Combine Preview: Offensive Tackles

With aging Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher, the Packers enter the draft needing at least one offensive tackle. There will be 28 offensive tackles at the Combine; we tell you about 10 who certainly will be drafted to play on the left side.

The NFL's ultimate job interview, the Scouting Combine, begins on Wednesday in Indianapolis, with the first on-the-field workouts starting on Friday.

Packer Report gets you ready for the Combine with a position-by-position look at the 329 players on the invitation list.

Offensive tackles

State of the Packers

Not much needs to be said beyond this: Left tackle Chad Clifton turns 34 in June and right tackle Mark Tauscher turns 33 in June. Allen Barbre was a disaster and Breno Giacomini couldn't get on the field, even with Barbre's problems. The Packers think T.J. Lang can play right tackle, and maybe even can play left tackle. But unless he can play both spots at once, they desperately need a young, talented tackle.

Combine guest list

Zane Beadles, Utah

Ciron Black, LSU

Charles Brown, USC

Bryan Bulaga, Iowa

Kyle Calloway, Iowa

Bruce Campbell, Maryland

Selvish Capers, West Virginia

Anthony Davis, Rutgers

Chris DeGeare, Wake Forest

Vladimir Ducasse, Massachusetts

Jason Fox, Miami (Fla.)

John Jerry, Mississippi

Kyle Jolly, North Carolina

Matt Kopa, Stanford

Shawn Lauvao, Arizona State

Marshall Newhouse, TCU

Russell Okung, Oklahoma State

Cole Pemberton, Colorado State

Rodger Saffold, Indiana

Chris Scott, Tennessee

Mike Tepper, California

Adam Ulatoski, Texas

Jared Veldheer, Hillsdale

Ed Wang, Virginia Tech

Tony Washington, Abilene Christian

Thomas Welch, Vanderbilt

Trent Williams, Oklahoma

Sam Young, Notre Dame

Who to watch


Charles Brown
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
The Packers' preference would be to get a left tackle. The following 10 have the athletic ability to start their NFL careers at left tackle, then move inside or to right tackle if left tackle doesn't work.

Charles Brown, USC: Brown was moved from tight end to offensive tackle midway through his redshirt freshman season (2005). At 6-foot-6 and 285 pounds, he obviously has to bulk up and would be well-served landing with a team like the Packers and sitting behind a veteran like Chad Clifton. He was the Pac-10's lineman of the year — an award voted on by the conference's starting defensive linemen. He could be a target at No. 23, with his athletic ability making him an ideal fit for a zone blocking scheme.

Bryan Bulaga, Iowa: The 6-foot-5, 315-pounder also could be a target at No. 23. As a junior this past season, he was named the Big Ten's offensive lineman of the year, even though he missed three games with a thyroid condition that apparently is behind him. While Bulaga lost his matchup against Michigan's future first-rounder, Brandon Graham, he handled Georgia Tech's future first-rounder, Derrick Morgan. He might not be available at No. 23.

Bruce Campbell, Maryland: The towering Campbell (6-7, 310) left school following his junior season. He's got only 16 career starts, including nine as a junior, when he missed time with turf toe and a knee injury. Also underwent what the school called "minor" brain surgery to drain fluid to relieve pressure in 2008. If you can get past that, his athleticism and long arms make a natural to protect the blind side. He's a definite target at No. 23.

Selvish Capers, West Virginia: There's a divide among scouts, some of whom feel he's in the second tier of the top tackles and could warrant a look early in the second round. Others think he's more of a late Day 2 selection (meaning third round). Might wind up being a lot like Clifton: a reliable blind-side pass protector but nothing more than OK in the run game. He had his hands full at the Senior Bowl. His athletic ability would make him a great fit in a zone blocking scheme.

Anthony Davis, Rutgers: He'll battle Oklahoma State's Russell Okung to be the first tackle drafted. At 6-foot-5 and 328 pounds, Davis is a mountain of a man. On pure talent, he's the best lineman in this draft. The production hasn't always been there and he missed one full game in 2008 and the first quarter of another game in 2009 for rules violations, and his weight has been an issue. Still, for his size, he's got nimble feet, and his long arms make him a beast in pass protection.

Jason Fox, Miami (Fla.): If the Packers can't get their guy in the first two rounds, Fox (6-6, 301) would make sense in the third round. Fox started 47 games in his career but missed the bowl game because of an injured left knee that required surgery — a cleanup is what he called it. By the Hurricanes' count, he allowed just one sack this season.

Matt Kopa, Stanford: Kopa (6-6, 297) is a late-round prospect after missing most of the season after breaking a foot in the fourth game of the season. He's the kind of linemen the Packers love: smart and versatile. He's at least worth a look as a left tackle considering he played defense for the Cardinals in 2006 and 2007.

Russell Okung, Oklahoma State: Okung (6-5, 300) might not have the pure size and ability of Davis but his production was impeccable. He really should be the first lineman selected. He started the final 47 games of his collegiate career. As a senior, he allowed one sack and two pressures, by the school's count, while powering a powerhouse running attack. He really enters the NFL without any major warts.

Rodger Saffold, Indiana: You want strong? Saffold is strong. The 6-foot-4, 312-pounder is a muscular powerhouse who started three-and-a-half seasons at left tackle for the Hoosiers. He allowed only one sack all season, by the school's count, for one of the better passing teams in college football. He had a great week at the East-West game as a mauling run blocker and nimble pass protector. He's probably a third-round prospect.

Jared Veldheer, Hillsdale: Ted Thompson's fondness for small-school players is renowned. Veldheer, a Division II All-American, will be jockeying with Fox and Saffold for draft position. He could vault ahead of those two if the athleticism he showed on Saturdays shows up in Indy. At a school-listed 6-foot-9 and 321 pounds — with a reported 40-yard time of 4.8 seconds — Veldheer is an imposing figure with great athletic ability. He showed well against bigger-school prospects at the Texas vs. the Nation game.


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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. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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