Packers Top Rookie: 1944

Rookies1944pduhart

For his final championship run of 1944, Curly Lambeau took on six rookies. The only one drafted was Texas tailback Roy McKay who was a fifth round pick the year before in the 1943 draft. McKay was known mostly for his punting during his three seasons in Green Bay. Of the 30 Packer draft picks in 1944, only the top pick, Michigan lineman Merv Pregulman, ever played in Green Bay.

The five free agents were Georgetown end Bob Kercher who appeared in just two games, Marquette halfback Dick Bilda who appeared in just three, Iowa guard Chuck Tollefson who appeared in 18 games over three seasons, Wisconsin-Platteville fullback Don Perkins and Florida halfback Paul Duhart.

Perkins finished second on the team in rushing with 207 yards and intercepted two passes on defense. He was released after seven games in 1945 and picked up by the Bears. A year later, he pulled off the rare feat of winning a championship with each of the NFL’s oldest rivals.

Duhart, a Canadian, left Florida in 1942 to join the military but was discharged in 1943. The NFL allowed him to sign with the Packers because Florida had disbanded for the War. As a rookie Packer, he gained 183 yards rushing and caught nine passes good for 176 more yards, scoring two touchdowns rushing and two receiving, as well as intercepting four passes on defense; Paul Duhart was the Packers’ top rookie in 1944.

The postscript is that the NFL then made Duhart eligible for the draft since his class had graduated. He was selected by the Steelers with the second overall pick and then sold to the Boston Yanks after just two games. He appeared in just three games for Boston before injuries ended his career.

1944pduhart2  1944dperkins2

1944rmckayc  1944ctollefson2

All custom cards are colorized.

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