7th-Rounders Must Beat Odds

The last two prospects taken by the Packers, versatile as they may be, face an uphill battle on the depth chart. Green Bay wrapped up the draft with North Carolina's Ryan Taylor and Arizona State's Lawrence Gay.

In Ryan Taylor, the Packers selected the Randall Cobb of big men Saturday night in the NFL Draft.

Taylor, like Cobb, is an all-purpose offensive player. The only difference between the two Packers draft picks is size.

Taylor checks in at 6-foot-3, 254 pounds, while Cobb, a second-round pick, checks in at just 5-foot-10, 192 pounds.

During his career at North Carolina, Taylor even took it a step further than Cobb and played on all three units — offense, defense and special teams. And although he is listed on many scouting reports as a fullback or H-back, the Packers plan to use him at other positions.

"Tight end and special teams – what he did at North Carolina," said general manager Ted Thompson. "He even played a little bit of linebacker earlier in his career and he was their top special teams player … and because of some injuries to other tight ends, he got the chance to play a lot of tight end. We brought him in for a visit and he's a very articulate young man, very driven, and we think he's got a chance."

Taylor set a school record in 2010 for receptions by a tight end with 36 as a fifth-year senior. But with Jermichael Finley coming off an injury, last year's fifth-round draft pick Andrew Quarless, 2010 rookie free agent find Tom Crabtree and all-everything Spencer Havner, Taylor will have to look to special teams to make the Packers' roster. Fortunately, he is pretty good on coverage units, with 35 career tackles.

"I honestly think it's a third of the game — as important as offense and defense, so I really do take pride in it," said Taylor, who was selected No. 218 overall after the Packers made three trades on Saturday. "It's something that I've played obviously a lot of throughout my college career. It's something that I really do take a lot of stock in, and I won our special teams award all four years that I played here, so it's something I think is really important and I really take pride in."

Scouting reports highlight Taylor as a player with a blue-collar attitude and one of the most physical players on the team. He is also a leader as a two-time special teams captain.

Like Stanford's Owen Marecic, a fourth-round pick of the Browns, Taylor made headlines playing on both side of the ball in one game in 2008.

"It was my junior year," he began. "I played both ways against N.C. State. It was the same situation where we had a lot of injuries and they threw me in there and I think I played three or four series as a linebacker and I played tight end, as well. It was fun, but by no means was I any good at linebacker. It's nothing I would hang my hat on. But it's kind of cool to say I did it and I enjoyed it. It made me a lot better special teams player."

Taylor was the first of two seventh-round selections for the Packers. They also picked 6-foot-5, 300-pound Arizona State defensive lineman Lawrence Guy with a compensatory pick at No. 233 overall.

"He's a big man that can run really fast," summed up Thompson. "He's a junior coming out early. I think he's still developing. We had our defensive staff and (defensive line coach) Mike Trgovac do a lot of studying on him. We think there's a lot of things he can add to our defensive group."

For now, however, Guy is without a specific position on the defense. He is listed as a defensive tackle/end, but played both end and nose tackle after the Sun Devils implemented a 3-4 scheme following his sophomore year. He projects perhaps best as a five-technique end in the Packers' 3-4 scheme.

"When you have the ball, I like to hit you hard. Make a statement like I'm here. Keep doing it every play and hit them out with quick moves, fast moves," said Guy, who overcame challenges with attention deficit disorder and dyslexia on his way to becoming a draft prospect. "I don't ever give up on a play. I refuse to give up. I go as hard as I can every single play until the game's over to make sure everybody understands it's like you'll never have an easy game against me."

Guy was a part of a strong run defense at Arizona State the past couple of years, which should blend well with the Packers' stop-the-run-first mentality. He will have to battle Justin Harrell, C.J. Wilson and Jarius Wynn for a spot on the roster should he land at defensive end.

A three-year starter in college, Guy recorded 122 tackles with eight sacks. Twenty-three of those tackles went for a loss. He also caused one fumble and recovered two others. He earned honorable mention All-Pac 10 each of his three seasons.

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Matt Tevsh has covered the Packers since 1996. E-mail him at matttevsh@hotmail.com

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