Jeff Saturday choosing the Packers over joining his career-long QB Peyton Manning in Denver made news earlier in the offseason, but a big question was left unanswered. Saturday will be 37 when the season starts, so who will the Packers groom to eventually replace him? The answer might come from their class of undrafted free agents.
Legendary Packers beat writer Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel got some thoughts from scouts on the team's undrafted free agents, and two offensive lineman immediately stand out.
An AFC scout told McGinn that his team had a fifth-round grade on Virginia Tech C/G Jaymes Brooks. That is not unusual for undrafted players, as most teams are taking players they have graded in the fifth or higher with the final picks of the draft. It does indicate that Brooks is one of the better undrafted players out there. The scout added that Brooks making the 53-man roster "wouldn't be a shock" because he has enough strength, toughness and athleticism.
McGinn tweeted that Brooks could even be in the hunt to be the team's No. 3 guard. Brooks was a right guard at Virginia Tech, but according to Hampton Roads Daily Press writer Norm Wood, he lined up at center at the Players All-Star Classic, a game for draft-bound seniors in Little Rock, Arkansas. Wood also reported that many teams, including the Packers, talked to Brooks about playing center in the pros. Brooks told Wood that he is open to the move, saying he is willing to make it in the NFL "by any means necessary."
Two scouts chimed in on San Diego State OL Tommie Draheim. He played left tackle for the Aztecs, but he was originally recruited as a center according to one of the AFC scouts, and that's where McGinn says he'll play for the Packers. Draheim is characterized as a smart player and pretty good athlete by an AFC scout, who also says he is a good fit for the Packers' zone-blocking scheme. McGinn characterized Draheim's signing bonus of $8,500 as "hefty," which indicates very strong interest by the team.
The Packers' depth chart looks very thin at the interior offensive line positions, so we shouldn't be surprised if either or both of these undrafted free agents make the team over a few of the eight players Green Bay drafted this year.