Packers finish draft by taking offensive lineman

The Packers finished their 2002 draft by selecting offensive lineman Mike Houghton of San Diego State in the sixth round. Houghton has played a variety of positions for the Aztecs, but is expected to start out at left tackle and left guard for the Packers.<p>

Houghton, the 200th selection overall in the draft and sixth player chosen by Green Bay, played guard throughout the 2001 season. In 2000, he started nine games, playing mainly at center and tackle. He played in six games in 1999 when he was thrust into the lineup because of injuries.

The Packers had Houghton rated in the fourth round, so they were pleasantly surprised when he lasted until the sixth round.

"He is versatile. He can play those different spots," said Packers offensive line coach Larry Beightol. "We were looking for a guy or guys that have the versatility and can help."

Houghton did not play in the 1998 season and was red-shirted in 1997. He often practiced against defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila in 1988 and '99 before Gbaja-Biamila was selected in the fifth round by the Packers in the 2000.

"I learned to work hard and never give up," said Houghton, recalling practice sessions against Gbaja-Biamila.

Houghton will be competing against linemen Kevin Jordan, Bill Ferrario, Ed Kehl, Earl Dotson and Frank Winters for a backup spot on the line. All five of Green Bay's starters – tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher, guards Marco Rivera and Mike Wahle, and center Mike Flanagan – are under contract through the 2002 season.

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