16

July

Packers 1st Year Free Agent Scouting Report: Garth Gerhart, OC Arizona State/Cleveland Browns

Player Information:

  • Garth Gerhart, OC Arizona State
  • 6’1”/305 lbs
  • Hometown – Norco, California

Pro Day:

  • 40 yard: 5.38
  • 20 yard: 3.09
  • 10 yard: 1.90
  • Bench: 25
  • Vertical: 30.5
  • Broad: 96
  • Shuttle: 4.27
  • 3-cone: 7.63

Introduction:  While not an undrafted rookie, Garth Gerhart falls into the same category as a player who not many people know about on the Packers squad who has a good chance of making the team.  Garth, brother of current Vikings running back Toby Gerhart, went undrafted out of Arizona State in 2012 and was signed to the Browns practice squad, where he spend the entire season.   Gerhart was signed onto the Packers practice squad 4 days before their loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs.

Outside Analysis:

Pro Football Weekly: Good arm length and weight-room strength. Has a strong lower body and good base. Flashes a substantial punch. Works to position and get in the way. Smart and aware. Tough and competitive. Good character. Dependable, blue-collar worker. Experienced, three-year starter. Has NFL bloodlines.

Draft Insider: Zone-blocking lineman with marginal athletic skills. Incredibly quick in all aspects, uses effective body positioning and seals defenders from the action. Intelligent and effectively quarterbacks the offensive line. Works to get a pad on defenders and knocks them from their angle of attack.

 

Video:

Analysis:

  • #52, playing center
  • The shotgun snap error was mostly on him
  • It’s very interesting how many times ASU runs the bubble screen, I’m not sure if it’s assignment or coincidence, but Garth doesn’t block anyone on any of occasions shown. Then again, if it’s a bubble screen going to the sideline, what chance does any center have in making a block anyways?
  • Gets good movement up to the second level, but often ends up looking for someone to block.  Again is this coincidence?
  • Does a good job switching assignments and helping out his guards
  • At 3:22, Gerhart actually slides out and blocks the pass rushing defensive end, quite impressive (Ironically, the defensive end turns out to be none other than Nick Perry!)
  • Better technician than athlete, keeps his feet under him and usually stalemates his defender.  He’s not going to throw many pancake blocks or just wall off a defender, but will get the job done.
10

July

Packers Undrafted Rookie Scouting Report: Patrick Lewis, OC Texas A&M

Player Information:

  • Patrick Lewis, OC Texas A&M
  • 6’1”/311 lbs
  • Hometown – Reserve, Louisiana

Pro Day:

  • 40 yard: 5.28
  • 20 yard: 3.04
  • 10 yard: 1.84
  • Bench: 25
  • Vertical: 29
  • Broad: 96”
  • Shuttle: 4.93
  • 3-cone: 8.01

Introduction:

The Packers are in desperate need of center depth; while it seems like the Packers are pretty content to go ahead with Evan Dietrich-Smith as their starting center, they haven’t signed him to a long term deal yet, meaning they still want to see a full year’s worth of play from EDS before fully committing to him.  Behind him isn’t much either, outside of Lewis,  1st year player Garth Gerhart is the only other center, although several other players such as Greg Van Roten might also be in the mix .

Outside Analysis:

TFY Draft Insider:  Short, squat small-area blocker who plays with tremendous quickness. Fires off the snap and works his hands throughout the play. Keeps his knees bent and shows the ability to adjust. Works well with linemates and effectively quarterbacks the offensive line. Displays a good understanding for the position, quick to the second level, and displays skill blocking in motion.

Video:

Analysis:

  • A little hesitant at the second level if there’s no one in front of him
  • Doesn’t have the quickest feet, seems to have limited flexibility as well
  • Has some issues with bulrushes, especially when pass blocking
  • Much better run blocker than pass blocker
  • Can definitely shotgun snap, can he snap the ball in a pro offense?
  • Pro day numbers are pretty underwhelming, especially the bench

 

Packers rationale:  Lewis strikes me as a prototypical camp body.  He won’t get a team killed if he’s forced into action, but it’s unlikely that he’ll ever be the preferred starter.  His physical limitations of poor foot speed and functional strength are likely to be exposed at the pro level to the point where his good technique can no longer compensate.  In particular, with many defenses employing a 3-4 defense with a mammoth 0-technique nose tackle, being able to stop a bull rush as a center is becoming more and more important.  Perhaps the biggest indication of his ability to stick on the team or practice squad will be his ability to play guard (especially considering offensive linemen rarely play on special teams); the Packers typically only keep one interior offensive linemen and while playing guard should be easier to play than center in the Packers offense, it isn’t exactly apples to oranges.

