Shutdown Corner - NFL

What a tremendous statement about the Duke football program it would be if Duke had a basketball player taken in the NFL Draft, and not a football player.

But the Green Bay Packers, much like the rest of us who have witnessed his basketball career, are apparently looking at Duke's Greg Paulus and thinking, "Clearly, this man should have chosen football." The Packers gave him a workout in advance at the NFL Draft.

In high school, Paulus was a stud quarterback who could have played anywhere he wanted in college, including Miami or Notre Dame (that sounded a lot more impressive when he was being recruited four years ago). He got 53 scholarship offers to play football. He also happened to be a stud basketball player, and ended up choosing to play basketball and basketball only in college.

All jokes aside (except for this one, because it's awesome), I don't see why the Packers wouldn't take a look at Paulus. Here's a snippet from a 2004 USA Today article about his gridiron exploits:

Paulus has been the starting quarterback for Christian Brothers for three seasons. He has passed for more than 8,000 yards, holds five state records and his teams have lost just three games in three years, playing in New York's largest class, AA.

The numbers are nice, but what intrigues recruiters is Paulus' ability to throw accurately on the run from a sophisticated spread offense. Christian Brothers' scheme has taught him how to handle blitzes and read a variety of coverages.

There is also the toughness factor. One of seven children, including six boys, Paulus was indoctrinated by older brothers, three of whom played college football at Georgetown.

"It's very competitive in this house," he says. "My older brothers had great careers and you don't want to be in the shadow of that."

If that talent was once there, maybe it still is. And if he catches on with some professional team as a quarterback, he won't have to play defense, and that eliminates a large portion of his weaknesses, right there. Ask any point guard who played at North Carolina in the last four years.

Again, I give the Packers a lot of credit for exploring the possibility. Certainly, Paulus would be a project, but it's not like it's out of the ordinary for NFL teams to draft quarterbacks who they know would be projects. Talent is talent. The young man was once considered the best quarterback in the world in his age group. It's definitely worth poking around and seeing what he's still got.

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