Pair of top OL prospects confirm meeting with Packers' brass

-- When Aaron Rodgers was sacked 49 times in 2018 -- his most since 2012 -- the Green Bay Packers knew they needed to emphasize the offensive line at some point this offseason in an effort to protect their franchise cornerstone.

Team brass, including the coaching staff, got a head start on that at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this week.

Kansas State offensive lineman Dalton Risner has already met with members of the Packers' coaching staff, making an intriguing prospect all the more interesting. The Packers possess the No. 12 and No. 30 overall picks in the first round, but Risner could be off the board by the time their second-round pick at No. 44 rolls around, making him a potential selection at No. 30.

Risner confirmed to Cheesehead TV's Ross Uglem that, although he hasn't met with either one of head coach Matt LaFleur or general manager Brian Gutekunst, he interviewed with offensive line coach Adam Stenavich and his assistant, Luke Butkus. Both of which are fresh hires made by LaFleur while he assembled his ideal staff.

"I really enjoyed that conversation and letting them know where I come from and my story," Risner said.

What makes Risner such an engaging prospect is his ability to play virtually every position along the offensive line, which is something he did often during his four collegiate seasons with the Wildcats.

The Packers could have the option of throwing Risner into the fire at right guard for a season while right tackle Bryan Bulaga finishes up the final year of his contract, then swap him out to Bulaga's former position.

Interior guard was an enigma for the Packers last season, with Lane Taylor unable to replicate his success the two seasons prior and Justin McCray and Byron Bell -- a free agent -- creating a revolving door opposite him. The belief is that potent interior protection will offer Rodgers comfort in the pocket and an opportunity to improve off of his porous 2018 campaign.

The Packers were also one of six teams to meet with Florida offensive lineman Jawaan Taylor, according to Jon Ledyard of The Draft Network.

Taylor would likely be a future replacement for Bulaga, as he's primarily played right tackle for the Gators in his three seasons. 

"He lacks length but shows quickness, often riding faster rushers past the quarterback if he's able to get his hands on him," ESPN's Todd McShay wrote in his ranking of the top-32 prospects in October; a list in which Taylor ranked No. 10.

"Taylor still needs to work on his angles and play with better body control when coming to the second level, but there is pop in his game. He has the athletic ability to develop into a strong zone blocker."

Under LaFleur, the Packers are expected to focus heavily on the running game in the zone-blocking scheme, making Taylor a fit for what they're trying to accomplish.

__________________________

Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (38)

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TheVOR's picture

February 28, 2019 at 04:57 pm

Regarding this - but Risner could be off the board by the time their second-round pick at No. 44 rolls around, making him a potential selection at No. 30." He has a 2-3 round grade in a lot of publications. With his senior bowl appearance, he might have cemented a 2nd round grade. I don't by any means think he's a lock before 44, I could see him being there. Really like this football player, saw some nasty in the film study..

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The TKstinator's picture

February 28, 2019 at 08:03 pm

I like interior guards and exterior tackles.
I also like interior defensive tackles and exterior defensive ends.
Another would be interior inside linebackers and exterior outside linebackers.
When folks call me “redundant”, I reply “You can say that again.”

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JerseyAl's picture

March 01, 2019 at 07:00 am

My prediction is that Risner will be one of those high-risers and end up a late first round pick. Watching his tape has convinced me of that. I'd love for the Packers to nab him at 30.

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stockholder's picture

March 01, 2019 at 07:05 am

I wouldn't. I'll take a TE first.

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Since'61's picture

March 01, 2019 at 08:05 am

Good OLs are a higher priority than TEs. Thanks, Since '61

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Since'61's picture

March 01, 2019 at 08:05 am

Al - I agree. If we take Risner we could consider moving Bulaga to RG and let Risner go to RT from day one with Bulaga playing to next to him as an on the field coach. Thanks, Since '61

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JerseyAl's picture

March 01, 2019 at 08:15 am

gotta disagree with that. Bulaga is not moving to guard. Risner would play RG and/or be swing T backup year 1. Then he replaces Bulaga at RT.

