Fourth-Round Prospects to Remember

No wonder Ted Thompson was content to trade back on Friday. There is plenty of talent still on the board, including an abundance of linebackers. Here's a good guess at the strengths and weaknesses of the draft board heading into Saturday.

The fourth round of the NFL Draft begins with Jacksonville at No. 98. The Green Bay Packers hold picks Nos. 109 and 122. That's the 12th and 25th selections of the round.

In that light, here are 29 prospects to remember for Saturday — plenty to get through the round once a couple quarterbacks and running backs are selected.

Defensive line (1): Jesse Williams, Alabama. Williams (6-3, 323) was our top-ranked nose tackle. That's the position he played at Alabama. He tallied 36 tackles, 2.5 for losses, one sack and a blocked kick. He also played frequently as a short-yardage fullback. He can bench press 600 pounds. "He has no idea how good he can be if he really applies himself," said Phil Savage, the executive director of the Senior Bowl. "I'm not sure that he really understands that, ‘I can make a living at this football game' because it's still so new to him. He's bit of a developmental prospect."

Inside linebacker (4): Khaseem Greene, Rutgers; A.J. Klein, Iowa State; Gerald Hodges, Penn State; Kevin Reddick, North Carolina. Greene (6-1, 241) was the Big East's defensive player of the year with six sacks, 12 tackles for losses, 136 tackles and six forced fumbles as a senior. Scouts say much of that production was manufactured by the scheme and he takes too many plays off. He ran in 4.71 with 17 reps and a 30-inch vertical at the Combine. Klein (6-1, 250), a native of Kimberly, Wis., was a tackling machine with 117 stops and an interception as a senior. He finished his career with 368 tackles and tied the NCAA linebacker record with four pick-sixes. He started 50 games, both inside and outside, and was a candidate for the Senior CLASS Award. Klein ran 4.66 with 24 reps and a 33-inch vertical. Hodges (6-1, 243) finished fifth in the Big Ten with 109 tackles and added 8.5 tackles for losses, two interceptions and seven passes defensed. He was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award. He even was used as a punt returner in one game. He ran 4.70 with 22 reps and a 35-inch vertical. Reddick (6-1, 243) was first-tam all-ACC with 85 tackles, including an ACC-leading 18.5 tackles for losses, and forced two fumbles. He ran 4.72 at the Combine.

Outside linebacker (5): Cornelius Washington, Georgia; Mike Simon, Ohio State; Trevardo Williams, Connecticut; David Bass, Missouri Western; Chase Thomas, Stanford. Washington (6-4, 265) ran the 40 in 4.55 with a 39-inch vertical and 36 reps on the bench. A miscast defensive end in Georgia's 3-4 scheme, a scout said Washington showed "flashes of dominance" at the Senior Bowl. Simon (6-1, 257) has been compared to Mike Vrabel and a source said he's a favorite of Kevin Greene. He's seventh in school history with 20 sacks and 43 tackles for losses, and just the eighth two-year captain in school history. Simon struggled in coverage at the Senior Bowl, however. He ran in 4.62 with a 34-inch vertical at pro day; a shoulder injury kept him from testing at the Combine or benching on campus. Williams (6-1, 241) would be more of a designated pass-rush specialist. He lit up the Combine with a 4.57, 30 reps and 38-inch vertical. His 30.5 career sacks rank second among active players. Bass (6-4, 262) won the Gene Upshaw Award, which goes to Division II's top lineman (offense or defense). His 11.5 sacks as a senior ran his career total to 40. He ran 4.69 at pro day. Thomas (6-3, 244) started 47 of 52 games, including 39 as an outside linebacker in Stanford's 3-4 scheme. He finished his career with 27.5 sacks and 50.5 tackles for losses, along with nine forced fumbles. However, he ran just 4.91 and struggled at the Senior Bowl.

Cornerback (1): Jordan Poyer, Oregon State. Poyer (6-0, 191) intercepted seven passes and allowed just 21 completions. Plus, he averaged 25.9 yards on kickoff returns and 10.2 yards on punt returns over his career. The Packers don't have a dire need at corner so he could fill the return role until he gains necessary strength.

