The Green Bay Packers' sudden need at center has led us to consider their options in the 2012 draft class. That will probably be a common theme for the next month, especially after free agent Jeff Saturday scheduled a visit with the Denver Broncos and veteran Samson Satele signed Wednesday with the Indianapolis Colts.
But a quick look at the centers in this class brings us back to our meeting with ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay at the NFL scouting combine. There is only one dominant interior offensive lineman in this draft, and he's not a center. It's Stanford guard David DeCastro, who is "as good an interior lineman as I've ever scouted," McShay said.
McShay considers DeCastro one of the best 15 players in the draft. But because NFL teams rarely value guards that high, McShay projects DeCastro to be drafted anywhere between No. 16 and No. 25 in the first round.
I'm not advocating the Packers draft DeCastro with the idea of moving him to center. But if McShay's projection is accurate, DeCastro could provide an interesting opportunity for two of our other teams -- the Chicago Bears at No. 19 and the Detroit Lions at No. 23.
The Bears haven't addressed their offensive line during an otherwise active opening week in free agency, and they selected a tackle -- Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi -- in the first round of the 2011 draft. But their line is hardly settled enough to ignore a prospect as good as DeCastro in that situation.
The Lions have used the same starting guards for the past two years, Rob Sims and Stephen Peterman. But general manager Martin Mayhew has demonstrated repeatedly that he will draft based on value over the status of his current lineup. That makes DeCastro a possibility for them.
Your next chance to hear about DeCastro will come Thursday when he participates in Stanford's pro day. He won't answer the Packers' question at center, but he could be in play for the NFC North regardless.