Lineman making a name for himself

Offensive lineman Junius Coston barely played last season, but this year he'll have a chance to start for the Green Bay Packers.'s Todd Korth explains why:

Only the most die-hard of Green Bay Packers are familiar with Junius Coston. You probably remember him, right? He was selected in the fifth round of the 2005 NFL draft by the Packers, but that's the last we heard from him.

Coston has taken a route to the starting lineup that many offensive linemen must travel - via the bench. Former Packers and now multi-millionaires like Marco Rivera and Mike Wahle have each sat quietly in their first season with the team, watching and learning, before breaking into the starting lineup. Coston took that road last year, and now is in position to veer off and into the starting lineup.

Coston practiced with the first-team offense at right guard throughout the Packers' second off-season mini-camp this past weekend. He is competing against starter Will Whitticker and veteran Kevin Barry for the right to start, and, thus far, is all smiles.

"I'm very excited," said Coston. "My first starting role in my second year … last year being a long year, having to sit out and all of that and watch and learn and be patient. I'm very excited about this year coming up."

In 2005, Coston found himself buried on the depth chart. The North Carolina A&T product played in two games and was listed as inactive for the other 14 games. He played a total of three plays on offense – at left tackle - and one play on special teams. "It was long, not being able to play," said Coston, who played all five positions along the line in college. "I'm not used to having to sit out and be very patient. I had to take it and wait."

Coston has the quickness and athleticism that the Packers are seeking in their new zone-blocking offense. His ability to move in space probably will give him an edge over the bigger and more sluggish Whitticker as the coaching staff determines its best five linemen.

"He's what I'm looking for, that type of body, that type of athletic ability," said offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski. "That's the direction that we're going."

To better accommodate Jagodzinski's prototype lineman in the new offense, Coston is aiming to reduce his weight from 315 to under 310 by the time training camp begins in late July.

"Last year it was a lot more power and gap scheme," Coston said. "This year, it's a lot more zone. This new scheme fits me a lot better. You still have to use power, but it's more zone which suits me pretty well."

Keep an eye on Coston. Chances are you'll be hearing his name more often if he can capitalize on his opportunity. So far, he's on his way.

Todd Korth

Todd Korth is managing editor of and Packer Report. E-mail him at

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