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Mike Spofford

Mike Spofford has worked as a sportswriter in Wisconsin since 1995 and has been a packers.com staff writer since 2006. He has covered the Packers' last two Super Bowl appearances, XXXII and XLV.


Seventh-round picks have their upsides

Posted Apr 30, 2011

Versatility can be an overused term, but it certainly applies to the Packers’ two seventh-round draft choices.

North Carolina’s Ryan Taylor has played tight end and special teams, and even dabbled some at linebacker, playing both ways in a game a few years back.

Arizona State’s Lawrence Guy has played defensive tackle, defensive end and nose tackle. No spot up front is foreign to him.

With roster spots on the defending Super Bowl champions perhaps hard to come by, late draft choices such as Taylor and Guy can and will do whatever they’re asked to make the team.

“You’re always looking at versatility,” General Manager Ted Thompson said. “That’s one of the qualities we look at in any prospect, regardless of position.”

Thompson made it clear that Taylor, the 218th overall pick, will play tight end, where he set a school record for receptions in a single season with 36 last year. His work at linebacker in college came about due to injuries at North Carolina, and he even played both ways in a game against in-state rival N.C. State in 2008, but after a medical redshirt due to a knee injury in 2009, he came back last season as a full-time tight end.

“It was fun, but by no means was I any good at linebacker,” Taylor said. “Nothing I would hang my hat on, but it’s kind of cool to say I did it.”

Taylor’s versatility likely will be on display on special teams. He was a special teams captain for the Tar Heels two different seasons and he takes a lot of pride in his contributions there.

“I honestly think it’s a third of the game,” Taylor said. “I think it’s as important as offense and defense. It’s something I put a lot of stock in, and I worked on all four units here.”

Guy, the 233rd overall pick, worked everywhere along the defensive line in his three seasons at Arizona State, overcoming an attention-deficit disorder and dyslexia to earn honorable mention All-Pac-10 each year.

An early entry in the draft, Guy most likely projects as an end in the Packers’ 3-4 scheme at 6-4, 305.

“He’s a big man that can run really fast,” Thompson said. “We think he’s still developing. We had our defensive staff and (line coach) Mike Trgovac do a study on him and we think there are a lot of things he can add to our defense.”

A three-year starter, Guy recorded eight sacks and 23 tackles for loss in his career. No matter where he lined up, he played the same way.

“I like to hit you hard,” he said. “I like to make a statement like I’m here. I don’t ever give up on a play. I refuse to give up. I go as hard as I can every single play until the game is over to make sure everybody understands you aren’t going to have an easy game with me.”


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