Green Bay has been lucky to have a full-fledged superstar in Clay Matthews at outside linebacker since 2009. He may be coming off of an injury riddled season but there is no denying that the former first round pick from USC has lived up to his hype and is fulfilling his potential. That being said, Clay Matthews is not the best outside linebacker the Packers have ever drafted.
In 1953 the Green Bay Packers used their third round pick on a linebacker from Southern Methodist named Bill Forester. His size was impressive for that particular era as he was 6’3” and nearly 240 pounds; most men his size were not nimble enough to play anywhere but on the line, yet Forester managed just fine. He was outstanding in run support and a stellar pass-rusher; in 1962 he sacked hall of famer Johnny Unitas four times in one game. Perhaps most impressive was that with those natural skills of attacking the ball carrier he also possessed tremendous coverage ability compiling 21 interceptions in his career. Combine that with his 15 fumble recoveries and you have yourself a ball player with a knack for making plays.
Forester was All-Pro five times, played in four Pro Bowls and even though he spent the majority of his career on the lackluster Packers squads of the ‘50s, he was part of two championship teams in his final two seasons (’62 and ’63). Forester was the exact type of player Lombardi loved, which is why he was not made one of the roster casualties when Lombardi took over in 1959. There’s no way to know for sure, but I would be willing to bet Lombardi wished he could have had Forester in his prime for a little longer.