Packer Report Draft Blog: Rd. 1

The Packers just selected Iowa tackle Bryan Bulaga with their first-round pick. We just talked to general manager Ted Thompson, offensive coordinator Joe Philbin and Bulaga here at the Lambeau Field media auditorium. Quick-hit details follow.

Philbin on Bulaga

Surprised Bulaga available: Yes, but then again, he doesn't know defensive side of the board and other team needs. "I'm a little bit surprised but very happy."

"He's made us a better offensive line ... he wants to be a great player."

Not sure where he lines up right now ... left or right.

Good fundamentals. Just turned 21. Eager learner. "This guy wants to be good." Technique there is always sound.

"We think this guy's a good fit" for what Packers do. Nice that Bulaga lined up in two-point and three-point stances, not just a two-point like many college OTs.

Better about backups: "I think we improved ourselves. How much and how quickly, that remains to be seen. I'm glad we have him."

No rush ... luxury: Not really. It's coaches' job to get him ready, even if not necessary. "One snap away from being our starting tackle."

Pro body right now: "Dimensions are excellent." Good that he's 6-foot-5. Good weight for a 21-year-old. Sure he'll get stronger.

Short arms a problem: 33 1/4 inches is fine if he's got a good punch. So, fundamentals are huge but no absolute that you can't play position. Clifton is only 33 inches, too, but punches so well.

Only watched 2009 film.

Reassuring to know that there's a capable backup to Cliffy: "Potentially. We've got to see how he plays. This guy's got a lot of ability." has mentality and physical tools. Not going to sleep any better til he sees him.


Bulaga on phone

Didn't expect to be in GB but didn't expect to be anywhere. Was NFC North fan growing up. He liked the Bears, since he grew up in northern Illinois. He's a Packers fan now.

Can play both sides, left and right.

Come out early: Difficult because of relationships at Iowa and his early-season struggles. But tougher leaving friends.

Thyroid resolved: Solved from the fifth week of the season. No problems since. Plenty of checkups.

Cause: Viral infection that landed in thyroid.

What was call like with Thompson: It was a good conversation. Brief. Excited for him to be a Packer "and I was just as excited."

Orange Bowl vs. Morgan: Phenomenal player, great guy ... trained with him in Phoenix. Unique player, different skill-sets but did "pretty good job against him.

Graham and Schofield: Breakdowns in technique. Didn't think he couldn't keep up speed-wise. Didn't have tons of reps in practice because of thyroid. "Wish I had another crack at those guys."

Packers offense: Watched the Sunday night and Monday night games, playoffs too. Prolific offense.

No pressure to start right away: I don't exactly know my role. Will push to be starter. Not going to come here not think he'd play.

Off the field: Golf, movies (even if it's bad, he'll watch it), Playstation baseball. "Just depends on the day, I guess."

Career goals: Be a successful starter. "I want to play good football for a very long time. ... That's the goal for me."

Graham vs. Bulaga in Week 1?: "I would love to get another opportunity to play him." Hit full stretch at midseason. "Ecstatic" to get another crack.


Thompson on Bulaga

"We were a little surprised that Bryan was still available. We felt it was a very good value pick."

Start now?: "We'll let coaches (decide where he'll line up)." Probably will be tackle now ... will figure out left or right later.

Makeup: He's a finisher, he's a tough guy, he's athletic, he's got great size. He loves football. Real gung-ho type attitude."

Thyroid: Not an issue.

He likes Iowa guys; Kirk Ferentz guys.

Trade up/down: Yes, lots of "fishing" but "nothing of significance."

Finally, an OT: "This was a value pick for us." Not drafted by need.

2008 tape, because of illness: Yes, but watched a lot of tape on everyone. "We focused a little bit more on the end of the season this year. We felt like that was when he was at his best."

Schofield and Graham ... struggle with speed?: "Not overly" worried.

Zone scheme: Didn't factor into it but good to see that he can do it.

No brainer?: "We were pretty solid with the pick." Bring along slowly?: "We don't know. You never know when you've got to play." He'll be competing for starting job.

Started keeping an eye on Bulaga by about No. 20.

No picks until tomorrow ... odd: "I liked it the old way. I liked going three rouns and then four rounds the next day." .. "Sitting around all day today was hard ... sitting around again tomorrow, there's more time for teams to think up things."

Thought about scenarios all day today ... Bulaga at 23 ... He did think about that but wasn't a main focus.

