Packers All-Decade Team: Aaron Rodgers leads the way

Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Green Bay Packers, David Bakhtiari
Green Bay Packers, David Bakhtiari (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Offensive line

The members of the offensive line can say something no other position group can, they all actually played together at the same time. They all played together in 2014 and 2015.

T David Bakhtiari (2013-Present)

When David Bakhtiari was drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 draft, he was selected as a developmental project who could be a swing tackle and provide depth behind Bryan Bulaga and Don Barclay. Then Bulaga was hurt on Packers Family Night and the fortunes for both players were changed.

Bakhtiari has become one of the best tackles in the game. He took his lumps as a rookie and even as a second-year player, but kept improving and was a clear upgrade from anyone the Packers had before him and after Chad Clifton.

T Bryan Bulaga (2010-Present)

Bulaga is the only Packers lineman over the past 10 years to be drafted in the first round and become a major contributor. To be fair, there was only one other lineman drafted in the first round — Derek Sherrod. But, Bulaga has been anything but a bust. Bulaga started his rookie year in 2010 and has continued to soldier on despite two ACL tears, and a hip injury that ended three of his seasons.

When healthy, he has been the top right tackle for the Packers and one of the best in the game. Bulaga was drafted as a left tackle but was thought he might be better suited on the right side. He started there for his first three years before the Packers grew tired of Marshall Newhouse and needed a change at that position.

Bulaga made a brief switch to left tackle before the start of the 2013 season when his first ACL tear occurred. Then Bakhtiari got his chance and never looked back. I feel that was a twist of fate both player benefited from. Bulaga’s skills were better suited for the right side. That’s not to say he wouldn’t have had success on the left, I’m certain he would have. But both players are exactly where they need to be.

G Josh Sitton (2010-2015)

Josh Sitton, like Bakhtiari, was a gem out of the fourth round. Sitton came five years before Bakhtiari and started the trend of Ted Thompson finding mid-round offensive linemen gems. Sitton was on the track to start right out the gates his rookie year before an injury in training camp slowed down his progress. So he sat, waited his turn, and then became one of the best guards in the game during his prime.

Sitton wasn’t just one of the best, he became one of the best on the right side then the left side after playing his first five years as the right guard then his last three seasons on the left. Sitton was a surprise cut right before the start of the 2016 season. But all was made right as Sitton returned this season on a one-day contract to retire as a Packer.

G T.J. Lang (2010-2016)

From 2013 to 2015, there were two players who were known as the heartbeat of the Packers’ line — Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang. Lang and Sitton were connected at the hip almost immediately. One year after Sitton was a steal in the fourth round, Lang arrived to the Packers via the same fourth round a year later.

Originally drafted as a tackle, Lang played the swing tackle for Clifton and Mark Tauscher before the Packers drafted Bryan Bulaga in 2010. After the team took Bulaga, Lang was reduced back to swing tackle and back up lineman until 2011 when he was inserted at left guard.

Lang struggled on the left side but became a stud when switched over to the right in 2013. From there on, the Packers rarely had to worry about the middle of their line because Lang and Sitton had it from there. Through injuries, Lang always seemed to show up and give maximum effort for the Pack.

Center: Corey Linsley (2014-Present)

Another in a long line of mid-round offensive linemen gems, Corey Linsley came to the Packers as a fifth-round pick in the 2014 draft.

Linsley was the first true center they drafted since Scott Wells in 2004. Evan Dietrich-Smith played one season then left for more money to Tampa. JC Tretter was not to be as he injured his knee in a preseason game in 2014. Linsley then entered the lineup and had a great rookie season.

Linsley and Tretter would switch roles over the next two seasons with one injured while the other played. It was during the 2016 season, Linsley took control and hasn’t let go. Linsley is a bit undersized, but makes up for it with his superior strength and quickness to the second level. Just before Linsley was drafted, Rodgers commented about how he wanted one center to work with and pair with for the bulk of his career. It took some time but it looks like he’s finally got it.