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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.

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Utah guard deepens Packers' line talent

Posted Apr 30, 2011

The book on Caleb Schlauderaff is a short one, but it’s a complete one for a college prospect.

He’s played a lot of football, and he knows a lot of football.

The Packers drafted Schlauderaff, a four-year starter at left guard for Utah, in the sixth round with the 179th overall pick on Saturday.

“That’s a great program they have there at Utah,” Packers offensive line coach James Campen said. “They have a very multiple approach with their offensive schemes. They attack you any way they can. They do a variety of things, and in the film I’ve seen, he covers all those aspects you’re looking for in a player.”

What impresses Campen the most is Schlauderaff’s smarts and awareness on the field, a reflection of his academic all-conference honors in the Mountain West all four years. Campen described how he saw Schlauderaff adjust to different pass-blocking assignments on the fly in games while always remaining aware of where the quarterback was so he wouldn’t run into him or block somebody into him.

“You can clearly see on his tape that he has a full understanding of his offense,” Campen said. “He has a very good grasp of what they’re asking him to do and what the offensive scheme is asking him to do, and that’s impressive for a young guy.”

Listed at 6-4, 302, Schlauderaff isn’t young in terms of playing experience. He started 49 games over his four years at Utah, earning first-team All-MWC and a couple of second-team All-America honors in his final year.

He clearly took pride in taking the field every week, which came across to Campen when they spoke one-on-one.

“I had a great interview with him at the combine,” Campen said. “He’s a very head-strong kid that certainly respects and understands the value of practice. He doesn’t want to miss practice, he doesn’t want to miss games.

“A kid who’s durable and accountable is always a huge plus. He brings toughness into your room. He’s shown he can overcome little nagging things that happen to you and still perform at a high level.”

Whether he can rise high enough to make an NFL team is another question, but to no one’s surprise, he’s smart enough to know that.

“It’s a completely different ballgame, going from kids to men in a year, and it’s people’s jobs,” he said. “But I’m excited. To me it’s a challenge and I’m looking forward to see what I can do.

“I work hard, I think I’ve got physical tools. One thing I pride myself in is I play physical, and I think I play nasty.”

With the Packers’ uncertainty at the left guard position – veterans Daryn Colledge and Jason Spitz could become free agents pending the next collective bargaining agreement, while young prospects T.J. Lang and Nick McDonald have limited playing experience – Schlauderaff should get a chance to compete right away.

The Packers also added tackle Derek Sherrod to the offensive line group in the first round on Thursday, and having too many players for too few spots is the way any coach likes to have things.

“It creates competition, and that brings out the best in everyone,” Campen said. “Certainly in our room the level of competition has increased over the last couple years, and these two gentlemen are going to push.”

 

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