Safety (3): Phillip Thomas, Fresno State; Bacarri Rambo, Georgia; Josh Evans, Florida. Thomas (6-1, 208) led the nation and set a Mountain West record with eight interceptions. More than just a ballhawk, he added four sacks, 12 tackles for losses and forced four fumbles. He's not good against the run, has had injury problems and ran just 4.65 at the Combine. Rambo (6-1, 211) was second-team all-SEC as a senior, despite missing the first four games of the season after his second violation of the school's drug policy. His three interceptions gave him 16 for his career to tie the school record set by Super Bowl VII MVP Jake Scott. He ran 4.53 at pro day. The hard-hitting Evans (6-1, 207) led the Gators with 83 tackles and added three interceptions and 2.5 sacks. He ran in 4.58 and would be an immediate asset on special teams.

Center (3): Brian Schwenke, Cal; Barrett Jones, Alabama; Khaled Holmes, USC. This is a decorated group. Schwenke (6-3, 314), our top-ranked center, is quick, tough and excels at the second level. Jones (6-4, 306) won practically every award imaginable for an offensive lineman, including the Rimington Award as the nation's top center, and is a high-character performer as the winner of the William V. Campbell Award (aka, the Academic Heisman). Surprisingly, scouts like him but they don't love him, seeing him as a blue-collar player who isn't a great athlete. Holmes (6-3, 302) was a second-team Academic All-American and a finalist for the Rimington Award. An ankle injury slowed him throughout his senior season.

Guard (2): David Quessenberry, San Jose State; Earl Wartford, James Madison. Quessenberry (6-5, 302) was a three-year starter at left tackle who took snaps at all five positions at the Senior Bowl. Scouts love him as a technician. Watford (6-3, 306) was a FCS All-American and three-year starting guard who is athletic and plays to the whistle. He graduated with one major and three minors. A source said the Packers think highly of both.

Tackle (3): David Bakhtiari, Colorado; Vinston Painter, Virginia Tech; Jordan Mills, Louisiana Tech. Bakhtiari (6-4, 299) is the top remaining prospect capable of playing left tackle. He's got excellent quickness and length. Painter (6-4, 306) finally broke into the starting lineup as a senior at right tackle. He was honorable mention all-ACC and had a big Combine (4.95 and 32 reps). Mills (6-5, 316), the cousin of Tramon Williams, projects to a right tackle. He delivered 21 touchdown-producing blocks — most at Tech since Willie Roaf.

Wide receiver (3): Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech; Chris Harper, Kansas State; Tavarres King, Georgia. It would be shocking if Patton (6-0, 204) got to Green Bay's pick, but it's shocking he hasn't come off the board through three rounds. He caught 104 passes for 1,392 yards (13.4 average) and 13 touchdowns, including 21 catches for 233 yards and four touchdowns against Texas A&M. He ran 4.53 at the Combine. Harper (6-1, 229) is a big, physical target. He led the team with 58 receptions for 857 yards. Plus, he led all NCAA receivers with 12 touchdown-producing blocks. King (6-0, 189) led the nation with 22.6 yards per reception. He ran 4.47 at the Combine.

Tight end (3): Ryan Otten, San Jose State; Zach Sudfeld, Nevada; Chris Gragg, Arkansas. Otten (6-5, 248), who caught 99 passes and scored nine touchdowns the past two seasons, isn't a great athlete but has a great feel for the passing game. Sudfeld (6-7, 263) caught 45 passes for 598 yards and eight touchdowns, and he led the nation's tight ends with 19 touchdown-producing blocks. Gragg (6-3, 244) is an outstanding receiving threat. He ran 4.50 at the Combine.

Fullback (1): Kyle Juszczyk, Harvard. A two-time All-American tight end at Harvard, Juszczyk caught 52 passes for 706 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior and 37 passes for 512 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior. He's not a pile-driving lead blocker but his versatility and athletic ability make him an excellent fit in a John Kuhn type of role. He had a predraft visit with Green Bay and is the No. 1 fullback in the draft.


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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 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.


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