Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Packers draft wrap-up: Rounds 4-7 (part 1)

If it seems like we're stretching out this post-draft review for the Green Bay Packers...well, frankly, yes, we are. But so is just about every other sportswriter (not that I'm a sportswriter, of course...those guys get paid for timely commentary). After all, there are no free agent signings going on courtesy of the lockout, nor are there any mini-camps, OTAs, etc. And -- NEWSFLASH -- news just broke as I'm writing this that the NFL got a stay of the injunction, meaning the lockout will remain in place until June at the least. Not good, folks, not good.

So, what else is there to talk about right now except this last weekend's draft? Might as well drag this puppy out as long as we can. (By the way, that reference is a metaphor and not intended to get the folks at PETA upset. Just wanna make that clear.)

We left off our review at round 4.

Davon House, CB, New Mexico State: House is a big (listed at 6'1", 200 lbs.) and fast (4.50 40-yd. time at Combine) D-back who should immediately compete with the likes of veterans Pat Lee and Jarret Bush for nickel and other packages, including special teams. (Although, as a long-time critic of Bush's play, I have to acknowledge that he stepped up his game big time last year.) House was a four-year starter for the Aggies (the New Mexico State version, not Texas A&M). He is a physical cornerback, can play at the line and is good in coverage. He also is durable, having missed no games due to injury. He was not on a very good team this past season, which might be one of the reasons he may have not been selected in earlier rounds. Also, because of his cover ability, opposing teams generally tried to avoid throwing his way, which again may have made some teams overlook him. While D-back was not a great need for the Packers, as we saw last year, you can never have enough good players at any position. This looks like a very good pick, especially for the 4th round.

D.J. Williams, TE, Arkansas: This may just wind up being the steal of the draft for the Packers. Williams plays bigger than his size (6'2" 245 lbs.), but is primarily a receiving tight end more so than a blocking variety. He's got good speed (4.67 40-yd. time at Combine) and great hands. He won the Mackey Award as the nation's best college tight end this past season. He immediately upgrades the Packers' tight end corps. While not as good a blocker at this point as Andrew Quarless, he has much better hands. He can also be used coming out of the backfield as an H-back type player. Pairing Williams with Jermichael Finley in two-tight-end sets, along with the host of other offensive weapons coach Mike McCarthy can line up, should keep defensive coordinators up at night for a long time to come. Williams won the 2010 Disney Spirit Award, presented to college football's most inspirational individual, because of his personal story. He was selected All-SEC first team for the 2010 season. Expect great things for a long time to come from this player.

Caleb Schlauderauff, OG Utah: A name that scores 20 points in Scrabble: pronounced, by the way, as "chla-der-off." This was one of those picks, as many if not most are in the later rounds, that make you say, "Who?". But as we well know as Packer fans, these are often exactly the guys that GM Ted Thompson and his scouts find as real gems in the rough. Whether Schlauderauff turns out that way or not, who knows? There was no record of his performance at the Combine as he didn't participate due to pectoral and hamstring strains. He is a big body, 6'4" and 305 lbs, and started all 13 games at left guard for the Utes (as opposed to "da yutes" which is a not-so-obscure Joe Pesci film reference). In 2010 he was second-team Walter Camp and All-America offensive guard, third-team Associated Press All-American and first-team all-Mountain West Conference. He's said in scouting reports to be a physical blocker well suited to zone blocking schemes, which is just up the Packers' alley. Should Daryn Colledge depart, Schlauderauff -- can we just call him Caleb, for typo's sake, please?! -- could well compete with T.J. Lang for playing time.

We've only just begun to hit rounds 6 and 7, folks. Check back later for more. Yep, we're gonna milk this for all it's worth.