11

April

Packers Like Odd Pairing At A Key Position

Packers Center J.C. Tretter

Despite never having played a snap at center or in a NFL game, Tretter seems like a front runner for the Packers center position in 2014

During this week’s No Huddle Radio podcast, we had the pleasure of chatting with Dan Shonka of Ourlads Scouting Services about everything draft related.

Of course, there were deep ties to the Green Bay Packers and what we might see from them in next month’s draft.  One interesting comment that Dan made about drafting players to play certain positions in the NFL.

Shonka’s example couldn’t have been more perfect for the Packers’ current situation at offensive center.  He said that if a team needs a center, they should draft a center.  He has never been a big proponent of drafting a guard or a tackle to convert to another position due to the risk of that conversion not being a success.

Sure, there are occasions where a player can develop multiple skill sets.  Guard T.J. Lang is an example there.  Lang was a left tackle in college and was immediately tried at guard in Green Bay.  Lang did also work at tackle and has even played tackle in live game action, but he’s now entrenched at guard and has proven to be very suitable there.  Still, examples such as Lang seem to be more the exception and not the rule.

During head coach Mike McCarthy’s time in Green Bay, we have seen many examples of players who were offensive tackles in college and tried at guard and/or center with the Packers.  A few that come to mind besides Lang:  Derek Sherrod, David Bakhtiari, and Bryan Bulaga to name a few.  Heading into this season, Bulaga and Bakhtiari are presumed to be the starting tackle tandem.  Sherrod is once again back at tackle as a backup.

Beyond the versatility that it can offer, it begs the question as to why McCarthy continues to try and turn tackles into interior linemen.

We know McCarthy likes players that can do multiple things.  He likes his linebackers and tight ends on special teams.  He obviously likes his linemen to be able to step in at any spot on the line and in a pinch.  But is that the best way to build that continuity that he also talks about having on the line?

With Evan Dietrich-Smith departing for Tampa Bay in free agency, the Packers will have a new center this season.  Much of the speculation about who that will be has centered (pun intended) around second-year guy J.C. Tretter.  Tretter was drafted in the fourth round last year and was hurt on the first day of training camp.  He missed most of last year before being activated off of the physically unable to perform list late in the season.

Tretter is another former offensive tackle in college that was brought in seemingly to plug into the interior of the Packers offensive line.  Before he was injured, there was talk about Tretter getting reps at center and possibly pushing for a starting job.

The Packers still have the draft in which they could draft a true center or another offensive lineman that they have in mind for the role.  In that case or if they run with Tretter, they are handing the keys to the car to not only a young player who has not played a single down in the NFL, but who may not have any extensive time at the center position either.

As much as we have already talked about the center position and what the Packers will do, you can expect more as the draft approaches and team activities start up soon.

 

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on "AllGreenBayPackers.com

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69 Responses to “Packers Like Odd Pairing At A Key Position”

  1. Hank Scorpio says:

    The Packers pretty much exclusively draft college OTs and move them around as necessary and appropriate, at least since TT took over. In addition to Lang, Josh Sitton was also a college OT. As was EDS. So was Darren Colledge. All moved inside once they became Pros. Don Barclay seems like an excellent candidate to be the next guy to make the move inside. With almost 2 years of starting experience, I consider him to be the front-runner to replace the departed EDS, not Tretter.

    I could not possibly care less that someone in the Draftnik Industrial Complex thinks that is the wrong approach. The obvious response is that he’s an amateur and the Packers front office staff are professionals. And the past success is all the validation they need to justify their approach.

    I just don’t get all the hand-wringing about OC. I’m not talking just this article. I’ve seen plenty of it all over. The Packers have 5 OL with significant NFL starting experience. I don’t see figuring out how to deploy those 5, or a better youngster, into a starting unit during an entire offseason is all that challenging of a task.

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    • Archie says:

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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      • Big T says:

        My personal favorite is taking Tony Mandarich over Barry Sanders. How deep does your head have to be buried in your azz to do that?

