Packers: Evaluating each position on offense ahead of free agency

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 24: Jordy Nelson
GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 24: Jordy Nelson /
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CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 13: Jared Allen /

Offensive linemen

No unit was hit harder by injury this year than the offensive line.

The left side of the line will return intact in 2018, as will center Corey Linsley.

The questions come on the right side of the line. Is Justin McCray a suitable sub for free agent Jahri Evans? Will Bryan Bulaga be back? McCray barely sniffed playing time at his natural position of guard yet still showed a lot of promise. Bulaga has been a top right tackle when healthy but he’s recovering from his second ACL tear.

Kyle Murphy had a decent showing as a swing tackle before being hurt. He played better at RT than LT and will probably be ahead of Jason Spriggs when camp opens should his surgically repaired foot be ready to go.

Spriggs is still a question mark but looked better this year at RT than at LT, much like Murphy. He is a former second-round pick and will be given every opportunity to succeed.

Lucas Patrick showed toughness and heart playing with a club on his hand and shouldn’t be discounted. He can provide depth on the interior or challenge for the right guard job.

Verdict: Coaching and development is key for the advancement for the O-line. A decision must be made on Bulaga. With the timing of his injury the most likely scenario should he return, will be opening the season on the PUP.

It’s likely there will be a new starting RT when the season opens. There is talent already on the roster. And while I expect a draft pick or free agent to be added, the biggest difference will be made in the development of the players already on the roster.

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I don’t think two new starters on the right side will come from outside the organization. Most of the heavy work will come from James Campen and this coaching staff.