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Packers Calendar: Center Prospect on Display at Utah State Pro Day

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Packers Calendar: Center Prospect on Display at Utah State Pro Day

Cheesehead TV hopes you're not suffering from Apri Fool's Day fatigue, but you won't find any jokes here...

The pro day circuit continues with a key date on Tuesday at Utah State University.

Now that Evan Dietrich-Smith has departed in free agency, perhaps the Packers will be giving more serious consideration to the center position, and a highly rated one will be on display in Tyler Larsen of the Aggies.

Larsen is among a handful of the top-rated true centers in this year's draft class and took part in both the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine earlier this year. He had the second-most bench press reps of any player at the Combine regardless of position with 36.

During the Ted Thompson era in Green Bay, however, it's been rare for the Packers to draft any true centers, instead more frequently choosing to select or sign college tackles and converting them to interior offensive linemen.

Perhaps that trend will change now that there's no guaranteed locks to come away with the starting center position this year, although there's no lack of options. Last week at the NFL Owners Meeting, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy named J.C. Tretter, Don Barclay and even T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton as possibilities.

Also taking part in Utah State's pro day are cornerback Nevin Lawson and safety Maurice Alexander, among others.

One more pro day workout takes place on Tuesday at Tennessee-Chattanooga.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (23) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I believe I read perhaps years ago that athletes tend to run faster and generally do better at their Pro Days than those who attended the combine. It was something about the surface of the track at the combine and then about prospects being more comfortable and familiar with the surroundings at their Pro Days. I am not sure if that was due to specific locations whenever I read that or if it generally holds true. Does anyone know if this is the case?

ben's picture

If prospects run a good time at the combine, they generally won't run at their prodays. So you'll generally only see improvement for prospects from combine to proday. (As far there not being many players who post slower times at prodays than they did at the combine.)

Then there is other factors like bias hand timing, and like you say, faster track surfaces. I suppose comfort level could also might factor in at some point. Another factor could be wind. I can see running with the wind saving a few 1/100ths of a second. And I think somebody at the combine this year wasn't allowed to wear particular shoes because they didn't weigh enough. I'm pretty sure you can get away with wearing anything at your own proday.

That's a lot of variables, mostly favoring proday timings. And all of them significant when a 0.1 seconds makes all the difference in the world.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

BTW, Stroh, I looked at some mock drafts and saw that Jason Fairburn at SB Nation had Washington taking Donte Moncrief with the 34th pick. I guess Moncrief isn't flying under the radar with the sports writers anymore, even if all the GMs were aware of him. But it was an odd mock, with Louis Nix lasting until pick #39. Mocks are fun but we probably shouldn't put too much stock into them anyway. Oh, and I am suddenly back to being Thegreatreynoldo again.

Stroh's picture

Wow that's the highest I've seen Moncrief mocked. I've said this before tho. The only WR I would take over him are Watkins and Evans. I would rather have Moncrief over Bechham, Cooks, Lee and Robinson, Matthews, etc.

ben's picture

To me, Brandin Cooks is in Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans's League. The most explosive athlete in the entire draft with crazy tape and unsurpassed production. He is also an unbelievable weapon in the return game. I'd have no problem taking Brandin Cooks in the top 10. Time will tell, but I think he is that special.

Moncrief has good measurables, and I love good measurables, but I bet Brandin Cooks, Odell Beckham, Martavis Bryant, Jordon Matthews, and Abbrederis will all be better pro receivers.

Stroh's picture

If you want slot recievers take Cooks, Bechham or Abberderis. I'm looking at potential #1 WR, not complimentary WR. Bryant and Matthews don't do much for me.

ben's picture

There is a decent chance Tyler Larsen is the Packer's starting center next year.

Stroh's picture

He's rated a 5 or 6th rd pick. He would have to beat out Tretter for the job. Tretters had a year to learn the offense and had is a very good athlete, not to mention Ivy League smart. I can't see a late round pick beating out Tretter to start as a rookie.

ben's picture

Tretter who?

Tretter was rated a "5 or 6th round pick". (4th-7th)

I'll bet anybody any money Larsen doesn't make it out of the 4th round.

He has a lot much more experience at center and is much, much, stronger than Tretter. Tretter hasn't done anything at center but break his ankle.

