The Green Bay Packers traded up for some offensive line insurance on Friday, moving up nine spots in the second round to grab Indiana tackle Jason Spriggs.
“It was indescribable how excited I was,” Spriggs said during a conference call. “Just to be a part of such an organization, just to have an organization believe in me, that they wanted to pick me up and bring me onto the club. There’s no words to explain the excitement.”
The Packers’ starting five is set, with tackles David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga, guards T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton and center Corey Linsley. However, Bakhtiari, Lang and Sitton are scheduled to become free agents, as are backups J.C. Tretter and Don Barclay. It will be a challenge keeping that line intact.
“I think it was just a chance to take a really good player we liked,” director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst said. “I don't know if we look that far ahead all the time, you know what I mean? He was just a guy we really liked, opportunity presented itself to go up and we took it.”
To get to No. 48, the Packers sent the Indianapolis Colts pick No. 57 of the second round, No. 125 of the fourth round and No. 248 of the seventh round. With two compensatory picks in the fourth round, Nos. 131 and 137, general manager Ted Thompson likely felt comfortable getting rid of one of his midround choices.
Spriggs, at 6-foot-5 5/8 and 301 pounds, was our third-ranked offensive tackle. As expected, he lit up the Scouting Combine with a 4.94 in the 40-yard dash, a 31.5-inch vertical leap and 31 reps on the bench press. He’s got good length with 34-inch arm length.
He doesn’t play to his weight-room strength, a scout said, “but there is nothing wrong with him that can’t be fixed by a year of training and coaching. Coaches want their tackles to be smart, tough and athletic. He’s all of the above.”
Spriggs started 46 games at left tackle during his career. As a senior, he earned some All-American honors and was second-team all-Big Ten. Statistically, he wasn’t nearly as good as the other top offensive tackles, according to data from STATS, having allowed 4.5 sacks, eight knockdowns and a whopping 25 run disruptions — the most among the draftable offensive tackles. On the plus side, he was the only offensive tackle to not be flagged for holding and he was nabbed twice for false starts. The Hoosiers gained 6.5 yards per carry to the left side — a considerable difference compared to 5.8 yards to the right and 3.8 up the middle. Indiana converted 92 percent of the time on third-and-short runs to the left.
Regardless, his athleticism is off-the-charts good and he earned all-conference honors all four seasons – honorable mention during his first three seasons before helping the Hoosiers lead the Big Ten in points, total yards and passing yards as a senior.
Now, he goes to Green Bay, with former MVP piloting one of the league’s elite offenses.
“With a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers, you’re at a whole new level there that I’ve never seen that really excites me,” Spriggs said. “I can’t wait to be able to get the chance.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.