Green Bay Packers 1944 Draft: Coming up empty-handed

Photos on this post courtesy of

Here we are sitting on NFL Combine weekend and just around the corner from the 2015 NFL Draft, a time when each of the 32 teams, including selections by the Green Bay Packers, will be made.

This year’s draft, for the first time in half a century, is being held this year in Chicago, Ill., beginning Thursday, April 30, and continuing through Saturday, May 2.

With that said, we’ve decided to take a look back at the Packers top choices in each of the drafts through the years – the first of which was held in 1936.

Here is our countdown of first round draft choices already published: 

1936 – Russ Letlow

1937 – Ed Jankowski

1938 – Cecil Isbell

1939 – Jerry Buhler

1940 – Hal Van Every

1941 – George Peskvan – but Tony Canadeo was seventh-rounder

1942 – Urban Odson

1943 – Dick Wildung

We’ve decided to provide you with a full list of the draft picks from each year continuing right up until 2014 … which we will consider just as the draft is kicking off at the end of April and beginning of May.

This exercise gives us the opportunity to look at how the draft process has changed over the years and remember the top draft selections made by the Packers and how they impacted the team and the league.

So, let’s keep the ball rolling today with the full list of Packers’ picks of the college players that were brought to Green Bay during the 28 rounds (Yes! 28 rounds!) of the draft in 1944 … below you will see Merv Pregulman as the Packers first choice in this draft a  time when it wasUncle Sam who also drafting the young men to fight in World War II … it was clearly a time when the war efforts superseded the ability of the NFL to put the best guys on the field.

With the limits clearly affecting the quality of the players in the league, it also affected the quality of the draft. As you can see from the list below, none of these players did much for Green Bay in 1944, nor for the years that would follow:


17Merv PregulmanC194619493047243Michigan
322Tom KuzmaB0Michigan
538Bill McPartlandT0
649Mickey McCardleB0USC
760Jack TracyE0Washington
871Alex AgaseLB194719533070138Illinois
982Don WhitmireT0Alabama/Navy
1093Bob KochB0Oregon
11104Virgil JohnsonE0Arkansas
12115Roy GiustiB0
13126Bill BaughmanC0Alabama
14137Don GriffinHB19461946001341128135281Illinois
15148Bert GisslerE0Nebraska
16159Lou SheltonB0Oregon St.
17170Charley CusickG0Colgate
18181Hugh CoxB0North Carolina
19192Kermit DavisE0Mississippi St.
20203Bob JohnsonC0Purdue
21214Jim CoxG1948194800140Stanford
22225Cliff AndersonE0Minnesota
23236John Wesley PerryB0Duke
24247Pete DeMariaG0Purdue
25258Len LissT0Marquette
26269Ray JordanB0North Carolina
27280Al GrubaughT0Nebraska
28291A.B. HowardE0Mississippi St.
29302Paul PaladinoG0Arkansas
30313Bob ButchofskyB0Texas A&M
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 2/23/2015.

While Merv Pergulman was the first pick for the Green Bay Packers in 1944, the center/guard out of Michigan would play just one  season in Green Bay starting after the war in 1946. He would go on to play in Detroit for two seasons, 1947-48 and then finish his career in 1949 with the New York Giants. During that time, he started 24 of the 47 games in which he would play.

The most successful player selected by Green Bay in this 1944 draft was Alex Agase, the eighth round pick. However, he wouldn’t play in Green Bay. He went on after the war to play in the All-America Football Conference for most of his career. He did play his final seasons with the Baltimore Colts of the NFL in 1953.