Not that you've seen Tretter play, but you can't see one of the most dominant and established college centers with thee best measureables beating him out?

ask yourself why

Stroh's picture

Larsen is a more experienced COLLEGE center. Does he know the Packers offense? No. Does Tretter? Definitely a lot better than a year ago.

The experience needed is more how it relates to the Packers offense, not Utah St.

Larsen is very strong in the upper body, too bad lower body power is always more important. Have to imagine a year in a profession Strength and Conditioning Program can help Tretter gain the upper body strength to match Larsen.

NFL.com on Larsen "Has short arms and struggles to sustain. Not explosive or powerful. Very average athleticism and flexibility to maneuver and torque. Limited lateral quickness to slide and recover. Too easily tossed aside and cannot recover. Slow-footed -- struggles to cut off fast flowing linebackers. Not a nasty mauler."

Tretters measurable, at least the more important ones were all significantly better. Lower body power and movement skills, plus he's had a year to learn the Packers offense and his arms are 2 in longer. He was practicing snapping last year, and surely the whole offseason.

Even if they were equal athletes (which they aren't even close) I would take Tretters brains and longer arms over Larsens better upper body strength (which is enhanced by having short arms).

Pedestrian athleticism isn't going to move him up draft boards.

ben's picture

Stroh, "Tretters measurable, at least the more important ones were all significantly better? "

Sure if size and strength aren't important for an offensive lineman.

Larsen did 24.18% more reps than Tretter and had almost the same exact shuttle time while being 8 lbs bigger.

Now I'm not saying Larsen is the better athlete or not, but you ARE the one saying "they aren't even close."

Because of a 2" arm difference? which btw is only .75", not 2". (32.25-31.5=0.75)

The Utah State center claims to have never allowed a sack in his college career, which he began as a starter as a freshman. $500 says he's taken before the 5th.

look! I can copy and paste stuff too.

CBSsports.com on Tretter:
"he possesses shorter than ideal arms (32.25 inches) and, while quick against Ivy League defenders, does not possess the foot speed to handle NFL edge rushers. Lacks the strength and use of leverage to anchor against NFL defensive tackles."

NFL.com:
"Limited experience and played against weak competition. Will likely have to move to guard, due to a lack of length. Lacks core strength. While he's light on his feet, his foot quickness needs to improve. "

Stroh:
"Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah."

Stroh's picture

Larsen 31.5 to Tretter 33 3/8 (from his combine page). Very nearly 2 in.

Larsen 313, Tretter 307. I dont' see 6 (not your 8) lbs being too difficult to add.

Tretter 7.48, Larsen 8.22 in the 3 cone. HUGE differential.

Tretter 29.5 vertical,109 broad, To Larsen's 23.5 and 103. That's called significantly more explosiveness.

We're not talking about either of them handling edge rushers.

Larsen played at Utah St. I hardly think his level of competition is anything worth discussing.

I'll take your bet any day of the weak. Bet he goes lower than Tretters 122 overall. I'll bet he goes 160 or later...

Jordan's picture

The Packers will most likely draft a G/C in rounds 5-7 to backup Tretter. They brought in McGlynn for a visit but he signed with Redskins. McGlynn is a backup center. Packers need a backup center on the roster so they don't have to use Lang.

Lang may actually be the backup center (to Tretter) for the first part of the 2014 season. It just depends on how confident they are in whoever they draft.

ben's picture

Bryan Stork, Tyler Larson, Trai Turner, Russell Bodine are all potential targets in the 4th-5th round that would have a legitimate shot to not only "back up" the packers center position, but to start day 1.

I know Tretter has a green and gold uniform but what has the guy done to have locked up being the center on a superbowl caliber team. He's smart?

Derek Sharrod is really smart, a 1ST round pick, & played the position before. You see how he faired.

Jordan's picture

Yeah, I think tretter would have beat out EDS last year at center.

http://www.jsonline.com/sports/packers/jc-tretter-to-get-first-stab-at-p...

ben's picture

I hope your right. But all the article says is that "Tretter would have given EDS a run for the job." Which couldn't be easier for MM to say being that EDS now plays for the Bucs, and whether he likes it or not, is all in on Tretter. What do you expect?