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 8

        • Jim says:

          If I remember correctly, Barry Sanders said he wouldn’t play for the Packers if they drafted him.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

        • Hank Scorpio says:

          Big T,

          I’m old enough to remember the Mandarich pick when it was made. I remember the pre-draft cover of SI labeling him “The Incredible Bulk”. And I can guarantee you that a lot of really good GMs would have done the exact same thing at the time. And not just because they had concerns about Sanders being a one hit wonder after backing up Thurman Thomas at Ok St. But because they were sure Mandarich was better than Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders and Derrick Thomas.

          Obviously, it was a mistake. Throwing in Aikman as the top pick, 4 of the top 5 were Hall of Famers..and the Packers got the other one. It’s certainly ouch-worthy, even 25 years later.

          But that’s the nature of the draft. Sometimes the “can’t miss” guys actually do miss. And sometimes a throw away 6th round pick turns into Tom Brady. It has nothing to do with any place that heads are buried. It’s just the unpredictable nature of trying to assess 21 year old kids.

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          • Big T says:

            My first thought on Mandarich was, what a steroid freak. He was a typical steroid user and abuser. After he got off the roids and came back with the Colts I believe, he actually was an average blocker… I think everyone in the Packers organization had blinders on and wanted him to be this bad ass rock star. He had everyone backing him, only problem was, the only person he could out block would be Marshall Newhouse.

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            • Hank Scorpio says:

              Yeah, the ‘roid thing seems like a pretty good bet in hindsight.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

          • bobalou13 says:

            Exactly Hank. I remember that draft also. All the experts thought that Mandarich was going to be one of the best ever, and no one, and I do mean No ONE, was the least bit surprised that GB took Mandarich in that spot. Sanders had a good year at Okie st, but not crazy good. He really blew up in the bowl game, but it was against Wyoming, for crying out loud. Nobody really thought he would turn into the player he did.

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      • Brad says:

        I get sick of people bashing TT! Is he perfect? We all know the answer to that question! However, he has been very good! Yes, you can point to Brian Brohm or Justin Harrell or Derick Sherrod. But what about his great draft picks? Nick Collins, Jordy Nelson, Aaron Rodgers, James Jones, Greg Jennings, Clay Mattews, Josh Sitton, and I could go on and on. Yes he does miss on some but so did Bill Walsh, Ron Wolf, Bill Parcells, Vince Lombardi, Tom Landry and every other great football mind who has ever been a part of drafting players. All you can do is set your board with your scouts and go from there! To say drafting players is not an exact science is an understatement. This is why I will always defer to the professionals when it comes to drafting or bringing in Free Agents. After all they DO KNOW BETTER then us! Even though some of us seem to think we can do better!

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      • Hank Scorpio says:

        Nice out of context hatchet job, Arch.

        Your examples are judgement on individual players. Mistakes happen all the time.

        My comment related to the philosophy of moving college OL to different pro positions.

        It’s apples and oranges comparison.

        Nice try, tho.

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      • funcrusher says:

        I love how whenever TT has made a poor draft choice like Brian Brohm, all the TT haters crush him for it. But, then when he’s made a genius selection like ARod, they say something stupid like ARod was “forced upon him.”

        You make SOOOOOOOOO much sense…

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    • aaronqb says:

      BTW, Evan Dietrich-Smith played offensive tackle at Utah State. If this draftnik guy did his research, he would realize how ridiculous his statement is.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • Jason Perone Jason Perone says:

        That implies that EDS is a solid, starting-caliber center. Some would agree, some wouldn’t. He was decent for the Packers the last two seasons, however, the Packers didn’t agree that he was solid enough. I don’t recall hearing about a ton of teams beating down the door to sign him.

        From that standpoint, it’s hardly ridiculous for someone with extensive knowledge of the game and scouting to suggest that teams are better off drafting players who have played the position they’re being drafted to play.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

        • Hank Scorpio says:

          I hope he’s only talking about OC only, not interior OL, or the entire OL, more generally.

