Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Bryan Bulaga and Derek Sherrod: Share same path with Packers


Both Bryan Bulaga and Derek Sherrod head into the 2014 season with dollar signs in their eyes. Though the amount of money in question may vary, the path both of these young tackles have taken is similar.

Bulaga and Sherrod were selected in the first round in back-to-back years by the Green Bay Packers (2010 and 2011). Both players had promising rookie seasons, with Bulaga being selected to the NFL All-Rookie team.

While Bulaga finished out his rookie season by earning a Super Bowl ring in 2010, Sherrod finished his rookie campaign on the injured reserve.

Sherrod’s injury went from bad to worse, as his surgically repaired broken leg did not properly heal, resulting in Sherrod missing the entire 2012 season.

Sherrod’s injury went from bad to worse, as his surgically repaired broken leg did not properly heal, resulting in Sherrod missing the entire 2012 season.

The injury bug also struck Bulaga in 2012. During a week 9 game against Arizona, Bulaga’s awkward step left him with a fracture of his hip. The injury also landed Bulaga on season-ending injury reserve.

2013 started off with a pop for Bulaga. The only problem was the pop was a torn ACL during the famed “Packers Family Night.” The Packers had planned for Bulaga to be the future at left tackle, but the injury subsequently led to another trip to the IR.

Sherrod started the 2013 season on the PUP list and eventually saw the field for the first time since 2011 against the Giants. Sherrod was finally able to finish a season healthy for the first time in his NFL career.

Now both players enter the 2014 season at a career crossroads.

If Bulaga can manage to stay healthy for an entire season, he could have a healthy payday. Bulaga will only be 26 when his contract officially runs out and plays a desirable position.

Unlike Bulaga, Sherrod’s future isn’t as clear. The opportunity to contribute in any way this season will hinge on his health and the health of the Packers line. Sherrod and Don Barclay will be backups at tackle for Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari.

It will be interesting to see what the Packers will do with either player this offseason. The Packers have already declined to pick up the 2015 option on Derek Sherrod’s contract.

 

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  • SonsofLombardi

    I don’t know if I would say Sherrod’s rookie year got off to a “promising start”. He struggled from training camp and couldn’t even beat out Marshall Newhouse for playing time. At least Bulaga stepped right in and played his rookie year, and quite well at that. It wouldn’t surprise me if Sherrod didn’t even make the team this season.

    • Jimmy Ryan

      Totally agree but didn’t he get stuck playing guard? In that game against KC when he suffered his injury, he was in playing guard even though he’d struggled with the position in TC and any other time he played. I like MM but sometimes he’s so damn stubborn, almost to a fault. I think Sherrod would have made a great LT if given a little time. Bulaga was one of the best tackles coming out, some had him a top 10 pick so he was ready for RT. Sherrod was always the 5th or 6th best tackle of his draft class. I wonder what could have been had they not had to rush him in before he was ready. That was one of the nastiest breaks I’ve seen. I hope he’s able to resume his career, if not in Green Bay somewhere. Just not in the NFC North!

      • Katsuya

        I am pretty sure Sherrod was playing RT in that game against KC. His experiment at G ended after TC, but I do think it stunted his growth as a LT a little though. Before he broke his leg, he was finally starting to get it, and was pushing Newhouse for the starting LT job. But of course all of that went out the window once he got injured.

      • SonsofLombardi

        Agreed. That was a nasty injury. You have to wonder if he will get the same range of motion back. This training camp will be huge for Sherrod.

  • White Rabbit

    Sherrod’s injury was both gruesome and tragic, however, the Packers organization experienced this same sort of injury once before with Mike Flanigan. It took “Flanny” 3 years to get back on the field, but once back he became a vital cog in the O-line. He even managed to play his way into a major payday with Houston.
    Sherrod has a better pedigree than Flanigan did, and with advances in medicine I think we could see a guy fully recovered from his mangled lower leg. THe real question is this: Can Sherrod start, and will Green Bay be the place that he does? If nothing else, he offers depth for the season and possible trade value in the early going.