The Pro Day schedule for prospects eligible for the 2016 NFL Draft is well underway, and this week has seen several big schools and big-name prospects take the field. Not surprisingly, the Green Bay Packers have sent scouts or personnel executives to many of the top schools hosting workouts - as well as some lower-level ones, where Ted Thompson is famous (or notorious?) for drafting diamonds in the rough.
Here is a look at some of the Packers-related news from Pro Days this week.
Green Bay was represented at the Pro Day for Sacramento State University (an FCS school), according to Tony Pauline. They were reportedly scouting offensive tackle Lars Hanson, who measured in at 6'7" and 310 pounds. Hanson told SB Nation's Niners Nation that he had private meetings with a few NFL teams, though he did not specifically mention the Packers.
Pauline notes that Hanson is looked at as a practice squad candidate. That could certainly be a possibility for the Packers, with left tackle David Bakhtiari looking to hit free agency next season. However, the Packers do not have a dedicated "swing" backup tackle on the roster, with Don Barclay being an unrestricted free agent. Hanson could be a late day-three pick or undrafted free agent signing who could get some looks in the preseason and eventually develop over the course of a season or two towards a prominent role on the 53-man roster.
The Packers did hold a meeting with Virginia Tech pass-rusher Dadi Nicholas at his Pro Day (per Pauline). Nicholas is an undersized pass-rusher (6'3", 235) who probably projects best to a 3-4 defense. However, he improved on almost all of his Combine testing and added about five pounds since Indianapolis as well.
Green Bay could certainly use depth at outside linebacker, with Julius Peppers and Nick Perry both signed only for 2016. In particular, the Packers could be a good landing place for Nicholas - he could be inserted into the rotation on passing downs as a rush specialist instead of being asked to be a major contributor early on. That would allow him to learn from Peppers and Clay Matthews and bulk up in an NFL weight room in preparation for a bigger load in his second or third year.
Another significant Pro Day was in Waco, where defensive tackle Andrew Billings got top billing among the Baylor Bears. Packers executive Alonzo Highsmith was in attendance, according to 247sports' Luke Rodgers.
Billings, who comes in at 315 pounds, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.92 seconds according to one source, a very impressive time for a man his size. Discussion around Billings and the Packers has been building lately, and some Packers writers, like Brian Carriveau of 247sports and Eric Edholm of Yahoo! Sports, have been speculating that he could be an ideal drop-in replacement for the departed B.J. Raji.
One of the growing draft crushes for this APC writer is outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins from Georgia. The 6'3", 259-pound linebacker spent almost all of his time rushing the passer for the Bulldogs, and at his Pro Day on Wednesday he ran a 4.76-second 40, a bit faster than the 4.80 he ran in Indianapolis. Jenkins followed that up with a 38-inch vertical, up an inch and a half from his Combine jump, and a 10'3" broad jump.
Here's a rare look at every official number from Georgia's Pro Day:
Georgia pro day results pic.twitter.com/zHXtphJvlF— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) March 16, 2016
Jenkins could be a great day-two possibility for the Packers in this year's draft, and he has the bulk and strength to set the edge in the run game in addition to contributing as a pass-rusher.
At least three NFL head coaches were present in Athens on Wednesday - Bill Belichick, Dan Quinn, and Rex Ryan. With multiple intriguing prospects, including Jenkins and fellow linebacker Leonard Floyd, it would be a shock if the Packers were not represented by someone.
APC's Jake Hyman was in attendance at the Temple Owls' Pro Day on Wednesday and confirmed with Emory Hunt of Football Gameplan that the Packers were among the teams represented there. The two high-profile players for Temple are defensive lineman Matt Ioannidis and inside linebacker Tyler Matakevich, both of whom could be in the mix for a second-day or early third-day pick.
It's no surprise that the Packers were represented in East Lansing - all 32 teams were, according to Adam Schefter. A couple of players who could fit with the Packers are edge rusher Shilique Calhoun and offensive tackle Jack Conklin. We'll update you on notes from their workouts when they are available.