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Packerraymond's Top 15 Underrated/Forgotten Packers since 95
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Packerraymond


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 1:26 pm    Post subject: Packerraymond's Top 15 Underrated/Forgotten Packers since 95 Reply with quote

Well the dog days of summer are upon us, so I thought I’d compile a list to take some of us down memory lane. Obviously this is all opinion based and the rankings are purely sentimental, but was fun to put together none the less. Really hard to consider some of these guys to be “underrated” or “unheralded” especially at the skills, but I didn’t want to put together a list of just lineman, so some former fan favorites are certainly on here. Really hard to pick any current 2010+ players as I feel like today’s game is analyzed so much it’s hard to miss any contributors. Feel free to shoot over some other guys you think I missed, as I’m sure I did!

Honorable mentions:
QB: Matt Hasselbeck: Netted us a great 1st round pick, but we took a bust with it.
RB/FB: William Henderson: Everyone loved WH, so I can’t really put him on here, but who didn’t love the big guy hurdling guys?
WR: Bill Schroeder: Was he really good or the only viable target for Favre to throw to?
TE: Keith Jackson, Bubba Franks: Jackson wasn’t here long enough and Franks had alligator arms, but they caught TD’s in the redzone.
OL: Scott Wells, Earl Dotson: Probably the best pick in the Sherman era, sad to say. I wanted Dotson to make the list but felt his other line-mates were better.
DL: Sean Jones, Santana Dotson: Two quality FA’s that made back to back SB runs possible
LB: Bernardo Harris, Brian Williams, George Koonce, Nate Wayne, Na’il Diggs: Those late 90s Packers teams had good LB’s
DB: Tyrone Williams: Would be #16 if I had another guy, probably should be on here.


#15: Mike Prior DB (1993-1998): Prior was a 7th round pick of the Buccaneers in 1985 who went on to play a long and productive career. He was never a star or a starter for the Packers, but imagine him as a Micah Hyde or Jarrett Bush of the Favre era teams. He was a productive ST guy who had a knack to make plays in the post-season. Had an INT in SB XXXI as well as INT’s in the 1995 and 1997 playoffs. Was a classic example of a Ron Wolf FA signing, he was one of those core veterans that helped the team in whatever way he could.



#14: AJ Hawk LB (2006-2015): This one is for the haters. Hard to get a modern player on here but this one fits the bill. Hawk was a top 5 pick that played a non-impact position, therefore he was resented by a majority of the fan base. However, up until his final years when his legs left him, he was always solid in the job that he did. He never ended up being a huge playmaker, but he was the leader of a decade’s worth of defenses. Was Caper’s coach on the field for much of his career. Really an unfortunate case for Hawk that he was such a star at OSU and a top 5 pick, because he will always be under-appreciated by the common fan for not living up to the billing of a top 5 pick. A sure-fire Packer HOF member of the future and the all-time leader in tackles.



#13: Ross Verba OT (1997-2000): Verba was a starter as a rookie and never relinquished that role until he left as a FA in 2000. Verba was the first rookie to ever start in a SB at LT, SBXXXII against the Broncos. Injuries plagued Verba of what could’ve been a very good career as he showed glimpses in GB of being an outstanding OL. Verba was moved inside to guard after Chad Clifton’s arrival and Ron Wolf’s mantra of not paying guards forced him out the door. He had a good career in Cleveland too before spending one last season in Detroit. His retirement has been a bit unfortunate, seems he has a real gambling problem and it has caused him some run-ins with the law, but a solid contributor he was to the late 90s teams.



#12: Chris Jacke/Craig Hentrich/Rob Davis ST: Have to give some love to the very solid specialists we had in the mid 90’s. Up until Tim Masthay we missed Craig Hentrich dearly; I forgot what a decent punter looked like. Jacke was never a great kicker under today’s standard, Mason is far superior, but if anyone remembers what Lambeau Field looked like prior to the re-surfacing of the turf, it’s hard to blame him. Rob Davis still works with the team and lives everyone’s dream, more than a decade of injury free football and a SB ring.




#11: Javon Walker WR (2002-2005): Walker was on his way to one heck of a career when a contract dispute derailed a once promising career. A 6’3 215 WR with 4.3 speed and a 40 inch vert, Javon Walker was arguably one of the most talented Packers WR’s since Sharpe, and it showed in 2004. After 2004 Walker held out of camp and lost his good graces with the fans, however he came back during TC and tore his ACL in game one of the 2005 season and was never the same. Hard to fault Walker for holding out after that. He netted us a 2nd round pick that led to Greg Jennings and had one great year in Denver before injuries ended his career. He’s had a bit of an odd retirement as well, he was beat up in Vegas and is a body builder now I believe. One of my favorite players growing up, looking back it’s more of a what he could’ve been than what he was, but Walker was fun to watch, albeit briefly.