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Since'61's picture

March 01, 2019 at 09:24 am

Al - if that is the case wouldn't we move Risner to RT when Bulaga is eventually injured at RT? I understand what you are saying about Bulaga not moving but I think Bulaga has a better chance of getting through the season healthy at RG and if Risner is going to RT either as a starter or even as a backup in year 1 wouldn't it make sense to put him at RT from day one? Thanks, Since '61

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stockholder's picture

March 01, 2019 at 08:17 am

Every coach in the NFL visited with Risner. You can't base a first rd selection on that. Were falling into a bad scenario. The Packers can't keep taking need, over a higher rated player. If Williams is @12 why wouldn't you take him first then. Risner Played RT. They want to move these slow feet inside. It didn't work with Spriggs. And he should be the reason you don't grab at straws. The Te is your game changer. Guard is not. Dumb move!

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The TKstinator's picture

March 01, 2019 at 08:37 am

Spriggs absolutely does not have slow feet.

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JerseyAl's picture

March 01, 2019 at 08:53 am

ah, who cares about facts!

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The TKstinator's picture

March 01, 2019 at 11:28 am

Never let facts get in the way of a good argument.

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fthisJack's picture

March 01, 2019 at 08:53 am

if jonah williams falls to 12 do you take him and then get Fant at 30?

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JerseyAl's picture

March 01, 2019 at 09:07 am

I wouldn't take Williams because there are a ton of good right tackles in this draft that could be had later on. I'd still be looking for an edge rusher that high.

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stockholder's picture

March 01, 2019 at 12:21 pm

I'm not trying to be negative/argumentative. But there are a lot Good Right Tackles. Agree!! So Why take Risner then @30. Williams is a 5 star and can be moved around. He puts on a clinic. Alabama is a Top school. He ends the gambles later and is the perfect re-building block. He plays LT. and can go inside. And You might see others move on that line now! If you pass on Williams for a edge rusher, the 3 Sweat, Polite, and Burns are your pick. 3 stars Rated. Your loosing value and gambling with the @12. Compare those three to whats in front of them. Your passing on Oliver or Wilkins. And I'll bet Dorsey would be all over them. Remember Nagata falling? I would hate to give up an All-pro 5 star player for Need. Thats like dropping in the draft without a Trade. My hope is they Trade down/ or find a Free Agent and don't draft edge @12.

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JerseyAl's picture

March 01, 2019 at 12:58 pm

3 stars, 5 stars? You're seriously using High School rankings to evaluate what players are now? The list of 5 star HS recruits who have not lived up to their ranking is a very, very long one. Go watch film cut-ups of 5 or 6 of players' games and then make an evaluation.

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stockholder's picture

March 01, 2019 at 01:08 pm

Used Draft networks.(Early On, Not after Combine) But that was used years ago to. Now it's numeric. I have seen a lot of film. The more I see of Burns I like. But didn't TT get into this problem a couple of times. The Film was better then the player (RB) from Hawaii. Etc.

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Lare's picture

March 01, 2019 at 09:08 am

The question is if Spriggs can be effective in a wide zone blocking scheme?

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aljohn_w@yahoo.com's picture

March 01, 2019 at 08:57 am

You are not going to move Bulaga ! Just keep him healthy at one position .

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Since'61's picture

March 01, 2019 at 09:26 am

I agree, if we can keep Bulage healthy at RT I'm all for it. But that has become huge IF for last few seasons. Thanks, Since '61

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FTS Messamore's picture

February 28, 2019 at 05:51 pm

I like this kid. He’s tough, physical, and plays with an attitude. We need more football players like this.

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stockholder's picture

February 28, 2019 at 05:52 pm

I've dropped him down to second only too. Played. 3 yrs. at RT. 3 stars. Power and technique is OK. Trouble in pass set up. Feet need work. Won't start at RG. Still like him better then Taylor. It is interesting that the packers are following the Hype.

