This year, they'll have a chance to draft his replacement.
Green Bay worked out Steven Friday last week, a source told Packer Report. Working at defensive end, Friday (6-3, 240) made all 14 of his collegiate starts as a senior, bagging 8.5 sacks, 15 tackles for losses and two forced fumbles. Friday, who would be an outside linebacker in the Packers' defensive scheme, is considered a seventh-round prospect in the official league rankings that were delivered to Packer Report.
Having joined the program as a 205-pound prep standout, his outstanding performance in the weight training room saw the cat-quick pass rusher enter his final season as a muscular 249-pounder.
Friday made his impact felt from the get-go, with a sack and two pressures in an opening-night loss against powerhouse Boise State.
His marquee performance came a few weeks later against Boston College. Matched up against Boston College's elite offensive tackle, Anthony Castonzo — who potentially will be the first lineman off the board on Thursday night — Friday dominated, finishing with two sacks, three tackles for losses, two forced fumbles and three pressures. One of those pressures resulted in an interception. Friday beat Castonzo for one of the sacks. For perspective, Castonzo yielded one sack in 2009 and that would be the only sack he'd allow in 2010.
Friday also beat another of the better linemen in the draft, Miami's Orlando Franklin, for two sacks.
At Tech's pro day on March 17, Friday ran the 40 in 4.64 seconds with a 32-inch vertical leap and 24 reps on the 225-pound bench press.
Friday doesn't need to look far for motivation. In January 2005, gunfire erupted near his home in Hampton, Va. Friday thought he had emerged with nothing more than a sweaty shirt. Instead, when he caught his breath under a street light, Friday noticed the sweat was blood. He had been grazed by a bullet that missed his heart by a few inches.
"In that moment, it made me think of things as if I'm here for a purpose," he told the Virginia Pilot. "To survive and get a chance to do something with my life, I'm definitely thankful to God for that."
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport.