Sitton is ‘rough and tumble'

PackerReport.com periodically will profile the young players hoping to stand out during OTAs and the June minicamp. Josh Sitton, a fourth-round draft pick, has the versatility and smarts to make mark on offensive line.

About 335 players were invited to the NFL's scouting combine.

Josh Sitton, who the Green Bay Packers selected in the fourth round with the 135th overall draft pick, wasn't among them.

What gives?

"I asked a number of scouts about that, and they just shook their head," Central Florida's offensive line coach, Tom Freeman, said in a phone interview on Monday.

One would think the NFL's talent coordinators would have shown Sitton some love. After all, he started 39 games during his four years at Central Florida. He was a first-team all-Conference USA selection as a senior, when he helped Kevin Smith threaten Barry Sanders' single-season rushing record.

Somehow, though, Sitton flew under the NFL's radar. He did not, however, go unnoticed by the Packers. Even though Sitton played mostly right tackle at UCF, he seems to be a great fit at guard for the Packers. UCF's No. 1 rushing play last season, Freeman said, was the inside zone, which is a staple in the Packers' offense.

He also plays with a fire that is sometimes lacking in the Packers' starting left guard, Daryn Colledge.

"He's a rough and tumble guy," said Freeman, who compared Sitton to former Packers guard Rich Moran, who he coached at San Diego State. "He's also a very smart player. I told all the scouts that came through here that he was probably the smartest guy I've ever coached. He's really football smart, and he makes changes on the field."

He's also got the balance and athleticism necessary to play the zone scheme.

"He's got explosion and really fine balance," Freeman said. "He's a kid who's got what you're looking for. He was always on his feet, and that's what we look for in recruiting and that's what the coaches in that league look for."

On draft day, Packers offensive line coach James Campen echoed many of the things Freeman said.

"Once he gets his hands on you, he's Velcro. You're not getting off this kid," Campen said. "One of his biggest strengths is he plays with great passion, plays to the whistle.

"We had a great interview with him. He displayed the smarts and awareness on the grease board when he was here. He did an excellent job with that, and we're excited to have him."

Even if Sitton doesn't challenge for a starting role immediately, his future on the roster seems secure. He played guard and tackle in college, and Campen said Sitton has what it takes to play center, as well.

"(At UCF), when I moved over and starting playing left guard and right guard and bouncing around, (scouts and coaches) noticed my versatility," Sitton said during the rookie camp. "I think that's really when I started turning a few heads.

"You have to be able to play more than one position at this level, and I definitely think versatility is my No. 1 attribute."

Freeman boiled it down to a numbers game.

"I think he's got a chance because he's so darned smart. When (NFL teams) only suit seven or eight guys up (on game days), having that flexibility and football sense is really a must."

Steve Lawrence is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at steve_lawrence_packers@yahoo.com


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