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Packers Thinking Outside the Box for Depth at Center

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Packers Thinking Outside the Box for Depth at Center

Considering newly signed free agent Jeff Saturday is 36 years old and he only signed a two-year contract with the Green Bay Packers, it was perhaps surprising that they didn't draft a center or sign a more highly-regarded one as an undrafted free agent.

But according to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via Twitter, it appears the Packers are taking a unique approach to adding depth at the center position...

Draheim was a first-team all-conference selection at left tackle in the Mountain West last season.

The only other players with experience at center currently on the Packers roster are Evan Dietrich-Smith, who started several games at guard this past season, and Sampson Genus who spent 2011 on the practice squad.

Draheim has a long way to go to prove he can make the 53-man roster in Green Bay, but because neither Dietrich-Smith nor Genus are locks to make the roster either, the rookie from San Diego State would appear to stand a good chance of making the team during the regular season if he can impress.

Sticking around on the practice squad is a possibility as well.

The process of proving his worth begins this weekend for Draheim as rookie orientation camp occurs with practices on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (23) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

BubbaOne's picture

In his college bio he's listed as an OL. He played OC early on before moving to OT.

His height could be an issue at OC though MM may like that his size may give him the versatility to also play OG where as Genus is probably limited to OC.

QOTSA1's picture

This seems similar to what they tried to do with Nick McDonald a couple years ago, although I don't think McDonald had any experience playing center. Hopefully he turns out better than McDonald.

Another UFA they signed, Jaymes Brooks, seems like he could be a candidate to move to center as well. He was a guard in Virginia Tech's zone blocking scheme and he was used at center during the Players All-Star Classic.

Nerd's Laptop's picture

Micheal Rodney did an article on Brooks. I think they've got a couple of intriguing prospects there.

As for Campen being the best person to develop that talent, that's another issue entirely.

PackersRS's picture

Am I wrong or all the Packers' Olinemen have played LT in college (except for Saturday)?

Grant County's picture

Outside the box thinking? Not really! Moving J. Sitton to center is. He's the emergency long snapper. So transitioning to the two minute offense won't be a problem. Sliding TJ Lang over to right guard and moving Newhouse to left guard. So the offensive line looks like this: LT D. Sherrod, LG M. Newhouse, C J. Sitton, RG TJ. Lang, RT B. Bulaga backups A. Datko swing tackle( LT, RT) D. Barclay swing guard ( LG,RG) in a pinch could play tackle, E.D. Smith (C,G). Get rid of Saturday and save 7.4 million. This lineup provides for more flexibility in case of injuries. Newhouse and Lang could kick out to tackle (without to much adjustment left vs. right) and Datko played RT and LT in college. But because of shoulder injuries might want to give it a year to heal and build up strength. E.D. Smith knows the system can backup at center and guard positions. D. Barclay played LT,LG in college. I don't see a problem with Sitton making a change to Center. Now that's OUT OF THE BOX THINKING!

Anthony's picture

Really like it, but I don't think there's ANY chance at all they do it. Too many position changes, plus I'd be afraid to have Sherrod and Newhouse as the people on the blindside half of the O-line.

Nerd's Laptop's picture

I've heard Lang mentioned as a possible C, but not Sitton.

Grant County's picture

To many position changes? The only real position change is Sitton to center. He has the make up to be a great center plus he can handle the shot gun snaps. Lang for the first two years played RT so the switchback to the right side albeit RG isn't that much of a position switch. As for Newhouse he played LT last year (not bad, packers are hoping he grows into it, but that creates two problems) one he was'nt that great so instead of waiting for him to grow (get better) kick him inside to LG not that much of a position change plus it will allow him to use his tools to be more successful. Second problem first round pick D.Sherrod a LT prospect only can't play any other positions. The experiment last year at training camp at LG was a disaster, Lang became the starter. Proving Sherrod was only a LT. That's ok, because Sherrod is a LT not much of a position change for him and it allows him to use his tools to be successful. As for your concerns about the left side of the line, that's what training camps are for so that Sherrod and Newhouse and Sitton and Lang and Bulaga can gain some chemistry together. Plus save 7.4 million over 2years.

PackersRS's picture

I'll have to butt in. First of all, not much difference between being the emergency longsnapper to commanding the two-minute offense? What?

And one training camp, a shortened one, for a rookie that played in a shotgun-only offense in college proves he can't play LG?

And it is, indeed, too many position changes. You're preaching that all the Olinemen except for Bulaga to change spots, including asking a guy that's an all-pro at RG to move to C, where he never played, and where he'll have to make all the line calls.

All that change because of? Because you don't want arguably the best center of the past decade to play? A guy that mastered the two-minute offense?

Outside the box is an euphemism. You're asking for a complete OL overhaul when it has finally settled, after years of Campen and McCarthy screwing around, because of 1 player. And let's remember that, contrary to what they had done in all previous years, TT and co heavily pursued said player.

2012 will be the best the Packers' OL has performed since 2003. With Newhouse/Sherrod at LT and Saturday at C. Sorry if I'm being rude but, to me, your idea is just too far off, and I've never seen any coaching staff operate like that.

