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Huber Mocks the Packers Wisconsin G Kevin Zeitler

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Huber Mocks the Packers Wisconsin G Kevin Zeitler

NFL mock drafts are usually pretty monochrome this time of year, with very few surprises possible for placing certain names with certain teams. But there's always exceptions, and I think I found one Wednesday night.

Patriots.com put together a mock draft in which a local beat writer makes the first-round selection for the team he or she covers. In the Packers case, Bill Huber from Packer Report made the call for Green Bay.

In a surprising scenario I've yet to see in a mock draft, Huber picked Wisconsin guard Kevin Zeitler for the Packers at No. 28 overall. Peter Konz, the Badgers' starting center, went one pick later to Baltimore.

"With Mercilus and Perry off the board, the pass rush will have to wait," Huber wrote. "Zeitler, a dominant guard, will be groomed to be the center of the future."

I certainly won't be one to say a scenario is impossible, because no one really knows what's going to happen during that unmastered three-day stretch. Huber is also one of the most draft-connected writers on the Packers' beat.

But common sense points to GM Ted Thompson drafting a natural center if he's dead-set on taking a first-round, long-term option. And overall, there appears to be several other developmental centers available in the middle rounds, which makes "reaching" on a player who would be making a position change over the long-term seem a little far-fetched.

That isn't just my lone opinion, either.

Tyler Dunne over at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote Wednesday that it's "more likely" that the Packers wait for a mid-round center like Mike Brewster or Quentin Saulsberry. Ben Jones, Phillip Blake and David Molk also look like viable options.

So while I certainly praise Huber for thinking outside the box on a pick that will be made by one of the more unpredictable general managers, it's hard for me to envision Thompson going this way.

If nothing else, Huber's pick here gives fans another option to chew on as the draft draws closer.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (54) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

QOTSA1's picture

It makes no sense to me. If they are looking for the center of the future why not just draft Konz? Personally, I hope they wait and draft someone like Brewster or Saulsberry in the 4th or 5th round.

MarkinMadison's picture

Injury history is a good reason to stay away from Konz.

PackersRS's picture

Zeitler is a strong mauler in the running game that lacks lateral agility and can struggle with quick DTs in the passing game.

Clearly, perfect to play center for the Packers.

PackersRS's picture

I'm mocking Tannehill to the Packers, if we're going with unlikely scenarios that if pan out make me look like a genius and if don't people will forget in 2 months.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

I won't forget.

cow42's picture

shea mcclellin.

joshywoshybigfatposhy's picture

kmart sucks. yeah.

Rocky70's picture

Lang, Saturday & Sitton will be the interior starters for GB for 2012 & maybe even 2013. To draft anyone for the OL in rounds 1-3 to watch the game from the sidelines would be ludicrous.

TT needs to 'right his ship' after a mostly shaky 2011 draft. I mean, who drafts a BU LT, 4th or 5th WR,KR/PR & a 3rd string RB (Sherrod, Cobb, Green) in the first 3 rounds of any draft. In the meantime, defensive projects from round 7 & the street are trying to keep the Pack "D" afloat. Hopefully, TT has figured out that the NFL window slides up & down very easily.

packsmack25's picture

I said the draft was terrible last year around week 5. But seriously, he drafted a guy that got cut and NO ONE SNIFFED. Sounds like someone that could have been a UFA, and yet we wasted a pick on him. Throw in the unnecessary picks in rounds 1-3 and it's looking like Ted's worst draft. Sherrod could come back and be great, and Cobb looks amazing, but hitting on 20% of your picks can lead you to the basement quickly.

jay's picture

please. Invoking three year rule.

packsmack25's picture

It didn't take three years to see that the Raji/Matthews draft was a great one. Heck, even the Bulaga/Burnett/Quarless/Newhouse/Starks draft of 2 years ago was great. Why should it take three years to see that this one might have been horrible? I mean seriously, we wasted a pick on Elmore, who no one even took a look at when we cut him. That's just terrible.

