The Green Bay Packers inability to draft a first-round wide receiver for Aaron Rodgers is one of the NFL’s most inescapable stats.
Stop us if you’ve heard this before: The Green Bay Packers have never drafted a receiver in the first round of the NFL Draft while Aaron Rodgers has been the starter.
It seems impossible given how God-like Rodgers has been throughout his entire career. He’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer, will go down as the greatest quarterback in Green Bay Packers history, and will be in the conversation as the best of all time for the foreseeable future. All of this despite the fact that the common refrain about his career is and always shall be just imagine if he had a superstar receiver.
That’s a bit of an unfair and factious argument. The sentiment is that Rodgers was this good but never had the type of draft investment that other teams give their franchise quarterbacks. Not once did the Packers spend a first-round pick on a receiver to pair him with Rodgers, but that didn’t mean Green Bay went without landing him stars through the draft.
The Packers drafted Jordy Nelson in 2008, Randall Cobb in 2011, and Davante Adams in 2013 but all were selected in the second round.
It’s a conversation and clear frustration that flared up a year ago when Rodgers threatened retirement if things didn’t change — and after a draft where the Packers finally spent a first-round pick on a skill player but it was a quarterback to eventually replace Rodgers.
Packers fans were reminded of Aaron Rodgers’ saddest stat in Week 5
This all became relevant again on Sunday when the Packers played in London. Tight End Marcedes Lewis — yes that Marcedes Lewis, the one who used to play for the Jaguars — caught a touchdown pass from Rodgers. With that reception, Lewis became both a trivia question and a sad reminder to Packers fans about how much has been invested in Rodgers’ offense.
That’s right. It took 502 career touchdown passes for Rodgers to finally throw a touchdown pass to a first-round receiver and it was to a guy drafted by another team 16 years ago.
Green Bay has had its fair share of Sliding Doors moments when it comes to nearly hitting on absolute superstars for Rodgers offense. One was back in 2012 when running back Eddie Lacy was drafted 61st overall, two picks before Travis Kecle went off the board to the Kansas City Chiefs.
At least Lacy was a productive part of the Packers offense. Perhaps the most egregious was in 2016 when safety Josh Jones was drafted 61st overall which was a pick before JuJu Smith-Schuster went to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Alvin Kamara went to the New Orleans Saints six picks after Green Bay’s selection and Cooper Kupp went to the Los Angeles Rams two picks after that.