Unlike defensive draft picks Kenny Clark and Blake Martinez, rookie offensive tackle Jason Spriggs might not get much playing time this year. If injuries happen, however, Spriggs is already looking like he’ll be ready to step in.
Drafted in the second round out of Indiana, Spriggs has drawn the coaches’ attention during pass-blocking drills. These one-on-one combat sessions between an offensive lineman and a defensive pass rusher are graded as wins, losses, or ties. Spriggs got off to a fast start, earning an 8-3-2 record in the early days of training camp. Through Tuesday, he has added on eight straight wins, so he now stands 16-3-2 against some tough and talented pass rushers.
How has achieved such a result? Spriggs possesses an impressive combination of strength and quickness. He is 6’6” tall and weighs 301 pounds – but for the current crop of tackles, that is considered scrawny. At this year’s NFL combine, 6’6” was the average height – only three of the 25 tackles who participated were under 6’5”.
At 301 pounds, Spriggs tied with one other as being the lightest of the group. It seems likely that in a year or two Jason will be able to add up to 20 pounds to his long frame.
When tested for strength, Spriggs did 31 bench press reps, ranking him second among his peers. He was one of only three who managed more than 27 reps.
As for quickness, his 4.94 time in the 40-yard dash was easily the fastest of the group. His 10-yard split time and agility scores were also among the best of the bunch.
It’s safe to say the Packers are pleased – and probably a little surprised – with Spriggs’ performance and physicality at camp. He’s already right behind David Bakhtiari on the depth chart and he’ll get plenty of playing time in the preseason games.
Currently, however, the Packers appear set with their starting offensive tackles. Right tackle Bryan Bulaga, a first-round draft pick who turned 27 in March, signed a five-year contract in 2015. Left tackle Bakhtiari has been solid in each of his three years on the team and is currently motivated by a contract year.
Bakhtiari is an established and proven veteran, even though he is still only 24 years old. We’ve predicted that one or two of the team’s current offensive line starters will go elsewhere next year – primarily due to the salaries they will command. Bakhtiari might be too expensive for the Packers to keep.
It was probably in anticipation of this scenario that the Packers traded up in this year’s draft from the 57th overall pick so they could select Spriggs with the 48th pick. That strategy could prove to be brilliant if Spriggs lives up to the potential he is showing so far at training camp.
Agreed. LOVE the pick. I’m a big believer in drafting at least one OL every year. Injuries happen often and QBs are too valuable in today’s game to have a substantial drop off in play when someone goes out.
Not only was Spriggs drafted for what may happen in free agency, Spriggs was drafted for the current year. After the disaster of last year with the backup OT position, the team had to provide upgrades at backup OT for the current season. Without even seeing Spriggs play in an NFL game I feel confident Spriggs is an upgrade over Barclay or Walker at tackle. If Tretter is not starting or playing at center and there is a need for a backup tackle Tretter may be the first option over Spriggs at least to start the season.
Very informative article Rob.
I’m hoping Spriggs also is getting reps at RT, based on Bulaga’s injury history.
It seems that because of Linsleys mystery injury, that were going to see Tretter and Barclay playing center tonight. Word has it, that Barclay has been a trainwreck playing center in camp, so we’ll see how that unfolds. I’ll feel much better with Linsley back playing center, hopefully it’s soon. It seems any position that Barclay tries on the 0-line, is a fail.
The good news is that assuming Linsley comes back, we finally have some decent depth on the line, because it has cost us dearly in the past. I don’t think anyone can forget Newhouse, Sherrod, or holding in seasons tryouts at left tackle last season. Brutal.
This was THE pick that excited me the most when I saw it happen live in Chicago. Well done Eliot.
Like I said:
I grew up in WI but live in IN and follow the Big Ten closely.
Spriggs passes the eye test in all regards. Long, quick, good feet, can base up a bull rusher.
I suspect he’ll be the Packers starting LT by mid-season, and some other team will throw stupid money at Bahktiari in the off-season. At the least the Packers will see a drop in false starts and holding penalties.
Hopefully, Spriggs avoids picking up Bahktiari’s habit of pointing out DL jumps like a 1st grader and killing free plays, too.