Pro Day Tour '14: Elephant Hunting

The Packers have unveiled Julius Peppers' position. On Tuesday, they scouted a potential elephant player along with options at center, quarterback and safety.

On Tuesday in Orlando, Fla., Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy unveiled that Julius Peppers will play the "elephant" position.

"‘Elephant' is a term used for a multiple-position player along the defensive front," McCarthy told the Packers beat reporters in attendance at the NFL's spring meetings. "Julius will be part of that group. The specifics I'd rather get into once the players find out, once we go through it with the players."

On Tuesday, a Green Bay Packers scout saw a potential second-round fit at the elephant position: North Carolina's Kareem Martin.

Martin (6-6, 272) has long been compared to former Tar Heels defensive lineman Quinton Coples due to their similar body types and athleticism. So, like most of the so-called "hybrid" players capable of playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 and defensive end in a 4-3, Martin worked out for scouts as a defensive lineman and outside linebacker. At the Scouting Combine, Martin said he only went through defensive line drills.

"They want me to play any of three or four positions," said Martin, who stuck with his Combine time of 4.72 in the 40 and a 10-9 broad jump that led the defensive line and would have been second among linebackers. "Probably the hardest part right now is trying to figure out where I'm going to land position-wise. I did both defensive line and linebacker drills, so hopefully that will open their eyes a little bit more."

Martin's combination of quickness, lateral agility and power was evident during his final two seasons. He had four sacks and 15.5 tackles for losses as a junior and 11.5 sacks, 21.5 tackles for losses and three forced fumbles as a senior. His 1.70 tackles for losses per game last season ranked fifth in the nation.

With top-ranked tight end Eric Ebron probably out of the Packers' range, other players of note were center Russell Bodine, safety Tre Boston and quarterback Bryn Renner.

Bodine (6-3, 310) stuck with his Combine workout, which included a Combine-high 42 reps on the bench. Scouts have called him a big sleeper among a center group highlighted by USC's Marcus Martin, Colorado State's Weston Richburg and Arkansas' Travis Swanson.

"I just asked the people I trust to feel around and see what the demand was for centers in the draft this year," Bodine said. "I feel good about where I'm at, so obviously that's what led to me making the decision to come out early." "I have been told that I am one of the better centers in this draft class," Bodine said. "I suppose we'll see where things fall the first week of May, but I feel good about where I'm at right now."

Boston (6-0, 204) failed to improve on his 4.59 clocking in the 40 from the Combine. He's an underrated prospect who started his career at corner and picked off five passes at safety as a senior.

Renner (6-3, 228), who missed the final five games of his senior season with a fractured shoulder and detached labrum in his non-throwing arm, is the son of former Packers punter Bill Renner. Unlike most quarterbacks, Renner directed his own passing drills on Tuesday.

"I wanted to show a little leadership," Renner said. "… The quarterback's got to be the leader and set the tempo, so I didn't want a coach to be out there with me. I wanted to run it myself, so that's what we practiced and I think it worked out great for us today."

Bodine, Boston and Renner are considered late-round prospects.

Left tackle James Hurst (6-5, 296) started a school-record 49 consecutive games and was a two-time all-ACC first-team selection. He broke his leg in the bowl game and went through drills, even though he wasn't 100 percent recovered. If he gets to the fourth round, he might be a consideration because of the Packers' preference for drafting left tackles.

"At the end of the day, these guys are going to draft off game film. Everyone knows that," Hurst said. "This stuff is important – they want to see how you can move, how you can learn, how you can be coached. But at the end of the day, they want to see what kind of football player you are. I'm lucky to have four years on film to show everyone what I can do."

Iowa State

The Cyclones' top prospects are undersized linebacker Jeremiah George and punter Kirby Van Der Kamp. Of greater interest might have been safety Jacques Washington (6-0, 220), whose 40 time of the mid- to high-4.5s was right about in line with the top safeties in this year's draft. He was second-team all-conference as a senior with five games of double-digits tackles and two interceptions (both against West Virginia in the finale). He started the final 38 games of his career with six interceptions during that span.

Missouri Western

Catching up from March 21, the Packers were represented at Missouri Western. The main attraction was tight end Reggie Jordan (6-3, 239). According to NFL.com, he ran in 4.78 with a 30-inch vertical. He caught 23 passes with four touchdowns in 2013 and 23 passes for 11 touchdowns as a junior.

Twin cornerbacks Brandon Dixon (5-11 1/2) and Brian Dixon (5-11 3/4) have the Packers' preferred height. Brandon Dixon was a Combine invite and ran in 4.41 with a 32.5-inch vertical there. He was a two-time All-American. At pro day, Brian Dixon ran in 4.41 with a 30.5-inch vertical. Interestingly, both players intercepted five passes in 2012 and one pass in 2013.


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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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