Pro Day buzz: Packers visit OU

Green Bay watched the Sooners' standout offensive linemen, and was at Western Michigan to see an elite safety and a receiver who broke Greg Jennings' career records. What do the Packers see in these prospects? We have the exclusive answers.

Whether it's Ted Thompson or John Dorsey or one of the scouts, the Green Bay Packers are renowned for being everywhere this time of year. If there's an on-campus workout, chances are, there's someone wearing a green and gold shirt holding a stopwatch.

So, it was no surprise when Scout.com draft analyst Chris Steuber told Packer Report that the Packers were one of the teams in Norman, Okla., on Tuesday for Oklahoma's pro day.

In all, 15 Sooners were tested and sent through position drills. No doubt, three Sooners in particular caught the Packers' eyes: guard Duke Robinson, tackle Phil Loadholt and center Jon Cooper.

The Packers, even with their heavy investment in the offensive line since Thompson took over as general manager, could use help up front, where left tackle Chad Clifton's knees are cranky, right tackle Mark Tauscher is a free agent and coming off of a torn ACL, and no dominant force has emerged at center or guard.

Robinson and Loadholt are considered the Sooners' top line prospects, and Cooper is soaring up draft boards after dominating the drills at the Scouting Combine last month.

The 6-foot-5, 330-pound Robinson is rated the best guard in the draft by Scout.com. Steuber says Robinson is a dominant force in the trenches. He's quick off the snap and uses his weight and technique to overpower defenders. Robinson, the great-nephew of Motown legend Smokey Robinson, mustered only 20 reps in the 225-pound bench press on Tuesday, which no doubt raised some eyebrows.

Robinson is likely a second-round prospect, and he could be attractive at No. 41, even though the Packers have major needs on defense.

Loadholt is a huge man at 6-foot-8 and 332 pounds, even though he's dropped about 10 pounds since the Combine. Loadholt, who ranks just below second-tier tackles like Arizona's Eben Britton and Connecticut's William Beatty and is a second- or third-round prospect, played left tackle for the Sooners but would be slid to right tackle in the NFL. He put up 26 reps in the bench press, and he uses that strength and to-the-whistle tenacity to be a superb run blocker.

Cooper's stock is on the rise, and not just because he was among the top offensive linemen in the 40-yard dash, bench press, broad jump, three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle at the Combine. Cooper, last season's Big 12 offensive lineman of the year, finished last season at about 255 pounds because of a stomach parasite but is up to 291. He has an amazing combination of strength and quickness. What would intrigue the Packers is his quickness, which would make him an ideal fit in their zone scheme.

"He looks like a beast," our insider in Norman, Greg Powers, said.

Other Sooners who figure to be early selections in the draft are safety Nic Harris and receiver Juaquin Iglesias.

Harris' stock is on the slide because he simply isn't fast enough. After a poor timing at the Combine, he turned in 40-yard times on Tuesday of 4.83 seconds. At 6-foot-2 and 232 pounds, some teams think he'd be better off converting to linebacker. He played some linebacker at Oklahoma, along with cornerback and special teams. He's a hard hitter with a nose for the ball.

Meanwhile, Steuber says the Packers also were at Western Michigan on Tuesday. The headliner there was safety Louis Delmas, who is a second- or third-round prospect and in the running to be the second safety off the board (after Missouri's William Moore). The 5-foot-11 Delmas had four interceptions as a senior, 12 as a four-year starter and is strong against the run.

The Packers don't have an immediate need for a safety, but with Atari Bigby and Nick Collins heading for free agency after next season, Bigby coming off of an injury-plagued season, Aaron Rouse underachieving and merely $100,000 in bonus money invested in Anthony Smith, Delmas might be an intriguing prospect for the Packers.

Delmas opted out of most of Tuesday's workout after being one of the top performers among safeties at the Combine in the broad jump and three-cone drill.

In all, 11 Broncos participated, including two draft-worthy prospects: cornerback Londen Fryar (5-foot-11) and receiver Jamarko Simmons (6-foot-2). Simmons, who weighs 234, caught 104 passes for 1,276 yards and seven touchdowns. He broke Greg Jennings' single-season and career records for receptions. Fryar had just one interception but is a three-time all-conference player.

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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 Lambeau Level forum. Bill also is giving Twitter a try. Find him at twitter.com/packerreport


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