9

July

Packers Undrafted Rookie Scouting Report: Lane Taylor G, Oklahoma State

Player Information:

  • Lane Taylor, OG Oklahoma State
  • 6’3”/324 lbs
  • Hometown – Arlington, Texas

 

Pro Day:

  • 40 yard: 5.35
  • 20 yard: 3.07
  • 10 yard: 1.88
  • Bench: 31
  • Vertical: 24.5”
  • Broad: 96
  • Shuttle: 4.72
  • 3-cone: 8.41

 

Introduction:

Lane Taylor was the Packers’ top priority immediately after the NFL draft concluded, giving him a $7,000 signing bonus; while that sounds like nothing for a professional football player, but keep in mind many undrafted rookies get no signing bonus and Taylor’s $7,000 is significantly higher than quarterback Matt Brown, who only received $5,000.  While I’ve argued that Taylor has a shot at playing center based on his body size, chances are good that if he makes the team it will be on his strength at guard with the flexibility to kick in to center if needed.

Media Analysis:

CBS Sports: After spending a lot of time in the weight room, he has done a nice job putting on weight and maxing out his frame, adding over 30 pounds since his freshman season. Taylor isn’t the most mobile blocker, but he stays coordinated in his stance and works well in small areas. With the Cowboys having to replace three starting offensive linemen from last season, Taylor’s leadership and experience will be key for Oklahoma State’s offensive success in 2012.

 

Video:

Pass Blocking

Run Blocking


Analysis:

  • Taylor is #68 and plays right guard in both clips.
  • Pro day numbers are really bad, in particular his broad jump would have been the worst and his vertical jump would have been among the worst at the combine for any position. 
  • Has the ability to just stonewall players, even bigger defensive tackles have issues against him.
  • On the flip side, kicking him out to block a pass rushing defensive end is a bad idea, he lacks the feet to redirect the better pass rushers.  Might also get beat by faster defensive linemen on twists and stunts.
  • A much better run blocker than pass blocker
  • Can hold his own when pass blocking but has issues when having to peel off and block a late blitzer. 
  • Surprisingly good at the second level, usually gets to his man and blocks them out of the play
5

March

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Brian Schwenke, C, California

Brian Schwenke

Green Bay Packers NFL Draft prospect profile: C Brian Schwenke

Player Information:

Brian Schwenke, C California
6-3, 314 pounds
Hometown: Oceanside, CA

STATS

NFL Combine:

40 yard: 4.99
Bench: 31
Vertical: 26.50″
Broad: 9’00″
Shuttle: 4.74
Cone: 7.31

News and Notes:

A relative unknown coming into the draft process, Brian Schwenke has cemented himself as a top 5 center in the 2013 NFL draft after an impressive showing in both the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine.  Schwenke started with the Cal Bears as a left guard but rotated between both sides until his senior year where he moved to the pivot.  While he lacks the experience playing center of some of the other draft prospects, Schwenke does offer good versatility being able to play anywhere in the interior offensive line but ultimately his preferred position will probably be center.   Schwenke posted some of the best combine results of any offensive linemen this year, especially by breaking the 5″ mark on the 40 yard dash and recording a remarkable 7.31 second 3 cone time (as a comparison, Nick Perry recorded a 7.25 3-cone last year)

 What they’re saying about him: 

  • CBSSports.com: “Possesses a compact build well-suited to interior line play. Has a naturally low center of gravity and uses it, along with a wide base and excellent use of leverage to anchor against bigger, more powerful bull-rushers. Possesses an exceptional initial burst off the snap to turn and seal off defenders. Quick, active hands and shows an explosive pop on contact. Keeps his legs driving through the play to finish blocks. Alert, competitive blocker who looks to help his teammates and blocks to the whistle. Very good burst to the second level, showing improved awareness as he gained experience at the position. Made all of the line calls for Cal despite his inexperience at the position. Durable. Played in 48 of 50 possible games for Cal, including 36 starts.”
  • NFL Combine: “ Schwenke has a wealth of starting experience, both at guard and center. Schwenke comes off the ball very quickly, and is sound in his hand placement technique. He plays with a low pad level. Schwenke lacks great power, so he will be a better fit at center.”

 

Video:

 

http://www.youtube.com/embed/SQyeOUq0cVU

Video Analysis:

25

August

Packers OL Don Barclay Quietly Earning A Roster Spot

Don Barclay

OL Don Barclay, #67, is quietly earning a roster spot with the Green Bay Packers.

There haven’t been a lot of bright spots across the Green Bay Packers’ backup offensive line this preseason, as Graham Harrell can probably attest to. All of this negative attention, however, has probably overshadowed some of the good line play going on. One player in particular – Don Barclay (#67) – has quietly been proving his worth with the second unit.

Barclay was picked up by the Packers as a rookie free agent from West Virginia University. With experience in the guard and tackle position, he was a three-year starter as the Mountaineers’ left tackle.

As a Green Bay Packer, Don Barclay made his first big jump during the preseason game against the Cleveland Browns. He earned a No. 2 guard spot along with veteran Reggie Wells and has been practicing there since. In Thursday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Barclay once again played with the second string offensive line at right guard. During the fourth quarter, he also took the reps at right tackle with the third string unit.

