BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – You can prepare for a moment so much but when it hits you, it might be different than what you imagined. That was the case for how Isaiah McDuffie thought he’d react to getting drafted by the Green Bay Packers.
“It was emotional, you know all the hard work finally paying off just a rush of emotions. As soon as you see your name, as soon as you get that phone call, I got emotional instantly. I didn’t even know I was going to get emotional it just happened. It was just a great moment,” McDuffie told News 4 on Sunday after the draft.
The Packers drafted McDuffie with the 220th overall pick in the sixth-round after an impressive career as a linebacker at Boston College.
He finished with 223 tackles, 8.5 sacks and an interception in 37 career games. His 107 tackles in 2020 were good for second in the ACC and fifth in the nation.
“It’s amazing, it’s coming full circle. I’m just super blessed and I’m super excited to get picked by such a historic franchise, it’s honestly a blessing. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me and I’m excited to get to work,” McDuffie said.
In high school, McDuffie got a lot of attention from college programs early on. He first verbally committed to Syracuse before his junior year but eventually switched to Boston College. Playing for his dad at Bennett High School, he was one of the top recruits out of New York. During his senior season, he had 111 tackles and five forced fumbles. He was also a dynamic offensive player rushing for over 1,500 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Now he gets to represent his hometown in the National Football League and show kids like him they can get to this level as well.
“It means a lot to me, it means everything to me especially going through a Buffalo Public School, going to Olmsted High School, playing for Bennett. I walked the same halls as all the kids at every Buffalo Public School so it’s humbling and I’m just really appreciative to get picked and represent Buffalo,” McDuffie explained.
People in Buffalo who watched McDuffie play know what type of player he is, but McDuffie wants the Packers fan base to know what they’re getting.
“I pride myself on my work ethic, you know I’m a play maker. I’m a sideline to sideline, I’m a fast guy and I’ll make plays for you. I can play in space, I can play in the box I can really do anything a team could ask of me,” McDuffie said.
So when was the moment he thought making it to the NFL was a realistic possibility?
“Probably my sophomore year when I became a starter and I was making more plays and getting more comfortable in the system that I was in at BC. I felt like I could do this, like I’m here and I just gotta keep working at it, keep getting better.”
And the Packers let him know they were interested even before the pick was made.
“I talked to them actually before the draft, before day three they texted me and communicated with my agent so they were definitely on the radar,” McDuffie explained.
He said so far he’s talked to many people in the Packers organization including general manager Brian Gutekunst, head coach Matt LaFleur and linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti.
McDuffie is now the first player out of a Buffalo Public School to be drafted since the Bucs drafted Steven Means (Grover Cleveland alumnus) in 2013.