Versatile OL Sitton Could Enter Mix At Guard


The Packers' competition at the guard position might have just gotten a new entry.

Offensive lineman Josh Sitton from Central Florida was a fourth-round selection on Sunday with the 135th overall pick, a free agency compensatory selection.

Though Sitton, a three-year starter, played most of his college career at tackle, the Packers have talked to the 324-pounder about playing guard as well as tackle and perhaps even center. But the first decision will be whether to throw him into the competition with Jason Spitz, Daryn Colledge, Junius Coston, Allen Barbre and perhaps Tony Moll for playing time at guard in 2008.

"We're going to have a very competitive camp with all the guys we have in our (offensive line meeting) room right now," offensive line coach James Campen said. "Some of the focus was on the guard position as you know, but I think those things solidify themselves through competition, and now we have another guy who's thrown himself in there as a guard and tackle as well."

Campen said the decision on where to focus Sitton's efforts would come after he arrives in Green Bay and begins working out. Should Sitton prove himself to be a better tackle, he's a potential long-term replacement for Mark Tauscher when the veteran's career comes to a close. He played right tackle at Central Florida, but not left tackle. He didn't play center, either, but Campen said he saw some things on film that could allow him to be an emergency center as the No. 3 behind starter Scott Wells and Spitz.

"Anywhere I ended up my goal is to come in and compete right away," said Sitton, who was told he could be taken anywhere from the fourth to the sixth round. "I don't think (Green Bay) would have taken me if they didn't want me to come in and compete."

The Packers brought Sitton in for a pre-draft visit about three weeks ago, which went very well. The coaching staff got a sense of his intelligence to go with the blocking skills and energetic, fiery play they had seen on film.

"Once he gets his hands on you he's Velcro. You're not getting off this kid," Campen said. "One of his biggest strengths is he plays with great passion, plays to the whistle.

"We had a great interview with him. He displayed the smarts and awareness on the grease board when he was here. He did an excellent job with that, and we're excited to have him."

After starting at right guard for four games as a freshman in 2004, Sitton then started all of Central Florida's games at right tackle in 2005 and 2006. Then last year as a senior, he played at both right guard and right tackle throughout the season, helping Kevin Smith rush for 2,567 yards, coming 62 yards short of breaking Barry Sanders' NCAA single-season rushing record (2,628).

Smith was drafted in the third round earlier Sunday by the Detroit Lions, and his success likely helped some of his linemen get noticed.

"His production definitely helped," said Sitton, who chose Central Florida over Auburn, among other scholarship offers, because he wanted to be able to play in college right away. "He brought a lot of positive attention to the rest of us and to UCF."

Campen also liked the way Sitton was coached in college.

"Their offensive line coach does a nice job with them down there," Campen said. "They train in the heat, train at a high level. We practice at a very fast pace and he's been trained that way his whole college career."

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