25

April

Offensive Tackle Rankings: Packers 2012 NFL Draft Prospects

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2012 NFL Draft

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:

Tom Compton:

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.

24

April

Center Rankings: Packers 2012 NFL Draft Prospects

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2012 NFL Draft

With Scott Wells gone and Jeff Saturday a 2-year stop-gap at best, one would expect that the Packers will be drafting a developmental offensive center in 2012, probably on day three of the  draft. Of course, so much depends on who’s available and when, so expectations may or may not be realized.

If  Ted does pull the trigger on a center, however, you’ll want to know where that player stands among his peers.  I doubt that most of you are intimately knowledgeable about offensive centers (I surely know that I’m not).

So, in this post we’re providing you with the official 2012 center rankings from the scouting organization the NFL teams use to supplement their own scouting.

As an extra bit of knowledge, here’s their thoughts on Peter Konz:

…some teams consider Wisconsin’s Peter Konz to be the top center in this very limited class. While he is an impressive looking athlete, there are several red flags, including medical, that concern me. This is a player with less than adequate natural strength. Was he “hidden” behind the Badgers’ quality offensive guards like Kevin Zeitler and John Moffit (Seattle) in the trenches?

 I can’t be pleased about a medical report that tells me this is a player with lots of issues, starting with blood clots in his lungs in 2009, a severely sprained ankle in 2010 and a left ankle dislocation in 2011 that sidelined him for far too many games. If anyone on my front wall needs to be out there on every offensive snap, it’s my center. Continuity with other blockers on the line, chemistry with the quarterback all make me wonder how that can be accomplished if I draft this kid and the injury bug continues.

 Konz does a nice job of playing on his feet and maintaining balance. He shows good body control with impressive quickness to get through to the second level. Despite lacking ideal strength, he can get out of his stance and adjust on defenders working over his head. Even with his leg issues, he can bend his knees and play at a good pad level to prevent defenders from attacking his feet.

24

April

3-4 OLB Rankings: Packers 2012 NFL Draft Prospects

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2012 NFL Draft

This has to be the year the Packers select an outside linebacker (OLB) early in the draft… right? Right? This is now the third draft where I’ve been expecting one of the first 2-3 picks to be a bookend linebacker to pair with Clay Matthews. I don’t anticipate being disappointed again.

So, I want you to be ready. I’m sure you’ve all read various position rankings from media experts, draftniks and bloggers, but have you seen what the real scouting organization used by NFL teams has to say? I think not.

This particular report deals with the general category of “rush defensive ends.” These are the college defensive ends athletic enough to be considered pass-rushing 4-3DEs or 3-4 OLBs in the pros.

We can’t show you everything (at least until after the draft), but here is something to help you out when the Packers select that 3-4 OLB. Which they will, right? Right?

 

CREAM OF THE CROP – MELVIN INGRAM – South Carolina

Ingram demonstrates the upper body power to stack, shed and press off coverage. He does a good job of making adjustments on the move and has the lateral range to get to the perimeter and force the outside running game back inside. When he stays low in his pads, he is capable of driving through blocks and also demonstrates functional ability to anchor at the point of attack…

For a potential move to linebacker, Ingram is explosive closing on the ball in the short area and has the valid foot speed to make plays outside the box. He hits, wraps and drives through the ball carrier with good technique, doing a good job of adjusting in space. He shows the leg drive to change direction in an instant. He also displays impressive hip snap turning and takes good angles while keeping his hands active to defeat the block…

BEST OF THE REST – WHITNEY MERCILUS – Illinois

MOST OVERRATED – BRUCE IRVIN – West Virginia

MOST UNDERRATED – SHEA McCLELLAN – Boise State

SUPER SLEEPER – JAKE BEQUETTE – Arkansas

Conspicuous by his absence on the rankings is Courtney Upshaw. The scouting organization has him pegged as a 4-3OLB.

 RUSH END RANKINGS

PRD GRD PLAYER SCHOOL HEIGHT WEIGHT 40-YD POS
1 7.8 INGRAM, Melvin South Carolina 6:014 264 4.69 RDE