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How Can The Green Bay Packers Replace Scott Wells In The NFL Draft?

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Hi, I'm Ben Jones. I'm going to be an NFL lineman. No really, I'm serious.
Hi, I'm Ben Jones. I'm going to be an NFL lineman. No really, I'm serious.

Scott Wells is now a Ram. Let's get that out of the way. He's gone, with a nice new contract in St. Louis, so let's not go crazy about that. It's time to focus on candidates for his replacement. The most likely source for Ted Thompson to find a center is April's NFL Draft, and there are several highly-ranked centers--or guards who could move to center--who could be targets for the Packers.

1. Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin, 6'5", 315 lbs

Many "experts" consider Konz to be the best true center in this year's crop. As a native of Neenah, Wisconsin, there's little doubt that Konz would be excited to play for Green Bay, especially with Pro Bowlers around him in Aaron Rodgers and Josh Sitton. Konz did not have an overly impressive showing at the Scouting Combine, only recording 18 reps on the bench press, and was limited by an ankle injury which caused him to miss three games in his junior season. He is an intelligent, high-character player, and he is viewed as an athletic player who some teams may consider moving to guard due to his size and mobility. He plans to work out more in April to boost his draft stock. Konz is widely expected to be the first center drafted, and could go late in the first round.

2. Ben Jones, C, Georgia, 6'2", 303 lbs

Jones is a four-year starter at Georgia, and is more of the prototypical size for an NFL center than Konz. Most analysts put Jones in the second round, partially due to athletic limitations. He's definitely a smart player and a great leader, as he was named Georgia's team captain and overall MVP in 2011. His NFL Combine profile describes him as relying on his overall strength and technique rather than explosiveness and athleticism.

3. David Molk, C, Michigan, 6'1", 298 lbs

Molk is a monster in the weight room (41 reps at the Combine) and he won the Rimington Trophy as the top collegiate center in 2011. He's also ridiculously confident in his own abilities. He's a little small as far as centers go, so there's a possibility he could get pushed around at the point of attack, but his strength should help alleviate any concerns there. As with Konz and Jones, Molk is a multi-year starter at a big-time college program, and has shown decent command of blocking schemes, though poor blitz pickup is one criticism. Another concern for Molk might be adjusting to a pro-style offense after working under former coach Rich Rodriguez' spread system and in front of QB Denard Robinson for a few years.

4. Mike Brewster, C, Ohio State, 6'2", 312 lbs

On to the player who is apparently "Nowhere close to me as a player", according to Molk: Mike Brewster. If you sense a theme here, it's experience, and Brewster fits in with the group as a four-year starter. He's a good athlete as well, posting respectable times in agility drills at the Combine. His major criticism is that he overthinks the protection and can get caught flat-footed at the snap. He was relied on for much of the blitz pickup at Ohio State, especially when working with true freshman Braxton Miller at QB in 2011.

5. Garth Gerhart, C, Arizona State, 6'1", 305 lbs

Garth would fit in with Green Bay from a looks standpoint alone: he has long blonde hair, like a certain linebacker. But this Garth is a far cry from Wayne's Party Time bud. He's a nasty, high-motor blocker who makes up for some athletic limitations with his attitude and style of play. He's not overly impressive in any workout measurement, but is a leader on the field. He missed a chance to play in the Senior Bowl due to a finger injury.

And if this group of collegiate centers isn't enough to get you thinking, keep an eye on guards who could be converted to center in the NFL.

Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin, 6'4", 315 lbs

Zeitler worked out at both guard and center at the Badgers' pro day, and played well at center at the Senior Bowl. He is seen by some as "a better prospect than (former teammate) John Moffitt, who started as a rookie for Seattle (in 2011)." Zeitler is as hard a worker as you can find both in the film room and on the practice field, and when you add in speculation by Tom Silverstein that Ted Thompson is interested in Zeitler as a center, you have a very interesting possibility brewing in the second round.

Other guard/center possibilities in later rounds include Philip Blake of Baylor and Rishaw Johnson of California College of Pennsylvania (originally an Ole Miss recruit who was dismissed from the program during his junior season).

Would you rather see Ted draft Peter Konz at the end of the first round, target a player like Jones or Zeitler in the second, or shore up the defense first and wait around for someone else in the later rounds?