Ranking the Greatest Green Bay Packers of All Time

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2019

Ranking the Greatest Green Bay Packers of All Time

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    Brett Favre is one of three legendary Packers quarterbacks.
    Brett Favre is one of three legendary Packers quarterbacks.Al Bello/Getty Images

    The Green Bay Packers are one of the NFL's most storied and successful franchises, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame is littered with their alumni.

    After nine NFL championships and four Super Bowl titles with hundreds of victories in between, it's difficult to whittle down the Packers' greatest players of all time.

    The following rankings are limited to players―so, no Vince Lombardi―and factor in individual accomplishments while on the Packers, impact on team success and production relative to the era.

Honorable Mentions

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    LeRoy Butler, S: Green Bay used the 48th overall selection of the 1990 draft on LeRoy Butler, and he spent all 12 of his NFL seasons in Titletown. The Florida State product amassed 889 tackles and 38 interceptions, securing four first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl nods along the way.

    Paul Hornung, RB/K: After a Heisman Trophy-winning career at Notre Dame, Paul Hornung showed off his versatility in the NFL. He garnered first-team All-Pro recognition in 1960 and 1961 and won MVP in the latter season. Hornung totaled 5,191 yards from scrimmage and drilled 190 of his 194 extra-point attempts during his nine-year career.

    Henry Jordan, DT: Two seasons in Cleveland preceded an 11-year run for Henry Jordan in Green Bay. He appeared in 139 games for the Packers, serving as a cornerstone on the defensive line of five championship teams. The 1995 Hall of Fame inductee obtained first-team All-Pro honors in every season from 1960-64.

    James Lofton, WR: When James Lofton retired after the 1993 season, he owned the NFL record for career receiving yards. Of those 14,004 yards, he collected 9,656 in Green Bay. Lofton snagged seven Pro Bowl nods while playing for the Packers and took his place in Canton with the 2003 class.

    Willie Wood, S: A five-time first-team All-Pro with eight Pro Bowl nods, Willie Wood was a key contributor for five championship squads. He intercepted 48 passes and recovered 16 fumbles, positioning himself for Hall of Fame induction in 1989.

10. Herb Adderley, DB (1961-69)

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    Herb Adderley was a ball hawk, but he could make offenses pay after interceptions, too.

    Over his nine-year career in Green Bay, he picked off 39 passes, averaged an impressive 20.4 yards per return and took seven back for touchdowns. Given his playmaking skills, it's no surprise that Adderleywho also pounced on 13 fumbles with the Packersmade five Pro Bowls.

    Adderley ranks third in franchise history with 3,080 yards on kickoff returns and won five NFL championships (including two Super Bowls) with Green Bay. He added a sixth ring as a member of the 1971 Dallas Cowboys and entered the Hall of Fame in the 1980 class.

9. Willie Davis, DE (1960-69)

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    Similar to longtime teammate Henry Jordan, Willie Davis played two years in Cleveland before a memorable Packers career.

    "I consider speed, agility and size to be the three most important attributes in a successful lineman," legendary head coach Vince Lombardi told Davis, per the Pro Football Hall of Fame. "Give me a man who has any two of those dimensions and he'll do okay. But give him all three and he'll be great. We think you have all three."

    Davis played in 138 games for Green Bay and helped the Packers win five championships. During the team's victories in Super Bowls I and II, he recorded a combined 4.5 sacks.

    The five-time first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowler entered the Hall of Fame as part of the 1981 class.

8. Reggie White, DE (1993-98)

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    CHARLES KRUPA/Associated Press

    The only factor preventing Reggie White from a higher place on the Packers' all-time rankings is longevity. But in six years, he accomplished enough to demand consideration for a top-five spot.

    After spending eight years with the Philadelphia Eagles and setting the franchise's career sack record, White joined the Packers as a free agent in 1993. He continued his dominance for Green Bay, racking up 301 tackles and 68.5 sacks over six years.

    White was an integral piece of the 1996 championship team and registered three sacks in that Super Bowl XXXI triumph over the New England Patriots. In 1998, he won Defensive Player of the Year for the second time in his career.

    The 2006 Hall of Fame member finished with 13 Pro Bowl and eight first-team All-Pro nods. He earned six and two, respectively, in Green Bay.

7. Forrest Gregg, OL (1956, 1958-70)

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    Once the Packers put Forrest Gregg into the lineup, he never gave up his place. The offensive lineman set an NFL record with 188 consecutive appearances and made 155 starts for Green Bay.

    Gregg was a critical piece of the 1960s championship run, serving as a tackle and a guard. He landed Pro Bowl honors in nine seasons and first-team All-Pro recognition seven times.

    Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977, his trophy case includes six NFL championships. Gregg won five titles with the Packers and added the final one alongside Adderley in Dallas.

6. Jim Taylor, FB (1958-67)

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    Not only did Jim Taylor leave a distinct mark on box scores, but the fullback must've left a good number of bruises on his opponents.

    "Taylor ran with a football as though he was hell-bent on turning each and every game into a human demolition derby," Packers team historian Cliff Christl wrote last year.

    During his nine-year career in Green Bay, Taylor won four championships as a central figure of the Lombardi era. Taylor was the first player in NFL history with five straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons, and he secured the 1962 MVP amid that streak.

    Taylor's 81 rushing touchdowns remains a Green Bay record, and his 8,207 yards with the Packers stood as the franchise mark for 43 years. He arrived in Canton with the 1976 class.

5. Don Hutson, WR (1935-45)

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    Robert Walsh/Associated Press

    Don Hutson smashed, crushed and obliterated every NFL receiving record during his 11-year career from 1935-45.

    The "Alabama Antelope" led the league in receptions eight times, including five straight seasons to end his career. Hutson accumulated the most yardage in seven seasons and paced the NFL in touchdowns on nine occasions.

    Hutson's retired after tallying 488 catches with 7,991 yards and 99 touchdowns, eight first-team All-Pro honors, four Pro Bowls and two MVPs. He even intercepted 30 passes and made 172 extra points in 183 tries.

    The three-time NFL champion went into the Hall of Fame in 1963.

4. Ray Nitschke, LB (1958-72)

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    Associated Press

    Ray Nitschke is the classic linebacker of the early NFL. Listed at 6'3" and 235 pounds, he's remembered for a bruising defensive style with unending toughness and aggressiveness.

    "You want them to have respect for you when they run a play at you," Nitschke once said, per Bud Lea of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "You want them to be a little shy and a little shier the next time. You want them to remember you're in there."

    Nitschke played in 190 games during a 15-year career with Green Bay. He starred on Lombardi's five championship teams and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1978.

3. Bart Starr, QB (1956-71)

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    Focus On Sport/Getty Images

    While Vince Lombardi was the architect of the Green Bay dynasty in the 1960s, Bart Starr played quarterback the entire time.

    "The dirty little secret of those days was that during the week it was Lombardi's team, but on Sunday it was really Starr's team," former Packers lineman Steve Wright said in a 2011 book written by Keith Dunnavant, according to Harrison Smith of the Washington Post.

    During the nine seasons Lombardi coached, the Packers appeared in six NFL championships and won five. Starr accumulated 17,320 passing yards and 107 touchdowns during that stretch. In 10 career playoff games, he threw 15 scores and only three interceptions.

    Starr secured MVP honors in both Super Bowl I and II, was the league MVP in 1966 and made four Pro Bowls. He entered the Hall of Fame as a member of the 1977 class.

2. Aaron Rodgers, QB (2005-Present)

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    The Packers immensely benefited from one of the NFL draft's most memorable falls. Considered a potential No. 1 overall pick in 2005, Aaron Rodgers lasted until the 24th selection of the first round.

    Nearly 15 years later, he's become the most efficient quarterback in NFL history. Rodgers owns a career interception rate of 1.5 percent―only 80 giveaways in 5,492 attempts.

    Entering the 2019 season, Rodgers has amassed 3,560 career completions with 42,944 yards and 338 touchdowns. While he's second on the franchise lists behind Brett Favre in all three categories, those totals rank 16th, 17th and 10th all time, respectively.

    After winning MVP honors in Super Bowl XLV, Rodgers earned league MVP and first-team All-Pro status in 2011 and 2014. Throw in seven Pro Bowls, and his place in the Hall of Fame is assured.

1. Brett Favre, QB (1992-2007)

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    Not all Hall of Fame careers begin with a bang.

    As a rookie in 1991, Brett Favre threw two interceptions in four pass attempts for the Atlanta Falcons. The Packers acquired him the following offseason, and he soon blossomed into a legend.

    Favre led Green Bay to a victory in Super Bowl XXXI, plus seven division titles. He won three straight league MVP awards from 1995-97 and made 11 Pro Bowls, and he set the NFL's records for passing yards and touchdowns while wearing green and gold.

    After his initial retirement, Green Bay permanently handed the reins to Rodgers. Favre finished out his career with the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings before the Packers retired his number in 2015.

    Favre's 321 consecutive starts275 of which happened with Green Bayremain an NFL record. He made it to Canton in 2016.

              

    Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.