Packers Top Rookie: 1941


Once again, the members of the Packers’ rookie class of 1941 would have their football careers interrupted by World War II. Of the 11 rookies, only two, guard Bill Kuusisto and tackle Del Lyman, did not serve in the military during the war.

Seven of the rookies came in the NFL draft. Wisconsin fullback George Paskvan in round one, Michigan end Ed Frutig in round five, Nebraska halfback Herm Rohrig in round six, Minnesota guard Bill Kuusisto in round eight, Gonzaga halfback Tony Canadeo in round nine, UCLA tackle Del Lyman in round 14 and Texas A&M in round sixteen. Paskvan and Lyman spent only one season with Green Bay, Frutig two years and Rohrig and Pannell three years.

Among the four undrafted free agents, Virginia guard Lee McLaughlin and Minnesota tackle Bill Johnson did not play again in the NFL after 1941, while South Carolina end Alex Urban and Indiana guard Mike Buchianeri both missed 1942 and 1943 in the military, but returned to play for the Packers in 1944 and 1945.

The two best players from the class were Kuusisto and Canadeo. Kussisto was a solid performer in the line for six seasons and started three games as a rookie. Canadeo, of course, had a Hall of Fame career as an all around back. In his rookie year, Tony ran for 137 yards and three touchdowns, threw two touchdown passes, intercepted two balls and returned both kickoffs and punts; Tony Canadeo was the Packers’ top rookie in 1941.

1941gpaskvan  1941tcanadeo

1941bkuusisto  1941mbucchianeri

All custom cards are colorized.

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