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Bryan Bulaga  

AP Bryan Bulaga responds to questions during a news conference after he was selected by the Packers.

And in his introductory conference call with reporters Thursday night after being taken 23rd overall in the draft, the University of Iowa tackle and Crystal Lake, Ill., native sounded as if he would fit right in with the Packers as well.

"I was thrilled when I got the call from Green Bay," Bulaga said. "I'm an NFC North fan, growing up in Illinois. So I was ecstatic to get the call. I liked the Bears, yeah, but I think my allegiance has changed for sure now."

Bulaga said he aspires to have a lengthy and productive career in the NFL and wanted to reassure anyone who had concerns about a thyroid condition last season.

A viral infection sidelined him for three games last year and required him to take the anti-inflammatory medication prednisone. He no longer takes any medication. The condition limited him for his first few games back, but after that he hit his stride, he said. That also was the time that the Packers evaluated him with the most critical eye - and liked what they saw.

"I didn't have a ton of reps in practice or even my game speed. It took me awhile to get back to my game speed," he said. "It was resolved the fourth week or the fifth week of the season, and I didn't have any problems since. I've gotten checkups all the way up to the draft, and everything has been cleared perfectly."

Playing mostly at left tackle in his Iowa career, he sounded confident that he would play right tackle as well for the Packers. Green Bay's left and right tackles, Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher, remain quality veterans but are aging and have had injuries.

"I am versatile enough to play both left and right and whatever I am needed for, I will do," Bulaga said.

Bulaga comes in to Green Bay in an ideal position. He might not be expected to perform immediately but might instead play behind a healthy Clifton or Tauscher early, which will give him time to develop. He's pressing on anyway.

"I don't exactly know what my role will be, but I will push myself to win a starting job," Bulaga said. "I am still going to put that expectation on myself. I am not going in thinking, hey, I don't have to play right away. I'm going in thinking I am going to work and work hard trying to get myself in to the lineup."

Bulaga will make his first official visit to Green Bay next weekend for the ro okie orientation camp, which starts next Friday.

Sight seen: General manager Ted Thompson said he had done extensive tape work on every player the Packers have drafted in the last five years, including the seventh-round choices.

"We wouldn't draft a guy if we hadn't watched a lot of tape," Thompson said, referring to himself in this instance. "Sometimes it's guys that catch your eye at a pro day workout, and you come back and watch the tape. It could be three days before the draft."

Each year, slightly more than 250 players are drafted. Thompson said he could be conversant on about 500 players before a draft.

"Sure," he said. "A lot of it is based on other people's information. In the meeting before the combine and in the meetings since the combine, we've spent a lot of time watching tape."

Does Thompson read every report written by his scouts?

"No," he said. "If somebody is a reject, I usually just trust the scouts unless there's something that comes up that caused us to think otherwise."

Thompson does read every report on a player given a draftable grade.

The coaches in Green Bay also are assigned players at their positions to evaluate.

"We don't have them write as much as we used to," Thompson said. "It's more of a condensed report."

Almost every week during the fall Thompson leaves Green Bay early in the week and scouts at colleges. If a school has 10 prospects, he writes reports on all 10.

"I don't write as many players as I used to because I don't get to as many schools as I used to," he said. "I probably go to 22, 23 schools."

If the average school has 10 prospects, it means Thompson will have written between 220 and 230 reports.

Staff move:Scot McCloughan, a close friend of Thompson's, departed the San Francisco 49ers as their general manager last month. He worked alongside Thompson in Green Bay and Seattle.

Thompson was asked whether he intended to hire McCloughan after the draft. The Packers were considered top-heavy in the personnel department before John Schneider left in January to become GM in Seattle.

"I won't care to discuss that," Thompson said. "We're too busy doing what we're doing."

In the offing: Last year, the 23rd player in the draft was tackle Michael Oher, a tackle selected by the Baltimore Ravens.

Oher's five-year contract carried a total maximum value of $13.8 million, including $7.8 million guaranteed.

Dates set: The first practice of training camp has been set for July 31, one day after players report.

Off-season workouts will be open to the public on May 19 and June 2, 9 and 16. The mandatory minicamp, also open to fans, is June 21-23.


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