Path to Draft 8: MSU's Saulsberry

Jeff Saturday was a great addition but he does nothing to address the long-term needs at center. Mississippi State's Quentin Saulsberry is the Packers' kind of lineman, with starts at four positions during his career.

Publisher's note: The Packers replaced Pro Bowl center Scott Wells by signing former Pro Bowler Jeff Saturday to a two-year contract on Friday. Saturday will turn 37 in June and does nothing to solve the long-term need at the position. So, Packer Report has been introducing you to the top centers in the draft. These stories are by NFL Scouting's Dave-Te Thomas, who scouts for the NFL and provides his reports to the teams. This is the final piece of our six-story series. Next, we'll dive into the outside linebackers.

Versatility is almost a badge of honor for the Green Bay Packers' offensive linemen.

That is what makes Mississippi State's Quentin Saulsberry such an enticing prospect entering the 2012 NFL Draft.

While it might seem that Saulberry has to check with his quarterback to find out where he should line up coming out of the huddle, he has had to move around quite a bit during his MSU career. With starting experience at four of the five offensive line positions, he has a rather impressive resume for NFL general managers to absorb.

Saulsberry had a sensational senior campaign at Independence (Miss.) High School, where his blocking consistency grade of 93 percent was the best in the area. He was named first-team All-State in all classifications by the Clarion-Ledger newspaper, adding Class 3A All-State honors from the Mississippi Association of Coaches. He was rated the 36th-best offensive guard prospect in the nation by ESPN and among the top 60 offensive linemen in the Southeast by Prep Star, and he was selected to play in the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Classic and the Max Emfinger All-American Bowl Game Classic at Shreveport, La.

Always wanting to be a Bulldog, Saulberry turned down other scholarship offers and brought the recruiting wars to a quick end when he signed his national letter-of-intent to attend Mississippi State in July 2006. After redshirting as a freshman, he stepped into the starting lineup at right tackle, starting all 12 games. He finished his rookie season with 10 touchdown-resulting blocks and 59 knockdowns.

Saulsberry shifted to left offensive guard as a sophomore, earning 12 starting assignments. Behind his stellar blocking, MSU tailback Anthony Dixon rushed for a school record 1,391 yards. The team ranked fifth in the nation in rushing that, a large part due to their sophomore recording 71 knockdowns and 10 touchdown-resulting blocks.


Baylor C Philip Blake
Wisconsin C Peter Konz
Michigan C David Malk
Georgia C Ben Jones
Ohio State C Michael Brewster
San Diego St. QB Ryan Lindley
South Dakota St. WR Dale Moss
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Musical chairs awaited Saulsberry during his junior campaign. He again switched positions, starting 10 games at right offensive guard, but was interchangeably throughout the year as he saw action at left guard in each contest. He also started two games at center when J.C. Brignone was sidelined with an injury. Through all the shuffling, he still posted 13 touchdown-resulting blocks and 84 knockdowns.

Saulberry continued to fill in where needed as a senior, starting every game on the front wall, despite being hampered by an early-season knee injury that the coaches feared would require surgery. He started the first three games at center, moved to right guard vs. Louisiana Tech, returned to center vs. Georgia and then started the final eight contests back at the right guard spot. He made 11 touchdown-resulting blocks and produced 79 knockdowns for a ground attack that averaged 175.31 yards per game.


Saulsberry, who played three seasons with Green Bay's Derek Sherrod, started all 50 games that he appeared in on the offensive line – 20 at right guard, 12 at right tackle, 12 at left guard and six at center…Joined strong safety Charles Mitchell as the only Mississippi State players to have ever appeared in 50 games during a career…Recorded 44 touchdown-resulting blocks and delivered 293 knockdowns as a starter.


Saulsberry earned All-Southeastern Conference honorable mention from the Associated Press, as he started at two positions (right guard and center) while seeing action at left guard in each of the team's 13 games…Started the first three games at center, moved to right guard vs. Louisiana Tech, returned to center vs. Georgia and then started the final eight contests back at the right guard spot…What made all of those starts and moves even more impressive is that Saulsberry suffered a knee sprain in MSU's second game making a tackle after an interception vs. Auburn that was so severe, the coaching staff thought that he would require surgery…Yet, five days later, he was back in the starting lineup at center to take on Louisiana State…Finished with a team-high 79 knockdowns that included 11 touchdown resulting blocks…Helped the team average 175.31 rushing yards, 357.15 yards in total offense and 25.31 points per game.


Saulsberry was the established leader on the talented offensive line that featured All-Southeastern Conference offensive tackle Sherrod…Saulsberry played four positions on the front wall, earning 11 starting assignments at his primary spot – right guard…When center J.C. Brignone was sidelined, Saulsberry moved to the pivot and started vs. Florida and Alabama-Birminghan…Even though he was constantly shuffling to a variety of roles, he still delivered 13 touchdown-resulting blocks while coming up with a career-high 84 knockdowns, as the Bulldogs ranked second in the SEC and 16th in the nation with a rushing average of 214.85 yards per game…Did not allow any of the 23 sacks given up by the front wall, as he cleared huge holes for a rushing attack that eclipsed over 200 yards in eight contests.


As a sophomore, Saulsberry was moved inside to left offensive guard, starting all 12 games…Quickly established himself as a punishing drive blocker, making 71 knockdowns and 10 touchdown-resulting blocks…That performance helped the Bulldogs lead the Southeastern Conference and rank fifth in the nation in rushing, averaging 227.58 yards per game, as tailback Anthony Dixon set a school season-record with 1,391 yards on the ground…Also cleared the path for the offense to eclipse 300 rushing yards mark four times, including rushing 55 times for 327 yards at Arkansas and 59 times for 317 yards in the season-ending win over Ole Miss…Did not allow any sacks, as he led a front wall that saw MSU quarterbacks dropped just 20 times, a marked improvement from the 36 sacks allowed in 2008.


Saulsberry, a former defensive tackle, made his presence known in fall camp…His performance in practices convinced the coaches to turn over right tackle duties to their redshirt freshman…Lined up with the first unit for all 12 games, as he totaled 59 knockdowns and 10 touchdown-resulting blocks…Allowed just two of the team's 36 sacks, but the Bulldog offense finished 113th in the nation in total yards (274.92 ypg) and 115th in scoring (15.25 ppg).


Redshirted as a freshman…Competed on the scout team as a defensive tackle.


2011 Season…Suffered a severe knee sprain making a tackle after an interception vs. Auburn. The coaches first thought that Saulsberry would require surgery, but five days after the Auburn clash, he started at center vs. Louisiana State.


5.38 in the 40-yard dash…1.90 10-yard dash…3.04 20-yard dash…4.99 20-yard shuttle…8.19 three-cone drill…22-inch vertical jump…7'6" broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 26 times…33 5/8-inch arm length…10-inch hands…80 3/8-inch wingspan.

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Dave-Te Thomas has more than 40 years of experience scouting for the NFL. At NFL Scouting, Thomas handles a staff that evaluates and tests college players before the draft and prepares the NFL's official Draft Packet, which is distributed to all 32 teams prior to the draft.

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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