After hearing some rumors about his play, I decided to go back and “A.J. Hawk” him throughout the Bengals game. What I saw was very promising. Though I am no expert on the finer techniques of being an offensive lineman, I can definitely say that Barclay looked extremely solid. He didn’t give up any pressures or sacks, and he was able to hold his ground in pass protection, rarely if ever getting pushed backwards.

Though he also performed well in run blocking (at one point pulling across the line for a block), I would probably mark that as his area of weakness. He did whiff on his blocker at the second level a couple times, but truth be told, I think the Packers would rather him weaker in run blocking than in pass blocking. Regardless, he still did an overall nice job of controlling his man.

If I had to place my bets today, I would put money down on Don Barclay to make the team. Considering the lack of talent we’ve seen otherwise, he might not have much competition. Barclay’s ability to play both guard and tackle is just what the Packers like in their backup offensive lineman. Even though Barclay hasn’t played on the left side, the Packers could slip him into right tackle and move Bryan Bulaga over to left tackle if Marshall Newhouse gets injured.

27

July

Agent Says Guard Daryn Colledge Will Leave Packers

Colledge's days in Green Bay appear to be over.

According to a tweet from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel beat writer Tom Silverstein, the Green Bay Packers are no longer in the running for free agent guard Daryn Colledge.

Silverstein was in contact with Colledge’s agent, who also said the Cardinals are his likely destination.

“G Daryn Colledge’s days with the Packers are over,” Silverstein’s tweet said. “He’s going elsewhere, his agent said. Leader in the clubhouse is Arizona.”

Briefly afterwards, Silverstein gave Colledge’s reason for leaving.

“College gave Packers last two years to re-sign him and decided that was enough. Packers weren’t involved too much in competition.”

If the reports turn out to be true, then the 2011 season will mark a new era for the Packers at left guard. Colledge had been the starter there since being a second round draft pick in 2006. Possibilities to replace him include T.J. Lang, Nick McDonald and potentially either Marshall Newhouse or Caleb Schlauderaff.

Heading into the offseason, the chances of Colledge returning to Green Bay were 50-50 depending on who you spoke to. It’s clear from Silverstein’s tweet that Colledge was displeased with the Packers refusal to approach him about a contract extension. As a guy who has started 76 of the Packers past 80 regular season games and all of their playoff games since ’06, you can see why there would be some tension there.

It will also be interesting to see what the market ultimately values Colledge, even if his price tag doesn’t appear to be the reason why the Packers strayed away from re-signing him. If he is signed to a manageable price and the Packers have struggles at left guard in 2011, their decision will be questioned.

However, the Packers were obviously comfortable letting Colledge go, whether it be because of price or their own self-scouting of both Colledge and their alternate options at guard.

——————

Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.

You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.

——————

11

April

2011 Draft Prep: Green Bay Packers Needs by Position – Offensive Line

In this next installment of our 2011 Draft Prep series looking at the Green Bay Packers’ needs by position, we are going to analyze how the offensive line positions currently stand. Strengths, weaknesses, depth, and uncertainties will all be examined to determine the urgency of need in regards to next season.

This series is meant to help us figure out the needs of the team and how the draft could be used to improve the weaker areas. While Ted Thompson largely uses the “best player available” (BPA) approach, his decision to trade up or down the board is affected by what position players he would prefer to have. Additionally, the picking up of players in the later rounds and in undrafted free agency is often based on need, since the talent is less defined.

CURRENT PLAYERS:

#63 Scott Wells [C]
30 yrs. old / 7 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2011

#62 Evan Dietrich-Smith [C/G]
24 yrs. old / 2 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2012

#67 Nick McDonald [C/G]
23 yrs. old / 1 yr. exp.
Signed through 2012

#72 Jason Spitz [C/G]
28 yrs. old / 5 yrs. exp.
Free Agent (no tender offered)

#71 Josh Sitton [G]
24 yrs. old / 3 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2011

#64 Adrian Battles [G]
24 yrs. old / 1 yr. exp.
Signed to reserve/future contract

#73 Daryn Colledge [G]
29 yrs. old / 5 yrs. exp.
Free Agent (tender offered)

#74 Marshall Newhouse [G/T]
22 yrs. old / 1 yr. exp.
Signed through 2013

#70 T.J. Lang [T/G]
23 yrs. old / 2 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2012

#76 Chad Clifton [T]
34 yrs. old / 11 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2012

#65 Mark Tauscher [T]
33 yrs. old / 11 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2011

#75 Bryan Bulaga [T]
22 yrs. old / 1 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2014

#69 Chris Campbell [T]
24 yrs. old / 1 yr. exp.
Signed to reserve/future contract

* Contract information acquired from RotoWorld.com

POSITION STRENGTHS:

The offensive line as a unit has come a long way from its dismal 2009 performance. It still has its weak points, but overall the unit does a good job in pass protection.