Packers Sign Sixth-Round Guard Stepaniak

Bill Huber

GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers announced on Monday that they have signed sixth-round draft pick Simon Stepaniak, a guard from Indiana.

Of Stepaniak’s 31 career starts, 30 came at right guard. As a senior team captain, he started 10 games at right guard and one at left guard to earn a third-team nod on the all-Big Ten team. Pro Football Focus charged him with just one sack as a senior.

“I’ll be able to play any of the three interior spots," he said during his conference call upon being drafted. “I’m focused on just getting as good as I can and learning the new playbook and just giving everything I can for the guys on the team and doing my part helping the team out.”

Based on the NFL’s rookie slotting system, Stepaniak is in line to get a four-year deal worth about $3.447 million.

Stepaniak (6-4, 313) is a physical powerhouse who made Bruce Feldman’s annual “Freaks” list. At the Scouting Combine, he showed that power by putting up 37 reps on the 225-pound bench press despite not being to fully train due to a torn ACL sustained at a December practice.

“My knee’s progressing phenomenally. It's going really well. The timeline is to be ready for camp. It’s healing great,” he said.

Indiana offensive line coach Darren Hiller thought Stepaniak would fit well in Green Bay’s zone scheme.

“He understands angles and he’s smart,” Hiller told Packer Central recently. “He’s just got to continue to get better on the outside zone. Just watching the Packers, I know they run quite a bit of outside zone. It looks like maybe they have an outside zone and a midzone-type concept. Simon fits in. To me, because of his athletic ability and his strength, I think he can thrive in any type of scheme. I’ve coached guys who were maybe a little bit bigger and stiffer. The zone scheme, you have to have some athletic ability. It’s not just get on a track and block whatever’s on that track. There’s some concepts and combinations that you have to be able to get onto linebackers and run some combo blocks. He has that fluidity.”

Stepaniak was the last of three offensive linemen selected in the sixth round of April’s draft, following Michigan’s Jon Runyan and Oregon’s Jake Hanson.

Stepaniak is the third of the nine draft picks to sign. Outside linebacker Jonathan Garvin, the last of the team’s draft picks, was the first to sign. Safety Vernon Scott, the second-to-last of the team’s picks, was the second to sign. That presumably would make Hanson the next on the pecking order.