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Van Roten showing he's more than just a camp body

Nov. 6, 2013
 
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Greg Van Rotenís uphill battle to make the Green Bay Packersí 53-man roster didnít get any easier this past week after the team brought in veteran offensive lineman Reggie Wells. Over the last three weeks, however, Van Roten has shown thereís more to the former Pennsylvania standout than just being the undrafted guy Green Bay picked up following Charlie Peprahís release last month. At 6-foot-3, 303 pounds, Van Roten was an undersized, but productive three-year starting tackle for the Quakers. Now in camp with the Packers, Van Roten has switched to guard and been a pleasant surprise in camp with a team-high 24 wins in 31 one-on-one pass rush drills. The addition of the aging, yet versatile Wells continued to cloud the Packers' already fogging backup offensive line situation, but Van Roten also brings his own blend to the table. Originally recruited to Penn as a prospect at center, the 22-year-old Van Roten made the switch to tackle during spring ball of his freshman year. Thatís where he stayed with the exception of starting a handful of games at left guard last year due to injuries. ďI knew I was going to have to play guard and show them I could snap because I wanted to have a chance,Ē Van Roten said. ďIím not big enough to be a tackle, especially in the NFL, but even in college, I was a little undersized. I just need to be able to play left guard, right guard and center is one of those things where it doesnít hurt you to know it. It all kind of adds to your stock. You have to make it hard for them to cut you. You canít be a specialist.Ē During the preseason, Van Roten hasnít seen too much time on the field with Wells, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Tommie Draheim, Don Barclay and Sampson Genus all getting second-team reps ahead of him on the interior line. When he finally got in at left guard against the Browns, protection broke down in front of backup quarterback B.J. Coleman, who then proceeded to throw an interception to Cleveland cornerback Emanuel Davis. Van Roten, who appeared to fulfill his initial blocking assignment, then made the stop for his first NFL tackle 24 yards later. Since arriving in Green Bay, Van Roten has seen noticeable changes between the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision and the pros, but hasnít been afraid to ask questions. ďEspecially coming from a I-AA school, youíre not really sure what to expect when you get here,Ē Van Roten said. ďIvy League kids are smart. Guys here are football smart. Itís really impressive the knowledge in this locker room. Even though the o-line is relatively young, you have guys like (Josh) Sitton and Jeff Saturday who are just a wealth of knowledge up front.Ē -whodkiew@greenbaypressgazette.com and follow him on Twitter @WesHod.

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