          Because it is difficult to see how the Packers would be better off without Sitton and Lang starting inside after collegiate careers spent outside. Bulaga seems to have settled well on the right side in pro ball after playing the left in college.

          Either way, I disagree. But singling out OC does indeed take “ridiculous” off the table, at least given the data as it relates to the Packers on April 11, 2014. A year from now may be different. But only time will tell that.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

          • Jason Perone Jason Perone says:

            Dan’s comment wasn’t directed at a specific position but rather his overall philosophy. Center was indeed one example that he gave so it applies and he also talked about how some guys don’t even transition well from right to left guard. Sure there are exceptions but it’s just his take. Disagree with it, 100% fine.

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  2. Jay Hodgson Jay Hodgson says:

    Nice article, Jason. I’ve always wondered about TT and McCarthy seemingly always converting OL to different slots along the line. I don’t think it’s all that rare, however. It’s my opinion that of all the places to to try position changes, OL is probably the safest because of the similar skill sets required for each one, but not without risks, of course. I hope the Tretter experiment works out!

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    • Wayne Crannell says:

      The question is why we always are experimenting, plugging holes, converting players, and pulling people out of the Home Depot. Is it that difficult to find a center who, oh I don’t know, is a center and, oh I don’t know, pay him to do that?

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    • Wayne Crannell says:

      The question is why we always are experimenting, plugging holes, converting players, and pulling people out of the Home Depot. Is it that difficult to find a center who, oh I don’t know, is a center and, oh I don’t know, pay him to do that?

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  3. Jason Perone Jason Perone says:

    Dan Shonka is hardly an amateur. Over 50 years around the game as a pro scout and personnel guy? Doesn’t mean he’s never wrong but to call him a draftnik and amateur tells me you made that assessment without bothering to learn anything about him. Listen to the podcast and honestly tell me he’s a hack.

    Sitton and Lang converted well. Colledge, meh. Barclay at C likely means something went wrong elsewhere. He wasn’t impressive there last season.

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    • Hank Scorpio says:

      Jason,

      I never said he was a hack. YOU said he was employed at Ourlads. That means nobody is making any draft selections based on his work. That makes him an amateur scout in my book. I said no more and no less.

      However, in the real world where teams dress 7 guys on gameday and keep 9 total, versatility and the ability to play multiple spots is an absolute must. So maybe Shonka’s foolish pigeon-holing of 21 yr old kids into one spot forever is WHY he’s an amateur, despite his 50 years of experience.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

      • Jason Perone Jason Perone says:

        Your opinion of Dan is shared by very few.. probably fewer than that.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

        • Hank Scorpio says:

          Jason,

          I have no opinion of Dan. I’ve never met him so why would I?

          I think his notion that guys don’t move up and down the line easily is foolish. It’s not personal. It says nothing about him as a human being. I’m commenting on his OPINION.

          Can we stick to that and drop this nonsense?

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          • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

            “I have no opinion of Dan. I’ve never met him so why would I?”

            This is true, but we’ve never met you either so that point is rather invalid in convincing us.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

            • Hank Scorpio says:

              Huh? What does that have to do with, well, anything?

              Is this some kind of popularity/acceptance clicque or a place to discuss the Packers? I thought it was the latter but given all the personal nonsense going on here, I’m having second thoughts about that.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

        • Jay Hodgson Jay Hodgson says:

          I would trust Dan Shonka’s opinion over most people I know who talk/write about football.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

          • Sven says:

            So Dan second guesses Ted, but we shouldnt second guess Dan?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

            • Jay Hodgson Jay Hodgson says:

              Dan and Ted a legitimate NFL talent evaluators. I am not. I freely express my opinions, but not in a critical light of second-guessing them. They know the business and I’m just an armchair quarterback. Maybe Ted’s decisions lead to an 8-7-1 team last year. Who’s to say the way I run a team won’t result in a 2-14 season. If the NFL was like fantasy football, then I’d be 15-1 every year.

