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Thursday, April 22, 2010
Bryan Bulaga falls into Packers' lap

By Kevin Seifert

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Sitting in Detroit's media room, I watched Green Bay's selection approach with increasing drama. Who would have thought that four players long considered likely targets -- Iowa left tackle Bryan Bulaga, Texas linebacker Sergio Kindle, TCU linebacker Jerry Hughes and Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson -- would all be available at No. 23 overall?



The riches were so abundant that I half expected Packers general manager Ted Thompson to trade down a few spots, gain an extra pick and still get one of those players. In the end, however, the Packers did exactly what Detroit did earlier: they refused to over think. They took the obvious and, in my mind most appropriate, option.

In the short-term, Bulaga will give the Packers insurance against the increasing health risk inherent in starter Chad Clifton. At some point, Bulaga will offer a seamless transition as the 33-year-old Clifton's permanent replacement.

Many of us assumed the Packers would have a much more difficult choice. Based on pre-draft mocks, at least, it seemed they would have to choose between a lesser-regarded left tackle -- I gave them USC's Charles Brown in our blog network mock draft -- or perhaps Hughes. Some unorthodox decisions in the middle of the draft allowed Bulaga to fall into their laps.

We'll have more on Bulaga as the draft continues. For now, here is a quick scouting report on him from Scouts Inc:
Pros: Works from the snap until the whistle and gives same effort when Iowa runs to the opposite side as he does when Iowa runs behind him. Short-term memory and doesn't appear to dwell on mistakes. Gets set quickly, locks out arms and can ride explosive edge rushers past the pocket. Shows excellent body control and footwork when forced to redirect. Active and strong hands.

Cons: Can be a step late sliding off combo block and covering up linebacker. Doesn't always show great spatial awareness as a zone blocker or take sound angles to downfield blocks. Vulnerable to some spin moves and needs to do a better job of handling power-to-speed moves. Must continue to improve lower-body strength in order to anchor better versus bull rush.