Packers may have interest in Wesley QB Callahan as draft nears

Joe Callahan won Division III’s Gagliardi Trophy and threw for 5,068 yards and 55 touchdowns as a senior. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

Joe Callahan won Division III’s Gagliardi Trophy and threw for 5,068 yards and 55 touchdowns as a senior. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

DOVER — Joe Callahan doesn’t need all 32 NFL teams to be interested in him.

The Wesley College quarterback just needs one.

And with the NFL Draft starting tonight, Callahan seems to have at least one serious suitor.

The Green Bay Packers have been in contact with Callahan, calling him several times and having regional scout Mike Owens work him out.

“It’s tough to tell with NFL teams,” said Callahan. “They’ll call but you never know if they’re interested and what they’re actually thinking and what their plan is. I’m just excited to be getting calls from teams right now that have a little interest in me.

“Hopefully this weekend I get a call to be signed as a free agent by somebody.”

Indeed, the odds of a 6-foot-1, NCAA Division III QB actually getting drafted are slim at best.

Still, Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reporter Tom Silverstein wrote a story this week saying that Callahan is among a handful of small-college players that the Packers are considering signing.

Wesley coach Mike Drass knows the fact that Callahan won Division III’s Gagliardi Trophy and threw for 5,068 yards and 55 touchdowns as a senior won’t open too many pro doors for the 6-foot-1, 216-pounder. But Drass also believes that people who take the time to study Callahan like what they see.

“He can make all those throws,” said Drass. “If he gets a chance to get into a camp, we think he could impress somebody.

“We’ve had great quarterbacks here, but Joe can throw the ball in a way that no one’s ever going to throw the ball here. They look at, can you throw the ball from one hash to the numbers on the other side of the field, or throw a flag pattern with the ball on the line. Joe can do those things.”

Naturally, Callahan has confidence in himself, too. He just hopes teams don’t write him off based solely on how he looks on paper.

Along with the workout for the Packers, Callahan also took part in the University of Delaware’s Pro Day.

“I think a lot of teams have an idea already constructed in their minds about what they expect a Division III quarterback to look and move and play like,” he said. “With the pro days, I just tried to show that I might be taller or heavier or stronger than they anticipated — move well in the pocket.

“I’ve been working on more dropback stuff, since we were primarily a shotgun team at Wesley, to show them that I’m capable of playing at a certain level. I try to show off my arm strength a little bit and exceed those ideas that they had already going into the pro days.”

Wesley has had players make it into NFL camps before, of course. Defensive lineman Bryan Robinson and receiver/kick returner Larry Beavers both played in NFL preseason games.

Other Wolverines, on the other hand, never received that phone call. Now it’s Callahan’s turn to see if a team will give him a golden ticket.

He’ll keep an eye on the draft this weekend at his family’s home in New Jersey, with his phone by his side but a firm grip on reality, as well.
“It’s a lifelong dream,” said Callahan. “Especially now coming from a Division III school, it’s even more special I guess.

“(But) you can’t get too excited because you don’t know what’s going to happen. I leave that to my parents to get all worked up. I just try to keep a pretty level-head about everything.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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