With the two big names at guard/center – Idaho’s Mike Iupati and Florida’s Maurkice Pouncey – already sufficiently covered, we’ll use these next two posts to talk about a handful of other guards/centers who could be selected by the Green Bay Packers a bit later on in the draft. As Adam said earlier, interior o-line is a position the Pack might look to upgrade (outside of right guard Josh Sitton, of course).
Originally, I was going to do guards and centers here. But it was just too long, so I have broken them up into two posts. First the guards (I’ll be back later tonight with the centers).
- Vladimir Ducasse, Mass
The numbers: 6-feet, 5-inches, 332 pounds…turns 23 years old in October…34 3/4 inch arm length…29 bench press reps at the combine…first team 2009 FCS All American.
Ducasse’s story is indeed an interesting one. Originally from Port Au Prince, Haiti, Ducasse’s parents sent him to live with his uncle in America at age 14 in hopes of a better life. In terms of his game, Ducasse is blessed with great strength and size, obvious assets at the next level. He’s a very good athlete for someone so big and is also hard-working and nasty. Of course, the main problem is that he displayed these assets against lesser competition so it’s hard to say how he will translate to the next level. His footwork must be improved and, while he was a tackle in college, it’s unsure where he’ll fit in the pros. Won’t last past round two, if the Packers don’t mind a project.
- Mike Johnson, Alabama
The numbers: 6-feet, 5-inches, 305 pounds…turns 23 years old in April…32 1/2 inch arm length…21 bench press reps at his pro day this month…first team All SEC and first team All American in 2009.
You know those guys who aren’t overly gifted, physically, but are just able to get the damn job done? Well, Johnson is one of those guys. Crafty, hard-working and fundamentally sound, Johnson was one of the less-publicized reasons Alabama won it all last season. He’s one of the best run-blocking guards in this draft who can more than hold his own in pass protection, as well. He played both guard AND both tackle spots in college, which is extremely rare. There are some drawbacks, though. He’s not overly strong yet and, while his guile helped him succeed in college, you have to wonder if his physical limitations won’t cause him to struggle in the pros. Should be there in round two, but will be gone by the time Green Bay picks in round three.
- Jon Asamoah, Illinois
The numbers: 6-feet, 3-inches, 295 pounds…turns 22 years old in July…33 inch arm length…no bench press numbers yet as his pro day isn’t until April…second team All Big Ten in 2009.
Right off the bat, there is much to make you think Asamoah would be a good fit for the Packers. He’s an extremely gifted athlete with good footwork who just knows what to do in pass protection. His nasty demeanor and strong fundamentals make him a good run blocker, as well. He’s intelligent (Academic All American last season) and hard-working. On the downside, he’s not overly strong, physically, and can get knocked off the ball by powerful defenders. There’s also some injury concerns as Asamoah hurt his right shoulder at the Senior Bowl. Still, he has a decent amount of upside and should be there for Green Bay in the third round.
- John Jerry, Ole Miss
The numbers: 6-feet, 5-inches, 332 pounds…turns 24 years old in June…31 bench press reps at his pro day this month…34 inch arm length…first team All SEC in 2009…his brother, Peria, was a first round pick by the Atlanta Falcons last year.
Jerry actually played right tackle for Ole Miss last season. But at 332 pounds, he’s a guard in the pros. He’s got the makings of a good one, too. He’s an angry, aggressive player who simply dominates defenders at the line. He’s so big and strong, you’re pretty much done once he gets his hands on you. He’s got some drawbacks, as well, though. His footwork isn’t overly impressive and, at 332 pounds, you can only be so athletic. Speaking of his weight, it’s been a major issue at times for Jerry. He actually played closer to 340-350 pounds for the Rebels last season and he’ll have to keep that much lower if he wants to see regular time in the pros. All in all, he sure doesn’t sound like a good fit for Green Bay, but he’ll likely be there in round three if the Packers want him.
- Mitch Petrus, Arkansas
The numbers: 6-feet, 3-inches, 310 pounds…turns 23 years old in May…tied the combine record for most bench press reps with 45…33 3/4 inch arm length…second team All SEC in 2009.
A number of the o-line prospects in this draft began their collegiate careers as tight ends. Not Petrus. He played both tight end AND fullback before being converted to guard two years ago. This, of course, means Petrus is still very raw at the position. But along with that unpolished nature comes great athleticism and footwork. His overall technique is far ahead of where he should be and, my God, he put up 45 reps at the combine. He has much to learn about the position but has a ton of upside. He’s thought to be a fourth or fifth round selection and would be a nice project for the Packers as he could be a good fit for their zone blocking scheme a year-or-two down the road.
Again, I’ll be back later tonight with the centers.