#10 Aaron Taylor OG (1994-1997): A first round pick out of Notre Dame Taylor was another victim of chronic injuries and Ron Wolf’s guard mantra. Although this time it worked out well for Wolf as Taylor signed a big FA deal with San Diego and injuries forced him to retire just a year into it. He was the starting LG for both of the SB teams in 1996 and 97, and a good one at that. That interior OL for those SB teams was really good, both the other lineman will come later in the list.



#9 Aaron Kampman DE (2002-2009): After Fritz Shurmur’s defense and before the additions of Nick Collins, CMIII and Charles Woodson, it was a dark period of time for the Packers defense in regards to top talent. Two DE’s from that time are the only standouts along with Al Harris (who I considered too highly regarded for this list). Kampman was a fan favorite but was soon forgotten after the switch to the 3-4, he couldn’t play LB and was soon gone. If injuries wouldn’t have bit in Jacksonville I’m sure Kampman would’ve had a nice career there. In GB he was the epitome of an over-achiever, high effort guy that racked up sacks in bunches. He was a great DE for the 4-3 and a good guy to have as a Packer alum.



#8 Dorsey Levens/ Edgar Bennett combo RB (1994-1996): OK so these guys aren’t really what I’d call “underrated” but maybe a bit forgotten. I only have one skill player right now, so I figured I needed more. Could there have been a more perfect running combo for the slop that the frozen tundra became during the season than Levens and Bennett? Two big backs that had good vision and fought for every year. Both with excellent ball security. The two of them were also strong in the screen pass game. Who doesn’t remember these two playing in the mud against SF in the playoffs in 1997? They combined for 126 yards and 2 TDs in that game. Bennett has stuck around and become a very solid position coach. Levens career ended in Philadelphia. Both these guys belong in the Packers HOF.




#7: Adam Timmerman OG (1994-1998): Another one of the interior OL from the SB team, Timmerman is the one victim of Ron Wolf’s OG mantra that bit him. He left after many good seasons in GB to go to STL and he had 8 seasons of solid guard play left in him there. Timmerman was a 7th round pick unlike Verba and Taylor who were first round guys, and he came out of South Dakota State, not Notre Dame or Iowa, but he ended up with the better career out of the group. The guard group of Taylor and Timmerman rivals that of what we have today in Lang and Sitton.



#6: Doug Evans CB (1993-1997): Another late round steal by Ron Wolf, Evans was a 6th round pick in 1993 who formed a very good CB tandem with the man who will come next on this list, Craig Newsome. Evans had an INT and a diving sack of Drew Beldsoe in Super Bowl XXXI. Doug was a tall corner who excelled at blitzing, not counting his post-season sacks he totaled 6 in GB as a boundary CB. He formed a secondary with Robinson and LeRoy Butler that rivals the excellent unit we put on the field in SB 45.



#5: Craig Newsome CB (1995-1998): Another career cut short due to injuries, Newsome played back when an ACL tear was a death sentence for a skill guy. Ron Wolf describes him as a true shut down corner in his book, Newsome was one of the better picks Wolf made in the 1st round and a true stud on the boundary. After forcing a fumble and intercepting Bledsoe in SB XXXI, Newsome tore his ACL in week one of the following season and was never the same. Arguable that we may have won vs Denver in SB XXXII with a CB like Newsome healthy. He played the next season after the ACL tear but was soon traded and out of the league. Would have likely been a star CB had he never gotten hurt.



#4 Frank Winters: C (1992-2002): One of the best nicknames in NFL history, Frank Winters started 6 career games in 5 years as a 10th round pick before coming to GB and having one of the better careers for an OL post-Lombardi. Was one of Favre’s favorite teammates, the last time Favre was in Lambeau Field as a Packer was during Winters induction in the Packers HOF. You’ll never find a Packer fan who didn’t have something good to say about Frank Winters. Just a perfect embodiment of an OL.



#3 Antonio Freeman WR (1995-2001): We’ve been spoiled with a glut of WR’s during the TT era, so its easy to forget after the Sharpe and Brooks injuries just how bad the WR position got during the Wolf and Sherman eras. Freeman was the lone consistent light going over 800 yards and 6 TDs in 6 straight seasons. He was Favre’s favorite target during that time and up until recently had the record for the longest TD reception in SB history. He wasn’t big, but he was fairly fast and had great hands. He broke his arm during the SB run and played through it, tough feat for a WR, and his MNF catch against the Vikings is one of the greatest plays in NFL history.



#2: Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila DE (2000-2008): KGB played all of his NFL season in GB and quickly became a fan favorite as a thrilling pass rusher. I believe he still holds the record for most sacks in a Packers career, a record CMIII could break. Like Kampman, KGB was forgotten after the move to the 3-4, but was one of the most consistent pass rushers in the NFL over a span of 7 seasons. His photo with Rex Grossman alone would put his as one of the best Packers of all-time as it is a true embodiment of the Packers-Bears rivalry as of late.



#1: Wayne Simmons LB (1993-1997): Every great defense needs an emotional leader, and the Packers SB defense had that in Simmons. Back in the day when you could play physical defenses, he simply made TE’s irrelevant by not letting them leave the LOS. You could see the passion in which he played the game with, and it was infectious. His attitude didn’t click with Mike Holmgren and he was traded, Ron Wolf loved Simmons and was very emotional about trading him. He unfortunately passed away far too soon shortly after. Growing up I wore #59 as a defensive end in 5-8th grade, Simmons was one of the reasons I started playing football, watching him take down Amp Lee in the backfield, spin him and slam him like a doll will never leave my top 5 favorite moments as a Packer fan. Simmons was a badas.. player and a good LB, always fun to watch.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqbcj0dg5AE


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ugLymayNe


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

90% of these guys aren't underrated in my book. I miss me some Rob Davis - I never realized this but he went to the same college and Kuhn. I wish they had ST tackles available because I remember him snapping the ball and often times being the guy to make the tackle on punt returners.. Laughing


That whole Walker fiasco was crazy, with his 2004 season, then the hold out and the trade. Trading him for that 2nd and in turn trading down with the Patriots and taking Greg Jennings...when the Pats took mega bust Chad Jackson and Packer fans bitching up a storm....may have been Thompson's best move.


Diggs or Williams should be #15 but no qualms with Prior.
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Seahawks tears sounds nice.


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CentralFC


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome post Applause

I really enjoyed this read. Great work.
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Packerraymond


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ugLymayNe wrote:
90% of these guys aren't underrated in my book. I miss me some Rob Davis - I never realized this but he went to the same college and Kuhn. I wish they had ST tackles available because I remember him snapping the ball and often times being the guy to make the tackle on punt returners.. Laughing


That whole Walker fiasco was crazy, with his 2004 season, then the hold out and the trade. Trading him for that 2nd and in turn trading down with the Patriots and taking Greg Jennings...when the Pats took mega bust Chad Jackson and Packer fans bitching up a storm....may have been Thompson's best move.


Diggs or Williams should be #15 but no qualms with Prior.



Under-rated is a tough word to use regarding Packers players, by Packers fans, because I probably over-rate all 53 guys Laughing
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Cakeshoppe


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

His 2004 season was great, but when I think Javon Walker, I think of the Favre Oakland game. That alone puts him in the fond memories book.
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deathstar


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMO Kampman would've been a great OLB. He refused to challenge himself when it came to his position though. If I remember correctly Bates gave him the freedom to rush wherever he wanted. He simply chose to stay on the right 95% of the time. It's a shame, but you can't do much if a players unwilling.
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Dubyajay


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That was a fun blast from the past. Thanks for that Ray.
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GBPACKMAN4LIFE


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CANT MISS WITH KAMPMAN.

KGB GONNA GET YAAAAAA.

Things I yelled annoyingly multiple times.
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I think McClain might be just the guy to light a fire under our defense.
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Value Pick


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That Wayne Simmons rag doll tackle is what makes Youtube great, you'll never see anything like that on ESPN or NFLN.

Cool list, Wayne is a very appropriate #1 IMO.
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KiwiFan94


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KGB and Kampman now those are good times and I think Al Harris deserves a spot up there as well even though his time wasn't that long with us.

Oh and Javon Walker is freaking Jacked now a days.
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N. Collins Fan


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool thread idea.

I'd have both CB's from the SB team higher. IMO, they were more important to our defense than Eugene Robinson ever was.

A couple of guys I thought warranted consideration were Al Harris (always 2nd-fiddle, first to Mike McKenzie and then to CWood), James Jones (never a starter, but highly productive 3rd-option, and Jurko. And on the OL, Tauscher is a guy that never got the credit he deserved. At his best, an elite RT in the NFL.
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pollino14


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great thread idea and great write-ups, but I strongly believe Al Harris needs to be on this list, especially over 1 year wonder JAvon Walker. I also think Tramon should be on this list, but could be too soon.
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Packerraymond


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didnt put Al Harris on here because he went in with LeRoy Butler, Charles Woodson and Nick Collins for me and most Packer fans I know. One of the best at his game there ever will be now that his style of play is dead. Always respect a guy that doesnt have elite gifts but finds a way to use what he had to be elite. Imagine if he was still in his prime when Woodson, Tramon and Collins hit theirs!
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palmy50


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love reads like this..... Applause Applause

That said, no Marco Rivera...... Not talking Shame on you
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MNPackfan32


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

palmy50 wrote:
Love reads like this..... Applause Applause

That said, no Marco Rivera...... Not talking Shame on you
Even Clifton. That line 10-12 years ago was something. Clifton was a hair before his time, but that whole line was kind d of underrated/forgotten. Kind of wish we had a Clifton on this line.
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