With the recent release of longtime Packers left tackle Chad Clifton and Derek Sherrod still recovering from a broken leg, the Packers find themselves operating without a real safety net at tackle.
Currently, Bryan Bulaga, Marshall Newhouse and Herb Taylor are the only other true tackles on the roster. We really have no idea if Taylor can actually play, and while Newhouse filled in admirably for Clifton last season, is he a true starter in this league? I think that question has not yet been answered.
Taking all of that in account, I think I just moved offensive tackle up my priority list for Packers draft picks. There are quite a few nice development prospects at tackle in the later rounds, so I expect Ted Thompson to tap into that well and bring in another warm body to compete for a backup spot.
When Ted pulls that trigger, you can come here and see where he stands in the NFL scouting rankings, shown in the table below. But first, some tidbits on a mid-round tackle that could be calling Green Bay home:
While there is no true standout to capture scouts’ attention coming out of the lower level ranks, South Dakota’s Tom Compton could be the first offensive tackle from those ranks drafted, more likely in the fifth round.
Compton possesses good thickness throughout his waist and hips, along with a solid midsection, big bubble, good upper body muscle development and high-cut, thick thighs and calves. He possesses good arm length and a big wingspan, along with the above average hand length that allow him to lock on and ride a defender away from the ball. He also shows solid muscle development throughout his shoulders and chest, looking the part of a classic mauler, as he is big, stout and not the type that has a “jiggly” midsection.
Compton proved to be the “total package” at left offensive tackle as a senior, but the thing that really impressed was his quickness and balance as a lead blocker out of the backfield, as he showed his above average quickness and playing speed into the second level (see 2011 Southern Utah and North Dakota games). He has more than enough athletic ability to pull and get in front of the ball carrier on outside runs. He has the feet to adjust to blocks on the move and can easily slide to adjust to the edge rushers. When he plays tall, he will struggle to anchor, but he has very good balance and change of direction agility to recover.