13

August

Don’t Give up on Packers’ Andrew Datko Quite Yet

Andrew Datko

Give Packers rookie T Andrew Datko a little more time before writing him off.

Early reports on Packers’ seventh-round draft choice Andrew Datko were not good. Comparisons were made to Ricky Elmore.

We got our first glimpse of Datko against the Chargers, and it wasn’t pretty, at least initially. He got whipped a few times and didn’t do much to disspell those early reports.

Then he settled down and wasn’t half bad the rest of the game. Jason Wilde reported on Saturday that Datko has looked better in practice as well after a rough start.

I’m not saying that Datko will become the second coming of Chad Clifton, but it’s silly to write him off so early. Bob McGinn didn’t exactly write him off with his ominous Tweet, but it was a little quick to even suggest that a guy can’t play only a few days into camp.

It’s all about health with Datko. He was a good tackle at Florida State — when on the field. Shoulder injuries limited Datko later in his college career. The guy simply hasn’t played much football recently.

Ted Thompson swung for the fences with the Datko pick. You’re probably asking how it’s even possible to swing for the fences with a seventh-round pick, but in my opinion, that’s the only swing Thompson should be taking that late in the draft.

It’s the seventh round. Picking a boom or bust player is perfectly fine. You can always find fill-in guys off the street who have already reached their ceilings. Try and hit a home run with your seventh-rounder.

Again, I’m not saying that Datko is a home run, but he’s 6-foot-6, 315 pounds, only allowed four sacks in his final three seasons at Florida State, and played his entire junior season with a torn labrum.

This kid deserves a chance to show what he can do if healthy.

Did any of us think Marshall Newhouse would be penciled in as the 2012 left tackle at this point in camp last season? Guys with raw talent usually get better when healthy and given a chance to develop. Datko has raw talent.

With the injury to Newhouse and Herb Taylor’s struggles at left tackle, Datko’s development is actually one of the more intriguing storylines to follow at camp.

I know I’m going to give him some more time before writing him off.

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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14 Responses to “Don’t Give up on Packers’ Andrew Datko Quite Yet”

  1. Mojo says:

    I don’t think many of us were writing him off. Anyway, this is all part of the Packer master plan. Have Datko suck on game film and then PS him when everyone subsequently passes on picking him up. A year of repair and seasoning, and next year Datko is All-Pro. It’s nice that Datko agreed to go along with this scheme.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

    • Oppy says:

      Lol, Mojo, that’s good stuff.
      You’re kidding, right? ;)

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

      • Mojo says:

        The “I don’t think many of us are writing him off – at least yet”, I think is true – the rest is for giggles.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  2. Oppy says:

    Datko is pure upside. Either he’s the steal of the draft, or he’s what you expect from a late seventh round draft pick, which isn’t much.

    I think it’s rare to hear a player actually come right out and say they seriously question the ability to play on their injured body part- in this case, the left shoulder. If the player can’t even pretend to be over the injury, they certainly won’t be able to get past it on the field.

    Most reports from camp have been that Datko has been overpowered and hasn’t shown any punch so far. That sure sounds like an O lineman who’s babying his injured shoulder. If he gets some confidence in that repaired shoulder, we can start to see what he’s really got. I think that’s why the Packers are force feeding him reps- they are trying to get him over the mental hurdle in time to get a decent appraisal of his true potential.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  3. tlvincent4 says:

    I would be shocked if Datko doesn’t make the cut, he could be a completely different player by this time next year, think he just needs time to get stronger and find his groove. I remember a time not too long ago,pre injuries where he was viewed as a top shelf pro prospect and premier pass blocker. Just give him a little time I say.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  4. timc says:

    OL’s take a while to develop, and the packers shouldn’t make a revolving door of 1st and 2nd year players by writing them off too early. Although Jamon Meredeth isn’t doing much now, Nick McDonald wasn’t bad with the Pats last year. Breno Giacomini was effective starting for the Seahawks and was given a 2 year contract. Allen Barbre (the turnstyle) is still kicking around. Herb Taylor and the other camp bodies haven’t looked like they belong in the nfl.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  5. Adam Czech says:

    Perhaps the vibe around Datko wasn’t as bad as I perceived.

    I got the sense that a lot of fans had already written him off. But maybe I confused that vibe with the he’s-a-7th-round-pick-and-I-don’t-know-who-he-is vibe that surrounds most 7th round picks.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  6. I bleed green more says:

    I think some of the others are gone before this kid is cut. Its early lets see what he is like after game 4 of preseason.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  7. Dan says:

    I love this kids don’t quit attitude. A year on the PS would be very beneficial for him. I fear that a team may snatch him up due to his potential, however.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  8. grandao says:

    Adam Czech, most Packer fans have learned to have more faith in Ted Thompson by now. Yes, there are the Ricky Elmores at times, but he can find gems where no one else saw anything of value.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. Ron LC says:

    There must be something different happening in practice. Anyone who watched his performance in the pre-season game saw nothing to indicate he could handle RT yet alone LT. To steal a line from Missori – “Show me.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  10. bigggfootz says:

    Depending on circumstances, some young players take longer to develop then others. I did like the hit miss risk on Datco coming out for a 7. TT made the right move. He was projected as high as 2 before injury and does have talent. The key as ever is staying healthy and being a fast learner. Hang with this guy and give him time because only time and opportunity will tell but he def has potential.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. bigggfootz says:

    At this point with former injuries a lot of it is just shaking off the rust and getting a feel for your natural instincts again but also dealing with higher caliber competition and new techniques from coaching. That takes time too. Dat will have to get over any mental blocks about injury and just go for it with gusto and some punch. Its tough but saving yourself is hard to do in his position trying to make the team. Unfortunately, if he were already established they might be able to cut him more slack. The reality is, he probably has to go win the job. If they see some flashes, he may stick.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. bigggfootz says:

    I mean’t just winning a back up spot, not the job. He’ll need a lot more time for that. First just make the team or PS but as somebody here said, PS could be risky for the team. I like the comment, make him look bad on film and then stash em on PS lol.

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