Rookie Spotlight turns away from the offensive back field after previously looking at Marc Taylor, and moves toward to offensive line and Tommie Draheim.
How acquired: Undrafted Free Agent
Reasonable expectations for 2012: Make the PS. I may seem like a broken record on many of these UDFA's, but the reality is that there aren't many roster spots for these guys to soak up. Now the Packers do tend to keep one or two of these types of guys each year, but they also tend to get a few pretty talented guys as well. Draheim has received some positive reviews and buzz. Best of all for him is that he plays a position in need of young talent, i.e. center.
How he can exceed these expectations: Make the team I guess? Not a ringing endorsement I know, but I just don't see him doing much better than making the practice squad right now. Let's face it, center is a funny position on the offense. The casual observer to football wouldn't think the guy in the middle of the line, ready to face down one (probably two) guys (probably bigger than him and looking for blood) and doing this with another man's hand firmly placed on his ass is the second smartest guy on the field for for the offense....but that's really the case. Being a good center is as much about having equal parts smarts, communication skills, and good old fashion scrap and nasty. Thus developing a center is about having a guy learn the offense and the lingo more than it is about finding biggest, toughest guy who can move people. As a result it's best to grow young centers or find smart veteran ones rather than spend a high pick on one and throw him to the fire as you would say a tackle or guard. Draheim has potential, but he's not ready for the 53 of the Packers....or any other 53 right now. He can still find a home in the organization though and start the development process so that in a year or two he may be ready and turn that potential into a guy who allows the Packers to part with Jeff Saturday when the time comes.
Why Packer fans should keep an eye on him: Because right now there aren't many young center options on the team. Unless you believe in Even Dietrich-Smith or Sampson Genus, pickings are pretty slim on the young center front. Draheim could be a very good answer after some seasoning. After all, Scott Wells sat on the bench for many years (and some time on the PS as well I believe) while Mike Flanagan was protecting Brett Favre. Flanagan also sat a year or two behind Frankie "Bagofdonuts" Winters. If Draheim can grow into the position as well as his two predecessors did then the Packer offensive line looks to be in great shape for the long term.