Commentary

Fourth Round: Idaho's '58 specials

College teammates, roommates Kramer and Walker were fourth-round finds, NFL stars

Originally Published: April 14, 2010
By Sheldon Spencer | ESPN.com

Jerry Kramer and Wayne WalkerGetty Images, AP PhotoGreen Bay guard Jerry Kramer (left) and Detroit Lions linebacker Wayne Walker (right) turned out to be great investments.
ESPN.com's review of the NFL draft's standouts round-by-round focuses on a pair of fourth-round draft picks who were teammates and roommates at the University of Idaho.

Former Vandals Jerry Kramer (1958, Green Bay Packers) and Wayne Walker (1958, Detroit Lions) were selected just six draft slots apart.

Right guard Kramer paved the way for five Packers championships, including the first two Super Bowls. His lead block against the Dallas Cowboys in the 1967 Ice Bowl paved the way for quarterback Bart Starr's game-winning score. An 11-year veteran, Kramer was named to the NFL's 50th anniversary team in 1969.

While he did not enjoy NFL titles as Kramer did, Walker played 15 seasons for the Lions. Walker teamed with defensive tackle Roger Brown, a Maryland-Eastern Shore product the Lions selected in 1960. Brown is another member of ESPN.com's fourth-round first team.

Like Kramer, Walker was selected for three Pro Bowls and was named All-Pro five times.

In addition to their primary jobs, both Kramer and Walker excelled as place-kickers when needed. Kramer's kicking (three field goals and an extra point) beat the host New York Giants 16-7 for the 1962 NFL title.

"It was just a thrill to be at Yankee Stadium, in Ruth's House, and on that field in a NFL Championship Game," Kramer told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2009. His 30-yard, fourth-quarter field goal sealed the victory.

"And then to get jumped on by my teammates, that doesn't happen much to an offensive lineman. They treated me like a running back or quarterback. It was a highlight for me."

Walker accounted for 345 points during his Lions career, including 53 field goals.

At Idaho, Walker did the long-snapping for Kramer's placekicks.

Both the Packers and the Lions got a great deal out of these mid-round selections hailing from the rolling Palouse hills.

Kramer, who chronicled his 1967 Packers season in the classic "Instant Replay," has been a Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist a record 10 times.

Walker's contemporaries -- including 2010 Hall of Fame inductee and former Detroit teammate Dick LeBeau -- tout the Lion's Canton credentials.

While few achieve the fame Kramer has enjoyed, many would welcome an NFL career as rich as Walker's.

"I won the job as a rookie and they didn't have to worry about my position for 15 years," Walker told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2009, reflecting on his NFL career.

"I started as a rookie and I started the last game I played."

That's really all any team can ask out of its draft pick.

Sheldon Spencer is an NFL editor at ESPN.com. Thanks to ESPN's Stats & Information crew for their researching efforts, as well as Pro-Football-Reference.com and the Pro Football Hall Of Fame's Web site.