NFC North: Rich Rodriguez
Did you catch former Duke basketball player Greg Paulus on ESPN's Pardon the Interruption on Thursday? If not, check out the video at the bottom of this post. For the purposes of the blog, I thought it was interesting when Paulus acknowledged that the whole idea of pursuing a football career originated with the Green Bay Packers.
(Quick refresher: Paulus was the national high school football player of the year in 2004 but played basketball exclusively at Duke. He has one year of college eligibility remaining and might pursue football in 2009.)
Paulus: "Yeah, the Green Bay Packers started the conversation. They wanted to see what I could do. As a result, it was a couple days after the basketball season ended. I went back to the practice field, started throwing and working out. I ended up working out for them about a week and a half later."
This has turned into a pretty incredible story given Paulus' four-year layoff from football. He is said to be a good athlete, but I've seen no reports of him possessing the kind of rocket arm that would make people look past his lack of experience. And at 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds, Paulus is hardly the prototypical size for a Division I quarterback, let alone one in the NFL.
I'd be fascinated to hear the Packers' motivation for seeking him out. I'm all for thinking outside the box and assume they were evaluating whether to sign him as an undrafted free agent later this spring. To me, it's the equivalent of college basketball coaches recruiting internationally. Everyone should use every avenue available for procuring talent.
But what about Paulus made him worth the Packers' time? Do the Packers think he can be an NFL quarterback? A receiver? Is he an athlete in need of a position?
That question is circulating around the college football world as at least two coaches have starkly different views on his future. David Cutcliffe, the coach of a Duke program that doesn't exactly challenge for national championships every year, dismissed the possibility that Paulus could play quarterback in 2009 and suggested he might fit as a slot receiver.
But the coach at Michigan, Rich Rodriguez, is willing to include Paulus in a quarterback competition for 2009 if he transfers. Because Paulus will graduate in the spring, he's eligible to play right away.
That's more of a debate for the college department of the ESPN blog network, but I thought it was interesting that the Packers started the whole thing off.