The wide receiver position, to casual fans, may seem to lack the star-power that the quarterback and running back positions have boasted throughout the history of the Green Bay Packers. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, wide receiver is, perhaps, the most interesting position in the history of this franchise.
No position has changed more than wide receiver as professional football has unfolded over the years and Green Bay is one of the few franchises to have stars at the position from all eras. In the game’s early days the ball wasn’t thrown nearly as much and “wide receivers” were then known as “ends” — they traditionally ran fewer routes, blocked more, and didn’t line up as wide.
Curly Lambeau, co-founder, coach, and sometimes quarterback, actually influenced the NFL to throw the ball more in the 1920s. By the mid-1930s the Packers signed their first true superstar pass-cather and the game would never be the same.
However Green Bay’s legendary success at the quarterback position has definitely been aided by a collection of impressive receivers speckled throughout the Super Bowl era. This list covers all eras and includes “ends” in the discussion, which are considered receivers for the purpose of this countdown.
Before we hit the list, there’s a name that has to be mentioned.
Honorable Mention, James Jones (2007-13, 2015):
He was never counted on as the guy while in Green Bay, yet his career numbers are too impressive to ignore. Not to mention his transformation in 2010 from a drop-prone player into a key cog in the run to a Super Bowl championship. His touchdown catch against the Atlanta Falcons in the Divisional Round of the playoffs that year remains one of the great catches in Green Bay postseason history.
In 2012, he led the entire NFL in touchdown receptions (14) and he caught 45 in his career with the Packers (although he never surpassed 900 yards receiving in a single season). Clearly Jones wasn’t a possession receiver, but as far as deep threats go he was one of Rodgers’ favorite for many years. Plus, who can forget his famous “hoodie game” in his final season with the Pack?
Alright, here are the top 15 wide receivers in Green Bay Packers history.
15. Randall Cobb (2011-2018):
This list starts off, interestingly enough, with two former teammates. Cobb, unlike Jones, was used for his versatility. He plays the slot position as good as anyone in the NFL and can even run the ball. Heading into the 2017 season he’s caught 35 touchdowns and in 2014 he was the team’s second-most dynamic offensive player (91 receptions for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns). The top receiver from 2014 can be found later on this list.
His most-famous catch was the last minute 2013 NFC North clinching, 4th and 8 touchdown reception agains the Chicago Bears. No one will ever forget that. Although he did score a pretty memorable touchdown while returning a kick in his first ever professional game. Simply put, Cobb has some of the best hands and game-breaking agility that Green Bay has ever seen.
14. LaVern Dilweg (1927-1934):
How the hell can a player with only 12 career touchdown receptions make this all-time receiver list? When that player was named First Team All-Pro for five seasons in a row, helped anchor three World Champion teams, and is a member of the NFL’s 1920’s All-Decade Team. That’s how.
“Lavvie” played in an era of very little passing, so his reception totals are actually quite impressive. He was technically an “end” but, as previous discussed, that position is nearly the same as a wide receiver today. Players like him helped change the NFL into what it is today, although the player that really changed the NFL into a passing league can be found higher on this list.
13. Robert Brooks (1992-1998):
He may not have invented the “Lambeau Leap” but he sure made it a phenomenon. He scored 32 touchdowns with the Packers, but his impact on the team was far greater. When Sterling Sharpe (also featured on this list) had to end his career due to injury it was Brooks that gave Brett Favre a dangerous threat downfield as he developed into an MVP-caliber quarterback.
Brooks’ 1995 season is still talked about today. He caught 102 passes (13 for touchdowns) and amassed 1,497 receiving yards — somehow he wasn’t named All-Pro. Okay. He surpassed 1,000 receiving yards again in 1997, but it was his 1995 playoff run that was, perhaps, his best work. He caught three touchdowns in three games for 281 yards that postseason. It’s safe to say that he’ll be remembered as one of the top pure deep threats in team history.
12. Carroll Dale (1965-1972):
The Packers won the NFL Championship in the first three seasons with Carroll Dale on the team (including the first two Super Bowls). His speed added an element to the team that made Lombardi’s Packers nearly unbeatable. He was named to the Pro Bowl in three consecutive seasons from 1968-70 and four times surpassed the 800 receiving yard mark with Green Bay (in 14 game seasons, remember).
His 35 touchdowns with the Packers are respectable considering he joined the team at the age of 27. For his entire NFL career he posted 52 touchdown receptions. Dale’s career 19.7 yards per reception is the highest, by a wide margin, in Packers’ history for any receiver (minimum 100 receptions). Had Dale spent his entire career in Green Bay, he likely would have been one of the best ever.
11. Max McGee (1954-1967):
Mr. Reliable for the Packers spent his entire career in Green Bay. He played on some of the worst and very best teams in franchise history. Along the way he snagged 50 regular season touchdowns and caught the first touchdown in Super Bowl history (and added another later in the game).
He wasn’t ever “the guy” in Green Bay, but he did lead the league in yards per reception in 1959 (23.2) and was named to the Pro Bowl in 1961. Overall, it’s McGee’s longevity with the Packers that lands him so much respect on this list. Not to mention his five World Championship rings. Plus, his 18.4 yards per reception average is second all-time in Green Bay history (minimum 100 receptions). Talk about an over-achiever of a player.
Receivers 10-6 can be found on the next page.