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Bert's picture

February 28, 2019 at 07:35 pm

I don't know about "the Hype" but I think the Packers are doing their due diligence and being thorough. I doubt if they care much about where the fans or media types rank these guys. At least I hope they don't care much.

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stockholder's picture

March 01, 2019 at 07:24 am

Tweet: He knows every OL coach in the NFL

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kevgk's picture

February 28, 2019 at 09:16 pm

We don't know that they arent looking for him in the second or even third round. They could trade into the late second. a player interview doesnt mean they would reach for him.

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MarkinMadison's picture

February 28, 2019 at 06:21 pm

If I recall correctly the Packers did not interview Jaire Alexander last year. You really just never know squat.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

February 28, 2019 at 07:10 pm

GREEN BAY PACKERS

First-round spot: 14 
» Packers' 2018 draft picks | Draft history

Top prospects associated with the Packers: 
» Derwin James, S, Florida State: Visits Packers 
» Quenton Nelson, OG, Packers: Interviews with Packers at Combine 
» Dante Pettis, WR, Washington: Visits Packers 
» Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State: Vander Esch to visit Packers 
» Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State: Interviews with Packers at Combine 
» Vita Vea, DT, Washington: Will visit Packers 
» Connor Williams, OT, Texas: Visits Packers

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

February 28, 2019 at 07:44 pm

1. Draft TJHockenson TE Best All Around TE @#12
2. Keep M.Lewis - Now 2 best blocking TE in NFL
3. Pick up FA Tevin Coleman RB now 3 Solid RB
4. Get Andy Isabella in 4th Rd. Slot receiver
5. OL Second round and maybe FA
6. Get R. Tannehill as back up QB

This above should give the PACKERS a pretty explosive offense

And the above is so easy and doable that a child could do it. They can draft Defender with #30 pick.

Sorry, Hockenson is just too good. He will be the PBA at #12.

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Duneslick's picture

February 28, 2019 at 08:51 pm

M Lewis did nothing last year. Was not a good blocker

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NickPerry's picture

March 01, 2019 at 05:47 am

Last year didn't give us the slightest idea what Lewis can or cannot do. McCarthy was to busy wasting an entire season of the mans time keeping him on the bench.

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LambeauPlain's picture

March 01, 2019 at 07:15 am

“Not a good blocker.”

Based on what?

1. The Packers were last in the NFL in running plays last year...where M. Lewis’s skills are best employed

2. When MM called a run, Lewis was rarely on the field.

He was one of the best blocking TEs in 2017 helping to power Jacksonville’s league leading running attacks.

His new Coordinator in GB is was his prior coordinator in 2017....Hackett.

I think Hackett and ML will keep Lewis around.

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Since'61's picture

March 01, 2019 at 08:08 am

Good point about Hackett. I think he will utilize Lewis much more effectively. Thanks, Since '61

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

March 01, 2019 at 05:56 am

Where are you getting that Marcedes Lewis was the 2nd best blocking TE in the NFL in 2018?

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Since'61's picture

March 01, 2019 at 09:27 am

Fake news! Thanks, Since '61

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stockholder's picture

March 01, 2019 at 07:22 am

103. #Iowa TE TJ Hockenson
Height: 6-4 6/8
Weight: 251
Hand: 9 4/8
Arm: 32 2/8
Wingspan: 77 7/8

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LambeauPlain's picture

March 01, 2019 at 07:18 am

I hope the Pack gives Cody Ford (OK) a long look.

He is an excellent lineman who can play G and T. And he played in zone blocking scheme for Riley.

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AgrippaLII's picture

March 01, 2019 at 11:29 am

I've harped a lot for the OL but I don't think taking one in the first, second, or third rounds is smart. You've got to go after playmakers with these picks. You can get good OL prospects from the fourth and fifth rounds...these rounds will have some really hardnosed offensive lineman...find the nasty ones with chips on their shoulders for being passed over!

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AgrippaLII's picture

March 01, 2019 at 11:32 am

I forgot to add to my post above...Draft "three" of them!

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