No moment epitomized why the Packers spent so much of the 1970s and ‘80s wandering in the wilderness than what happened in the draft room when Campbell was selected. Campbell, with an unorthodox throwing style and less-than-NFL caliber arm strength, was supposed to be coach Bart Starr’s (above center) quarterback of the future. West coast scout Lloyd Eaton, who personally scouted Campbell, thought it was a terrible idea − but Starr and assistant coach Zeke Bratkowski didn’t listen. They were certain Campbell was the guy.
“So I'm sitting at the back of the room with Lloyd, and Bart makes the pick. And Lloyd, who hasn't said anything to me all day, leans over to me and says, 'That's a bad pick,’” retired Packers president/CEO Bob Harlan, who at the time was an assistant to the team president, recalled. “I say, 'What do you mean, that's a bad pick?' He says, 'That's a bad pick.' I can't believe what I'm hearing. I said, 'Why don't you say something?' And he just shakes his head and says, 'They won't listen to me.' So we took him, and you know the rest.”
The rest: Campbell spent four forgettable seasons in Green Bay, playing in just seven games − starting zero − while backing up Lynn Dickey, David Whitehurst and Randy Wright. And the player Eaton had scouted, liked and recommended that the Packers take? USC defensive back Ronnie Lott, who went two picks later to the San Francisco 49ers − and went on to a Pro Football Hall of Fame career.
Jason Wilde covers the Packers for ESPN Wisconsin. Listen to him with former Packers and Badgers offensive lineman Mark Tauscher weekdays from 9-11 on "Wilde & Tausch" on 100.5 FM ESPN Madison.