Friday, April 16, 2010

NFL Draft Preview: Mike Iupati

We preview the NFL Draft from the perspective of the Green Bay Packers.

You can label a number of positions as ones of need for the Packers. However, general manager Ted Thompson has preached a philosophy over the years of staying true to the team's draft board.

It makes sense, really. Scouts, coaches, and executives have poured over countless hours of tape on players, attended the NFL Combine, attended individual and Pro Day workouts, and conducted interviews with players.

They aren't going to do all of this, painstakingly put a draft board together, and then go off the board because it's decided that they need a defensive tackle.

With that in mind, our look at draft candidates will focus more on players we think could be atop the Packers' board when the No. 23 pick comes around.

One of those players is Idaho offensive lineman, the mammoth Mike Iupati.

As you can see, he's a big boy. After playing guard in college, there's some talk that Iupati could be a fit as a tackle in the NFL.

He is quick off the ball, which would serve him well in Green Bay's blocking scheme. If he turns out to be versatile enough to play tackle (his footwork on the tape I've seen looks a bit spotty, to be honest), he is even more valuable to the Packers.

Left tackle Chad Clifton re-signed on the first day of free agency, but he's not a long-term solution at the position. Neither is right tackle Mark Tauscher, who is also in the fold for 2010. The Packers need to find young tackles who could fill these voids in the near future. While T.J. Lang could take one spot, they still don't have a viable solution for the other.

Iupati might not start right away, but he makes a lot of sense for Green Bay because of his athleticism and versatility.

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