GREEN BAY, Wis. – With a need at offensive tackle, the Green Bay Packers selected Mississippi offensive lineman Royce Newman with their fourth-round draft pick to kick off Saturday’s third and final day of the NFL Draft.
Whether he remains at tackle remains to be seen.
“We’re going to let that play out. We’ll get him with the position coaches,” co-director of player personnel Jon-Eric Sullivan said. “There’s no need to try to pencil him into one or the other today. Regardless of where he ends up, we feel good about it. I couldn’t even tell you right now.”
A former high school tight end and basketball standout in Nashville, Ill., Newman was a two-year starter in the powerful SEC. At right tackle in 2020, Newman allowed two sacks and 25 total pressures, a pressure rate of 5.8 percent, according to Sports Info Solutions. At left guard in 2019, he allowed one sack and 10 total pressures, a pressure rate of only 2.4 percent. Similarly, runs behind his gap averaged 1.5 yards in 2020 but 2.4 yards in 2019. Pro Football Focus charged him with two sacks and 25 total pressures in 2020.
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Newman measured 6-foot-5 1/4 and 310 pounds. He’s got the arm length to stay at tackle (33 3/4 arms) and above-average athleticism (5.13 40; 4.75 shuttle). When placed among the guards, he ranked 10th in the draft class in Relative Athletic Score.
Over the last two drafts, the Packers have added five offensive lineman – and there’s still five picks to go in this draft, with two apiece in the fifth and sixth rounds and one more in the seventh.
Nonetheless, the Packers have only three pure offensive tackles on the roster. One of them, left tackle David Bakhtiari, is coming off a torn ACL. The third, former undrafted free agent Yosh Nijman, hasn’t played a meaningful regular-season snap. Last year’s picks, guard Jon Runyan, guard Simon Stepaniak and center Jake Hanson, were interior players. Ditto for this year’s second-round pick, center Josh Myers.
“Down there at the Senior Bowl, he moved around a little bit, even kicked him inside to center,” Sullivan said. “Between previous years of playing guard, this year playing tackle and putting out good tape doing both and then seeing him down in Mobile, we felt good about what we were getting.”
Among the tackles who were available were Nebraska’s Brenden Jaimes and Florida’s Stone Forsythe.
The Packers have picked four players in the draft, all from big-time programs with Georgia cornerback Eric Stokes, Ohio State center Josh Myers and Clemson receiver Amari Rodgers.
Draft Bible says: Newman has the type of length that can cause interior rushers a lot of problems attempting to work inside his frame. Newman is a competitive blocker who does a great job attacking leverage while exploding his feet on contact. He creates a lot of movement in the run game, routinely re-establishing the line of scrimmage in the offense’s favor. With clean footwork and loose hips, Newman is the type of technician that always seems to get his body in proper position. Newman is a solid enough mover to work up to the second level with efficiency.