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              • Stroh says:

                Ted is a Professional talent evaluator. This Dan guy is an amateur talent evaluator. If he was a legitimate professional talent evaluator he would be employed by an NFL team.

                The difference is profound.

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              • Jay Hodgson Jay Hodgson says:

                He was an NFL scout. I have no idea why he is no longer, but the fact he was makes him a professional scout.

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              • Jason Perone Jason Perone says:

                Stroh, do you know Dan personally and know that he wants to be working for a NFL team? I’ll take a stab at it: nope, you sure don’t.

                He can evaluate talent and he’s far from amateur. Just because he’s not a GM doesn’t mean he can’t do it.

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              • Stroh says:

                Was is past tense. He USED to be a professional. Probably got fired so he wasn’t good enough to continue to be paid like a professional. Either way he no longer is a professional scout.

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              • Jason Perone Jason Perone says:

                Or Stroh. .maybe, just maybe when the GM he was working under got let go, his staff went with him. You don’t know the circumstances and seem quick to discredit the guy. So be it. You and Scorpio are 2 out of 2000. Amazing that 2 of you live here on this site.

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        • Sven says:

          Dan shared an opinion. Hank shared an opinion. Jason got sensitive.

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    • Hank Scorpio says:

      “Sitton and Lang converted well. Colledge, meh. Barclay at C likely means something went wrong elsewhere. He wasn’t impressive there last season.”

      This, again, is value judgements on players and their ability. Colledge is a “meh” player. That he converted from OT in college is not the reason. It is his “meh” talent. Sitton and Lang “converted well” because of their talent.

      Don’t confuse ability with the difficulty of sliding up and down an OL.

      BTW… Lang was the guy that moved to OC for the handful of snaps EDS missed last year. If Barclay does slide inside to start, I believe he would be RG with Lang at OC. That would be moving two guys. Does Bulaga moving back to RT count as 3 moves? Oh the HORROR!!!!!!!!!!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

    • Sven says:

      Colledge and EDS made very successful transitions to interior line positions. You say “meh” but they both were sought out and paid well by other teams. There is a good reason to focus on grabbing college OTs and converting in the pros, they are usually the most talented players on the OLs they come from, especially when they come from passing schools.

      Center seems to be a tricky postion as you need a person with correct body size, long snapping abilities, blocking skills, intelligence to identify blocking needs and ability to communicate blocking assignments. I would think that continuity at the position would be vital. I am surprised they let EDS walk, but they also must have known what they were doing as he was developed in house.

      This highly regarded scout seems to have a differing philosophy to the Packers. We have seen the Packers be successful with it. So I chalk it up to a bunch of off-season chatter. The proof is in the pudding.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. James David says:

    I would like it to be in the 3rd round with either Richberg or Martin selected.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  5. Cow42 says:

    Seems like this team is constantly trying to fill the same holes…

    C
    OT
    ILB
    OLB
    S

    When was the last time they went into a season without major question marks at each of these position groups?

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    • Since '61 says:

      Cow42 – in answer to your question, 1966.
      Thanks, Since ’61

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  6. Archie says:

    Tretter may fail at C and he may fail altogether. For one, he is making a huge jump from Cornell to the NFL. Add to that he has never played C before. However, the reason the Packers see him as their C of the future is they think he has everything they would want in a C. I say give the guy a chance to show what he’s got before we wring our hands. Would management go out on a limb for this guy if they weren’t convinced he’s THE guy for the job? Probably not. Could they still be wrong? Of course. But the guy has the worth ethic first and foremost. He is very intelligent. Physically he is plenty big enough, strong enough and athletic enough. In fact, on paper, he may be the best candidate for Packer C since the glory days. I have a good feeling about Tretter becoming a top NFL C. Doesn’t mean it will happen but certainly worth a try. Would I have a Plan B? Always. What is TT’s PLan B here? I don’t know but I don’t think he’s on our roster yet. We may draft a another young C in the middle of this draft or we may sign a cheap but grisly veteran near the start of camp. Even if Tretter is a home run, he could get injured again, so we have to have a Plan B and a Plan C for every contingency. TT often doesn’t do that (see C Jenkins, Scot Wells, ARod last year, S last year, etc.). For a very conservative guy, he seems to be very willing to run the risk of not having a good back-up plan at a lot of key positions. Let’s hope C is not the next such instance. For the moment I am hopeful that Tretter will be good and that TT will find a back-up for him if he isn’t or if he gets injured.

    Compare the Tretter strategy to the strategy of keeping guys at ILB who you know can’t do the job? Tretter has a great ceiling. Our ILBs are defeated before they take the field. Yet TT has no problem giving them good contracts and sending them out there every week. The excuses, they are dependable, available and they know the plays. Pretty weak.

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  7. Archie says:

    Will TT draft Calvin Pryor if he’s available at pick 21?

    I think so but I strongly doubt he will be. Many teams are looking for a S, including AZ at pick 20. TT may want to make a small trade with Miami to get ahead of AZ. Would Miami trade down? Maybe not if OT Zack Martin is still on the board.

    10 Players That Will Not Be Available at Pick 21:

    (1) Clowney DE/OLB
    (2) Mack OLB
    (3) Barr OLB
    (4) Gilbert CB
    (5) Donald DT
    (6) Robinson OT
    (7) Matthews OT
    (8) Lewan OT
    (9) Watkins WR
    (10) Evans WR

    In addition, at least two QBs will go before pick 21 and possibly three or even four. But we will assume the worst case – two. That is 12 players that we know have zero chance of being on teh board at pick 21. To obtain one of these guys the Pack would have to trade up and TT has never done that in R1 yet.

    So who are the next 9 best players???

    S – Dix and Pryor. (I like Pryor much better.)
    CB – Dennard, Robley, Fuller and Verrett
    ILB – Mosely and Shazier
    OLB – Dee Ford and Kony Ealy
    DL – Jernigan, Nix and Hageman
    OL – Zack Martin, Sua’Filo (G)
    TE – Ebron
    QB – other two from top 4
    WR – Beckham, Cooks, Lee
    RB – none

    That’s 21 guys for the next 9 slots. That spells trade-down in my book unless there’s a guy there that you love or if nobody else wants to trade up.

    The three guys TT might love are: Pryor; Mosely; and, Hageman (TT’s big man theory – God only made so many of them – also known as supply/demand.) Of these, good chance only Hageman will be there at pick 21 and maybe not even him.

    So TT could trade back to near the end of R1 or even very high in R2 and probably still get one of these 21 guys.

    If two of top 4 QBs is still on the board and with CLE picking 26th, there will likely be a team looking to jump in front of CLE to draft the QB they think CLE would take at 26. Last time TT was in this position was 2007 – the year CLE wanted to trade up for Brady Quinn and the Pack was at 16. CLE offered the next year’s #1, this year’s #2 and swap of position in every round of this year’s draft. Grandpa Teddy said no, explaining to the media that he had no way of knowing the value of a future pick. So the pick of Justin Harrell cost us a bundle. Probably TT’s worst move ever. Worse than not trading a #3 for Marshawn Lynch and worse than selecting Brian Brohm at the top of R2 and Pat Lee at the bottom of R2 in the same draft.