Rocky70's picture

Add to that the following: GB had Finley, Quarless & Crabtree entrenched at TE but yet GB drafted 2 more TEs & then proceeded to carry 5 TEs on the 53 for an entire season. Another DL or OL would have been nice.

Oppy's picture

Caleb Schlauderhoff (spelling? Idk) and Ricky Elmore were the only picks that have been flushed from the 2011 draft.

Schlauderhoff was traded to the Jets for an undisclosed draft pick, so It's not as though he was a total loss. So, while the Packers found he wasn't ready to challenge our other lineman for a roster spot in 2011, the Jets clearly believed he was worth spending a pick on.

Ricky Elmore was a complete miss. That said, I can't imagine that other teams weren't looking at drafting Elmore as well. He was more consistent and productive than his superstar team mate over his two final seasons in college. The reason why no other teams came sniffing after the Packers cut him was simply because scouts from all the NFL teams get to watch Packers training camp practices just like the rest of us fans. I'm sure a number of teams would have drafted Elmore; unfortunately, the Packers did and we got to be the team that found out Elmore couldn't make it as a OLB. All the other teams learned from our mistake.

That said, he was a 6th round pick, and, if I remember correctly Rocky, you don't think anyone outside of the 3rd round is even really a football player, so what's the harm in a failure out of the 6th round?

So, other that those two:

SHerrod, who was, and is, highly regarded talent at LT. Leg fracture doesn't equal bust.

Randall Cobb, potentially the most dynamic all-purpose offensive play maker the packers have acquired in my lifetime. We haven't even begun to tap his talent.

Alex Green, another injury loss, the Packers felt comfortable with him and I personally think he's got the talent to be the Packers RB of the future, sorry Starks

DAvon House, got to wait and see, he's a question mark, but again, early nagging hamstring on a player that has to get past Woodson, Williams, and Shields = tall orderto see the field, I think 2012 we get to see what he's got in some nickle and dime situations.

DJ Williams, although he flashed in camp, is one player I wonder if he's all he's cracked up to be.. as a 5th round pick.

DJ Smith, stepped in as a rookie when Hawk goes down with injury, handles all the calls near flawlessly in a complicated D with lots of moving parts, flashes some big time talent in one game, has another good game, and one stinker.. 6th round pick rookie who some think should be starting next to Bishop (another 6th rounder, btw)

Ryan Taylor (We've now entered the 7th round), dominate ST player, better receiver than advertised if you payed attention during camp- (and he did catch a TD in his first offensive snap of the year), and a extremely feisty blocker- he's got the biggest mean streak on an offensive line/TE corps that needs some nasty to it.

Lawrence Guy- definition of a developmental project player, this kid is raw and time will tell, but physically he's a Cullen Jenkins clone (who was also a Dev project), to the point it's almost scary. Same size, same weight, same speed, same cone..

UFA's : Dominguez, MD Jennings, Lattimore, Saine, So'Oto are all still with the team. MD Jennings will probably get the opportunity to start next season if Collins doesn't come back. MM has already said Lattimore will be more involved on D next season. Saine had a solid showing last season. So'Oto is another project player with a big upside if he can learn the position.

Shaky Smithson is still on PS I think, or maybe IR.

I don't see this 2011 was a weak draft class thing. Are there some questions to be answered? Sure. But I don't see a bad draft class. I see some unfortunate injuries and some guys that haven't had the opportunity to play yet. I also see a bunch of guys who stepped in and contributed. WE'll know more about last year's class as 2012 takes shape.

MarkinMadison's picture

+1

Last time I checked, the conventional wisdom was that if you got three starters out of a draft you did well. Sherrod started, and got better (and might have been better without all of that guard nonsense), and will start again somewhere in the future. He needs more upper body strength and a full rehab. Cobb fills a void at return man that has been there for years, and will be at least the team's #3 receiver at some point in the near future - and with this offense, that's a starter. DJ Smith started and people are already calling for Hawk to be benched. That's three who have shown the ability to be regular starters in year #1.

