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Plenty of power in Packers' pair of sixth-round interior offensive linemen

Back-to-back picks net Oregon center, Indiana guard


GREEN BAY – There's no lack of strength in the two interior offensive linemen the Packers drafted with consecutive sixth-round picks on Saturday.

Oregon center Jake Hanson recorded 33 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press at the NFL Scouting Combine, and Indiana guard Simon Stepaniak beat that with 37, one of the top efforts by any offensive lineman in Indianapolis.

Green Bay chose them with the 208th and 209th overall selections on Day 3 of the draft, and they'll come to the Packers competing for backup jobs initially.

Their strength should help them hold their own from the get-go.

Stepaniak (6-4, 313) said he's actually done more reps than 37 in the past. Rehabbing a knee injury in the pre-draft process prevented him from fully training for the one measurable test he'd do at the scouting combine, but he impressed nonetheless.

That said, power is only a piece of their games.

"I take pride in my athleticism," said Stepaniak, a full-time starter the last two years at guard for the Hoosiers. He started 31 games overall and earned third-team All-Big Ten honors from the media as a senior. "I don't think I'm a one-sided player.

"In my final season last year, there wasn't plays I was taking off. (I was) getting after the guy across from me as much as I can and try to make his day not a good day, you know what I'm saying?"

Stepaniak said the timeline on his knee injury, which kept him out of Indiana's bowl game, should have him ready for training camp.

Meanwhile, Hanson (6-4, 303) was a reliable four-year starter at center for Oregon. He learned the position from Notre Dame transfer Matt Hegarty during his redshirt year in 2015, took over the job the following season and never gave it up. He's a two-time, second-team All-Pac-12 honoree with 49 college starts under his belt.

Hanson has added a little more than 10 pounds to his frame since his college career ended. He hoped a little extra size at the combine would improve his draft stock, which he figured was as a Day 3 pick, though he had no idea his suitor would be Green Bay.

"It was a surprise," Hanson said of getting the call from the Packers, who he wasn't even sure confirmed his draft-day phone number. "I had a couple informal interviews at the combine and then I don't believe I've talked to them since."

One upcoming conversation he's looking forward to will be with his grandfather, who also played in the NFL as a backup lineman for the Los Angeles Rams in the 1950s.

"Back when it was leather helmets, didn't even have facemasks, and he played right out of high school," Hanson said. "Every time I get to talk to him and see him, he's always telling me all these cool stories about some legendary Rams players he got to play with and how different the game was back then."

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