Unpacking Future Packers: No. 77, SDSU OL Mason McCormick

The Unpacking Future Packers Countdown is a countdown of 100 prospects that could be selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 2024 NFL draft.

In back-to-back NFL drafts, Brian Gutekunst has added a pair of FCS talents. Green Bay’s general manager added Christian Watson in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft and followed that up by selecting Tucker Kraft in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft. 

Gutekunst could go back to the FCS pool during the 2024 NFL Draft by adding Mason McCormick. The South Dakota State interior offensive lineman checks in at No. 77 in the Unpacking Future Packers Countdown.

McCormick, a Sioux Falls native, finished his career at SDSU with 57 straight starts at left guard. McCormick played a key role in helping the Jackrabbits win back-to-back national championships.

“Mason has always been one of the hardest workers in our program,” Ryan Olson, the offensive line coach for SDSU, said. “His attitude and consistency on a daily basis has brought out the best in his teammates. Obviously, the tape and what he gave us on the field speaks for itself.”

McCormick has quick feet and stays balanced in his setup. He plays with a low center of gravity and has a strong upper body. He has a high football IQ and keeps his head on a swivel. He has powerful hands and stops pass rushers in their tracks. According to Pro Football Focus, McCormick gave up zero sacks and just three pressures this past season.

“His athletic gifts in terms of body control, light feet and natural balance are elite,” Olson said. “But in addition to that, he’s the type of player who always has a pre-snap plan. He studies the guy across from him and knows what to be ready for. He’s a cerebral player.”

McCormick is a mauling run blocker and stays underneath blocks. He plays with a ton of violence and keeps his legs driving at contact to create movement and open up running lanes. 

“He has a ton of twitch and suddenness, but beyond that, he is a finisher and has an edge,” Olson said. “He plays with a high level of violence and he wants to finish on every play.”

During his time in Brookings, McCormick logged 3,375 snaps at left guard, 15 snaps at center and 19 snaps at right guard. He took reps at center during the East-West Shrine Bowl practices and looked more than comfortable. A transition to center is something that Olson believes McCormick could handle with ease. 

“Without question,” Olson said. “I’ve allowed him to do any and all drill work while snapping the ball. He’s taken center reps in practice. He will get comfortable there quickly. As far as the mental part of it, he’s set our protections and run counts here for the last two years from the guard spot. He’s used to running the show.”

Fit with the Packers

The Packers need to add depth along the interior of the offensive line and could be in the market for a guard to battle Sean Rhyan for the starting right guard position. 

McCormick is battle-tested and could step in on day one to challenge Rhyan for starting reps. Even if he didn’t earn a starting role as a rookie he’d provide much-needed depth at guard and center. 

With his short-area quickness, his toughness and IQ, McCormick has the makings of a player that could carve out a 10-year career. Plug him in at guard or center and he likely would never give the job back. 

“He is a phenomenal competitor,” Olson said. “He doesn’t lose often but when he does, he can hit reset and play the next play. He is as mentally tough and resilient as they come. He’s a tireless worker. You won’t find a more intelligent offensive linemen in the draft class. He makes everyone around him better.”

The Packers have had a ton of success finding quality offensive linemen on Day 3 of the draft. If McCormick is still on the board when the Packers are on the clock in the fourth round, it would be hard to pass up the opportunity to add a player with his experience, intelligence and intangibles. 

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire