During the free agency period before the 2012 season, starting center Scott Wells and the Green Bay Packers could not to come to an agreement over a new contract.
So, Wells signed with the St. Louis Rams as a free agent instead, and the Packers then signed veteran center Jeff Saturday, formerly of the Indianapolis Colts, where he had played with Peyton Manning for so many years.
The Saturday experiment had it's pluses and minuses for the Packers. Saturday learned the offensive system of the Packers pretty quickly, and he was solid with his line calls and his pass protection. But it was also obvious that Saturday had trouble blocking in the run game and getting to the second level.
Finally, late in the season, the coaches decided to replace Saturday with Evan Dietrich-Smith, who had also seen time at left guard earlier in the year when right tackle Bryan Bulaga fractured his hip, and T.J. Lang went from left guard to right tackle for a couple of games.
Dietrich-Smith is a much better run-blocker than Saturday, and that became evident in the games he started late in the season and postseason. Overall, Dietrich-Smith did a solid job at center in the games he started.
Ironically, Saturday was named to the NFC Pro Bowl squad, where he announced he would be retiring after the game.
Because of that, the Packers have some quality depth issues at the center position, and on the interior of the offensive line. The Packers only had undrafted rookie Greg Van Roten to back up at guard late in the year.
Therefore, I'm expecting the Packers to select a prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft who can obviously play center, but also play other positions across the offensive line.
The NFL Scouting Combine is a little over a week away, and the players who I am listing will all be there. All five of the players I'm listing can play multiple positions, while two of them can play every position on the offensive line.
There has been speculation about the Packers drafting an offensive tackle only in this draft, but I just don't see it. The Packers are currently five deep at offensive tackle, with Bulaga, Marshall Newhouse, Don Barclay, Derek Sherrod and Andrew Datko.
The only way I could see the Packers selecting just an offensive tackle, is if they feel that Bulaga (hip) and Sherrod (leg) would not be able to play effectively in 2013. Both are former No.1 draft picks, too.
That is why I believe the Packers will draft an offensive linemen who has the versatility to play in two or three areas on the offensive line, especially on the inside. Having the ability to play tackle would be a big plus.
Here is my top five list of center prospects for the Packers.