aldridge
The biggest stars developed in the 1960s were Herb Adderley, Dave Robinson and Gale Gillingham. However, all three were part of the supporting cast as rookies. Lionel Aldridge became one of just three Lombardi Era rookies to start in his first season, along with Boyd Dowler and Ken Bowman. Only Aldridge started for his entire rookie season, though, and he recorded five sacks. A case could be made for the impact of kick returner Travis Williams, but essentially that boiled down to four games.
1970s: John Brockington
A grim decade on the field, but some truly great rookies in John Brockington, Willie Buchanon and James Lofton, not to mention Chester Marcol, Johnnie Gray and Mike McCoy. Lofton had a very promising rookie year, but Buchanon and Brockington were defensive and offensive rookies of the year respectively. Since Brockington was second in the NFL in rushing and averaged 5.2 yards per carry, I give him a slight edge.
1980s: Brian Noble
Tom Flynn had nine interceptions and made the All-Rookie team, but was always slow. Tim Harris had eight sacks as a rookie, but was a part-time player. Tim Lewis had five interceptions and would get better. Sterling Sharpe showed great potential with 55 catches. Brian Noble moved right in and was a run-stopping wall at inside linebacker.
1990s: Vonnie Holliday
The greatest player to emerge as a rookie in this decade was Leroy Butler, and he had a good rookie year, as did Darren Sharper and Mike McKenzie later in the decade. Vonnie Holliday had the best season of his long career as a rookie opposite Reggie White with eight sacks in 12 games.
2000s: Ryan Grant
A very good decade for rookies starting with bookend tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher in 2000, linebacker Nick Barnett in 2003, defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins in 2004 and receivers Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson in 2006 and 2008 respectively. The three big names, though, were safety Nick Collins in 2005, runner Ryan Grant in 2007 and linebacker Clay Matthews in 2009. Both Collins and Matthews made the All-Rookie team. Grant came out of nowhere to give the surging Packers a running attack that helped carry them to the conference championship game for the first time in a decade.
2010s: Bryan Bulaga
With three seasons left in the current decade, Bryan Bulaga, Eddie Lacy and Corey Linsley have had the best rookie seasons thus far. Lisnley surprisingly filled a hole at center, and Lacy was Offensive Rookie of the Year with 1,178 yards rushing, but Bulaga stepped in and stepped up at left tackle for the team’s last Super Bowl year in 2010.
All but the last two custom cards are colorized.