Big DE moving up draft boards

A Packers scout led the pro day workout for this 6-foot-6, 305-pound former basketball star who is one of the draft's top defensive ends. Who is he? We talked to him for the latest Packer Report draft exclusive.

At 6-foot-6 and 305 pounds, you wouldn't think Everette Pedescleaux would have a hard time getting noticed.

But, somehow, the towering defensive lineman from Northern Iowa slipped through the cracks after being named a third-team All-American by The Associated Press following his senior season. Pedescleaux, who piled up 6.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss in leading the Panthers to the Football Championship Subdivision semifinals, wasn't invited to any of the postseason all-star games. Nor was he one of the 300-plus players asked to work out at the NFL Scouting Combine.

But Pedescleaux is on teams' radars now, and he's certainly a player who the Packers know about. A Green Bay scout ran the position drills at Northern Iowa's pro day on March 27, and Pedescleaux says he's talked to the Packers a few times this offseason. His size makes him one of the few players in this draft with the ideal combination of height and weight to immediately step in and, at worst, provide some depth as a 3-4 defensive end.

"It kind of brings me back to high school, when I was doing the same thing, except you don't get to pick where you go, they pick you," Pedescleaux told Packer Report this week while en route to New York to meet with the Giants.

The Packers figure to be one of the teams hot on his trail. After first-round prospects Tyson Jackson of LSU and Jarron Gilbert of San Jose State, there aren't many 3-4 defensive ends in the draft. The Packers need one to pair with Cullen Jenkins. The other defensive ends are Johnny Jolly, who has legal issues, Justin Harrell, who has yet to prove he can stay healthy, and untested Alfred Malone.

Pedescleaux isn't just a big guy. While in high school, he was a finalist for Minnesota's "Mr. Basketball" award. He committed to play basketball at Northern Iowa but wound up backing out of that agreement so he could play basketball and football at Minnesota. But then, he transferred from Minnesota to play football at Northern Iowa.

"I wanted to play right away, so I ended up going to Northern Iowa," he explained.

Good decision, hey?

"Yeah," he said with a laugh. "Probably one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life."

Pedescleaux is the leading career scorer and rebounder at Armstrong High School in Plymouth, Minn. As a dominating basketball player, he says he weighed about 235 pounds. So, at that size, he played defensive end in high school and his first season at Northern Iowa. He moved inside to defensive tackle as he continued to get bigger.

He started eight games in 2006 with limited production. He played nine games as a reserve in 2007, with 4.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. In a playoff loss to Joe Flacco and Delaware, he blocked two extra points and had one sack. He was a dominant force as a senior, earning first-team all-Missouri Valley Conference by being a constant nuisance in the backfield while forcing three fumbles. He blocked two kicks, giving him six for his career.

"I felt like I wanted to leave something behind for my senior year, so that made me work harder," Pedescleaux said. "I never thought about playing in the NFL. That never crossed my mind."

It has now, and Pedescleaux's ability has crossed the minds of many teams, including the Packers.


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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 Packers Pro Club forum. Bill also is giving Facebook and Twitter a try. Find him on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport


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