    So the stage is about set for another NFL draft. Will TT screw this one up like he has so many others? My guess is he trades out of R1 and ends up with four or five picks in rounds 2 and 3. I just hope he doesn’t convert those picks into R4, R5, R6 and R7 picks as is his want to do. Stay tuned.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 9

    • Since '61 says:

      I would say that if the Packers can get the TE Ebron at 21 they should take him. I realize that the Giants will probably take him first, but I think he would be a great grab for the Packers if he’s still around. Thanks, Since ’61

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    • fatalflaw says:

      I think this; Archie has some pretty good, informed and analytical posts….especially when he limits the ‘I hate TT’ thing, we get it already!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Big Bucket says:

    As Much as I hate to see it happen, I realize why TT keeps trading down for more picks. You can never have enough quality depth usually from rounds 2-4 and he’s done well there over the years. The sight of Mulumba trying to chase down Kap with a bum ankle proves my point as well as our overall injury history the previous few years.

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    • Archie says:

      Yeah but you can only keep 53. Also, when your team is close to making the SB each year, I think you would be wise to switch the emphasis to quality over quantity, at least somewhat. Trading down in R1 to get extra R2/R3/R4 picks is one kind of trade down but trading down from the middle rounds is not something I care for. I can’t think of any times this benefited the Pack in the end. Now when a GM first takes a team over, I can see a stronger case for it because his keeper list may be 30 or so and he wants to fill the final 20 some odd slots with young players that fit his system. Those days are long past in GB. The time to win it all again is upon us. As I have been saying, if GB’s defense does not significantly improve over next two years how can Teddy or Capers or MM be re-upped? They can’t. And, if our defense does improve significantly and if AROD stays healthy, we have a great shot at another SB win. Kind of a knife’s edge solution awaits us.

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      • Cow42 says:

        Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • Big Bucket says:

      You only pick at 21 if Somebody great falls. TT will pull the trigger. If no one falls and 21-32 are just about the same guy you trade back. Simple enough for me. Can always trade back up like he did with Matthews for good value.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

      • Ed Schoenfeld says:

        What if no one wants to trade up, because they also think the guys availably at 21-32 are about the same?

        It takes *two* to make a deal.

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  9. Big T says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  10. James says:

    Lang is not an exception many guys on the o-line play different positions in the NFL. Josh Sitton played righT tackle at Central Florida and he is just fine at gaurd.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • Archie says:

      You are correct but look at all the OL that TT drafted that didn’t make it, at least not in GB. His strike out record on OL over his entire decade here is rather high. Thank God he finally hit on Sitton and Lang. And now on Bulaga (kinda) and Bakhtiari. Sherrod is a shame. I’m still pulling for him. Barclay was a good find, especially as an undrafted FA. And now the big Q – Tretter. Obviously TT is betting the farm on the kid. This is one time I’m with TT. However, we won’t know for sure what we have until at least midway through the 2014 season. I expect TT to draft another OL this year, either middle round or low round. If we lose Bulaga next year (contract) and Sherrod doesn’t make it most of the way back, we will be down to one quality full time OT again. So getting a nice development prospect this year a la Bakhtiari would be great. Other than we need defense and maybe more weapons for the passing game (WR & TE). I am excited about both Bostick and Boykin but we could use another 2-way TE and and a 4th WR w speed. Bostick, Boykin and Bakhtiari – 2014 was a good year for the letter B.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

      • Nopainnogain says:

        ‘His strike out record on OL over his entire decade here is rather high.’

        Compared with who? do you even look at what other teams do?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    • Hank Scorpio says:

      Typically, on any given team at any given level, the OTs are better players than the inside guys. That’s not always true but it is more true than not.

      So why wouldn’t you convert the best players in college if they are not good enough for that spot in the pro ranks? It’s just common sense.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

      • Stroh says:

        Exactly how NFL teams do it. If you look at the last 10-20 years of all the All Pro OG’s, the majority of them played college OT, and usually LT.

        This isn’t exactly a new trend, nor is a trend of only the Packers.

