Finalizing contract terms with their No. 1 draft choice, the Green Bay Packers Saturday signed fifth overall selection A.J. Hawk. Ted Thompson, Executive Vice President, General Manager and Director of Football Operations, announced the signing.
Hawk, a 6-foot-1, 246-pound linebacker, is the third player in Packers history drafted in the first round out of Ohio State, following John Brockington (1971) and Vinnie Clark (1991). The first linebacker drafted in the top five of the NFL draft since Washington chose LaVar Arrington No. 2 overall in 2000, Hawk was only the 26th linebacker selected in the top five since the 1970 league merger.
A consensus All-American both as a junior (2004) and senior (2005), Hawk earned first-team All-Big Ten honors in each of his three seasons as a starter. He also captured the 2005 Lombardi Award, given annually to the nation's top lineman or linebacker.
In high school, Hawk didn't attract great national attention after a knee injury limited him during his senior season. However, he played as a true freshman at Ohio State and was available for every snap during his four-year career, playing in 51 games and starting the final 37 in succession.
A humble, old-school player, he grew his hair long in 2005 as a tribute to the late Pat Tillman, the former NFL player who lost his life with the U.S. Army while serving in Afghanistan.
The Packers were able to sign all of their NFL-leading 12 draft picks, including the complicated contract of Hawk, their first selection in the top five since 1992. Since Monday, Green Bay came to terms with seven of those 12 draft choices. The club opened training camp practice Friday night.