Well, it’s time.
No, seriously – it is.
We at OBOD are finally ready to roll out our extensive – or, at least, we hope it’s extensive – coverage of the 2010 NFL Draft (Apr. 22-24). As I said Friday, in-depth player profiles will be at the heart of what we do here for the next three-plus weeks. That said, here are some ground rules for what we’ll be doing:
- We won’t be focusing on players whom the Green Bay Packers have no shot at drafting. Take the first position we’ll be covering, offensive tackle, for example. Yes, Russell Okung is the best of the bunch. But there’s no way he’ll be there at pick No. 23. So what’s the point of talking about him? None that we can see, so we won’t. That’ll be the case for every position we cover.
- As of now, we’ve crossed quarterback, wide receiver and tight end off our list of positions. That could change at some point, but it’s highly unlikely (and I don’t mean that in the “Brett Fave is highly unlikely to play in 2010″ sense, either). While the Packers could take someone at one of those three spots later in the draft – after all, you never really know with Ted Thompson – it doesn’t feel like they will, at least as of now. Ditto for kicker and punter because, my God, does anyone really want to read up on kickers and punters?
- Many of these positions will be broken up into two days. The first day will cover top prospects who could be first-round targets for Green Bay. The second day will focus on second/third round guys and possible late-round gems.
- The first week of our coverage will be devoted to offense. The second week (and then some) will look at the defensive guys. No, we’re not biased towards offense – that’s just the way it worked out.
- Finally, some plans changed and there won’t be a new mock draft until a week from Wednesday. Sorry, guys.
Is that it? Um…(looking over list)…yep, that’s it.
With that out of the way, let’s tee this thing up, shall we?
Without further adieu, here is part one of our look at the top tackle prospects. Adam will be back later in the day with part two.
- Bryan Bulaga, Iowa
The numbers: 6-feet, 6-inches, 315 pounds…21 years old…forfeitted his senior year to enter the draft…Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2009… 29 career starts but missed three games last year due to a thyroid condition…26 bench press reps at the combine…33 1/4 inch arm length.
What he does that could work for the Packers: His excellent footwork and athleticism would be a good fit in the zone blocking scheme. He’s an Iowa guy, meaning he plays with a nasty disposition, something long lacking on Green Bay’s o-line. His combination of smarts and good fundamentals makes him a low penalty risk, again something long lacking on the line. His hard-working demeanor isn’t likely to change once he cashes in.
What he doesn’t do that could hurt the Packers: The fact that he’s struggled, at times, against speed rushers – particularly in recovering once he’s beat - doesn’t bode well in a division that features Jared Allen and Julius Peppers. Iowa linemen have a tendency to lack upside; they level off in the NFL and Bulaga will have to prove he’s the exception. He’s not overly strong yet, so weight room time will be crucial for him. His run blocking needs refinement…but then again, Chad Clifton was never a great run blocker, either.
Final thoughts: Bulaga might have done well to stay in school one more year. Still, he appears to be a natural fit for Green Bay, for the most part. He might not be there at 23 so a trade up could be necessary to snag him.
- Charles Brown, USC
The numbers: 6-feet, 5-inches, 285 pounds…turns 23 years old in April…35 1/4 inch arm length…did not allow a sack in his senior season…21 bench press reps at the combine…first team All Pac 10 in 2009 and a first team All American according to The Sporting News.
What he does that could work for the Packers: Brown, as you might know already, started his USC career as a tight end. He’s kept many of those traits despite a position switch. He’s an amazing athlete with top-notch footwork, for example. He’s also fast and has little trouble with speed rushers. Even if he’s beat, he’s got the recovery speed (and long arms) to make up for it. Made a major leap from his junior to senior year in terms of overall play.
What he doesn’t do that could hurt the Packers: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Brown needs to get stronger. Okay, he needs to get a lot stronger. He’s still learning the position and may need to redshirt his rookie year in the pros. He’s not very nasty or physical, things that have hurt him in his run blocking.
Final thoughts: Brown’s upside is off-the-charts, even if he has to redshirt the 2010 season. If he can add the necessary 15 pounds or so – and get with a coaching staff that instills a bit more toughness – he could be an anchor for 10-15 years. In my mind, he should be the pick.
- Bruce Campbell, Maryland
The numbers: 6-feet, 6-inches, 310 pounds…turns 22 years old in May…forfeitted his senior season to enter the draft…34 bench press reps at the combine…36 1/4 inch arm length…4.85 40 time at the combine, reportedly one of the fastest ever for a lineman.
What he does that could work for the Packers: Well, the numbers themselves provide a good answer here. Campbell is, in short, a freak of nature, physically. Guys with his size and his strength – 34 reps! – just should not have as much speed as he does. That speed makes for great recovery time if he’s beat, although I’m not sure how you get past a guy with 36 1/4 inch arms (isn’t that like trying to run past a bear?). Very good in pass protection, thanks to his great footwork.
What he doesn’t do that could hurt the Packers: One glaring fact stands out about Campbell: If he was so good, how come he earned zero votes for All ACC First Team last season? There’s more, too. He’s prone to laziness and bouts of inconsistency, which could only get worse once he cashes his first big check. The laziness/inconsistency also shows in the fact that he’s merely an average run blocker, something that should never happen when you’re as big and strong as he is.
Final thoughts: Campbell absolutely came out a year too early. His upside is high, like Brown, but he has not accomplished nearly as much as Brown. It’s never a good idea to use a first round pick on someone who is associated with the word “lazy”, as Campbell is. Stay away.