NFC North: Bruce Campbell

As always, Bob McGinn is offering a thorough review of this year's draft class over at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Friday's topic of the offensive line is of special interest for Green Bay fans, whose team seems poised to take a tackle in the first round of the draft.

One name we haven't discussed much is Maryland's Bruce Campbell, and McGinn has an interesting reason: Campbell had a below-average score on the Wonderlic intelligence test (18) and is considered to have a high bust factor by many NFL scouts. McGinn writes: "Other than quarterback, the link between the Wonderlic and successful performance might be stronger in the offensive line than at any other position."

Of interest to the larger NFC North community: Florida guard/center Maurkice Pouncey scored a 14 on the Wonderlic. McGinn: "In most offenses it is the job of the center to call out the defensive front, identify pass rushers and adjust the protection or run-blocking scheme at the line. Intelligence is valued highly at all five offensive line positions but none more so than center. Green Bay center Scott Wells scored 30 on the Wonderlic, and his predecessor, Mike Flanagan, had 35. The six centers drafted in the first round since 1994 averaged 24.7."

Continuing around the NFC North on the final Friday before the NFL draft:

  • Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "It makes sense that the Packers would look for a quarterback in the later rounds, and [general manager Ted] Thompson might consider three QBs projected to go in Round 4 or later: Oregon State's Sean Canfield, Tennessee's Jonathan Crompton or Fordham's John Skelton."
  • Minnesota quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who likely would be the team's starter if Brett Favre retires, is expected to sign his restricted free agent tender soon. Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune has more.
  • Missed this on Thursday: Vikings coach Brad Childress told Bob Sansevere of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that the only quarterback he has worked out this offseason is Florida's Tim Tebow.
  • A group of Los Angeles businessmen is considering whether to build a football stadium behind the Staples Center, writes Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times.
  • John Niyo of the Detroit News left Thursday's news conference convinced that Detroit will take defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh with the No. 2 overall pick of the draft.
  • Bob Wojnowski of the News: "But Suh is too good to pass up, and the Lions' defense is much, much too bad to pass him up. [General manager] Mayhew is sticking to his best-player-available approach, and the great thing about that is, the best player also happens to fill a huge need."
  • Retired tight end Casey FitzSimmons is sorry he "can’t be a part of this turnaround that I think is right around the corner," he told Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press.
  • Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times doesn't see the Bears trading up into the second round.
  • The Bears hosted Virginia tackle Will Barker on an official visit earlier this week, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
  • Here are the third- and second-round installments of ESPN.com's all-time draft series.

Digging in at No. 23

April, 2, 2010
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I had an interesting conversation Thursday with a friend who posed this question: What does Green Bay do with the No. 23 overall draft position if the top four offensive tackles are already off the board?

(Yes, I know. I lead a really fascinating life.)

Seriously, I think it's an interesting and relevant debate with the draft three weeks away. We've discussed the Packers' clear need for a depth infusion at both tackle positions, where starters Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher will be 34 and 33 years old, respectively, when the season begins. But take a look at Mel Kiper's offensive tackle rankings Insider as they stood Thursday:

1. Oklahoma State's Russell Okung
2. Oklahoma's Trent Williams
3. Iowa's Bryan Bulaga
4. Rutgers' Anthony Davis
5. Indiana's Rodger Saffold

It's not out of the question that Okung, Williams, Bulaga and Davis all will be taken before No. 23. But there seems to be a consensus among media analysts, at least, that the drop-off after Davis is significant. Scouts Inc. ranks Safford as a mid-second round pick. The same goes for Maryland offensive tackle Bruce Campbell, whose draft value varies wildly depending on who you listen to.

The Packers could go with Campbell at No. 23. Or, if they like both him and Saffold, they could probably trade down and get one of them in the second round.

Packers general manager Ted Thompson has a well-earned reputation for the trade-down model. But what if he doesn't move? Where do the Packers go at No. 23 under this scenario?

I don't disagree with what Green Bay linebacker Nick Barnett tweeted Friday morning:
Here is what is going to happen in the draft i think.. We will draft one or two things... Olb or o lineman... It depends which is avalible.

Yes, the Packers could also use an outside linebacker to replace the departed Aaron Kampman. Here are Kiper's top five outside linebackers:

1. Texas' Sergio Kindle
2. Missouri's Sean Weatherspoon
3. TCU's Jerry Hughes
4. South Carolina's Eric Norwood
5. Penn State's Sean Lee

Kindle would be quite a coup for the Packers at No. 23, especially considering his apparent aptitude for a 3-4 defense. Will he be available? It would only be a guess, but typically, anyone with elite pass rushing potential usually goes in the top half of the first round. I wouldn't want to speculate on which linebacker the Packers might like after Kindle, but the list above at least gives you an idea of the players who might be available.

Feel free to weigh in below.

Combine workout warriors

March, 3, 2010
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If you're following ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay on Twitter (@McShay13), you know three players made impressions worthy of further study at the scouting combine: Maryland offensive tackle Bruce Campbell, Fresno State cornerback A.J. Jefferson and Louisville receiver Scott Long.

McShay is the first to acknowledge that "combine results can mislead," but said that trio "tore up" Indianapolis.

Campbell's performance is of particular note from an NFC North perspective, considering Green Bay's clear need for a tackle. I'm fully aware that during games, offensive linemen never run a 40-yard dash or bench press or perform vertical jumps. But it's at least worth noting that Campbell is athletic enough to have produced some of the best performances in those drill categories at the combine:

  • His 4.85 in the 40 was tops among all offensive linemen.
  • His 34 repetitions in the bench press tied for No. 5.
  • His vertical jump of 32 inches ranked for No. 6.

Vincent Vassallo of ESPN's Stats & Information compiled the chart below, noting the best performance in every major drill at the combine. Jefferson certainly will have his name recognized a bit more over the next few months, if nothing else.

DraftWatch: Early look at No. 23

January, 14, 2010
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As we noted earlier this week, Green Bay will have the No. 23 overall pick in the draft. That’s easy to figure out. Now the hard part: Who might they choose if they remain in that spot?

At this point in the draft season, it’s nearly impossible to tell. But draft evaluation is a year-round business, so there is always a list. Below, I’ve given you two assessments of the players who enter the Senior Bowl ranked in the middle-to-end of the draft’s first round. Remember, in some cases juniors haven’t declared for the draft.

First, here is the 10 players ranked between No. 18 and No. 28 by Scouts, Inc.:

18. USC safety Taylor Mays
19. North Carolina outside linebacker Bruce Carter
20. Florida inside linebacker Brandon Spikes
21. Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap
22. California running back Jahvid Best
23. Oklahoma tight end Jermaine Gresham
24. Maryland offensive tackle Bruce Campbell
25. Florida State cornerback Patrick Robinson
26. Notre Dame receiver Golden Tate
27. Iowa offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga
28. Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen

Mel Kiper’s Big Board only includes 25 players, so here are Mel’s Nos. 18-25:

18. Rutgers offensive tackle Anthony Davis
19.
Mays
20.
Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham
21.
Texas linebacker Sergio Kindle
22. Gresham
23. Best
24. Illinois receiver Arrelious Benn
25. Robinson

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