Best of the Packers: Top 10 defensive backs since 1960

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7. Darren Sharper (1997-2004)

The Green Bay Packers went the Division I-AA route in the second round of the 1997 NFL Draft, taking William & Mary defensive back Darren Sharper.

Sharper spent his rookie season as a backup in the secondary before winning the starting free safety job in 1998.

He broke out in 2000, earning All-Pro honors while posting an NFL-leading nine interceptions and he was a Pro Bowler in both 2000 and 2002, leading the league with 233 interception return yards in 2002.

In eight years with the Packers, Sharper had 36 interceptions, returning five for scores, along with 47 passes defensed, six forced fumbles, six sacks and 605 total tackles.

He also had two touchdowns on fumble recoveries.

Sharper was released by Green Bay in March 2005 and he signed with the Minnesota Vikings, where he played four seasons and earned another Pro Bowl nod. He later spent two years with the New Orleans Saints, where he was an All-Pro in 2009.

He retired after not getting a contract for the 2011 season with 63 interceptions—seventh-most in NFL history—and 11 career interception returns for touchdowns, second-most all-time.

He was named to the second team of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-2000s Team.

As a Packer, Sharper is sixth in team history with 36 interceptions, fourth with 677 yards in interception returns and tied for third with five touchdowns on INT returns. He is also tied for sixth with 47 passes defensed.

He pleaded guilty earlier this year to multiple counts related to sexual assaults in California, Louisiana, Arizona and Nevada and was sentenced to nine years in prison and life on probation.

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