Early reports on Packers’ seventh-round draft choice Andrew Datko were not good. Comparisons were made to Ricky Elmore.
We got our first glimpse of Datko against the Chargers, and it wasn’t pretty, at least initially. He got whipped a few times and didn’t do much to disspell those early reports.
Then he settled down and wasn’t half bad the rest of the game. Jason Wilde reported on Saturday that Datko has looked better in practice as well after a rough start.
I’m not saying that Datko will become the second coming of Chad Clifton, but it’s silly to write him off so early. Bob McGinn didn’t exactly write him off with his ominous Tweet, but it was a little quick to even suggest that a guy can’t play only a few days into camp.
It’s all about health with Datko. He was a good tackle at Florida State — when on the field. Shoulder injuries limited Datko later in his college career. The guy simply hasn’t played much football recently.
Ted Thompson swung for the fences with the Datko pick. You’re probably asking how it’s even possible to swing for the fences with a seventh-round pick, but in my opinion, that’s the only swing Thompson should be taking that late in the draft.
It’s the seventh round. Picking a boom or bust player is perfectly fine. You can always find fill-in guys off the street who have already reached their ceilings. Try and hit a home run with your seventh-rounder.
Again, I’m not saying that Datko is a home run, but he’s 6-foot-6, 315 pounds, only allowed four sacks in his final three seasons at Florida State, and played his entire junior season with a torn labrum.
This kid deserves a chance to show what he can do if healthy.
Did any of us think Marshall Newhouse would be penciled in as the 2012 left tackle at this point in camp last season? Guys with raw talent usually get better when healthy and given a chance to develop. Datko has raw talent.
With the injury to Newhouse and Herb Taylor’s struggles at left tackle, Datko’s development is actually one of the more intriguing storylines to follow at camp.
I know I’m going to give him some more time before writing him off.——————
Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .