Saturday's selections

Packers bulk up depth on draft's final day.

After making the headline grabbing deal to go up and start their draft with a quarterback and adding a pair of versatile offensive players on day two, the Green Bay Packers concentrated on filling out their depth over the final four rounds of the NFL's virtual draft on Saturday.

General Manager Brian Gutekunst stood pat for all six of his final day selections that started late in round number five.

The 4th round pick went to Miami as part of the opening night trade to select Utah State quarterback Jordan Love.

With the fifth round choice, pick number 175 overall, Green Bay took it's first defensive player in linebacker Kamal Martin from the University of Minnesota.  The 6-3, 245 pound senior from Burnsville was a quarterback in high school before growing into an edge rushing linebacker.   As a senior, Martin played through a knee injury during the entire season, eventually missing five games.   He still recorded 66 tackles in eight games.   Packer scout Brandian Ross said they liked his toughness and versatility, believing he can be a solid run plugging inside linebacker with the athleticisim to run with backs or tight ends in the passing game.

The 6th round turned out to be the offensive line round for the Packers as they used all three of their choices on the bigs.  It started with pick 192 where the Packers selected Jon Runyan from the University of Michigan.   He was a two time All-Big 10 first team offensive lineman playing left tackle his final two seasons.   If the  name sounds familiar, Runyan (6-4, 298) is the son of former NFL All-Pro Jon Runyan  who also attended Michigan before a 13 year career, primarily with the Philadelphia Eagles.   With back to back picks, at 208 the Packers took Oregon Center Jake Hansen and followed that up taking Indiana Guard Simon Stepaniak.   Hanson (6-5, 295) earned the starting job with the Ducks as a redshirt freshman and never gave it up during his next four years, helping Oregon win last year's Rose Bowl over Wisconsin while anchoring the protection for Justin Herbert, the sixth overall pick in the draft.    Stepaniak played guard for the Hoosiers and was considered a mauler on the interior line.   He had surgery shortly after his senior season and didn't run at the NFL Scouting Combine but he did lift.  Impressively.  Stepaniak finished second among linemen by benching 225 pounds 37 times.

Gutekunst went back to defense for his final two choices in the 7th round.  He picked TCU safety Vernon Scott at pick 236.    Scott is a rangy 6-2, 206 pounder who started 10 games for the Horned Frogs.  His biggest moment was a 98 yard interception return for a touchdown against Oklahoma.     With the 242nd choice, the Packers took Miami (Fla) defensive end Jonathan Garvin.  A junior entry, Garvin was ranked 14th among defensive ends by Athlon Sports but lasted until late in the final round.  A 6-4, 250 pound edge rusher had 10 and a half sacks over his final two seasons and he's still just 20 years old.

More state ties get called.   Two more Wisconsin Badgers were drafted on Saturday, with the final pick in the 4th round, the Dallas Cowboys picked center Tyler Biadasz.  He could well take over for another former Badger center in Travis Frederick who retired this off-season.    Wide receiver Quintez Cephus was a fifth round pick of the Detroit Lions.

Ben Bredeson, a guard from Michigan, who played his high school ball at Harland Arrowhead, was taken in the 4th round by Baltimore.  Robert Windson from Fon dulac High who attended Penn State as a defensive tackle, was taken by Indianapolis in the 6th round.

And two state high school quarterbacks were picked.  Nate Stanley from Menomonie who went on to Iowa was taken by the Minnesota Vikings in the 7th round and James Morgan of Florida International, who played his high school football just a mile from Lambeau Field at Ashwaubenon High School, was taken in the 4th round by the New York Jets.

Mark Daniels

I’ve got Green and Gold in my blood having grown up in Titletown and it’s been a treat watching and covering sports from the Packers to the preps for you in Green Bay for Midwest Communications.
As a kid, I chased Packer players for autographs, I’m still chasing ‘em now for quotes on the big play or big game. I’ve had the opportunity to cover Super Bowls, the World Series, Stanley Cup Finals, NBA playoffs and major championship golf over the years but I get just as much enjoyment following the college scene at UWGB or St. Norbert, the Green Bay Gamblers and high school sports.
Our prep coverage was honored as the best of 2007 reinforcing our commitment to give these hard working boys and girls their due.
My work has also been recognized by the Associated Press and Wisconsin Broadcasters Association with several achievement awards.
Outside of the studio, off the field or away from the gym, I’ve had the pleasure of helping dozens of organizations over the years. I’ve served as race announcer and master of ceremonies at the Bellin Run almost from it’s beginning, spoken to various service clubs and hosted charity golf events or team banquets.
My wife Kari and I have raised two active children which has kept us involved in both school and club athletics for nearly 15 years. Chances are you’ll see me on a golf course when the weather’s nice. My roots are deep and that’s why I’m so enthusiastic about this area’s sporting scene, and as I often say, “Watching kids play games helps keep me young!”
Thanks for listening and see you at the game.