Pro Day Tour: First Two Picks?

We continue our daily pursuit of Packers' scouts as they attended at least seven Pro Days on Thursday. At Mississippi State, Derek Sherrod could be an anchor at left tackle for the next decade. At Nebraska, Niles Paul would be a big addition at receiver and returner.

The Green Bay Packers entered last offseason with two aging offensive tackles, Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher.

They spent their first-round pick on Bryan Bulaga, who at worst is the long-term replacement for Tauscher. Still, they could use another young offensive tackle, unless expectations are sky-high for T.J. Lang to make a big jump this offseason.

On Wednesday, Green Bay had a scout in Colorado to watch Nate Solder. On Thursday, the Packers were one of the 16 teams at Mississippi State's pro day, a source told Packer Report, and no doubt eyes were on offensive tackle Derek Sherrod.

Whether either Solder or Sherrod lasts until pick No. 32 is a major question mark because offensive tackle is such a premium position. However, Bulaga seemed an unlikely find at No. 25 last year. With as many as 40 players in this draft having first-round grades, someone is bound to tumble unexpectedly, and it could be Sherrod.

Our source said the 6-foot-6, 311-pounder looked superb during position drills. While there are concerns that Bulaga's 33 1/4-inch arms might not be long enough to play left tackle, Sherrod's arms measured 35 3/8 inches at the Combine. About the only knock on the three-year starter at left tackle is pad level — perhaps not a surprise given his height. A quick-on-his-foot athlete, he'd be a great fit in the Packers' scheme.

Nebraska

If Sherrod is a prime Packers prospect in the first round, receiver Niles Paul would be a great get in the second.

The 6-foot-1 receiver not only would add a much-needed young target for Aaron Rodgers — he has the same physical style as James Jones — but provide a jolt in the return game. He missed two games as a senior but caught 39 passes for 516 yards and a touchdown while averaging 24.2 yards on kickoff returns and 11.4 yards on punt returns. His 100-yard kickoff return against Oklahoma State was the longest by a Nebraska returner in more than 50 years. He was even more explosive as a junior, averaging 19.9 yards per catch, 27.9 yards on kickoffs and 10.7 yards on punts.

Kentucky

Randall Cobb is listed as a wide receiver and started some games at quarterback for the Wildcats. Cobb, a 5-foot-11 receiver and a first-team All-American as an all-purpose threat, worked some at running back on Thursday.

As a junior in 2010, he caught 84 passes for 1,017 yards and seven touchdowns, rushed for 424 yards out of the "WildCobb" formation and averaged 23.7 yards on kickoffs and 7.8 yards with a touchdown on punts. In all, he piled up 2,396 yards and scored touchdowns rushing, receiving, passing and on a punt return, and threw for a touchdown on a fake field goal as the holder.

Cobb would be a steal at the end of Round 2, though he might not last that long.

As a late-rounder, defensive end Ricky Lumpkin (6-4, 306) was a two-year starter with the requisite size to push for a roster spot.

Buffalo

This afternoon, we featured cornerback Josh Thomas. After a subpar workout at the Combine, he was clocked in 4.43 in the 40 with a 40-inch vertical jump.

Oregon

The headliner, of course, was Casey Matthews (6-1, 232), who ran his 40s in 4.79 and 4.80 seconds, according to NFL.com. He'd be a big story as a midround addition at inside linebacker. The Packers have an opening there with Nick Barnett likely on his way out the door and Brandon Chillar having had three surgeries on his shoulder. As you'd expect, Matthews has tremendous instincts but frequently was removed from the game in passing situations.

Receiver Jeff Maehl (6-1, 189) is a great tactician but limited athletically (4.65 40) and isn't a real big guy, either. He caught 77 passes for 1,076 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior. He might be worth a look at the end of the fifth round.

Texas Tech

The Red Raiders have three seventh-round/undrafted prospects to remember. The Packers have Texas Tech's Graham Harrell at quarterback, though 6-foot-5 Taylor Potts has more physical tools than Harrell but needs a revamp on his mechanics.

Underrated Brian Duncan (6-1, 248) could add depth at inside linebacker and be a hitter on special teams. Duncan, second-team all-conference on the field and an all-conference academic pick, as well, played outside linebacker in Tech's new 3-4 scheme as a senior and finished with seven sacks and 11 tackles for losses. Running back Baron Batch (5-10, 207) had a superb workout, with a 40-yard time in the high 4.3s and a 39-inch vertical. He rushed for 816 yards and caught 32 passes. He did not return kicks.

Defensive lineman Colby Whitlock is probably the Red Raiders' best prospect but he's more of a 4-3 defensive tackle.

West Texas A&M

Stephen Burton, a physical 6-foot-2 receiver, caught 70 passes for 1,021 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior, plus averaged 9.8 yards on punts and 23.1 yards on kickoffs in limited action on special teams. He blew away scouts by running the 40 in 4.36 (with wind) and 4.46 (against the wind), according to a source, and definitely working his way up draft boards.


Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.


Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


Packer Report Top Stories