5. Donald Driver (1999-2012):
Donald Driver is one of the most beloved players in Packers history — and he should be. From humble roots he became the franchise’s all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards. To go along with that, he caught 61 touchdowns, too. He spanned two distinct eras in team history; he is the only player to catch at least 20 touchdowns from both Favre and Rodgers.
Never was he considered one of the fastest or strongest receivers in the league, but he continually found a way to put up great numbers. When the Packers really needed a third down conversion, he was the go-to guy for nearly a decade. His six consecutive 1,000 yard receiving seasons are incredible (seven in his career). Even more incredible is that he spent his entire career in Green Bay. In 2010, he won a Super Bowl with the team and was the emotional leader to a young offense.
I’ll never forget his 90 yard touchdown reception in the 2007 NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field agains the Giants. Or his one-handed touchdown catch against the Falcons (when he could only lift one arm due to injury, but played anyway) in the 2002 Wildcard round of the playoffs. Unfortunately, Green Bay lost both of those iconic games.
4. Davante Adams (2014-Present):
There’s a legitimate chance that Adams passes the Hall of Fame inductee directly ahead of him on this list. In 2020, Adams tied Sterling Sharpe’s franchise record with 18 touchdown receptions in a single-season. And he did it in 13 1/2 games in the middle of a pandemic. He was named First Team All-Pro in 2020 for his efforts in which he also led the league in receiving yards per game. Adams is, perhaps, the most complete wide receiver in Packers history.
When defenses game plan against the Green Bay Packers they game plan to stop Davante Adams. Everyone knows he’s getting the ball thrown his way and he still produces — and produces at a historic level. He scored 62 touchdowns in his first 100 career games and his career started slowly (compared to how he’s played from 2017 to the present day).
Simply put, Adams can run any route. His release off the line of scrimmage is beyond elite and when his career is over people won’t be like, “he used to dominate using X route.” Because he could do it all.
Adams has the rare ability to make all of the players around him better, a characteristic typically reserved for NFL quarterbacks. If he and Rodgers continue to develop their unbelievable chemistry (some of the best chemistry in Packers history), there’s no telling how high he’ll rise on this all-time list. And he’s still only 28 years old.
3. James Lofton (1978-1986):
Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2003
Lofton might be one of the most underrated stars in team history, despite the fact that he is the first player on this list that is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He played during the Packers’ “Lean Years” and was, often times, the lone bright spot on the team. Even though he played on those subpar Packers teams, he put up amazing numbers. Five times he amassed at least 1,100 receiving yards in a single season and twice led the NFL in yards per reception. He’s the only Packer to ever lead the league in that stat in consecutive seasons.
In just nine years in Green Bay Lofton caught a whopping 49 touchdown passes. Although in two career playoff games with the Packers he caught two touchdowns. Eight times in his career he was named to the Pro Bowl (seven times with the Packers) and once he was named First Team All-Pro.
When people think of Lofton they remember defenses playing him deep, afraid to be beat over the top. Often times he did beat defenders deep, but he’s also remembered for cutting that routes back and making big plays. In an era when Packers fans didn’t have much to cheer about, Lofton provided many great memories. He deserves his place on this loaded list.
2. Sterling Sharpe (1988-1994):
This man should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Period.
In just seven seasons he became one of the most dangerous wide receivers in NFL history. He never missed a game in his career until a neck injury brutally forced him to retire. Sharpe averaged 1,162 receiving yards, 9.28 touchdowns, and 85 receptions per season in the NFL.
Averaged. And that includes his modest rookie season (with 55 receptions and only one touchdown).
In his final three seasons, when he was just starting to hit his absolute prime with Brett Favre as his quarterback, he averaged 1,285 receiving yards, 14 touchdowns, and 105 receptions per season. He, likely, would have sustained or improved on these averages for at least another three seasons. Those numbers are simply unmatched in NFL history, outside of Jerry Rice, the player many regard as the greatest receiver in the history of the sport.
Sharpe was understandably Favre’s favorite target and, at times, they were literally unstoppable. In 1992, Sharpe broke the NFL’s reception record with 108 catches. The following season he broke his own record with 112. He was a Pro Bowler four times and First Team All-Pro three times (in just seven seasons, remember). He led the league in receptions three times and touchdowns twice. And if anyone wants to say his success was linked to Favre, think again. The first time he led the NFL in receptions was in 1989, when Favre was a junior in college.
He is definitely the second most-dominant receiver to ever play in Green Bay. The receiver we regard as the greatest of all-time, for the Packers and the entire NFL, comes in at number one on this list.
1. Don Hutson (1935-1945)
Pro Football Hall of Fame Inaugural Class of 1963
Who else could it have been?
No one has ever dominated the league, or a position, like Don Hutson has in NFL history. That is, with the exception of Jim Brown, the great Cleveland Browns running back of the 1950s and 60s. Hutson did things that literally had not been done before in the NFL (or football anywhere). In 11 seasons with the Packers he helped change the NFL from a run-first league into a pass-friendly league. He led the NFL in receiving yards seven times, receptions eight times, touchdown receptions nine times, and yards per reception twice.
Hutson ended his career being named First Team All-Pro a ridiculous eight times in a row and retired with nearly every receiving record in NFL history. Many of the routes he invented as still used in the game today; simply no one has impacted the game quite like him.
He helped the Packers become World Champions three times and Green Bay, Wisconsin might not be referred to as “Titletown USA” without his contributions to the team. Hutson is still the franchise’s all-time leader in receiving touchdowns (99) and total touchdowns (105). He may retain those titles for a few more decades, perhaps forever.
The man had blazing speed, for his era, and unmatched athletic ability. He saw the game of football for how it should be played, not how it was played back then. His entire career was spent with the Packers and he could have played longer, at a high level, had he chosen.
I think it’s safe to say he’ll be the greatest receiver in team history until the end of time. Of course, it would be pretty phenomenal if we’re wrong (all eyes on you, Adams).