Cards: Skybox 1995, Fleer 1996
Acquired: Canton Acquisition 2012
The Pack was aggressively going after the linebacker position to create some competition taking Tony Bennett in round 1 and Bobby Houston in round 3 before ultimately landing on a little known Northern Iowa Product, Bryce Paup with their 6th round pick in 1990. He didn’t really get on the field his rookie season, but was a curious enough product at 6-5, 250 that the Packers suspected that he’d be worth giving a shot because of his versatility at linebacker and defensive end. Bryce ultimately got onto the field as a situational pass rusher in 1991 (- one of the first of the 90s to emerge,) and had 7.5 sacks and 3 FF in a misleading 7 games and 1 start. In his first game of the season, he tackled Eagles QB Randall Cunningham, effectively ending Randall’s more athletic days of scrambling fearlessly outside the pocket. As Paup began to really get a feel for playing the linebacker position at the pro level, he really gelled as a sack artist, and after the team’s switch to a 4-3 defense in 1994, he made 3 picks for 47 yards and a touchdown earning his first of 4 consecutive Pro Bowl berths. The Packers felt that Paup’s sack numbers were inflated because of the attention that Reggie White and Tim Harris had gotten from the opposition and did not attempt to resign him. Bryce set out to prove them wrong.
The Buffalo Bills signed Paup to a free agent contract in 1995, and under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips in his 3-4 alignment, Bryce destroyed the NFL. Bryce led the NFL in sacks with 17.5, and was named Defensive Player of the Year that season, as he and Bruce Smith made a fearsome combo. He continued to play for the Bills through 1997 earning Pro Bowl berths in every season he was there, but a stinging groin injury from 1996, and his frustration over the ineptness of the offense, left bad blood between the team and Paup. Jacksonville, needing some outside pass rush help, signed Paup’s in 1998 to a monster contract that ranked second only to Junior Seau among linebackers. He’d play two vastly underwhelming seasons there before finishing his career at Minnesota in 2000. Bryce currently lives in Wisconsin, where he’s begun a career in coaching football.
G/Gs 148/113 Tac 444 Sac 75 Fum 15 Int 6 Yds 55 Avg 9.2 Td 1 LG 30t