I was reading a comments section somewhere and it mentioned an ex-Packer, Craig Nall, which I had not thought about in years. I never was on Packernet back then but I was very excited that the Packers took him in the 5th round of 2002 draft. He was a gunslinger southern boy with a strong arm and about the same size and weight as “He That Must Not Be Named”.
To refresh your memories he was a LSU QB that as a redshirt freshman had to come off the bench against Notre Dame and almost upset them. He then got into a three way shoot out for playing time with Josh Booty and Rohan Davey. He said forget it and transferred to a Northwestern State University (LA) and blew up their record books.
He had a great arm and total confidence that he could make any throw. He was like a young #4. In practices, OTA, and training camps he made amazing throws and, other then #4, threw the ball into the smallest windows and made them most of the time. In practice with the Packers he was simply amazing and challenged the defense again and again, sometimes when he didn’t need too. It was like watching a starter in the making at the backup spots that Green Bay seemed to keep producing (Ty Detmer, Hasselbeck, and Brunell to name a few).
But you see that is the key phrase, most of the time. While you can be a gunslinger if you are a 3 time MVP and Superbowl winning QB, you can not be when you are the #2 trying to stay on an NFL roster. That same fearlessness that made #4 famous was also #4s undoing in the Playoffs (the pick against the Giants in the playoffs) and that was present in Nall as well.
When Nall did get on the field he played great. In the 4 games he was in for the Packers he completed 23 of 33 attempts for 314yds and 4TD and 0 INTs. His QB rating was 139.4
After he left Green Bay as a FA he tried to stick with the Bills but pulled a hamstring and was cut by the end of preseason. After a few fill in stints on team’s rosters (Texans and the again with the Packers) he tried to get on with the UFL team in Florida 2 years ago.
Nall was a “HTMNBN” gunslinger QB in the making but with Sherman in charge and no one reigning in #4, Nall came into the wrong organization at the wrong time. After seeing what MM developed Flynn into I shake my head at what could have been…..