Packers trade up in 2nd round, take Indiana's Jason Spriggs
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) The Packers have added heft up front in the NFL draft.
They beefed up offensive line depth by trading up in the second round Friday to take Jason Spriggs, a 305-pound tackle out of Indiana.
Green Bay moved up nine spots to the 48th overall pick in the draft by dealing three picks to Indianapolis. The Colts received the Packers' second-rounder, the 57th pick overall, along with selections in the fourth and seventh rounds.
''We thought we had an opportunity to get someone that (we) wouldn't have if we sat still,'' Packers director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst said.
The Packers turned to defense in the third round by taking Utah State outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell with the 88th overall selection. Fackrell led the nation with five fumble recoveries.
Green Bay's biggest pick on Friday night was the 6-foot-7 Spriggs, who made 47 starts at left tackle for Indiana. He allowed just two sacks in 475 pass attempts in his senior year last season. But the Packers think he has the versatility and athleticism to play across the line, even with a tall frame that seems tailor-made to protect quarterback Aaron Rodgers' blind side.
Spriggs will probably have a year to sit and learn from a seasoned offensive line.
''I think that's huge. I think that's something that will make me that much better to be behind those guys and learn ... the tricks of the trade,'' Spriggs said.
The selection also gives Green Bay insurance at a position that could see turnover after the season, when the contracts of guards Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang, as well as left tackle David Bakhtiari, expire.
''I don't know if we look that far ahead all the time,'' Gutekunst said.
When healthy, the Packers have one of the best front fives in the league. But the team's depth was tested last season because of injuries. The results were mixed, with Rodgers sacked 13 times the last two games of the regular season.
Third-round pick Fackrell joins an outside linebacker group that also includes two premier pass rushers in Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews. Nick Perry is back on a one-year deal, while Jayrone Elliott could see more snaps after playing primarily special teams the last couple seasons.
The addition of Fackrell could also mean that Mike Neal's days with the Packers are done. He remains unsigned as a free agent.
Fackrell missed the 2014 season with a knee injury, but returned to lead the Aggies with 15 tackles for a loss and a school-record 12 quarterback hurries.
''He's kind of an all-around guy, he has the ability to rush the passer, he's got good ability in space, good athlete,'' general manager Ted Thompson said.
Green Bay also went defense in the first round on Thursday night, taking 6-foot-3, 310-pound defensive tackle Kenny Clark from UCLA. He'll be counted on to help fill a void left after veteran tackle B.J. Raji decided this offseason to leave the game for a year.
The Packers also still have two compensatory picks to make in the fourth round, which begins Saturday, along with one pick each in the fifth and sixth rounds.
With Matthews expected to play primarily at outside linebacker after spending much of the last two seasons inside, Thompson could target inside linebacker on Day 3 of the draft.
Or he might be satisfied with Jake Ryan, who gained playing time last season as a rookie, and Sam Barrington at the position. Barrington, who announced the selection of Fackrell at the draft in Chicago, missed most of 2015 with a foot injury.
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