        Now going from college OT to Center is a bit more, but the same principal is involved. I wouldn’t be surprised if quite a few of the All Pro Centers were college OG’s.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  11. Big Bucket says:

    This article makes football sound like rocket science. C’mon man. Your a lineman for Gosh sakes. Can’t be that hard to move inside or out. The Pack try to draft football players first, if the have to move a bit so be it. Not like they’re taking running backs and making them linemen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  12. funcrusher says:

    After he came off PUP, Tretter was able to practice with the team for seven weeks, so he must have performed well if McCarthy is this confident in him.

    This year, he’ll also get a whole training camp and preseason to get ready. Everyone that’s freaking out about them not over paying for a center, need to put down their picket signs and molotov cocktails. Tretter’s gonna be just fine.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  13. Nopainnogain says:

    Packers are far from the only team that does these conversions. Seems like another case of Packer-fan tunnel-vision

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  14. aaronqb says:

    Evan Dietrich-Smith played offensive TACKLE at Utah State. Why the alarm about letting him go as a free agent? If the Packers could convert EDS, then why can’t they convert Tretter?

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  15. Since '61 says:

    I am in the camp which agrees with Dan Shonka, specifically referring to drafting a true center to play center. Why? Because the footwork coming out of the snap is a little different from any of the other OL positions. Or maybe because I’ve been watching for a long time like Dan and I just have old ideas. But it’s great to have a center who has mastered that footwork by the time they get to the pros. Then they can focus on learning the offense and the OL assignments and adjustments. I fully realize that successful conversions have been made and will continue to be made. But look at EDS, he was an average Center from a blocking standpoint. Will Tretter be better? Maybe, but maybe not. I would rather prepare him to be the backup behind a true center. In that scenario he could also function as a backup guard or tackle. This allows the Packers to make the most of his athleticism while he gains actual NFL playing experience. If a quality center is available in the draft why not draft him? Also, one of the reasons why tackles are the most drafted OL’s is because they are usually the biggest of college linemen and their size is needed at the NFL level. I’ll be OK with Tretter at Center but I would prefer a true center who we can leave at the position for the rest of ARs career. Thanks, Since ’61

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    • JimR_in_DC says:

      I agree Since ’61. If we drafted a true center, I’d be concerned that MM and Campen would stick to their typical MO of frittering away his first mini-camp and training camp working out at other line positions.

      Fingers crossed for a great draft and a successful season. Go Pack!

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  16. Bob Dylan says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  17. BRinMilwaukee says:

    I think the Packers- and probably other teams- draft tackles and then convert them to inside linemen is because the best lineman in college are usually left/right tackles. They go inside in the NFL because they aren’t the best anymore.

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  18. Turophile says:

    Quote “handing the keys to the car to not only a young player who has not played a single down in the NFL, but who may not have any extensive time at the center position either.” (endquote)

    Isn’t starting young guys an integral part of the draft and develop philosophy ?

    You keep a healthy cap position by being willing to plug young (and cheap) guys in as starters. Then, when the second contract comes around, you only keep those you consider core players.

    This kind of thing has happened before and will continue, as long as it is TT and MM in the building. Their current length of tenure, compared to the average GM and HC, suggests that will continue for a while yet.

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  19. Jason Perone Jason Perone says:

    I have to say this has been a solid discussion on the topic. I kind of whipped this together and figured everyone would be tired of talking about the center position already but some great points made and many of you know your Packers history very well.

    This is why I write here. Thank you guys and girls!

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  20. Yoop says:

    I would make a sizable bet that every team in the NFL has players starting on there offensive lines that did not play that position in college. Perfect example is Jason Spitz you know played center for the Packers, he was a guard at Louisville. Jason was moved to center, and has played in 44 games, starting 41 of them.
    So the whole premise of needing a center you draft a center is just another opinion that has very limited validity.

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  21. James J says:

    I totally disagree we have to draft a center who played ONLY center in college.
    Versatility is more valuable in today’s NFL. Linebackers become TE’s, Safeties, and a host of other examples. Nick Barnett played safety in college and became a MLB.
    Bottom line, you get the best 5 athletes on your O-line regardless of where they played in college, and you let them play. GO PACK!

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