UT's Greco draws comparisons to Pats' Kaczur

4/24/2008
BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
University of Toledo offensive tackle John Greco, left, has been rated the 11th-best in the
nation at his position. BGSU's Kory Lichtensteiger has been rated the sixth-best center.
University of Toledo offensive tackle John Greco, left, has been rated the 11th-best in the nation at his position. BGSU's Kory Lichtensteiger has been rated the sixth-best center.

With the crush of NFL draft coverage at its peak this week, former University of Toledo offensive lineman John Greco has not gone unnoticed.

NFL writers and bloggers around the country have cast Greco as a sleeper pick. Ways he's been described over the last few weeks include, "your classic overachiever," "a steal," "worth remembering," and "gaining momentum."

In this weekend's draft, Greco, a 6-foot-5, 305-pounder from Youngstown, is projected to go anywhere from the late second to the early fourth round by most analysts. The reason for Greco's popularity as a good value pick in those rounds likely has something to do with former UT lineman Nick Kaczur, now a starter at right tackle for the New England Patriots.

Kaczur was drafted 100th overall late in the third round, the highest UT pick since Dan Williams went 11th overall in 1993.

"I'm often compared to him," Greco said. "It seems like that's how it's been since I got here. It's not a bad name to be mentioned with."


Rob Rang, a senior analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, projected Greco to be selected with the first pick of the fourth round, also the 100th pick. He has Greco rated as the 11th best tackle and sees immediate comparisons to Kaczur.

"While certainly Greco's own talents - especially his versatility and durability - have made him a chic sleeper, some of the credit has to go to Kaczur's success with the Patriots," Rang said. "In terms of their size, physically and strong technique, the two are remarkably similar players. It is no coincidence that Greco is ranked 100th overall in this year s draft, considering that Kaczur was drafted with the 100th overall

selection in 2005.

UT coach Tom Amstutz s left tackle position has been filled for the last seven years by either Kaczur or Greco, so he s probably the best judge on their similarities.

The first question that the NFL scouts asked me was, how do John Greco and Nick Kaczur compare? Amstutz said. I said they re very similar. They re not big, low-moving guys, they re big guys who are athletic and run and move.

Even in an extremely strong draft for offensive tackles, Greco has good prospects. That s because he s looked at as a player who can play both tackle and guard. Greco is ranked as one of the top five guard prospects by several analysts even though he spent his entire career at either left or right tackle.

He can do the job at either spot, Amstutz said. Guys who can play more than one position stay on a team longer.

Greco has recently taken trips to the facilities of the St. Louis Rams and the Minnesota Vikings. The Rams have experience with former UT offensive linemen, with Andy McCollum playing the last nine years at center for them.

Former UT running back Jalen Parmele and former UT punter Brett Kern also have chances to get drafted. If all three players were selected it would be the

most in one year for the Rockets since three former UT players were drafted in 1968.

Amstutz said Parmele has had at least four teams send their position coaches to campus to work him out. Parmele could go in the sixth or seventh round. Kern might be a seventh-round pick, although the market is much tighter for punters and

kickers.

Brett s done a good job researching each team, Amstutz said. If he doesn t get drafted by one of those teams, he knows and has been in contact with

the teams that are looking for a punter.

Contact Maureen Fulton at: mfulton@theblade.com or 419-724-6160.