Rocky70's picture

It's amazing how 'video football' has affected how people see the real thing. Both TT/MM would be certifiably crazy to 'experiment' as suggested here.

Leigh Stelmach's picture

Grant County-Interesting comments-Creative thinking with logic.
A few thoughts-J Saturday is a great leader on the field @ locker
room. Remember they are replacing Wells who was highly respected
by the young Packer Offensive Line- Cheap price for a solid fill in
at Center @ a great mentor to the future Packer Centers!

pkrNboro's picture

Barbre at Center

Grant County's picture

Leigh thanks, you have some valid points to. But remember that Sitton was playing beside Wells for 3 years, and if Sitton was half awake he should be able to step in and make all the line calls and shifts done by the center. So he might not need any mentoring. Also you have to do a cost benefit anlysis of your decisions. Example if you do make the changes that I suggested, you save your (investment) 1st rd pick from 2011 (D.Sherrod) and you save a future draft pick because you don't have to draft another LT to replace Sherrod. Then you find a position for Newhouse LG whose best roll was swing tackle (LT,RT), filling in at tackle when someone got hurt. But his best position might be inside at LG. A. Datko drafted in the 7th rd fills the roll Newhouse played in being the swing tackle. Moving Sitton to Center saves you another draft pick in the future for a center. So you save a 1st rd pick from 2011 Sherrod, save a future pick by not having to replace Sherrod. And you save another future pick by not having to draft another center. ( or develop them through free agency which = time). And you save 7.4 million over 2 years ( money that could be used for other players contracts)

Grant County's picture

And here comes the trolls (pkrnboro and rocky 70 and packer rs)

Grant County's picture

Hey packer rs he's 36 years old soon to be 37 name all the players on the o line playing today that are that old. He WAS great time to move on. He's not worth 3.7 million.

Chris's picture

Ted Thompson deosn't feel the same way

redlights's picture

Grant, since this is the first time I've seen you post, I question if you're not the troll. You're doing a good job of flaming, here.

TT/MM identified C as a priority and signed Saturday so that the position was filled by a trustworthy soul, without having to reach in the draft. All indications are that Saturday hasn't declined so I think its a good move.

As far as "saving" Sherrod; he'll either make it or he won't, regardless of your out-of-the-box idea. Personally, I think the situation is ideal; Newhouse is at least servicable (or better) as LT, so Sherrod will have to earn everything he gets; nothing automatic.

You know, from your first post, I thought "that IS out-of-the-box"; but your incessant rebuttals and flaming make you look clueless.

PackersRS's picture

Did you watch him play last year to say that? He was still performing quite well.

"Since he inspired the column, I’ll start with Saturday. He had great footwork in the running game. It was clinic-worthy tape. He takes short, quick, and powerful steps all the way through a double team and into the second level. I was surprised by how quick he still gets off the ball, because he’s so efficient with his feet it doesn’t look like he’s moving that fast. However, when you watch him compared to everyone else, it’s clear that he’s a step ahead. This footwork is the main reason Saturday is still good in combination blocks, whether he stays on the nose tackle or works up to the linebackers. And honestly, that’s 85 percent of what a center does in the running game."

To me you're basing all your points on conjectures, but you're completely discarding what shows on the field. You cannot alter the entire OL like that without serious consequences, it's not a video game. Saturday is old, but there haven't been any signs of decline.

I recommend you read that article I linked, to see what a guy specialized in OL play has to say about Saturday's play last year.

Doofus above's picture

WOW, this guy Grant really has no idea what it takes to develop chemistry and that Sitton, Baluga, Saturday, Lang, and Newhouse are in THEIR best positions....

Its prob best if you turn on Madden 2012 now, trade for Saturday-then sit him, then move the entire line out of position....... Do you actually read what you write or is this an inside Joke???

Chris's picture

Ooh, oohh, lets start Andrew Datko(whom we've never seen play before) at Aaron Rodgers blind side, trade for Daryn Colledge and put him at LG, coax Mike Flanagan out of retiement to play C(b/c its not that different), Get Herb Taylor to switch positions and play RG for us and lastly see if Tauscher is healthy enough to contribute at the RT postion

Grant County's picture

Wow !!!! The article was about OUTSIDE THE BOX thinking. You offer up an idea that is and all you get is a bunch of arses, mocking, bullying, and being rude. And ooh, ooh, signing in under other names so they can act like arses and speak for TT and madden. But what can you expect from a bunch of 20 year olds to 30 somethings who live in there parents basement using tnere parents computer to lash out. Certainly not a CIVIL discussion. Done not wasting anymore time with arses.

PackersRS's picture

If you're referring to me signing with other names, if you've been to this site before, you know that I don't do that. I'm not in here to have juvenile discussions for the sake of discussing, I want to talk about football and learn more about it. And I didn't intend to be rude, and tried my best not to.

But it's one thing to think outside the box, and it's another to be outrageous for the sake of being outrageous, disregarding factual data.

pkrNboro's picture

Net Nanny... tough bitch after 10:00pm.

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