Less than ten days removed from the 2013 NFL draft, and armed with two shiny new additions to the offensive line in tackle David Bakhtiari and guard J.C. Tretter, Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy are already shaking things up amongst the front five. Or should we say flipping.
News broke this morning that the Packers are planning to reshuffle their offensive front wall, with the most notable switches being Bryan Bulaga and Josh Sitton who are both moving over to play left tackle and left guard, respectively. There had been rumors that Bulaga, who played on the blind side during a standout career at the University of Iowa, would make the adjustment last year, but an injury early last season shelved those plans. Bulaga was originally slated to handle left tackle, but was slotted as the right bookend on the line after Mark Tauscher went into decline. He’s more than held his own and appears ready to step up to protect Green Bay’s new $110 million investment, quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
With the news of this re-alignment comes speculation as to who will be named the starter at right tackle. Don Barclay, who displayed a mean streak that McCarthy praised and more than held his own during a six-game stretch filling in for Bulaga, appears to be the incumbent there heading into the offseason program. Marshall Newhouse would presumably add depth behind both sides, as he started every game last year at left tackle and was capable, if not unspectacular.
The wild card among the group is Derek Sherrod and whether or not he can return to full strength since suffering a devastating lower leg injury that caused him to miss all of 2012. If he is cleared by the medical staff to resume football and team activities he has a chance to compete and possibly start somewhere.
T.J. Lang will shift to right guard in the new setup and Evan Dietrich-Smith is penciled in at center. Practice squad member, tackle Andrew Datko, will battle it out in the trenches alongside rookies Bakhtiara and Tretter in a bid for a roster spot come training camp.