Sherrod Falls Into Packers' Laps

Ted Thompson got to stay at No. 32 and get a player he coveted for the third consecutive draft. Incredibly, three of his favored players were available, meaning he didn't have to maneuver his way up or down the board.

The waiting is the hardest part, Tom Petty once sang, but that phrase apparently doesn't apply to general manager Ted Thompson

For the third consecutive draft, things fell in improbably perfect fashion for the Green Bay Packers In 2009, when the Packers were changing to Dom Capers' 3-4 defensive scheme, the clear No 1 nose tackle in the draft, B.J. Raji, was available with the ninth overall selection Last year, when it became apparent that they had to draft a young offensive tackle to eventually replace Chad Clifton or Mark Tauscher, Bryan Bulaga unexpectedly fell into their laps at No 23 And on Thursday, with the Super Bowl champions holding the 32nd and last pick of the first round, practically Thompson's entire draft board of realistic options was available

As we wrote on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, offensive tackle Derek Sherrod, running back Mikel Leshoure and outside linebacker Akeem Ayers were among his top choices and all were available Defensive end Cam Heyward, the fallback plan should the others be gone, was the only player off the board, having gone to Pittsburgh at No 31

If Thompson entered the night with the mind-set of being aggressive, he got to kick back and relax, comfortable that he'd get one of his favorite guys without having to sacrifice a pick or two While lines were cast to move up and down, as the time approached for the Packers to go on the clock, Thompson was content with where things stood

"We thought there were going to be players there at 32 we'd be very interested in," Thompson said when asked if he considered trading up to get Sherrod, who we were told was the Packers' top choice "We were pretty comfortable sitting and watching because we felt like the board was deep enough, early on, to do that "

Sherrod was the six offensive tackle off the board, with Seattle shockingly taking James Carpenter at No 25 and Chicago bolstering its horrendous line by taking Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi at No 29 However, NFL Scouting's Dave-Te' Thomas called Sherrod, with outstanding intangibles and the third-longest arms among the top tackles in the draft, the best of the entire bunch Thomas' colleague, Michael DiJulio, called the pick a "steal "

After the pick was made, offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said he had recently watched Sherrod's performance at Alabama DiJulio watched that game, too, a 30-10 romp for the Crimson Tide in front of almost 102,000.

"Sherrod has the athletic ability to be an excellent protector of Aaron Rodgers' blindside for years to come," DiJulio said. "From a measurable standpoint, Sherrod owns the long arms and big hands teams look for in an offensive tackle. He possesses nimble feet and agility to mirror speed rushers off the edge, and displays good technique and hand usage. In the ground game, Sherrod isn't a driving run blocker, but has good position in sealing off holes. This will work in his favor while playing in Green Bay's the zone-blocking scheme. The addition of Sherrod gives the Packers a long-term solution at left tackle whenever Chad Clifton finally decides to hang up the cleats. It also allows Bryan Bulaga to stay at right side."

During his three seasons as a starter, Sherrod averaged 8 86 pancake blocks per game — the highest average for any lineman in the draft

"I definitely make sure that on every single down I win that down against my opponent, and I go and work hard and make sure that I try to dominate my opponent," Sherrod said "So, defenses are going to have to be ready whenever they come against me "

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