MD Jennings may be a starter this year, albeit more by necessity, but who knows? Alex Green and Davon House are unknowns, meaning they may bust, or they could be starters in the future. Same with Ryan Taylor, but it is interesting to compare him to a young Chewy. I wouldn't write off So'Oto yet.

The bottom line is that the three year rule still matters, and the 2011 draft class has contributed and shown a ton of potential. Wish there was someone who had made a real contribution at OLB or DL? Sure, we all do.

packsmack25's picture

The thing is, I don't see any of those players other than Cobb and Smith making an impact on the team in the next two years. Sherrod probably won't start this year, RBs that relied on lateral quickness have a hard time coming back from ACL injuries, and House couldn't even get on the field over Pat Friggin Lee.

Perhaps it's not as much a knock on last year's draft as it is a testament to how great the two prior drafts were. All I know is that the two previous drafts had much better early results. And I really don't see that changing very much in two seasons.

Rocky70's picture

Right now Cobb & Smith are the only 'hits' out of the 2011 draft.

All the rest are 'hope & dream' players. Projects.

But you're missing the point. Everyone knew DL & OLB needed better players. Neither position was upgraded one iota. Now, draft 2012 will have to fix the problem. It's difficult to eliminate your flaws in only one draft. Why do you think TT went into free-agency. TT only signs free agents when mistakes are made in the draft. Ask him.

packsmack25's picture

Also, I was only referring to the draft, not the UFAs.

James C's picture

Packsmack I find it funny that you think after 5 games the 2011 draft class sucks, but then go on to say that the 2010 draft class was great.  But after 5 games the only person we drafted in the 2010 draft that did anything was Bulaga and the only other person from that draft class that had an impact in his rookie year was Starks, and that was in the playoffs.  The other three players that you brought up didn't do anything until this past season, their 2nd year in the NFL. It's also not fair to judge the 2011 draft to the 2009 draft, as we were picking in the top ten (and had two first round picks) not at 32. It's easy to have a great draft if your picking in the top ten of every round, as opposed to the end of every round. And let's not even bring up the fact that the rookies last year didn't have an offseason that the past rookies have had. If there ever was a year that a rookie draft class wouldn't have had an impact, it would've been last year as superbowl champs. The fact of the matter is, it's way too early to judge the 2011 draft class and you're lying to yourself if you think otherwise.  

PackersRS's picture

+1

Rocky70's picture

-1

Just a list of excuses & apologies. The fact remains: Draft 2011 had little affect on GB as a team. GB's in trouble if draft 2012 doesn't deal with specific team weaknesses much better than 2011, starting with the DL & OLB positions.

Just a quick question to James : Which players in draft 2011 will help the "D" in 2012 & beyond ?? You see the point?? Only House, Smith & Guy to choose from. The 4th, 6th & 7th round picks. All projects that could take years to develope if ever. GB needs the help on the "D" today.

packeraaron's picture

Well said James.

packsmack25's picture

The 2010 class competed in training camp. Bulaga was clearly a good pick, Starks showed promise despite injury, Burnett was the starter before injury, and Quarless was the second TE on the depth chart. Last year, Cobb showed he was great and Smith showed he could tackle anything that moved. Other than that? Disappointment. Big difference, and you're delusional if you think the classes will compare favorably in a year.

PackersRS's picture

It really doesn't matter if this class doesn't compare in a year, because

a) You can't judge a draft class till at least their 3rd year in the league

b) You certainly can't judge a draft class by one season in which the offseason was basically nonexistent.

And there's still the subject of where the Packers picked in each year.

packsmack25's picture

a) I can judge the draft whenever I damn well please and...

b) The short offseason BS doesn't work when two of the most successful rookie QBs in history played with that same short offseason.

PackersRS's picture

Using QBs as an example in the greatest passing season of all time doesn't prove any point.

Using 2 players as an example doesn't prove a point either. Some players are able to produce right away, some are not. Doesn't mean the first ones are succesful and the others aren't.

Using an exception like you did, it took Bart Starr 6 years to start playing at a high level.

packsmack25's picture

I want to be wrong, trust me. I hope House, Green, and Guy all make an impact this year and that the TEs turn into ridiculous weapons. I just worry based on early returns that the talent level just isn't as high when it comes to last year's draft.

HutHutMike's picture

If you read much of what Huber writes it's not so surprising that he makes a terrible pick here.

BubbaOne's picture

Read this article and you'll get an idea where Huber is coming from.
http://gnb.scout.com/2/1175432.html

I've seen mocks that had Zeitler going early in the 2nd round so 28 isn't ludicrous. Yesterday, I said if TT takes Zeitler w/ the 59th pick I'd be a happy camper.

Don't forget TT has said he views early picks as long term investments. I want TT to draft pro bowlers. If Zeitler can be one at 325 lbs and anchor a young OL for the next 5-10 years then the pick is worth it. Plus he's an immediate upgrade to EDS and Dominguez and offers the versatility that MM desires while being mentored by Saturday.

We can get D line help in the mid rounds: Malik Jackson, Trevor Guyton, Jaye Howard, Hebron Fangupo, Chigbo Anunoby, and Tyrone Crawford to name a few. But where will this team be if we don't protect AR. We need a long term answer at C, maybe Z is it.

Rocky70's picture

Watch how fast 15-1 becomes 9-7 when a team continues to disregard it's weak areas. The "D" needs a major infusion of talent & you want to use another high pick for another back-up O-lineman. A team can't continually plan for seasons down the road when the window is open now.

BubbaOne's picture

Yes, it's crazy, ludicrious, maddening to see a GM draft a player at a position you have manned by a future HOF'er and the team needs help somewhere else...AR to BF...er, NEVER MIND!

Rocky70's picture

Come on Bubba, you know dam well that the QB position always permits exceptions to the general rules. The center position can't even remotely be compared to the QB position. Hell, GB would have resigned Wells if the center position was as critical as the QB position.

BubbaOne's picture

Oh, I forgot the Rocky70 QB exception rule. I would be hard pressed to find another example...maybe TT trading out of the 1st round and his 1st pick would be at a position we don't need..."oh hello Jordy, say hi to Rocky70".

Btw---speaking of rules, did you know you were on "double secret probation"?

Rocky70's picture

Got anything that's a little more recent ?? Jordy was drafted almost 4 years ago.

Unfortunately, all it takes is one losing season for some fans to fully understand the 'fine-line' between winning & losing in the NFL. This year's draft could very well determine GB's record in 2012 & who knows how long after. GB already has a 'record-setting' offense to go along with a 32nd ranked "D", but you'd still rather use high draft picks to add to the 'depth' on the "O". ----- Glad you are not the GM in 2012.

davyjones's picture

C'mon, you made up most of those names in the last paragraph, didn't you? Have you been reading Mad Magazine?

BubbaOne's picture

Maybe you should climb back in your locker davy jones rather than commenting and proving your ignorance.

jim's picture

perhaps zeitler is the answer at left guard, with a possibility that lang slides over to center.

Denver's picture

That makes the most sense to me as well if it came to it, though I'm hoping it doesn't as much as I like both Zeitler and Konz.
Gotta draft D, D, and more D early and often.

Lars's picture

Huber obviously loves Zeitler. But, there's no way Thompson spends a one or even a two on him. The only true guard drafted in the first round is going to be Decastro. Also, Zeitler may be a mauler for the running game, but he's been known to struggle in pass pro.

The Packers are set at G with Lang and Sitton. Why move Lang to C when you can draft a center like the kid from Ohio State in the 3rd round and let him learn behind Saturday for a year or two. Actually, if you're talking developmental center it could be a late round pick or UFA.

MarkinMadison's picture

I don't see any real reason why Zeitler will not be a quality starting NFL guard. I think his alleged problems in pass protection are overblown. Zero sacks on a three year starter. Where's the proof of the "problem"? To a certain extent he is a product of the Badger system - both in having fewer opportunities to have sacks marked against him, but also in terms of emphasis on skill development. He may make the adjustment to a more run-oriented system a little faster than to the Packers, but he has enough physical tools and is dedication to get it done with quality coaching. He's got great strength and a solid punch. Even the Packers could do a lot worse than to put this guy up against Detroit's DL.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Absurd at 28.

GBP 4 LIFE

Zach Kruse's picture

I talked with Bill about the pick, and he said Konz's injury history scares him. He's also been high on Zietler for awhile. Probably the top player on his board when the pick came up, over any of the remaining pass-rushers.

BubbaOne's picture

I grant you 28 is a reach right now but may be Huber is ahead of the curve:

http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/NFL-Draft-Instant-Impact-Prospects.html

PackersRS's picture

Don't know man.

If he'd be drafted by us, he would be a center. Centers rarely get drafted in the first round (yes, recently there've been more circumstances). And he'd have to compete with his own teammate Konz in that area.

As a guard, I could see it, but guards also don't get drafted in the 1st round very often.

And he doesn't project as a possible tackle.

It would take a team desperate to get a guard or a center to draft him in the first. DeCastro is reported as the best OL prospect in the draft, ahead of any tackle, as one of if not the best guard to come in a while, and he's often mocked in the 20's.

It wouldn't shock me, but if I had to bet I'd say he won't.

pkrNboro's picture

I sorta think Rodriguez has some upside -- which would make this pick a waste, especially in consideration of our record-setting defense.

ted, of bill and ted's picture

a) dontari poe fell all the way to 24 in that mock? if that was real life, i think ted probably would have made a move...

b) don'ta hightower was still available. i do like zeitler, but i'll take hightower 10 times out of 10 for the defense's sake

PackersRS's picture

IMO Poe's high draft status is a product of post-combine media hype and he isn't that high on most team's boards.

ted, of bill and ted's picture

true. but if he falls that close to us he's worth a close look...

packsmack25's picture

Packers don't draft guys with bad tape. He has REALLY bad tape.

Jamie's picture

I agree with the majority here, and say we cut losses with TT.

Murphy's picture

But which losses are we cutting? The 2 from last year, or the 6 from the year before?

Jamie's picture

Well, all of them, of course.

Mikeh's picture

packsmack25 is right when he says he is perfectly within his rights to judge a draft after 1 year.

The fact that its generally regarded that relying on rookies to make a major contribution is generally a sign of a poor team seems to have passed him by but he can do as he likes ...

Maybe he thinks a team that ended the season 15-1 in the regular season is a poor team. Who knows ?

Guess the Rodgers pick was a truly disastrous pick then given he didn't contribute for 3 years. Sitton/Lang didn't start as a rookie - horrible picks. Finlay - total bust hardly did anything as a rookie.

There's nothing wrong with drafting projects - all draft picks are projects unless you drafted badly 3 years ago and are forced to start rookies.

packsmack25's picture

6 Packers started in the Super Bowl in 2011 that were rookies or 2nd year players. You need the young guys to contribute to win titles, period.

Rocky70's picture

Most people avoid the details if those details fail to support their positions. When you are perennially one of the youngest teams in the NFL, you better have 'young players' stepping up including rookies.

If TT keeps most of his 12 picks in draft 2012, GB will have even more 'rookies' who will have to contribute.

The Pack needs 3 or more 2012 rookies to have an immediate impact (all "D") or GB may very well have a difficult 2012 season.

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