Any doubt that Bulaga is a left tackle?: "I can't answer that; I couldn't answer that with anybody. He has played left tackle."

No tempting trade offers.

Not much work to do tonight with the board, since only one round in the books. "Right now, I think we'll just play it like it's a continuation of today."

What do tomorrow? Nobody's going to make a trade until when that pick happens. Next 24/36 hours could be more trades with existing veterans. Just drafted a DE, for instance, so trade a veteran DE. Could happen with a night to sleep on it. "But I'm just guessing." Not anxious to trade his vets.


Packers take Bulaga with first pick

The Packers finally have their left tackle of the future. Iowa's Bryan Bulaga (6-foot-5, 312 pounds) was the selection with the 23rd overall pick. Well-versed in the zone blocking scheme, Bulaga started at left tackle for his last two seasons at Iowa.

Bulaga was named the Big Ten's offensive lineman of the year and a second-team All-American by The Associated Press last season as a junior, when he missed time with a thyroid problem. He gave up 3.5 sacks in his two seasons at left tackle, according to Iowa's count. He allowed two sacks last season, both to Michigan's Brandon Graham.

Bulaga's shining moment came in the Orange Bowl, when he dominated Georgia Tech's Derrick Morgan. Morgan finished that game with three tackles, no sacks, with Bulaga producing two touchdown-producing blocks.


Best available, based on need

With Atlanta on the clock, only the Falcons, Texans and Bengals are in front of the Packers. The left tackles – Charles Brown of USC, Bryan Bulaga of Iowa, Rodger Saffold of Indiana and Bruce Campbell of Maryland are all on the clock. So are all of the corners, though none of them might fit the Packers' longtime history of drafting 6-foot corners. All of the outside linebackers are left, led by Sergio Kindle and Jerry Hughes. And, interestingly, USC safety Taylor Mays and Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant are on the board, too.

Edit: And now the Falcons take linebacker Sean Weatherspoon. Packers will have the pick of the litter at this point.


So far, so good for Packers

Through 14 picks, the draft is working out well for the Packers, with Bryan Bulaga, Charles Brown and Rodger Saffold still on the board at offensive tackle, all of the top corners (minus Joe Haden) available and the pass rushers (minus the phenomenal Brandon Graham) available, too. So is Taylor Mays, for better or worse.

Who's No. 23?

I've struggled with this for a few days. It's practically impossible to figure out who the options will be for the Packers when they're on the clock. There are about 45 first-round prospects. Among them are the big six that went right off the bat to open the draft. That means dozens of possibilities for who will be available for Ted Thompson.

My gut instinct has been Rutgers cornerback Devin McCourty. It's a position of need and he's a really good player – and a high-character player -- who can add some instant juice to the special teams because of his ability to run back kickoffs and block kicks. But McCourty isn't quite 5-foot-11, and the Packers have drafted only two corners shorter than 6 foot since the Ron Wolf/Mike Sherman/Ted Thompson regime took over almost two decades ago. That trend stands, well, tall. There are no 6-foot corners worthy of going at No. 23, so forget that.

How about the pass rushers? Michigan's Brandon Graham probably won't make it to No. 23, but Texas' Sergio Kindle or TCU's Jerry Hughes should be available. With Kindle/Hughes paired with Clay Matthews III, the Packers would have a superb one-two punch of edge rushers.

Offensive tackle, of course, is a huge need. I have been told all along that Thompson likes USC's Charles Brown, but Brown's ability to be a dominant pass rusher might push him past the likes of Rutgers' Anthony Davis, Indiana's fast-rising Rodger Saffold or Maryland's workout wonder, Bruce Campbell.

So, in a roundabout way, who goes No. 23? If either Brown or Davis are available, he's their guy. If not, say hello to Hughes.


Live from Lambeau

Hello, Packers fans.

The path from the Senior Bowl to the Scouting Combine to the pro days has taken the Green Bay Packers to tonight, the first round of the 75th NFL draft. We are reporting live from Lambeau Field throughout the three-day draft. Barring a trade up or down, the Packers are expected to pick sometime around 9:30 p.m. Central.

The second and third rounds begin on Friday at 5 p.m. Central. The third through seventh rounds will be held on Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m. Central. There are 10 minutes between selections in the first round, 7 minutes in the second and 5 minutes thereafter.

Refresh throughout the night for updates and on-the-fly comments from general manager Ted Thompson, coach Mike McCarthy and the first-round pick.

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