Round 2: Jason Spriggs, OT
The Packers haven’t traded up too often during the Ted Thompson era — when they do trade, it has tended more so to move down and collect more assets — but they have had some success in moving up in the past.
In all, they have traded up for seven different guys in his tenure; some have worked out well (Hello, Clay Matthews and Morgan Burnett), while others have been disappointing due to either injury (Johnathan Franklin) or pure ineffectiveness (Jerel Worthy).
Hopefully Spriggs is on the positive end of that spectrum; the team obviously thinks he can be.
Spriggs played left tackle in college, and played it pretty well. He brought top-quality lower body strength and combined it with great movement skills; the positives showed up best in his pass blocking, where he graded out third-best among left tackles in the major conferences by Pro Football Focus’ ratings. He has a good amount of experience working in a zone-blocking team, which should portend well with the way the Green Bay blocking schemes are run. His athleticism brings on comparisons to Lane Johnson, the uber-athletic talented lineman that Philadelphia selected with the fourth overall pick a few years ago.
There are concerns to be had with him (while his lower body is strong the upper body needs work, and he can put himself off-balance due to overeagerness), but the issues tend to be more technical than physical; that can be fixed. There also isn’t much need to rush him in right away, which should allow him the necessary time to alleviate those problems.
It’s been said a lot already I’m sure, but this pick wasn’t really made for the present; this is looking to the future, mostly pertaining to next offseason. Green Bay is currently set to have three starters become free agents after the 2016 season; T.J. Lang, Josh Sitton, and David Bakhtiari (plus versatile backup J.C. Tretter as well) all have contracts set to expire.
While we can expect at least a couple of them to be back, moves like this are exactly what a team like the Packers always do. You can’t pay everyone under the salary cap, and unless all of them take a sizeable discount to stay somebody is getting left out (and even if they did agree to a discount, the team may still want to go in another direction if they have younger possible replacements at the ready).
At first glance, Spriggs is probably a good bet to be the replacement for Bakhtiari (and the hefty raise he will likely command), but he could be here as a backup plan should Bryan Bulaga get hit with another injury in the near future. There is also the possibility of him maybe moving to guard Lang and/or Sitton move on. At worst, he probably can take on a role like Tretter’s (though unlike Tretter, he may not have the capability to handle center duties; maybe he could, but we just don’t know as of yet).
Next: Kyler Fackrell