Recent reports, especially one from Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press Gazette, have indicated that Green Bay Packers officials – namely Ted Thompson – are interested in David Quessenberry, an offensive tackle who has gained steam among those following the NFL Draft.
If ever there’s a “pull-’em-up-by-the-bootstraps” story out there, it could be Quessenberry – at least that’s what I’m finding.
Quessenberry was a graduate from La Jolla’s La Costa Canyon High School in Carlsbad, Calif., and a walk-on at San Jose State of the Western Athletic Conference. The 22-year-old redshirted his first season in 2008, but immediately made an impact in 2009, playing in all 12 games for the Spartans as a reserve offensive lineman and special teams ace. Because of his rising status, Quessenberry was given a scholarship in 2010 and didn’t let the school down – he moved in as the full-time starter at left tackle and started all 13 games that season.
From 2010-12, Quessenberry continued to improve, missing just one game over that three-year stretch. In all, he played in 49 games during his time at San Jose State, starting in 37 of them. In 2011, he was named as a second-teamer All-WAC offensive lineman and built on that accomplishment by being named to the first-team All-WAC in 2012.
So, what is it that is drawing the eyes of NFL officials, including Ted Thompson’s? Versatility. He started his college career as a tight end, but was quickly moved to the line. He is a quick learner, a good athlete (but not seen as a great athlete), and a hard worker with what’s described as a mean streak. On the technical end, nfl.com describes him this way:
Plays with low pad level and flashes the mean streak. Possesses the natural bend to succeed in pass protection, both mirroring ends while leveraging a strong punch and riding edge rushers around the pocket. Plays under control, and shows some agility and quickness in his pass set. Recovers well if lunging off the snap. Used on trap plays inside from the left tackle spot and usually hits his linebacker target – just as he does when simply stepping forward to the second level. In short-yardage situations, able to drive off the snap and play with leverage. He’ll also hustle downfield after plays, taking out defenders standing around and cleaning up piles when necessary.
Demovsky reported that the Packers’ interest intensified when they saw the 6-5, 302-pound Quessenberry at the Senior Bowl working out – and doing an outstanding job – at five different positions.
In an interview with Demovsky, here’s what Quessenberry had to say:
“I’ve been getting a lot of different feedback from a lot of different teams. A lot of people see me as a tackle, and others see me as a guard or center. A team like Green Bay, they see me at all five, and that’s where my value is, being able to play all those positions and handle all that. I’ve gotten real positive feedback from them.”
Versatility from his offensive linemen is what Thompson values, we all know that. That’s why there was so much scuttlebutt earlier this spring when all the talk was about Alabama center Barrett Jones, another versatile lineman whose draft stock has dropped, according to some, because of a lisfranc injury and surgery he had after the national championship win over Notre Dame. Though Jones has said that he is healing quickly and will be ready to go for pro team spring practices, there are others who feel that he won’t be drafted until the third or fourth round. Quessenberry is probably also considered a second day pick.
While the Packers may consider Quessenberry as a candidate for center, they also have issues at left tackle. There has been some talk about the possibility of moving right tackle Bryan Bulaga to left tackle and then making adjustments from there, but the optimum situation would be to hope that 2011 first round draft pick Derek Sherrod comes back healed this spring and pushes LT Marshall Newhouse for that job. If the Packers are confident that may be the situation at that position, it may give them much more flexibility in their draft picking. Ted Thompson is well known for drafting offensive linemen and 2013 should be no different. We expect he will expend at least a middle-rounder on a lineman, but the question is just who they will select.
Quessenberry seems like the type of player who would fit the Packer mold. He’s tough, he’s growing into an NFL body, and he looks to be a coachable kid.
Here’s a couple of comments about Quessenberry that have been recently published:
Ranking a Senior Bowl lineman third really isn’t a slight, especially considering how dominant Fisher and Johnson look. Quessenberry has been a surprise this week at guard and tackle, handling the pass rush all week. He’s really a polished blocker with some good quickness. In my opinion he jumped past Oday Aboushi and Brian Winters in the rankings thanks to a crisp, consistent week. – Dave Richard, CBSSports.com
After polling NFL personnel men, CBS Sports’ Rob Rang listed San Jose State OL David Quessenberry as a riser after Senior Bowl week.
Quessenberry is a former walk-on at the tight end position and showed promise at tackle, guard, and even backup snaps at center in Mobile. He is a bit light at 294 pounds, but Quessenberry held his own on counter power moves and was able to mirror with athletic footwork. Jan 26 – Source: CBS Sports
Clearly, the Packers have to make some moves with their offensive line. Fifty-one sacks in a single season is brutal – especially when the franchise will go into the 2013 season with the highest-paid player in the league under center. They want to keep him upright and not have to rely on his scrambling abilities game-in and game-out.
They have to address the line. Do they do that with a project like Quessenberry or go with a more refined draft pick?
Again, that’s why Ted Thompson makes the big bucks.
Here’s a video of Quessenberry, the San Jose graduate who has a degree in history …