Feb 21, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Alabama offensive lineman Barrett Jones speaks at a press conference during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Deep offensive line class should have the Green Bay Packers drooling

Fifty-one, 51, 5-1 … while the Green Bay Packers are also focusing on the number 579 – the total number of yards the defense gave up in their NFC Divisional Playoff game against the 49ers – they are also concerned about the 51 sacks quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered in 2012.

That’s why the Packers are probably focusing first and foremost on the O-line, especially in this draft that has an incredibly deep offensive line class.

While Packers General Manager Ted Thompson spent the last draft focusing on the defensive side of the ball, many are expecting him to start his 2013 draft by selecting an offensive lineman – and many think that player will be Alabama OL Barrett Jones. But there’s one curve that’s been thrown into the Barrett Jones sweepstakes, he won’t be able to work out for anyone for at least another three months. He recently had surgery on his foot for the dreaded lis franc injury.

Feb 23, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Alec Ogletree speaks at a press conference during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Jones would be a valuable pick for the Packers because of his versatility. He’s played three different line positions and has played them well. He’s an intelligent player, earning a 4.0 as an undergrad and doing the same by earning his master’s degree in 2012. He understands the game and seems like a great character pick. But do the Packers make him their first round pick, like so many want and predict? With his injury, many feel his draft stock will drop and that he might slip as far as the second round or even further.

Do the Packers go an alternate route in the first round and hope Jones falls to them in the second or even the third round. It’s a big risk, but it might be worth it because of the depth in talent in this year’s NFL draft.

There are some who even think the Packers might go defense in the first round with players such as Alec Ogletree (can you say DUI?) or Manti Te’o (can you say being duped?) being mentioned as possible picks.

Other O-line players who might be coveted by the Packers are Jonathan Cooper of North Carolina, Lane Johnson of Oklahoma, and D.J. Fluker of Alabama – though he has his own injury issues.

Those two numbers keep raising their ugly heads – 51 and 579 – how the Packers deal with them remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure – with the depth of players that should be available on the board when the Packers pick in this year’s Draft, they almost can’t go wrong.

Tell us what you think …

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Tags: Barrett Jones Green Bay Packers NFL Combine NFL Draft

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