Green Bay at back of pack with 27th pick
Editor’s note: This story was published Feb. 11, 1996.
This will be the 20th National Football League draft in which at least 27 selections have been made in the first round.
The Green Bay Packers own the 27th pick in the draft April 20-21, and general manager Ron Wolf already has researched the unhappy history of that choice.
“There’s three picks out of that whole (27th) pick that are any good,” Wolf said. “(Dan) Marino. (Tommy) Kramer. Neal Anderson.”
Wolf and virtually every other scout and coach in the NFL converged in Indianapolis this weekend for the annual scouting combine workouts, medical tests and player interviews. Basically an interminable cattle call for athletes, it is another opportunity for clubs to dodge the multimillion-dollar mistakes that damage teams and end scouting careers.
“I think it will be a good draft,” Wolf said. “I’m hesitant to condemn it.”
Never before have the Packers had a first-round pick of their own this low. Last year, they obtained an extra thirdround choice (defensive tackle Darius Holland) by trading the 22nd pick to Carolina in exchange for the 32nd and last pick of the first round.
That choice became Craig Newsome, a season-long starter at cornerback.
“We’ll do all right,” Wolf said. “We did all right last year, and we’ve done all right every year.
“The only year we didn’t do as well as we should have was the first year we
were here, and we weren’t familiar with one another,” Wolf said, referring to himself, coach Mike Holmgren and the rest of their organization.
“Had we been together for a year, I think we would have operated a little differently and we would have selected the player that I wanted to select. Five years later, I’m still eating crap over Terrell Buckley.”
Wolf and Holmgren had been together just short of three months in late April 1992. With the fifth overall pick, the Packers narrowed their choice to Buckley,
a cornerback, and wide receiver Desmond Howard. They took Buckley when Howard went fourth to Washington.
Although cornerback Troy Vincent went seventh to Miami, sources have said that Wolf still kicked himself for not standing firm and taking the player he preferred, offensive tackle Bob Whitfield, who went to Atlanta with the No. 8 selection.
The Packers enter the off-season of free agency and the draft in delightful position. For the first time in almost 30 years they should be mentioned prominently as a Super Bowl contender, having lost in a competitive conference championship game to Dallas, 38-27.
“Everybody said, `When are you going to get to that next level?’ “Wolf said. “Well, we got to that next level when we defeated the world champions (San Francisco) in their own ballpark. Now we have to take it a step further.”
Despite their position of prominence, the Packers still could use considerable help in at least half of the 12 position areas.
“It’s the way football is today,” Wolf said. “I’m sure we have pressing needs in a lot of areas.
“Obviously, we have a pressing need at linebacker. If we don’t sign (Mark) Chmura and (Keith) Jackson, we have a very pressing need at tight end. If (guard Aaron) Taylor doesn’t come back . . . there’s so many things involved here, but I don’t think we’re any different than any team, including the world champions.”
Whether the venue is the draft or free agency, Wolf said the Packers weren’t in position to take part-time players with a specialized skill.
“We can’t take a spot performer like a third-down back,” he said. “We need solid football players here.”
One of Wolf’s poorer trades cost the Packers their fifth-round pick in exchange for Philadelphia tackle Joe Sims. Furthermore, their sixth-round pick belongs to Kansas City in a trade for guardtackle Lindsay Knapp.
One reason for those trades, according to Wolf, was the expectation that the Packers would have their draft complement replenished when the league announces its 1996 compensatory picks later this month or in March.
Because the Packers were one of the hardest-hit teams in free agency last year, for the first time they will be awarded a compensatory draft choice. Their net finish of minus-9 in `95 - the result of nine unrestricted free agents lost and none signed - is rivaled only by the Cowboys (minus-8) among the 30 teams.
Almost certainly the Packers will be awarded the highest compensation believed to be a third-round pick, probably at the end of the round - to make up for the loss of Bryce Paup, the NFL’s defensive player of the year. They also might receive mid- to late-round picks for defensive end Don Davey, defensive tackle Matt Brock and tight end Ed West, all of whom started for new teams.
“I would see no way, since we lost the most valuable (defensive) player in the National Football League, that we don’t end up with four compensatory picks based on the criteria as I understand them,” Wolf said.
Taking best advantage of those picks is the reason that Green Bay sent about 35 people to the four-day combine.
Marty Schottenheimer’s NFL coaching career was as remarkable as it was flummoxing.
There were 200 regular-season wins, the eighth most in NFL history. There were a mystifying number of playoff losses, some so epic they had nicknames: “The Drive” and “The Fumble.”
Always there was “Martyball,” the conservative, smash-mouth approach that featured a strong running game and hard-nosed defense.
Schottenheimer died last week Monday in Charlotte, North Carolina, his family said through former Kansas City Chiefs publicist Bob Moore. He was 77. Schottenheimer was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014 and moved to a hospice Jan. 30.
Schottenheimer coached Cleveland, Kansas City, Washington and San Diego and went 200-126-1 in 21 seasons.
Winning in the regular season was never a problem.
Schottenheimer’s teams won 10 or more games 11 times, including a glistening 14-2 record with the Chargers in 2006 that earned them the AFC’s No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
Schottenheimer was 44-27 with Cleveland from 1984-88; 101-58-1 with Kansas City from 1989-98; 8-8 with Washington in 2001; and 47-33 with San Diego from 2002-06.
Doyle, Jaguars part ways: The Jacksonville Jaguars and embattled strength coach Chris Doyle parted ways last week Friday, a few hours after a prominent diversity group assailed the team and called the recent hiring “simply unacceptable.”
Coach Urban Meyer and general manager Trent Baalke said Doyle resigned and they accepted.
“Chris did not want to be a distraction to what we are building in Jacksonville,” Meyer and Baalke said in a statement.
The team initially attributed the statement to Meyer, but added Baalke’s name Saturday and said it was an oversight.
The Fritz Pollard Alliance, whose mission is to increase diversity in the NFL, criticized Jacksonville’s leadership,
specifically Meyer, and said racist allegations at Iowa should have disqualified Doyle as a coaching candidate.
Ex-NFL WR Jackson dies: Former NFL wide receiver Vincent Jackson was found dead Monday at a Florida hotel room, days after authorities spoke with him as part of a welfare check, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff ’s Office.
A housekeeper discovered the 38year-old’s body at around 11:30 a.m. Monday, official said.
There were no signs of trauma and the medical examiner’s office was looking into a cause of death at the Homewood Suites in Brandon, near Tampa.
Sheriff’s officials said his family initially reported Jackson missing on Wednesday. Deputies tracked him down to the hotel two days later.
Jackson played for the San Diego Chargers for seven seasons before becoming a free agent because of a contract dispute. He then went on to play five seasons with Tampa Bay before retiring in 2018. He was selected to the Pro Bowl three times.
Pouncey twins are retiring together: Mike and Maurkice Pouncey came into the world together.
They’re leaving the NFL in the same
The 31-year-old twin brothers announced their retirements on Friday after spending a decade among the best centers in the league. Maurkice Pouncey spent 11 years in Pittsburgh earning two All-Pro nods and nine Pro Bowl selections while serving as the security blanket for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Mike Pouncey reached the Pro
Bowl four times while playing for Miami and the Los Angeles Chargers.
“To my big brother Mike Pouncey thank you for always pushing me to be the best,” Maurkice Pouncey posted on Instagram. “The sacrifices we made will forever go unnoticed but Together (13x ProBowls 2x first team all Pro’s 3x second team all Pro’s) who would’ve ever thought that as kids !”
Maurkice Pouncey, one minute younger than his “older” brother, had one year remaining on the three-year, $33 million contract extension he signed in 2019. He was limited to 13 games this season after being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and gave a very public indication that he was ready to move on with his life at the end of Pittsburgh’s stunning first-round playoff loss to Cleveland.
Lawrence works out: Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence worked out for several NFL personnel including his expected future pro coach, Urban Meyer of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Lawrence is projected as the No. 1 overall pick in April’s NFL draft, the spot held by the Jaguars.
Lawrence had planned to throw on Clemson’s Pro Day on March 11 but moved up things when he learned he’d need surgery on his left, non-throwing shoulder.