Mike Holmgren’s induction into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame marked the 148th time an individual was enshrined into the legendary museum since it began inductions in 1970. All-time legends such as Bart Starr, Don Hutson, Ray Nitschke, Vince Lombardi and so many others already have their spots reserved in the hall, and many more are sure to follow.
Which Packers have the best shot at joining the illustrious group? Here are my choices, broken down into three specific groups.
These players are already retired (or presumed to retire soon) but haven't been long enough to be inducted. Once their time comes, expect these guys to join the Packers Hall of Fame.
This is the most obvious one. All-time NFL leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns, completions and more. Need I say more?
His career was sadly cut short, but he was one of the premier players at his position and scored a touchdown off an interception in Super Bowl XLV.
Chad Clifton & Mark Tauscher
Both were selected by the Packers in the 2000 draft and started at least 10 games in their rookie season. The duo went on to become one of the most underrated tackle combos in the league. Favre wouldn’t have the same stats today had Tauscher and Clifton not provided him so much time and protection.
Sharper intercepted 36 passes during his eight years in Green Bay and returned five of them for touchdowns. He appeared in two Pro Bowls for the Packers and was named a First-Team All-Pro in his fourth season.
Green is arguably the best running back in Packer history. He holds team records for career rushing yards, rushing yards per game for both career and season, longest rush and rushing yards in a season, and he ranks second for career rushing touchdowns.
You would think Reggie White would hold the all-time Packers record for career sacks, but the title belongs to Gbaja-Biamila (Willie Davis probably actually holds this record, but sacks weren’t recorded in his day). He’s, of course, not as great as White, but Gbaja-Biamila was as strong of a pass rusher as anyone from 2001-2004, when he tallied 49 sacks and made a Pro Bowl team.
Harris struggled to find playing time with the Philadelphia Eagles, but he shined immediately in Green Bay. He made a great cornerback combo first with Mike McKenzie, then with Charles Woodson. Harris made two Pro Bowls with the Pack, and he was the one who took Matt Hasselbeck’s interception to the house after Hasselbeck’s infamous line, “We want the ball, and we’re gonna score” in the 2003 playoffs.
These guys are still in the NFL, but they've already sealed a place in the Packers Hall of Fame.
Driver is the Packers all-time leader in career receiving yards and receptions, and he’s six touchdown receptions behind Sterling Sharpe for second place on that list. Plus, he’s the only Packer to take home the Dancing with the Stars championship.
He’s only been a starter for four seasons, but Rodgers has done so much it would be impossible to deny him into the Packers Hall of Fame if he decided to call it quits tomorrow. He’s already won an MVP and Super Bowl MVP, he broke the Packers record for passing yards and touchdowns in a season and he holds the NFL record for career passer rating by a wide margin.
Thompson has quickly established himself as one of the league’s best general managers. He was the one who decided to draft Aaron Rodgers and hire Mike McCarthy, and he has drafted or signed many other gems in his short tenure, including Nick Collins, Greg Jennings, Charles Woodson and Ryan Grant.
Although Woodson played eight seasons in Oakland and only six in Green Bay so far, his play overall has been much better with the Packers. Throughout his career, 37 of his 54 interceptions, 10 of his 12 defensive touchdowns, 10 of his 15.5 sacks, 94 of his 130 deflected passes and his only Defensive Player of the Year award have all come while wearing the green and gold.
Just as Gbaja-Biamila was declining in play, Kampman became the Packers’ next premier pass rusher. He appeared in back-to-back Pro Bowls and finished his Green Bay career as the team’s fourth-most accomplished sacker.
He’s proved how well he works with quarterbacks by producing Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn, and he’s already won the same number of Super Bowls as Mike Holmgren.
If you don’t count 2010, in which he only rushed the ball eight times, Ryan Grant has only been a running back for the Packers for four years. Still, he’s managed to rush for the fifth most yards in the team’s history, putting him ahead of Paul Hornung, Dorsey Levens, Edgar Bennett and other running backs already in the Packers Hall of Fame.
Kickers rarely get recognition, but Longwell is deserving. His 1054 career points and 81.6 percent field goal success rate as a Packer both rank first in the team’s history. The next closest to his career points is Don Hutson, who is way behind with 823.
This group consists of current Green Bay Packers that have not yet sealed a spot, but are well on their way to the Packers Hall of Fame. I only considered players who have at least three years of productive starting.
In only three years of play, Matthews has already attended three Pro Bowls, earned one First-Team All-Pro selection, came second in Defensive Player of the Year voting and climbed up the Packers all-time sack list to ninth place. With rookies Nick Perry and Jerel Worthy likely to take block attention away from Matthews, his sack totals should continue to climb.
Donald Driver just broke the yardage and receptions record, but they might not last long. As long as Aaron Rodgers is throwing to him, Greg Jennings will continue to climb up the ranks of Packer receivers rather quickly. He’s already seventh on the all-time list for receptions and touchdown receptions and eighth in reception yardage.
He hasn’t made any Pro Bowls yet, but as a recently turned 26-year-old, Sitton is already considered one of the NFL’s top right guards. He and right tackle Bryan Bulaga are the basis for a great right side of the offensive line for years to come.
These guys just missed the cut, in my opinion.
Not quite enough production:
Mike Wahle, Mike Flanagan, Javon Walker, Craig Hentrich, Mike McKenzie, Nick Barnett, Bubba Franks, Scott Wells
Need to produce at a high level for a few more years:
Jordy Nelson, Jermichael Finley, Tramon Williams, B.J. Raji, Bryan Bulaga, Tim Masthay