Green Bay Packers: Players Who Have Been Rookie of the Year

In 1967, the the Associated Press started to recognize NFL rookies by giving them an award. Since then, there have been 96 players who have won either the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year or the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Of those 96 players, only three times has a member of the Green Bay Packers won that award.

Those three players were running back John Brockington, who won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 1971, cornerback Willie Buchanon, who won the Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 1972 and running back Eddie Lacy, who won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 2013.

This isn’t to say there have not been other players on the Packers who have deserved the honor in their rookie year.

In 1972, rookie kicker Chester Marcol was named NFC Rookie of the Year by both UPI and the Sporting News. No. 13 kicked 33 field goals and made 29 extra points. That added up to 128 points, which led the NFL.

In 1984, rookie safety Tom Flynn was named NFL  Rookie of the Year by Pro Football Weekly. Flynn had nine interceptions that year. That led the NFC and was second in the NFL.

Also, before 1967, wide receiver Boyd Dowler was named Rookie of the Year by UPI in 1959. No. 86 had 32 catches for 549 yards and four touchdowns.

There have also been a number of players who won the rookie award with other teams, but later played with the Packers. This would include running back John Stephens (New England Patriots in 1988), defensive tackle Bill Maas (Kansas City Chiefs in 1984), Charles Woodson (Oakland Raiders in 1998) and Julius Peppers (Carolina Panthers in 2002).

Quarterback Vince Young (Tennessee Titans in 2006) was also with the Packers in the preseason in 2013, but did not make the final roster.

So that takes us to Brockington, Buchanon and Lacy.

Brockington was drafted out of Ohio State and was ninth pick of the NFL draft for the Packers in 1971. No. 42 rushed for 1,105 yards (5.1 average) and four touchdowns. The former Buckeye also caught 14 passes for 98 yards and another score.

Big John was named first-team All-Pro in his rookie year and also made the Pro Bowl.

Buchanon was drafted out of San Diego State and was the seventh pick of the draft by the Packers in 1972. No. 28 intercepted four passes his rookie year, plus recovered three fumbles.

Willie also scored on a 57-yard touchdown via a blocked field goal in 1972.

Lacy was drafted out of Alabama and was 61st pick of the draft (Round 2) by the Packers in 2013. Lacy rushed for 1,178 yards (4.1 average) and 11 touchdowns in his rookie year.  No. 27 also had 35 catches for 257 yards.

The former Crimson Tide star was also named to the Pro Bowl in his rookie year, plus was named second-team All-Pro.

Time will tell if anyone from the 2015 draft class for the Packers will get the same honor. Perhaps it might be someone like cornerback Quinten Rollins of Miami of Ohio.

Rollins looks to be a quick study in terms of being an impact player. In 2014, in his one and only season playing football (after four years of hoops for the Redhawks), Rollins had seven picks for 35 yards and a touchdown.

Rollins was also named the MAC Defensive Player of the Year.

If someone like Rollins can get that honor, he would be just the fourth player from the Packers to get that recognition in 49 years, which would include 98 players.

We shall see. But the odds don’t favor it happening.

Actually, there is less than a five percent chance of that occurring. At least based on the data since 1967.

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