Malachi Dupre was the 32nd and last wide receiver selected and the 247th player picked.
One phone call from the 920 area code made it all worth it.
“It was a long day,” Dupre said after the Green Bay Packers selected the LSU wide receiver in the seventh round on Saturday. “It was a stressful process but there was nothing more satisfying than hearing my name called. I’m filled with emotions right now. I’m very thankful to the Packers organization for picking me. I’m ready to get to work.”
Dupre spent the day with his family waiting for that once-in-a-lifetime phone call. At least he was drafted. Of the 104 underclassmen in this year's draft, 28 went undrafted.
“When I got the phone call and I saw a Green Bay area code come up, I was filled with excitement,” he said. “When I answered the phone and found out who it was, I kind of kept it quiet but was filled with emotions. I stepped out of the room to talk on the phone and everyone got quiet. A few moments later, my name flashed across the television. Everyone at that moment found out what was going on and everyone started cheering and celebrating. I can’t be more thankful for this opportunity. It’s a dream come true.”
In three seasons catching passes from the school’s underwhelming group of quarterbacks, Dupre caught 98 passes for 1,609 yards (16.4 average) and 14 touchdowns. After turning his 14 catches into five touchdowns as a freshman, Dupre caught 43 passes for 698 yards (16.2) and six touchdowns as a sophomore and 41 passes for 593 yards (14.5 average) and three scores as a junior. He closed his college career by catching seven passes for 139 yards in the bowl game vs. Louisville.
“I feel like the best part of my game is being a guy that can play multiple positions – play inside and outside,” Dupre said. “I’m a guy that’s very versatile and I’m also a guy that’s smart and can pick up offenses very easily and recognize defenses. The mental part of my game is a part of my game that’s a strength, also.”
He is a phenomenal athlete. As a high school junior in New Orleans, he won state titles in the triple, long and high jumps. That athleticism didn’t show up at the Scouting Combine, though. He had a good but not great week in Indianapolis. Measuring 6-foot-2 1/2 and 196 pounds, Dupre ran his 40 in 4.52 seconds and had a 39.5-inch vertical leap.
Dupre worked at wide receiver as well as the slot, making him one of a relatively small group of receivers accomplished in both roles. According to Pro Football Focus, he caught 23 passes from the slot. His strength showed up after the catch with some drag-the-defender yardage. Two knocks on his game: 9-inch hands, which showed up too often on Saturdays with bobbles and the occasional drop, and a 7.19 in the three-cone drill, which showed up in below-average route running.
Dupre joins a deep receiver group. Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Geronimo Allison and Trevor Davis are back, as is Max McCaffrey, an undrafted free agent from Duke last year who was promoted to the active roster for the championship game. Green Bay also invested a fifth-round draft pick in Purdue’s DeAngelo Yancey.
Dupre was part of the LSU team that lost to Wisconsin at Lambeau Field in September. He caught three passes for 24 yards in that game. Seeing Lambeau was a dream come true. Now, he has another dream he intends to make true.
“I can’t wait to do a Lambeau Leap one day.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.