But EDS exceeded expectations and played very well. That chances of a projected 5-6th round college tackle, who didn't know the system, who hadn't played against elite competition, who never played center position, playing as well as EDS did were next to ZERO.

And the article is incorrect. It says that "Trettor tested slightly better in combine drills coming out of college."

EDS had a better 10 yard split, 3 cone drill, 20 yard shuttle, and reps on the bench.

Stroh's picture

Trai Turner... "Ordinary hip snap. Has balance issues. Tends to bend at the waist and let his weight drift over his toes." Equals he doesn't play w/ good leverage and loses most of the strength he does have. Not a bad prospect, but not very good athlete.

Stork... "Has short arms and stiff hips. Lumbering movement skill. Not explosive plays tall."

Bodine... "Stiff-bodied. Plays (and is) short-armed and overextends. Average agility."

Was a little surprised they let EDS walk since the contract he got was pretty affordable. I just have to give the Packers the benefit of the doubt for the reasons they let him walk. I wouldn't have been upset w/ keeping him for that contract. At the same time, I'm not upset they're going w/ Tretter either.

Jordan's picture

Ben,

Read the article linked below. There's another journal sentinel article that talks about tretter having a good chance beating out EDS (from last year), but I'm too lazy to google for it.

It's all just speculation. I'm just basing my speculation on watching how TT operates over the last several years. In my mind, there was never any doubt that the packers were going to let EDS walk.......and tretter was drafted to replace EDS. Time will tell.

But nobody knows for sure what will happen.......it's all just speculation.

http://www.jsonline.com/sports/packers/packers-rookie-tackle-jc-tretter-...

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I agree with Jordan that TT drafted Tretter to replace EDS, which would have been based on EDS' play the last few games after he replaced Saturday. I assume that TT wanted more out of center than EDS showed in those last couple of games EDS started. When Tretter got hurt I wrote that the injury was very unfortunate since I believed TT wanted Tretter to outplay EDS at some point during the season and now TT would have to decide whether to re-sign EDS blind (i.e., w/o seeing Tretter take snaps at center in the NFL). After the third game last year when EDS seemed to have played reasonably well, I commented that TT should consider extending EDS (since Tretter was on PUP). But Tretter was activated and practiced for 7 weeks or so.

It looks like GB liked what it saw of Tretter. We can't know what, if any, offer TT made to EDS. I was surprised that GB didn't resign EDS given what EDS got. I could imagine - with a healthy Bulaga, an improved Bakhtiari, a re-signed EDS, plus Sitton, Lang and Lacey - GB running out the clock in the 4th quarter. I do remember Paul Ott Carruth mentioning (in a post mostly about something else, I think it was about Shields' contract) that re-signing EDS for the amount that he got would have been a terrible idea, but POC did not state why. And maybe EDS did not want to resign with GB since it looks like TT was not satisfied with his play and was actively trying to replace EDS, meaning that EDS likely would only receive his guaranteed money if he resigned with GB. I am guessing (and this post is largely speculation) that TT was never going to offer much in the way of guaranteed $ to EDS since he wanted to cut him as soon as possible. Well, maybe it will all work out and GB will be able to run out the clock. It will be interesting to see if TT takes a true center or a center prospect fairly early in the draft, by which I mean with a 3rd or 4th round pick. Taking Zach Martin with the idea of moving him to center (as suggested by BubbaOne below) would surprise me greatly since it would require a 1st or 2nd round pick. I do not mean anything written here to be a comment on whether GB should take a center high in the draft.

BubbaOne's picture

Anyone have a guess if Zack Martin could make the move to C? He has the size and athletism but shorter arms so maybe another OT that TT drafts and moves inside? I've seen him mocked mid to late teens/early 20's.

Stroh's picture

Certainly less than ideal ht and length for an OT. I would guess the Packers would move him inside to OG, which would likely drop his draft grade in their eyes. His measurable aren't any better than Tretters. He seems to have TJ Lang written all over him IMO.

ben's picture

Zack looks like a Tretter clone with the exact same measurements and measurables.

tm_inter's picture

I wouldn't take Larsen before the 5th round because we already have Tretter and we have more pressing needs in other positions. I think the first 5 picks could be better used to draft a safety, inside linebacker, tight end, wide receiver, and defensive tackle.

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