In 1958 the Green Bay Packers selected arguably their best offensive lineman ever. In the fourth round of the ‘58 NFL Draft the Packers selected guard Jerry Kramer out of Idaho. This pick proved to be one of several essential building blocks to the Packers dynasty and an iconic staple of the Lombardi era. In his time in Green Bay Kramer played in 130 games and in that span became a three-time Pro Bowl selection, six-time All-Pro selection, and five-time world champion.
The accolades are all there for Kramer but what speaks most about his impact on the Lombardi Dynasty is his placement in Lombardi’s system as the focal point of his run-blocking scheme. The Packer Sweep is one of the most legendary plays in football history and was mimicked by offenses for decades; Kramer was the lead blocker. Without question Kramer was the best at his position when he played, and his sheer domination created a new blueprint by which to design an offensive guard. For over a decade Kramer led the way in the Packers running attack and a good portion of that time was spent blocking for one of football’s all-time greatest backfields. Bart Starr, Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor all won MVP awards under Kramer’s watch and all ultimately assembled hall of fame careers thanks to his tremendous ability.
On top of being an undeniable force as a blocker, Kramer also contributed to the ‘60s dynasty in a very unique way – as a kicker. Kramer was asked to fill in as a placekicker in 1962 and went on to lead the league in field goal percentage. The next season Kramer continued his place kicking exploits and ranked fourth in the league in scoring. For a short period of time Kramer was the best lineman and kicker in the NFL. To say he was a dual-threat would be a drastic understatement.
Unfortunately Kramer has been excluded from the Professional Football Hall of Fame. This may be due to Kramer’s book “Instant Replay” which ruffled the feathers of many sports writers whom unfortunately have a great deal to say about who makes it into the Hall of Fame. To exclude one of the most iconic linemen in league history from the highest possible honor is truly one of the biggest injustices in sports history. But regardless of whether or not Kramer has a bust in Canton he is absolutely the best draft pick the Green Bay Packers have ever spent on an interior lineman.
How the Packers shape up at linebacker heading into free agency, CLICK HERE.